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WELCOME The home of market leading trade magazines

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Welcome to the Party When you tell people you work in the party industry, there’s a couple of stock reactions. One is to assume that because the product you deal with is essentially frivolous that the industry itself is also full of people who don’t take business seriously. The other is to express surprise at the very concept of an entire economic model created around helping people enjoy themselves – often followed shortly by questions about how you got into the market in the first place because it ‘sounds like fun’. Above: Progressive Party Europe’s Rob Willis and Jacqui Parr. But while some of us might sell novelties and jokes, the international costume and party industry is anything but. And it is fun – but it’s also a lot of hard work. Party retailers face the same difficulties as any other independent store on the high street and suppliers are under the same pressure to keep coming up with fresh, new ideas at affordable prices. So it’s hard not to feel a bit put out when someone implies that all your hard work doesn’t really count, just because the end-consumer is having fun. But in our rush to prove that we work as hard as the next person struggling to make the books balance in a difficult economy, we can easily forget how lucky we really are. As a seasonal industry, it can be easy to get caught up in the ‘what’s next’ nature of the business – but at least that means we always have something to look forward to and something to plan for. As a modern retail-based business model, it can also be easy to get distracted by cheap online competition – but that just forces us to keep reinventing ourselves in order to stay relevant. For all its faults, the party industry is never boring. It’s something we’ve always known, but which has – for us, at least – been bought sharply into focus over the last few months, following the launch of Working through the stories we’ve been running online has been a real pleasure and we’ve learnt a lot as well. Coming To America Harvesting stories and information from right across the This issue also includes globe has given us a fresh insight into what it is that an in-depth preview makes this industry tick. From museums commissioning for the H&P Expo 2018, blind balloon artists to create enormous art installations taking place from 12 – to children creating what is easily my personal favourite 15 January at the Ernest Disney princess dress – there’s a lot of things out there to N. Morial Convention be utterly joyful about. Center in New Orleans. Many of them – like the New York-based ‘balloon This year’s show is Banksy’ (an urban balloon artist getting into trouble for partnering with HauNT con for the first time, so his renegade approach to displaying his art) and the top will be more jam-packed balloon-based Pinterest trends for this Christmas season with events, exhibitors – didn’t even make it into this issue. There’s just too much and attractions than going on! So if you want to know what we’re talking ever before. Turn to page about, go online and sign up now. It’s completely free 27 to find out more. and will brighten up your email inbox twice a week. It’s also important that you don’t forget to tell people about the wonderful, inspiring things that you are doing. Just email us at and we’ll make sure your story is out there. It can be easy to get caught up in the day-to-day drudgery of running a business and balancing that with our own busy lives, but by sharing your news you could make a real difference to someone else’s day. So maybe those first reactions are right after all. Maybe we should all take a few moments to consider the end result of what we are really doing; bringing a bit of colour into what can sometimes feel like an increasingly grey world. Go out there, spread the party love and have a wonderful Christmas. See you in 2018! Jacqui Parr – Editor @Prog_Party_Eu

Rob Willis – Publishing Director


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The Jester

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Where, when, and how in 2018

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NEWS UPDATE A Not-So Horrible Halloween

For a Halloween that was barely out of the headlines, the 2017 holiday was more successful than many in the industry feared. Media reports of controversial trends and scare stories of unsafe costumes ensured that consumers were constantly aware that Halloween was just around the corner. Although the official figures have not yet been released, the UK’s Halloween spend in 2017 was predicted to reach an estimated £320million, a 3.2% rise on last year, according to

Angels Announces 2018 Open Days Angels Distribution has announced its Open Days dates for 2018. Taking place at Angels HQ in Hendon (UK) between 25-27 March, all new and exciting lines will be on show, as well as a number of popular classics from Rasta Imposta, InCharacter Costumes and Tinsley Transfers. Last year’s inaugural show was a great success and Angels will be welcoming back OppoSuits, Palmer Agencies, Bristol Novelty and Fun Shack, with other exhibitors yet to be announced. Guests will also be given the chance to tour the legendary Angels Costumes warehouse, home to over eight miles of hanging rails and over one million costumes and accessories. For more information or to attend an open day, email or call 020 8732 8879.

