Why Most Adults Shop for Disney Costumes Online
Disney’s appeal is one that seems to transcend time. Just about anyone that was born after 1923 grew up on Disney characters that in some cases shaped childhoods. Even as grown adults, people still connect with Disney; a simple ad, movie, song, TV show or visit to one of their parks manages to trigger childhood memories. Once Disney is in your head, it’s in your head forever! Parallel to Disney’s ever-increasing fan base is the demand for Disney costumes. Every time a new movie comes out, multiple versions of the main character’s outfit are manufactured, but they are not passing trends. Disney costumes from old films are just as popular today, and likewise, today’s Disney character costumes will be popular in the future. What’s interesting is that most of these costumes are also available for adults and they sell out rather fast in our Disney costume webstore, which brings up the question: should adults dress up for recreational purposes (Halloween, theme parties, cosplay, etc.)?
It used to be that most adults would be embarrassed to shop for [their own] costumes in public places, especially for “kiddie themes” like Disney characters. Before the internet, grown-ups would have to stand in line for the fitting room with a bunch of kids at the local costume shop; and oh, the embarrassment when you would get to the front of the line and you were one of the few adults that did not have a child with you. The internet has significantly changed all that. It is much easier now to go online, perform a quick search for your favorite character costumes and order. You receive it discreetly, you save face, and then you wear it wherever it is that you congregate with other likeminded costumers that won’t judge you for indulging in some dress-up fun as a grown-up. It’s the reason our website promotes Disney costumes so much.
Some of you may think that this whole article is an exaggeration because people don’t really care that much about who dresses up as what, but that opinion varies from person to person. Unfortunately, reaching adulthood puts most people under heavy scrutiny when it comes to costumes, but the internet has changed all that.
A Cultural Shift
It is obvious why most adults prefer to buy Disney costumes online. Dressing up for Halloween has been stigmatized as a sign of immaturity in adults. So why endure the embarrassment if an online store can help you avoid it? But there seems to be a cultural change in recent years thanks to the .com revolution. Grown men and women who used to be closet costumers are not only able to shamelessly buy costumes online, but they can connect with people who share their interests via forums, social media and online communities. It has never been easier to organize events for niche interests as specific as Disney fandom; this has significantly reduced the criticism from…let’s call them…uptight individuals (sorry if this is you).
There’s a very interesting article in "Forbes" that delves into the changing Halloween demographic, from a child’s holiday to one most celebrated by adults. The author, Larissa Faw, explains that there are more and more restrictions for children to wear costumes in schools while fear mongering groups discourage trick-or-treating by highlighting the stranger danger that comes with going door to door. Meanwhile, modern companies are encouraging their employees (mostly adults) to dress up at work and attend themed company events. The nightclub party scene is also a big player in this switch since just about every club has special theme parties for Halloween—and throughout the whole year—and costumes are always encouraged.
When Is It Supposedly OK for Adults to Dress Up as Disney Characters?
Not all adult Disney fans are criticized for wearing costumes and openly consuming everything Disney has to offer. You know that saying, “there is always a time and a place for everything”? Certainly, the “acceptable” time to wear Disney costumes is childhood, and the place can vary from Halloween events, to Disney theme parks and birthday parties. Some kids even wear their costumes any given day of the year as playtime toys. Life in costumes is blissful until you grow up and you suddenly have the need to justify why you are wearing “childish” clothes. However, not everyone has to hide behind their computer screens browsing the web for Disney costumes. Though shopping online is more convenient, there are some adults that openly shop and wear their Disney costumes locally without any inhibitions. Here are some popular (accepted) justifications to wear Disney costumes as a grown-up:
It’s OK, I Have Kids
One of the perks of parenting is getting away with childish behavior. For those who are parents, think about how many times you have put yourself in a silly situation, often in public, just to please your kids. You will roll on the ground, crawl, play with dolls, make silly faces, act like an ape or do just about anything to solidify your bond. Some will include watching Disney movie marathons and playing dress-up as part of the list of things they do “just for the kids.” These people have it easy; rather than getting criticized, they are praised. You may be familiar with some of the “parenting, you’re doing it right” memes that pop up all over the internet around Halloween time.
