Police officers and escaped convicts. Throw in Donald Trump, and you have the Halloween costumes flying off the shelves at Aberdeen’s fancy dress shops this year.
This week marks the busiest time of the year for Partymania and The Fun House, both on George Street.
While Scream masks and killer clowns remain popular, there’s a growing trend for non-horror outfits.
Another growing trend is the sheer popularity of spooky season.
We spoke to both businesses to find out more.
Donald Trump: Big in Aberdeen (at least at Halloween)
Graeme Thain runs Partymania.
“We’ve sold a load of ghost masks and Scream masks,” he said. “But people also want to be escaped convicts and killer clowns.
“Anything creepy really, but we’re seeing more and more people simply looking for fancy dress.
“So we’ve sold quite a few police outfits, for example. And ladies seem to like anything with wings.
“Back in the day, people were looking more for Halloween-themed outfits. Whereas now I’d say Halloween has become a national fancy dress day, essentially.”
Probably the most interesting thing to fly off the shelves at Partymania are Donald Trump masks, perhaps as people gear up for his second tilt at the White House next year.
‘I’ll risk doing a John Lennon and say that Halloween is now bigger than Christmas’
Surprisingly, Graeme said Halloween had now surpassed what we all assumed to be the biggest party season of them all.
“I’ll risk doing a John Lennon and say that Halloween is now bigger than Christmas,” he said.
“It’s by far our biggest time of year. We’ve been here 25 years and seen it ramp up year on year.
“It’s led by the States and all things America, really.
“We’re just crazy busy just now.
“You just need to look at all the people putting on Halloween events. Anyone who owns a pub or club, they’re thinking, ‘lets get a Halloween theme, get people in the door.’
“So it’s as hectic as you’d imagine. I’d just advise people still to sort their costume to get here quick, because there’ll be queues by the weekend.”
And owner of The Fun House, Michelle Houghton, said Halloween business was booming.
Her biggest seller this year has been police uniforms, which she said had become increasingly popular in recent years.
Close behind are convicts’ orange boiler suits, angel wings, and Scream masks – “Scream masks are an old faithful.”
Halloween – like Christmas minus the stress
She said: “It’s not just Halloween-themed these days. It’s a real mix. People will come in for a grim reaper costume and then come out with something completely different.
“We’re definitely getting busier at Halloween. It seems to get bigger year-on-year.
“I just think it’s the sort of thing both adults and kids can get into. Adults in particular are really getting into it.
“If you compare it with Christmas, there you’ve got the stress and pressure, the turkey to cook, all the presents, the financial side.
“At Halloween, you come in and get your costume, and go out and have a blast.
“It’s just right good fun for everyone to get involved in, even babies. Students will go out, parents will take their kids out, just good vibes all round.”
She added: “We’re really busy but it’ll be madness by Friday-Saturday. We’ve already got folk queueing outside to get in.
“It’s fantastic for us, because without Halloween there wouldn’t be a shop. But more and more come in to stock up at this time of year, they’ll happily queue to get in.
“Covid was obviously a difficult time, but things have really picked up since then.”