consumer analysts Mintel. The consumer research, which Mintel conducted in September 2017, found that almost half of the consumers it surveyed (46%) spent money on Halloween last year – a

significant rise from 39% in 2015. This highlights the growing interest in Halloween among UK consumers, particularly among the parenting community, who spend significantly more money on the holiday. The Halloween costume safety controversy continued right through the Halloween season, with a number of investigations into costume flammability. The investigation, published by The Sun, revealed how quickly a number of different Halloween costumes caught fire and how long they burnt for. Some of the costumes burst into flames in a matter of seconds, while others proved almost impossible to set alight. Halloween fancy dress also

Left: Stand-out trends for Halloween 2017 included clowns, heavily influenced by the box office success of Stephen King's IT.

made an appearance on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, in a feature focusing on research from Channel Mum which said many parents believe that Halloween costumes are often too scary for the children they are aimed at. Echoing the views of many indies, Kate Moore, who runs Jollyjesters Fancy Dress in Derbyshire, reported a pleasing surge in business. “As an out-of-town shop up against high street stores, supermarkets and the internet, we weren’t expecting great things of Halloween this year, but I’m relieved to say we were busier than expected,” she said. “Especially on the Friday and Saturday which were manic, just like New Year’s Eve used to be back in the 1990s.”

T-Rex Costume Is Possible Toy Of The Year

Companies Should Embrace Costume

The groundbreaking inflatable T-Rex costume from Rubie’s has been shortlisted as one of the finalists in the Toy Industry Association’s Toy of the Year awards. The shortlist, which was released earlier this month, features the officially licensed Jurassic World T-Rex costume – which is now also an internet sensation – in the Innovative Toy of the Year category. Voting is open between now and Friday 5 January 2018 on the official Toy Awards website and the winners will be announced during a celebration in New York on Friday 16 February.

Companies which embrace costumes and dressing-up in the workplace reap the benefits of a happier workforce, according to a survey by US employment culture company O.C. Tanner. The research, which collated responses from 953 full-time adult employees, found that 45% of respondents were allowed to dress up and wear costumes for Halloween and at other seasonal times of the year. However, 61% of those surveyed believed that workforces should be able to join in with the fun. The survey also found that employees who are able to dress up at work show higher engagement than those who are not as they generally have more positive feelings toward their company. O.C. Tanner’s vice president Gary Beckstrand told CNBC that Halloween gives employees a chance to ‘gather and be social’, which in turn helps boost workplace morale.

Above: SThe last 12 months have seen the T-Rex costume appearing across the internet and on social media in a number of different scenarios.

Script To Screen Looks For New Owners Famous Cardiff fancy dress shop Script to Screen is being sold after 25 years of providing costumes to consumers, film studios, TV shows and West End productions. The current owners, Lindsay Wood and Chrissie Pegg, have built up a collection of between 50,000 and 100,000 outfits in their Cardiff-based costume haven which dates back to 1993. They are looking for someone to take over and keep their dress-up

collection – which includes costumes from Les Miserables, Calamity Jane, Return to Treasure Island and Robin of Sherwood – from being split up. The company deals with a number of international customers, with rails of costumes regularly being sent to European customers as well as furtherflung destinations such as Japan, Spain, Hong Kong, South Africa and Quatar.

Helium Prices Set To Rise Praxair, one of the world’s largest helium suppliers, will be issuing a price increase in the new year, by as much as 10% in some regions. In Q3 of 2017, Praxair’s revenue rose against the previous year across all its reporting regions, led by Asia (15%) and followed by Europe (11%), North America (4%) and South America (3%). The 2018 price hike will be effective from January 1, 2018 and should ensure that Praxair’s revenues continue to improve as the adjustment helps to balance the cost of inflation impacting crude and refined helium. Praxair is one of the biggest helium distributors in the world. With a market value of approximately $40 billion and 2016 sales of $11 billion, it employs over 26,000 people globally.

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You’re invited to visit us between 25 - 26 March to see our new 2018 lines and full ranges. Email or call 020 8732 8879 for more information.

