MIDTOWN — When Linda Carcaci heard about the new ABC TV show “Pan Am" last spring, she knew it would spark a Halloween trend.
Within three weeks of the television studio announcing the program, a replica of the airline's baby blue skirt suit was on the rack and ready for rent at the business she co-owns in the Garment District — Creative Costume Company.
“We have had so many calls about it,” said a triumphant Carcaci.
Foresight with Halloween trends is crucial for those in the costume business. This year, the trends are shaping up to be a mix of period television shows, disgraced public figures, zombies and the resurgence of the Victorian-era trend known as “Steam Punk.”
“We definitely have to keep our ear to the ground,” said Carcaci, standing among rows of clothes in the Creative Costume headquarters at 242 W. 36th Street.
After 30 years in the business, Caracaci knows to turn to the most popular television shows. This year’s debuts of "The Playboy Club," "Boardwalk Empire" and "Pan Am" all provided Halloween spin-offs.
Disgraced public figures also provide inspiration. At Ricky’s NYC, public scandals often manifest themselves on the Halloween costume racks, according to Dominick Costello, the president of Ricky’s NYC.
“We call them our three musketeers,” he said, affectionately referring to Charlie Sheen, Anthony Weiner, Arnold Schwarzenegger and their infamous antics that populate Ricky’s 21 permanent stores around Manhattan, as well as its 14 temporary locations.
“I think when Arnold, Anthony and Charlie happened in a similar time frame we were like ‘OK here we go,’” Costello said. “It was a no brainer.”
Political figures, whether they are disgraced or not, are always popular for New York City where people are “politically driven,” according to Costello.
“They use it to make a statement,” he said.
The unique phenomena known as “Steam Punk” has also breached the mainstream of Halloween trends, with its futuristic take on the Victorian era.
At the Abracadabra Superstore on West 21st Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, the Steam Punk section tripled since last Halloween, according to Robert McCorkle, the store’s manager.
Steam Punkers can find Victorian era costumes such as duster coats, capri pants and top hats as a base for their outfit. Victorian era goggles and pocket watches can all be added for an individual touch.
But for all the mass-market costumes available in stores, there is always room for someone to start their own trend, according to McCorkle.
“Inspiration is sparked here and that is how we like to keep it,” he said.
Halloween Trends 2011
Pan Am: The new television show for ABC is centered around the 1960s air hostesses for Pan American World Airways. The lead women are striking in baby blue skirt suits with perfectly manicured hair.
Boardwalk Empire: The HBO show is set against the backdrop of Atlantic City in the 1920s when men wore three-piece suits and women had drop waist dresses with long necklaces.
The Playboy Club: Straight from 1960s Chicago, this new NBC show brings bunny ears and white tails to this year's Halloween trends.
Disgraced Public Figures
Anthony Weiner: To replicate the former congressman, Ricky’s NYC is pushing an Anthony Weiner mask with a pair of boxer shorts. A full weiner dog outfit at Abracadabra is available for a more subtle approach.
Arnold Schwarzenegger: Ricky’s has the combo of a muscle man chest mold, a “Governator” mask and a cigar.
Charlie Sheen: Abracadabra has a molded mask that can be paired with the wayward actor’s signature Hawaiian shirt or white dinner jacket.
All Things Zombie
Zombies are the new vampires, according to Dominic Costello from Ricky’s NYC. He called the theme “versatile” and perfect for banding together with friends or for a couple.
Customers can add their own individual flare to the futuristic, Victorian-inspired trend with loads of accessories from Abracadabra.