The Most Popular Costumes in 2021…and Where to Find Them in Denver

The Most Popular Costumes in 2021…and Where to Find Them in Denver
Squid Game/Netflix
Finding the right costume isn't as easy as it was back in the day, when your mom would sew something from patterns bought at Woolworth's, or you could peruse the shelves at the local K-Mart looking through the plastic-mask goodness of Ben Cooper costumes. Things are a little more advanced now. Besides, masks aren't that novel these days.

Father Mag did some research, and found that across the country, the hottest costume in 2021 is inspired by Netflix's Korean smash hit Squid Game: a red tracksuit with a black mask and a geometric shape on the face. (If you want to have fun annoying your fifteen-year-old, congratulate him on his awesome “Red Power Ranger” costume. Totally worth it.) Rounding out the list of the top costumes are witches, princesses, Emma Stone's Cruella deVil and dinosaurs.

To see if local tastes hold true, we contacted seven stores that stock costumes in metro Denver to ask what's hot this year:

click to enlarge Squid Game, the at-home version. - YOUTUBE
Squid Game, the at-home version.
9797 West Colfax Avenue, Lakewood
10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday

Todd Belanger, owner of Disguises, says it’s a “weird year. Haven’t been a lot of movies recently to inspire new ideas, so we’re back to the classics: Michael Myers, Jason, Leatherface.” He agrees that “dinosaurs are definitely popular with kids this year,” and that the Squid Game costumes arriving any day are “a late addition, but we have a ton of people calling up and asking for them.” Disguises has over 6,000 rental costumes in stock, he says: “If they bring us a photo, we can help them get super-close to what they want. We can put together just about anything.”

Wizard's Chest
451 Broadway, Denver
11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
The Wizard's Chest usually goes all out for Halloween, expanding its already impressive year-round stock of costumes and accessories, but this year the store's added anime. “That’s relatively new for us, appealing to the cosplayers," Kevin Pohle says. "I don’t know if it’s Halloween or fan conventions, but they’re moving pretty well, too.” And yes, Squid Game masks are indeed in high demand, but “Harry Potter is still popular,” he adds.

4395 Broadway, Denver
11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; noon to 4 p.m. Sunday; 11 a.m. to  5 p.m. Monday
Need makeup? A mustache? Help is at hand at Norcosto, where office manager Kat Shelton is usually around until 3 p.m to offer advice.  “We’ve got great stage makeup here,” Shelton says. “But we’ve also noticed that astronauts are big this year, for some reason.” Shatner going up into space, maybe? “Or Bezos,” she conjectures. “Sometimes you just don’t know. One year everyone wanted to be Mystique. But for us, it’s mostly zombies, stuff like that. Gore is always popular.”

Crimson Rose Masquerade
1456 South Broadway, Denver
11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday; noon to 5 p.m. Sunday
“We get a lot of pirate and wench-type requests,” says store staffer Roishin Kenzie, who notes that while 1920s flapper dresses are also popular, “I’d say most people are here for fairy-themed stuff. Wings and various frilly outfits.” Why? Probably because during the rest of the calendar year, the store caters to those looking for a “range of high-end fancy-dress apparel, custom corsets, handcrafted masks and locally made treasures," Kenzie adds. "Our shop has more things that cater to that aesthetic.”
click to enlarge Fairies: good for Halloween, and also the Renaissance Festival. - YOUTUBE
Fairies: good for Halloween, and also the Renaissance Festival.
15167 East Hampden Avenue, Aurora
10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday
What's popular this year? “The old-school scary stuff, like Frankenstein and vampires and Freddy. In terms of decades, both the ’80s and 1920s are big," says owner Cherry Gott. "I think people are ready to party again.” Rental costumes are a big hit, too, including movie-quality versions of Star Wars’ Stormtroopers, Batman, Captain America, the Mandalorian, Deadpool, Joker and “all the storybook characters.” Gott offers 20 percent off any one item with a coupon on the front page of her website.

Reinke Brothers
5663 South Prince, Littleton
11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to midnight Friday; 10 a.m. to midnight Saturday; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday

click to enlarge Disco Stu lives. - IVAN RADIC AT FLICKR
Disco Stu lives.
Ivan Radic at Flickr
“Pirates are really hot this year,” reports Steven Clark, manager at Reinke Brothers — which is not only a costume store, but also a haunted attraction (thus the generous hours of operation). “Superheroes, too, especially Marvel. Beyond that, we’re talking about modern historical stuff like cowboys or steampunk.” With the younger set, "boys tend toward the first responders," he adds. "Girls are still all about the princesses.”

Goldmine Vintage
227 Broadway, #102, Denver
11 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week
Vintage stores are popular this time of year for people who like to come up with their own historic look. According to Joan Jones, one of the owners of Goldmine Vintage,1970s stuff is probably the biggest seller, followed closely by the ’80s and the ’20s. “The disco era is really popular,” she adds. “Part of it is all the people born in the 1970s are having fiftieth birthday parties these days, so gatherings with that sort of theme are big year-round.”

Kids from the 1970s turning fifty? Now there’s a scary thought!
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Teague Bohlen is a writer, novelist and professor at the University of Colorado Denver. His first novel, The Pull of the Earth, won the Colorado Book Award for Literary Fiction in 2007; his textbook The Snarktastic Guide to College Success came out in 2014. His new collection of flash fiction, Flatland, is available now.
Contact: Teague Bohlen