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Pioneer Acquires Northstar Balloons Leading party giant Pioneer Balloon Company has recently acquired popular trendfocused balloon business Northstar Balloons. The announcement was made via social media, when a press release was made public on the Facebook pages of both companies. The statement read: “Pioneer Balloon Company and Northstar Balloons LLC... have reached an agreement under which Pioneer has taken over Northstar’s balloon business. The companies will be working

Creative Party’s First Look Creative Party has released its First Look brochure, giving retailers a head start on the new year orders before the January rush. The First Look brochure is the first 2018 catalogue from the company and while most lines are available from January onwards, a number of selected lines are available now. New products include a selection of extra tall candles, rose gold items, unicorn-themed product and some stunning new latex balloons, with new communion and wedding designs. New lines will be available from January, and preorders can be taken now.

Dress-up Helps Kids Concentrate New research has found that kids aged between four and six-years-old perform better during boring tasks when dressed as Batman. Researchers from the University of Minnesota gave 180 children a dull computer task which they asked them to do for ten minutes. If the children got bored, they could play on an iPad. Some of the children were told dress up as a superhero and were then asked, “Is Batman working hard?” The researchers found that children in fancy dress stuck to the task the longest, as they outlined in their paper, The ‘Batman Effect’: Improving Perseverance in Young Children. There were a number of possible reasons why the children in costumes had better focus, inlcuding imitating the superhero. Whatever the reason, it's a good excuse to dress up!

with customers to achieve a smooth transfer of business and timelines for the transition will soon be announced. For now, Northstar customers will continue to place orders as they have in the past.” Ted A. Vlamis, president of Pioneer, said he was; “excited to be adding Northstar’s products and capabilities to the Pioneer family. They have developed a unique product personality and sharp sense for trends, and their line further strengthens our complete product offering.”

“Pioneer brings wellestablished manufacturing, logistics, warehousing, and sales support and sophistication to support its continued development,” said Nico Wyrobek, Northstar’s ceo. “I am extremely

Smiffys Reports 80% Profits Fancy dress and party products company Smiffys reported an 80% increase in profits for the year ending 31 December 2016. The Lincolnshire-based firm, which has been trading for 122 years, reported profits of £3.4million for the period – up from £1.8m in 2015, despite a small drop in turnover (£54.2m, from £56m). “The year-end financial results of 2016, the year Britain returned a vote to leave the EU, gave us a stable platform from which to plan for what we foresaw as being an increasingly unpredictable trading period for

the following three years,” said director Dominique Peckett. “Since then,” she continues, “we have experienced an increasingly challenging market environment...To combat this we have embarked on a programme to cut costs, and are continually assessing our options with regards to our supplier base and distribution model, to ensure we deliver value for money. We don’t see this challenge receding in the foreseeable future, as there appears to be no clear strategy from the Government on what ‘Brexit’ will look like.”

Rubie’s Makes Dreams Come True Rubie’s UK teamed up with Tesco and greetings company Hallmark for a Beauty and the Beast competition which saw a dream princess dress design turned into reality. The competition, which was launched to coincide with a special Disney Beauty and the Beast greeting card FSDU going into Tesco stores, attracted almost 300 entries, with the yellow and blue dress designed by Devon-based Poppy deemed the best. “Poppy’s dress was inspired by her own imagination for her and her best friend. It is always a privilege to get involved in such a competition, helping to make such a beautiful unique design come to life,” commented Zoe O’Connell, brand manager at Rubie’s UK.

Above: Northstar Balloons are best known for their clever, trend-setting designs.

Selling Fakes Was ‘Silly Mistake’ A fancy dress shop owner who was fined £6,000 for selling counterfeit costumes has issued a warning to other retailers sourcing product from overseas. Amir Liaquat, owner of Fancy Dress Mart in Walthamstow, was issued with the fine when he pleaded guilty to offences under the Trademarks Act at Thames Magistrates Court. Amir was found in possession of hundreds of fake costumes when Waltham Forest Council Trading Standards’ officers visited him last year, during the runup to Halloween. He purchased the superhero costumes over the internet from a wholesaler in China and claims he had no idea they were fake. “It was a silly mistake and I am embarrassed,” he said. “What I would say to anyone in this business is to consider carefully where you get your stock from and do lots of research like I wished I had done.” The counterfeit costumes, which included Supergirl and Harry Potter designs, were £10 from China. They cost around £14 when purchased via the official channels.

