(NEW YORK) — Last year’s hottest Halloween costume trend was the black swan, a dark feathery ballet costume intended to mimic Natalie Portman’s hit movie character. This year, the hottest Halloween trend is a bird of a different color.
After Big Bird became part of last week’s presidential debate, Big Bird costumes are flying off the shelves.
When GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney spoke about cutting funds for PBS during last Wednesday’s debate, he said, “I love Big Bird.” (PBS airs and partially funds Sesame Street, which is Big Bird’s home.)
Since that moment, the 7-foot bird has been a hot topic of discussion, inspiring memes, parodies and even presidential campaign videos. It has also apparently spurred a new Halloween costume craze.
A representative from costumecraze.com told ABC News that although its original Big Bird costume sold out before the first presidential debate, it saw a 500 percent increase in sales for the women’s “sassy Big Bird adult costume” post-debate. The “sassy” rendition of the beloved Sesame Street character is a short, yellow-ruffled dress with orange knee-highs and pink accents. The costume comes complete with a bird headband.
According to Costume Craze, the Big Bird costume’s counterparts — the sassy Cookie Monster and the sassy Elmo costume — were selling at the same rate as Big Bird pre-debate but saw no significant sales increase since Romney’s avian name drop. The store’s representative theorized to ABC News that “the 500 percent increase must be due to Big Bird’s increased popularity post-debate.”
Brad Butler, COO of Halloween Express, has also seen a surge in Big Bird interest in the past week. Although it has not had a notable increase in sales (it is not licensed to sell the trademarked Big Bird costume), Butler told ABC News that since the debates, it has had more than 400 searches for a Big Bird costume on its site. The company has also seen an increase in sales of its chicken costume, which resembles the Big Bird suit, and includes the feet and yellow pants.
Costume World’s CEO and founder Marilynn Wick told ABC News that Big Bird was a hit.
“We have four store locations, and all of them are selling out of the Big Bird costumes,” Wick said.
The Austin, Texas, store is doing particularly well with the costume, probably because that area is primarily Democratic, mused a company rep.
Wick said that this year’s couples costume winners were Big Bird and Obama, as a pair, and its counterpart, Big Bird and Romney “with a machine gun doing Big Bird in.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Doug Criss, CNN
Magdala Louissaint, KPVI
Kathryn Vasel, CNN