Spielwarenmesse: Lots of new initiatives and ideas among carnival and party items

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Lots of new initiatives and ideas among carnival and party items

from Harald Hemmerlein

There's always something to celebrate! That's why party items, fancy dresses and fireworks are in demand all year round. At Spielwarenmesse® 2019 you can see an even bigger range this year as the Festive Articles, Carnival and Fireworks category is expanding with stands now Hall 8 as well as Hall 9. Alongside the classics there are some surprising new initiatives and product ideas.

The British company Smiffys (R.H.Smith & Sons Ltd.) has lots of costumes for small children based on the very popular characters of the English children's series CBeebies. The collection will be presented on "World Book Day" in 2019 and offers toddlers the chance to dress up as characters from "New Bing", "Postman Pat" or "Wind in the Willows". The range of licensed articles also includes other themes from children's books and TV series such as "Peter Rabbit", "Roald Dahl" and "Where's Wally". The fancy dress business starts with the very youngest consumers.

Pop-up-shops for Halloween

Halloween costume for children

For older target groups, one theme is starting to boom all over the world although, not so very long ago it was virtually only in the USA that it generated huge sales across all product categories: Halloween. Originally a Celtic tradition, the customs were taken over by the Catholic church on All Hallows’ Eve and introduced into the USA mainly by Irish immigrants.

The American discounter "Party City" set up their huge display of Halloween products in September in former Toys R Us real estate. In their flagship store in Rockaway, New Jersey, the company has around 1,600 sq. metres of showrooms with some 2,000 items from over 150 suppliers, all dedicated to grisly Halloween themes. Over 50 pop-up shops are due to open before the spooky night of 31 October to 1 November.

British retailers Harrods are also exploiting the enormous demand that this phenomenon is now creating in Europe. On 27 and 28 October there will be special Halloween displays in the toy department and workshops where you can make masks.

Nowadays horror is subject to license. The American retailer Spirit Halloween has acquired costume and accessories rights to the Rainbow Rangers, heroes from an animated series by Genius Brands, due to be launched in shops in North America in 2019.

Licence to dress up

Sales pitch for costumes

The global market leader Rubie´s Masquerade started focusing on the licensing business for costumes and accessories very early on and has now secured the marketing rights in this segment to the online games success "Fortnite" from Epic Games. The game appeals to the fantasy scene whose followers already have a close affinity with role-playing and love dressing up and stepping into the shoes of their favourite characters. Rubie´s Masquerade makes it easy for them and offers complete sets that allow fans to transform themselves into their favourite characters, true to their role models. Tania Hrycko, manager of licensing business for Rubie´s Masquerade's in EMEA, said: "We are starting off with items for tweens and adults that embody the most popular characters, and then we will continue to expand the collection to include all the new characters that Epic Games are continually creating."

The same company has some great products from the field of classic licensing and entertainment themes and even caters for customers that want to dress up their pets - to the astonishment of many. "Rubie´s Pet Shop Boutique" in cooperation with Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media offers costumes and accessories from the classic Disney universe. Cats and dogs are thus transformed into Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy. But some people even dress their pets up as Cinderella, Arielle, Belle and Snow White. Even the cult film of the toy industry, Toy Story, is reflected in pets' costumes in the form of Woody and Buzz Lightyear.

Party items bring party spirit

Row of colorful ballons

Balloons are an absolute must at any party. Pioneer Europe presents a whole range of novelties under the brand name Qualatex. One of their strongest licensing themes is "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom". A 38-inch microfoil balloon shaped like a raptor is the highlight of the current range. Pioneer also has a wide and deep range of festive items that picks up on many of Disney's and Marvel's most successful entertainment themes: Garlands, flags, napkins, service, cutlery etc.

Christmas tree decorations as well as the full range of other Christmas decorative items can also be found among festive merchandise. This year, the British department store chain Selfridges has demonstrated that the marketing period for these products is now far removed from the actual season they are purchased for. Selfridges launched its "Selfridges Rocks Christmas" campaign as early as 2 August, with strong support from the marketing department. "Our summer Christmas shop addresses the growing need to do Christmas shopping in a relaxed atmosphere outside of the Christmas season," explained Eleanor Gregory, a buyer at Selfridges. "We have been opening our Christmas shop in summer for years and fans of Christmas tree decorations and festive articles make a day trip of visiting us."

The Dutch company Follat bv has a full range of Follat party articles to help retailers implement complete shop and product presentations. The experts at Follat put together tailor-made concepts based on themes, product groups and branches.

Among the many suppliers of fireworks products, the trend continues towards modular fireworks systems, which even enable amateurs to create impressive fireworks displays safely.

Never too old for joking

Finally, a personal note from the author: My grown-up son's been catching me out with some joke articles lately. A piece of chewing gum he offered me turned out to be a finger-snapping folding mechanism, etc. His contemporaries, all around 30, love looking out for new joke articles at the local party supplies dealer and then surprising their friends with them. When he was bored as a kid, we always had to take him to a toy store. Now he goes to the party supplies dealer.

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Author of this article:

Harald Hemmerlein

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