Poundland Launches Christmas Party Range Bargain high street retailer Poundland has unveiled two new Christmas party ranges, with prices starting at just £1. The new trend-led Christmas tableware collections have been rolled out across the UK and are already available inshore. “Santa’s challenge to his Poundland elves for Christmas 2017 needed a special kind of festive magic to deliver amazing value and quality at £1,” said trading director Barry Williams. “But this Christmas we have achieved the impossible – from beautiful decorations and gorgeous homewares to party accessories, gifts and secret Santa, all for just £1 each.” Right: Poundland has carried basic partyware and party accessories for some time, but this marks a move into offering a complete, co-ordinated collection.

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confident that the Pioneer team will be good shepherds of the Northstar brand, and I look forward to watching its growth in the years to come.”



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Snazaroo Sparks Imagination

Rasta Imposta Wins Kmart Banana Row New Jersey-based costume company Rasta Imposta has received an out-of-court settlement from Kmart, after it took the US retail giant to court, accusing it of copying its famous banana costume. Until earlier this year, Kmart carried the company’s banana costume every Halloween since 2008. This year, ‘the parties had some difficulty reaching an agreement,’ and so Kmart sourced a banana costume from another supplier in a move which Rasta Imposta believed infringed its 2010 Banana Design copyright. “We’re going to continue selling to Kmart in the future,”

Karnival Costumes Name Confusion Essex-based internet retailer Karnival Costumes is urging independent retailers to trademark their trading name and logo as the party industry becomes increasingly globalised. The costume and party retailer has been trading under the name Karnival Costumes since 2008, supplying both international and UK-based customers with costumes, accessories and party goods. Earlier this year, Chinese-based costume supplier Karnival Costumes established a presence in the UK and Europe, which has already caused confusion within the marketplace. “We have twice been contacted by customers looking for 'the other Karnival Costumes’,” says managing director Keith Sinclair. “Understandably, we’re disappointed that another business can simply take over our trading name and reap the benefits of our hard work.” The Chinese company then went on to register an European trademark and as there is no official framework in place to notify a small business that another company is registering their name as a trademark, Keith had no way of knowing what was happening until it was too late. “It’s important that we alert people to this confusing issue of trade names,” concludes Keith. “But it’s even more important that small independents trading under a logo or specific name get it trademarked!”

said Rasta Imposta ceo Robert Berman, although no further details of the financial settlement have been provided. The banana costume is a popular line for Rasta Imposta and thousands of the yellow suits are sold each year. “We’ve tried a lot of fruits and vegetables,” said Robert, “but there’s something about bananas that are inherently funny.” “When you take a design

that has the same pattern, that’s infringing. Bananas are copyrightable,” he continued, refuting that he was trying to secure a monopoly over the banana costume. “Be creative and come up with your own interpretation of the banana!” Above: Rasta Imposta owns a copyright registration for its banana costume design with the US Copyright Office.

Sales Increase For CTI Balloons US-based CTI Industries, parent company of CTI Balloons, has announced its Q3 results for 2017, with company-wide losses offset by steady growth across the balloon side of the business. For the nine month period ending September 30 2017, CTI Industries reported a 3.4% drop in net sales overall, although revenues from the sale of foil balloons, CTI’s largest product line, have increased by 4.4%, in the same period. “Sales to our principal foil balloon customer remained steady,” said John Schwan, chief executive officer, “while sales to other customers grew. We are anticipating continued strong revenues and growth in our foil balloon product line for the balance of the year.” The company is introducing two new foil production machines which will substantially increase CTI’s foil balloon capacity. Latex balloon revenues also grew by 12.7% across the nine month period, thanks to new production equipment which arrived late last year.

Fun Shack's Festive Charity Fun This Christmas costume company Fun Shack is working with Sheffield University Rowing Club to raise money for Sheffield Children’s Hospital with a ‘12 days of Christmas’ event. The team volunteers their time to take part in a variety of fundraising activities including supporting the local alpaca farm, working with charity shops and ballroom dancing at a local care home. Members of the club will be sporting Fun Shack Christmas costumes throughout to help boost the festive spirit! Left: Sheffield Rowing Club doing good deeds in festive Fun Shack ostumes.