It’s not fair to those childless adults with open minds who simply like to dress up for fun. Why it is OK to dress up in your favorite sports team’s gear when attending a sporting event but not OK to dress up as your favorite Disney character when attending Disney world? Disney recently changed their dress code to only allow kids up to 14 years of age to wear costumes to the parks. This is a blow to parents who claim they dress up for their kids, and an insult to childless Disney fans and theme park enthusiasts.
Though Disney fandom is still something that is freely enjoyed by [most] kids, there is a sub-culture of ardent Disney fans who are not children. According to popsugar, these people hide in plain sight, and most of them are not even parents. They fit the profile of the perfect online Disney costume shopper.
I Wear Costumes Because It’s Part of My Job
Wait; are you being forced to work somewhere where it is required to wear costumes? There has to be more to this excuse. Jobs that require costumes are seldom and you probably have to actively pursue the opportunity and even specialize in some kind of related field before being offered a job as a costumed character. There must be a part of you that chose this type of profession because you enjoy dressing up; otherwise, why would you? Unless you are Willie Stokes from Bad Santa, it is very unlikely dressing up for work is a burden. Many of the customers that come to our webstore looking for Disney costumes are professional party entertainers and they tell us all the time about how fun their jobs are.
I’m a Disney Cosplay Geek
Proud adult geeks can get away with anything. For one, a true geek is not concerned with what people think; he/she will proudly dress up to attend a superhero movie premiere and wait in line reading a comic book while sitting crisscross applesauce on the floor. Disney cosplayers are just as geeky as the obsessive comic book fan; they are known to make flawless appearances at comic book conventions as their Disney idols. Grown geeks probably buy their Disney costumes online because the type of costumes they like to wear are typically of a quality not easily found at local costume shops.
What Online Search Trends Are Saying
This blog post would not be complete without solid proof that adults really do shop for Disney costumes on the internet—more for themselves than for kids. We used the handy Google Trends tool to see just how searches for adult Disney costumes compare against the same search for kids. Let’s analyze graph A below.
The timeline displayed goes back 12 years, which is very convenient because it is almost as long as WonderCostumes.com has been in business and it is the a period of time we can attest for. We have directly noticed the changing trend in our sales as more customers inquire about adult sizes than they do about children’s sizes. The graph tracks two popular Google search terms: ‘disney costumes for adults’ and ‘disney costumes for kids’. It starts in 2004 showing an almost equal volume of searches for both. That makes sense because that was around the time that most popular e-commerce costume shops sprouted and there was little history to show prior to that.
Between 2006 and 2008, there was a bit of a struggle between the popularity of both searches. 2008 seemed to be the only year that the ‘kids’ web search was dominant. After that, ‘disney costumes for adults’ has surpassed the search for ‘disney costumes for kids’ every year. Searches in 2010 peaked for both terms but you will still notice the significant advantage that ‘adults’ had over ‘kids’. And as you move closer to the present, the gap narrowed significantly in 2012 but has since gotten wider and wider.
We did not want to rule out other possibilities so we tried our luck with another popular set of Google search terms pertaining to Disney costumes. Although interestingly different, graph B (below) shows a consistent trend where ‘adult disney costumes’ maintains a lead over ‘kids disney costumes’ all the way through.
In comparison to the graph A, the term pertaining to adults was significantly dominant from 2004 up to 2009. Then there was a decline in 2010—which coincides with the peak in searches for ‘disney costumes for adults’ as shown in the graph A. It appears that the fluctuations were mostly based on preference of the actual search term used, but the user intent remained the same. The search for adult Disney costumes is clearly dominant on the web. To illustrate this better, we created graph C to show how ‘adult disney costumes’ is consistently the dominant search term.
However, this chart does paint a picture where the gap is closing and the online search for ‘adult Disney costumes’ is declining. As mentioned earlier in this article, the internet has allowed costume-wearing adult Disney fans to express themselves and connect with likeminded peers. Once you have organized communities and sub-cultures, it is suddenly OK to openly explore your interests. Maybe adults now-a-days feel comfortable shopping for Disney costumes at a local store.
Deciding to Buy Online
In general, choosing to wear a costume as an adult can have many pros and cons if you are indecisive. But one of the ways that you can make the decision easier is by first making a choice to buy your Disney costumes online and avoid the reservations that may come from shopping at a local costume shop.
As an adult, do you prefer to buy Disney costumes on the internet?