Trick or Trump: The Donald, Pizza Rat among top Halloween costumes

Sun Oct 25, 2015 12:14pm EDT
 
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By Barbara Goldberg

NEW YORK (Reuters) - When a Donald Trump look-alike and a faux Caitlyn Jenner ring the doorbell on Halloween night, they may solicit a piece of candy but the treat they really seek is recognition.

Pop culture experts say these "ripped from the headlines" costumes to celebrate the Oct. 31 holiday - such as "El Chapo" the fugitive Mexican cartel kingpin or "Left Shark" from pop star Katy Perry's Super Bowl halftime show - are a way for adults to connect in a world splintered by a myriad of choices for information and entertainment.

While children typically dress up as witches and ghosts, the most popular costume this year among adults shopping on Yandy.com is The Optical Illusion Dress, the subject of an online debate that went viral over its color. The hot seller is a compromise: half blue and black, half white and gold, said CEO Chad Horstman.

Also in high demand is Pizza Rat - a gray mini dress with a tail, hood, ears and two pepperoni pizza slice pockets - that is arguably sexier than the video of a New York City rat dragging a pizza slice down subway steps, shared more than 100,000 times on Twitter in the last month, according to Topsy.com.

The lion-slaying dentist Walter Palmer of Minnesota who gained notoriety for his trophy kill of Cecil the Lion, considered a national treasure in Zimbabwe, inspired a $139.99 getup from Costumeish.com, complete with a blood spattered dental smock and mock lion head.

"It used to be we all watched the same TV shows, we all knew the same cultural references. Now the culture is really fragmented," said Robert Thompson, who teaches pop culture at Syracuse University in upstate New York. "These news stories, the ones that hit the big time, that cross that point of penetration, those are the things that everybody shares."

Jim Von Schilling, the Pennsylvania-based area chairman of the Popular Culture Association, said when it comes to envisioning a Halloween costume, imaginations are sparked by current events.

"The world around us is our pop culture," said Von Schilling.   Continued...

 
Employee Kenny Lomi adjusts a Halloween mask of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump as he poses for a photo at the Village Party Store halloween headquarters in the Manhattan borough of New York, October 15, 2015. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly