It’s not too late to pick up a Halloween costume—well, so long as you’re down to go as a character from a popular video game. Kotaku (that is, I) recently visited a local Spirit Halloween (“the world’s #1 Halloween store!”) to get a sense of the gaming-themed costume offerings you can expect at retail. Get this: They’re...actually not that bad?
Given the reputation rightfully earned by costumes based on video game characters, you’d be fair to expect Spirit’s to be flush with two-bit knockoffs: y’know, “Super Plumber Brothers,” “Blue Hedgehog,” that sort of thing. But at the chain’s outpost in Manhattan’s Midtown East neighborhood, most of the gaming costumes were fully licensed affairs. Many actually looked quite good.
Assassin’s Creed scored prominent placement, with costumes of Edward (Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag), Connor (Assassin’s Creed III), and Ezio (a bunch of the other games). All three looked much like the outfits those protagonists wear in the games. All three, however, were teen-sized. But on the same rack, you could pick up an adult-sized hoodie stylized like an assassin’s robes from the games, insignia and all.
The store further featured costumes based on characters from other top-selling games, including Master Chief (from Halo), Sora (Super Smash Bros.), and several members of Overwatch’s roster. Though not what anyone would call spot-on, each costume bore an admirable resemblance to the characters upon which they were based.
Of note, Spirit Halloween dedicated two full walls to Fortnite. There were too many offerings for me to meaningfully take note of whether or not they were any good. Sure sounds like Fortnite.
If nothing else, Halloween is a holiday about the devil in the details. In that regard, Spirit Halloween earned high marks with a slew of gaming-related accessories. In addition to a thoroughly detailed Hylian shield from The Legend of Zelda, the store also sold Pip-Boy wrist computers from Fallout, those pixelated swords from Minecraft, and masks from the fighting game Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja 4.
Two Spirit Halloween employees were way too fucking busy to speak to a Kotaku reporter about which accessories were the most popular. But given that just two Mario accessories—one a mask of the man himself, and one a well-realized version of Cappy, the wearable-hat sidekick from Super Mario Odyssey—remained on the rack, one can make the logical leap that Nintendo’s heroic mainstay sold like hot cakes. (There were several Luigi masks, but who wants to go as the lesser Super Plumber Brother?)
That said, Spirit Halloween notably lacked costumes related to 2021’s major releases. I didn’t see anything from Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, the latest entry in one of Sony’s marquee PlayStation franchises. Nary a Tall Vampire Lady costume was on display. Same goes for anything from Agent 47’s luxurious wardrobe. And if you’re hoping to find anything resembling Travis Touchdown’s jacket, please. You’ll have to head down to Soho for that.
However, gamers seeking to dress up as the year’s biggest games aren’t entirely out of luck. A few blocks away from Spirit Halloween, I spotted some seriously impressive Forza Horizon 5 cosplay:
All yours for the low, low price of $215,000.