Recapping the 2017 Halloween & Party Expo

Halloween & Party Expo 2017

Vendors, buyers cite mermaids, emojis and Star Wars among influencers for ‘17

(Click on the image for more photos from HPE)

Costume manufacturers and distributors typically have a pretty good bead on the pulse of Halloween enthusiasts. However, predicting the future is never an exact science.

The top party, costume and balloon vendors in the business gathered at the 2017 Halloween & Party Expo in New Orleans, which took place Jan. 14-17. Halloween Industry Association executive director Michele Biordi told the New Orleans Times-Picayune that costume distributors have to take their “best guess as to what they think are going to be the hot movies this coming spring, the big blockbusters.”

The Times-Picayune went on to note that upcoming live-action versions of “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Little Mermaid” could have an influence on costume-buying in 2017, as could the new “The Emoji Movie” (due out Aug. 4). Biordi also added Star Wars, as “Rogue One” is still fresh and “Episode VIII: The Last Jedi” is due out in December.

Korynn Knight, manager of Party Heaven in Berkeley, California, echoed Biordi’s comments on superheroes, mermaids and Star Wars.

“The trends seem to be mermaids, lots of superhero capes and more emphasis on accessories and separates,” Knight said. “A lot of customers seem to be relying on Pinterest for ideas. Anticipated movies are ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ and Star Wars (Episode VIII). There are definite hopes for ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ and ‘Beauty and the Beast.’”

Knight also noticed strong choices for decade costumes, specifically for the 20s, 70s and 80s, as well as festival-wear and decorative sunglasses.

Erik Johnsen, new owner of The Costumer, which has locations in Albany and Schenectady, New York, attended HPE for the first time.

“I was able to get insights from senior level players and discuss ways to continue building our relationship,” he said. “Additionally, the Expo was a fantastic way to get hands on with the choices available to us, particularly the abundance of licensed products.”

Johnsen took notice of all the do-it-yourself choices and pet costumes. “I was impressed to see the range of DIY-type costumes now being marketed as a way for people to harness their own creativity — not as a matter of economics,” he said. “I also noticed that pet costumes appear to be increasingly prominent.”

Both CTI Industries project manager Tiffany Morrisett and Kangaroo executive director David Follett cited the “The Emoji Movie” as a potentially big influencer in balloon and inflatable trends.

Dates for the 2018 and 2019 Halloween & Party Expos were made public during the show. The 2018 show is set for Jan. 12-15, with a Friday-to-Monday date pattern. HPE will move back to late January in 2019, with dates for Jan. 25-28 in place. 

Originally posted Friday, Mar. 17, 2017

Tags: halloween party expo, hpe