Rubie’s Costume Company Exec Pulls Back The Curtain on The Business of Halloween

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L. to R.: Rubie Costume Company’s Executive Vice President Howard Beige, and some of his company’s most popular costumes for 2019.

Halloween is big business, and there’s no bigger business in the space than Rubie’s Costume Company, the costume manufacturer based in Melville. Rubie’s Executive Vice President Howard Beige, one of the owners of this family-owned company, talked about the business of the holiday, costumes, licensing in general, and what’s hot this Halloween.

What are the most popular costumes this year? Some of the most popular costumes this year are Spider-Man, Stranger Things, Baby Shark, Avengers Endgame, Ghostbusters, Harry Potter, Joker, Captain Marvel, Jo Jo Siwa, T-rex from Jurassic World, and Pennywise, the clown from It.

What’s different for you and the company this year than in the past? This year Halloween is on a Thursday night. This means there will be Halloween parties and events the weekend before Halloween and the weekend after. This also means more adults participating and wearing costumes for this Halloween.

What trends are you seeing in costumes?  We are seeing family and group themed costumes more than ever. We are also seeing people including their pets in the festivities more.

What movies are leading to costumes? Rubie’s has the rights to produce costumes from many major motion pictures including, Marvel, Lucasfilm, Warner Brothers, Sony, Paramount, FOX, Nickelodeon, Disney, and many others. Movies play a huge role in influencing Halloween costumes. Everyone wants to dress up as their favorite character or hero. This year movies like Avengers Endgame, Spider-Man Into the Spider Verse, and It Chapter 2 have all lead to the popularity of many costumes we offer.

Are political costumes more or less popular than in the past? Just wait until next year! Political costumes tend to take off during the year of a [presidential] election. We have seen this pattern remain constant throughout all the 68 years of Rubie’s existence

Who buys costumes? Everyone buys costumes, Halloween is the one day of the year where you can pretend to me someone or something else. Children pick costumes of their favorite characters but it’s the parents who actually purchase them. Teens, adults, and grandparents don’t want to miss out on the fun. In recent years, many families tend to choose a theme such as Wizard of Oz, Minions, super heroes etc. so they can all dress in one common family theme. Halloween is everyone’s favorite holiday because it’s so much fun!

What do you plan to do this Halloween? Rubie’s, as you could imagine, has a big Halloween party in our various facilities for all our employees with great food, games, and raffles. When our Halloween party is over at work, I plan to be home to give out candy to trick-or-treaters until going to a party that evening.

Where do you make costumes? Twenty-three percent of our production is done here in the United States. We also produce costumes and other accessories in the Far East and Mexico.

Are you seeking to expand beyond Halloween? Rubie’s does not just offer Halloween costumes. We have a huge array of costume accessories which include hats, headpieces, wigs, makeup, masks, and home décor. We have products for Christmas, Easter, St. Patrick’s Day, Valentine’s Day, birthdays, etc. We also have a dress up division called Imagine that is expanding every year. Our pet division, Rubie’s Pet shop, has pet costumes, pet accessories like bandanas and hats, and pet toys. Our better quality costumes and accessories are also sold to the large cosplayer audience.

What’s your busiest time of year? Rubie’s is truly busy 12 months a year since we are known as a costume company for all occasions, not just Halloween. Halloween is the biggest market for costume sales in the U.S. and Canada. However, in many other parts of the world, Carnival or Mardi Gras are the biggest costume-themed holidays and therefore the biggest part of Rubie’s business in those countries. In addition to that, we have smaller costume holidays, such as Christmas, Easter, St. Patrick’s Day, and Valentine’s Day. Finally, we also have different fairs and conventions that take place throughout the year such as Renaissance festivals, Comic Cons, and other conventions where costumes are worn.

Who are your biggest customers and how big? Rubie’s manufacturers costumes for many major retailers such as Walmart, Target, Amazon, and Party City, to name a few.

Are you rolling out new products? We introduce products 12 months a year as the product is approved and becomes available. Most of our 2020 Halloween party line is already designed and developed. In the next few months we will start to work on Halloween 2021.

How global is your business? Rubie’s has staff, showrooms, and warehouse facilities in 14 countries around the world. Rubies entities are located in the U.S., Canada, England, France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Holland, Australia, Hong Kong, Mexico, China, and Japan. Each of these Rubie’s facilities caters to the local market and what costume holidays and specific costume characters are popular there.

Do other countries celebrate Halloween? Yes, many other countries celebrate Halloween or something similar to Halloween. Ireland, Greece, Germany, England, Australia, and France all celebrate Halloween

What costumes are popular in other countries? Movies have a huge influence in other countries just like they do here. Rubie’s operating in many countries throughout the world is blessed to be a global licensee with many of the larger studios.

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