Spanish Festival Embraces Dress Up The Spanish town of Benidorm celebrated its annual fiesta over the second weekend in November, with the unofficial British Fancy Dress Day attracting upwards of 30,000 partygoers. The day after the official Benidorm Festival – Thursday 15 November – is now known as British Fancy Dress Day and has become one of the most anticipated events in the fiesta calendar. The tradition started more than two decades ago and this year saw more than 30,000 people line the streets in costume. Boxing legend Ricky Hatton was at this year’s event and joined in with celebrations, posting a video of himself dressed up as an Irishman on top of a leprechaun on his Twitter account, which currently has over 23,000 views.

Smiffys' Trade Show Offer Retailers will be able to see the complete range of Smiffys' new lines at a number of key trade shows for the party industry in the first few months of the new year. The 2018 collection – along with some old favourites – will be showcased at the Halloween & Party Expo in New Orleans, the International Toy Fair in Nuremberg and at the dedicated Smiffys UK roadshows across the UK. Visit the Smiffys team at any of these events to see the new costumes and accessories and receive exclusive special show offers, including 10% off orders placed (terms and conditions apply).

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Face-painting brand Snazaroo has revealed that imaginary friends are on the decline among British children as their use of technology continues to grow. Snazaroo commissioned the study as part of a campaign to encourage creativity. A poll of 2,000 parents in the UK found that just 17% of children have imaginary friends, a rapid decline from 2001, when a similar study found almost half of British kids had an invented playmate. Face-painting and other role-play activity actively encourages transformative and imaginative play, one of the brain’s favourite ways to learn. Snazaroo face paints are designed to spark children’s imaginations and provide them with essentials for tapping into the joys of transformation and play.



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US Balloon Law Is Hot Air

P&O Cruises Ban Costumes

P&O Cruises is introducing a new code of conduct on its shortbreak holidays, including a ban on fancy dress, novelty and ‘offensive’ clothing. The two-to-five night cruises – which were previously advertised as ‘party’ or ‘celebration’ cruises – will be subject to the new stricter rules.

In a change from the policy wording printed in the back of its January 2018 – October 2019 brochure, P&O has said that the move will ‘standardise the P&O experience for all passengers’. Announcing the changes on its website, the company said: “We don’t want to dampen anyone’s fun but coming into effect on 1 January 2018, fancy

dress and/or novelty clothing will not be permitted on board. The only exception to this is on official theme nights, when guests are invited to dress to reflect the theme.” The new policy does not apply to children aged 16 and under. Other party items which have been banned from the boats include: inflatables,

Magic Mirror Blames Brexit For Closure Family-run fancy dress shop Magic Mirror will be closing up for the final time after 32 years in business, and is laying much of the blame firmly at Brexit’s door. Magic Mirror, based in Nottingham, UK, will shut up shop for good once everything has been sold off, leaving the owners 'devastated'. The decision was made after it became clear that disappointing sales for the Halloween season would not be able to make up for what had been a 'terrible start to the year'. General manager Dan Wrigley blames the closure on a combination of Brexit fallout increasing the cost of stock, internet shopping and rising business rates, meaning the shop simply cannot afford to stay open. “There’s also been competition from chain stores,” Dan added. “People don’t seem to buy from independents anymore, which is a shame. We have loved being a part of so many people’s lives in Nottingham and to say we are devastated is a huge understatement.”

Dreamgirl CEO Departs Dreamgirl’s ceo Christopher Scharff has left the company after 14 years of dedicated service, as he moves on to pursue other ventures. Christopher bought Dreamgirl International (also known as DG Brands) in 2003. In that time, DG Brands expanded over 2,000 retailer accounts worldwide and accrued more than $30million in sales, annually. The company was sold 18 months ago and Christopher is leaving halfway through a three-year handover period. “I am leaving the organisation in the hands of a very strong leadership team and am extremely optimistic about DG Brands’ future prospects,” said Christopher in an official statement. Chairman Frank Chen has announced that Barry Revzen has been appointed as the new ceo of DG Brands.

practical jokes, personalised clothing and apparel which features ‘offensive’ slogans or personal photos. Above: P&O Cruises is reserving the right to deny guests who are inappropriately dressed to embark the ship.

Helium Legislation Encourages Production The US House of Representatives has passed new helium legislation which is specifically designed to encourage private production, following ongoing concerns about a global helium shortage. The House brought up and passed H.R. 3279 (the Helium Extraction Act) on Wednesday 1 November 2017. There was overwhelming support for the motion with very little debate to the contrary. The purpose of the new bill is primarily to increase the domestic supply of helium throughout the US by providing new incentives and new authority for helium gas exploration and drilling on federal lands. Currently, all helium extraction from the Federal Helium Reserve is scheduled to end by September 30, 2021. Following the new legislation, this will no longer be the case.

