Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Costumed Cometh

With Halloween creeping nearer, nothing screams “pop-culture” like the obligatory, annual most-popular-costume story. Every year, it is the story that demands coverage in feature sections from coast to coast. This year, I have taken it upon myself to provide the season’s results. Nonconformists, take note. These are the costumes you should fear being caught dead in.

While viewing the list accumulated by the Internet search engine Lycos, I found only a few surprises—and those came mostly from omissions, rather than inclusions. It should be noted that the search results were for the week ending October 15.

Topping the list were—of course—Star Wars costumes. Given the success of the recent episodes, this isn’t very alarming. The second-most popular search, I’ll have to admit, took me aback. Number two? Dog costumes.

Now, Lycos didn’t provide any explanation, and I fear that none are necessary. I don’t think these are costumes for people who wish to dress like dogs. I suspect that these are costumes for dogs that wish to look like something else. According to some reports, pet costume sales are up 120 percent over the past two years. Immediately, I began worrying about trick-or-treating scenarios. I hope that these trick-or-treating dogs like candy, because I’m not putting a bowl of doggy treats by the door. For the record, I think that people who dress their dogs up for Halloween should be required to dress themselves as fire hydrants.

Children’s movies should inspire the costumes of many a kiddo on beggar’s night. Lava Girl and Shark Boy, from Robert Rodriguez’s movie “The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl in 3D,” showed up in the third and eighth spots, respectively. Willy Wonka costumes checked in at number six, and Shrek came in at fifteen.

There was a surprising shortage of pop icons on Lycos’ list of popular searches. No one looking to dress up like Britney, or Jessica and Nick, or even Elvis. But somehow, SOMEHOW, the Fanta Girls showed up on the list at number seven! Actually, they are called the Fantanas, and their appearance on this list should be seen as a major victory for the soda-maker’s marketing department.

Monday night may seem like a blast from the past, if these search results actually translate to kids on the porch. Among the flashback favorites: Pippi Longstocking, Rainbow Brite, the Wizard of Oz characters, Tinkerbell, Popeye and Strawberry Shortcake.

I was a little surprised, however, that Batman didn’t show up on the Lycos list. “Batman Begins” did well at the box office; it’s doing well now at video, and the Batman DVD box set just dropped. But in spite of its absence on the Lycos list, costume retailers are naming it among their most popular.

Whether you jump on the Fanta bandwagon or rely on your own craftiness to make your own costume, be sure to slap a little reflective tape on the kids and don’t send them out alone. Happy trick-or-treating!

-From Pulse
October 27, 2005