Camp Bestival Theme Announced Organisers of Camp Bestival have announced the theme for the family-friendly 2018 event will be ‘Camp Bestival Sets Sail’. The Dorset-based event, held at Lulworth Castle, will run from July 26 to July 29 next summer and families planning to attend will be encouraged to embrace a nautical theme for their fancy dress, a regular feature of the festival. Organisers have vowed to throw the ‘biggest fancy dress party ever’.

Rubie’s Recruits Everyday Heroes As Justice League Takes Off Rubie’s latest television commercial and consumer engagement initiative was released to tie-in with the launch of Rubie’s Justice League costumes and the much anticipated Justice League Movie release. The much-anticipated Justice League movie from Warner Bros. has got off to a strong start, netting over $500million at the worldwide box office. The movie is the fifth in the extended DC Universe and sees additional characters joining the ensemble cast for the story. The 'Everyday Heroes' consumer campaign gave budding young Justice League Super Heroes the chance to ‘Join the League’ by dressing up as their favourite Justice League hero and uploading a video of their best moves on Rubie’s microsite The winning video will be given the Hollywood treatment and will air on Cartoon Network and Boomerang throughout December. Above: he Justice League collection includes adult and child designs, with female versions of both Batman and Superman.

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Balloon releases have been coming under fire from environmentalists for some time now, with a number of bans now in place across both the US and the UK. However, authorities in Louisville, Kentucky, have now admitted that legislation regarding banned balloon releases is unlikely to be enforced. Balloon releases have been against the law in Louisville since 2013, when concerns about dangers to wildlife and long-term littering saw the releases restricted under local legislation. However, city officials could find no evidence in of any citations issued to anyone for sending balloons into the air over the last five years. Sgt. John Bradley, police public information commander, responded simply to calls for the law to be enforced, saying: “There is a time for strict enforcement and a time for tolerance and understanding.”



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Party City Meets Q3 Targets Costume and party supplies retailer Party City reported a Q3 profit of $10.1 million last month, in line with expectations, but down on last year’s profit of $10.2 million. The good news came despite the fact that the New York-based company saw sales falling due to a number of website problems and the impact of recent hurricanes. Total revenues rose by 0.6% (to $560.1 million) for the quarter ending September 30, 2017. Overall retail sales rose by 4.7%, driven by the addition of 36 new franchise stores, 20 new Party City stores and one independent buy-out. With these acquisitions taken out of the equation, same-store sales fell by 1.2%. Based on its 2017

performance to-date, Party City is currently expecting its full-year earnings to fall in the range of $2.36 billion to $2.39 billion. Shares have decreased 31% since the beginning of the year, with stock falling by 36% in the last 12 months. The company’s retail operation includes over 900 party supply stores throughout North

The Final Straw? Plastic single-use straws have been banned from all 900 Wetherspoons pubs as the environmental campaign to raise awareness and stop consumers using them gathers pace. Disposable plastic straws have recently become the new focus of environmentalists and campaigners to reduce the amount of plastic that makes its way to landfill and into the oceans. The pub chain says it will only use biodegradable paper straws from January 2018, stopping 70million plastic straws entering landfill or making their way into the world’s oceans each year.

America and a number of e-commerce websites, operating principally through the domain name Below: The international side of the Party City consumer products business is worth roughly $250million.

Pirate Festival At Risk The Brixham Pirate Festival should be celebrating its tenth year in 2018, but organisers fear the Devon-based festival will be sunk without trace if they cannot raise enough money to keep it going. Devon’s most famous pirates say they are on the verge of cancelling the 2018 event unless a sponsor can be found to save the UK’s famous Brixham Pirate Festival. The May Day celebration, which attracts thousands of people in fancy dress each year, will not be taking place unless funding is found. “We are not crying wolf,” said committee member Richard Stride. “Unless sponsors come forward, there simply won’t be a festival next year.” Companies who are interested in coming to the festival’s rescue can get in touch via Below: The Brixham Pirate Festival costs £32,000 to stage.

 ews In N Brief ■ Reigate party shop Monkey Business has moved into a new premises, celebrating the occasion with a special opening night party on Halloween. ■ A blind balloon artist from South Korea has opened a balloon-based art exhibition in the US. The installation is being housed at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore (Maryland) and will be on display throughout December.

■ The popular Party@Display & Costume Shop in Everett (Washington, US) closed last month, after 25 years in business. The familyrun company will continue to operate from its two other premises, based in Northgate (Seattle) and Issaquah (Washington).

Kingston Bans Balloon Releases Canadian city Kingston is the latest council to ban balloon releases for environmental reasons, joining a number of other localities including Toronto, Hamilton and Clarington. Kingston City council came to the agreement on Tuesday 21 November after Councillor Lisa Osanic brought special attention to the motion to ban the intentional, ceremonial release ‘of helium-filled latex and Mylar/foil balloons’ in the city. Similar bans are already in place in selected areas across the United States, in the UK, Australia, Germany, Spain and Brazil.

For the latest news, log on to

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Party City ceo James Harrison recently presented at the Morgan Stanley Global Consumer & Retail Brokers Conference. It was quickly identified that while party stores are key, the wholesale manufacturing operation is the real hub of Party City's success. “I think if we look at our business…. we see tremendous opportunities on both sides of the equation,” James said. “We know that the consumer wants to shop in our stores for product.... They use the web for inspiration.” James also outlined the retailer’s plans for next year. The company will be acquiring 23 more franchisees in early 2018, with more to follow over thenext 12 months. You can read the full transcript online at

■ Unique Party is currently working hard on its new catalogue for the New Year, packed full of fresh product ideas and accessories and exciting new themes and designs in partyware.

Premium Takes Two Premium Balloons is now able to offer its customers two new inflators, the FoilPro and the 3-in1 hand-held inflation device. The FoilPro is designed for easy, hands-free inflation of all multi-compartment foil, latex and high-pressure balloons and has a flexible hose to inflate hard-to-reach balloons. The 3-In-1 hand-held device has been designed for all types and sizes of helium- filled balloons. There is a low-pressure setting to avoid overinflating foil balloons and a high-pressure setting for all latex and high pressure balloons. For more details visit,

Party City CEO Talks Business

■ A rogue foil balloon stopped trains from running to schedule last month as it became snarled up on overhead power lines on the Virgin Trains East Coast main line. ■ The latest museum exhibition to feature a mammoth balloon sculpture is Play: Toys Reimagined as Art. Featuring the detailed work of New York balloon artist Jason Hackenwerth, the exhibition runs until February 2018.



07/12/2017 16:20

FEEDBACK THE HALLOWEEN REPORT 2017 With endless media reports of dangerous and controversial costumes, Halloween was rarely out of the headlines in the runup to the big day – but did that media attention translate into sales? And were customers still looking to celebrate the spooky season despite it falling awkwardly on a Tuesday? Here’s what you told us...

Classic looks like witches and vampires are relegated to children’s dress up.

“We had a busy but steady (takings wise) Halloween, we were overall 6% down on last year. I think there will come a time when it reaches a plateau, and I think that is the case when it’s in the week. We find that people shop in stages, we have the people that come in early September for the big animated props, then come the people looking for decorations and a decent costume, then the week leading up to Halloween is all about special fx tattoos and face paints. On the day itself we sell nothing but contacts, blood, face paint and fangs to everyone who has left it to the last minute! Clowns were popular again, especially for kids. Day of the Dead is still popular as well. I think people are moving away from costumes and are getting really creative with accessories. We could have sold a lot more of this year, I’m definitely ordering more accessories than costumes for 2018. I would like to say we will increase sales tenfold next year but that’s probably the same as Del Boy saying this time next year we will be millionaires! I would think it will be about the same, although we will be updating what we have in stock, everyone wants to see new and exciting things! For us though, we all look forward to Halloween and love the buzz, it still remains our favourite time of the year.” GAIL BROCKLEBANK, owner, Party Planet, Lincoln

“ This year’s Halloween was a pretty tame affair in comparison to previous years with a more subdued feeling overcasting the party industry’s Gary Vincent main event – certainly from a suppliers perspective! We didn’t have the expected mad crazy busy week in the lead up to Halloween, which was very surprising as a number of retailers didn’t preorder much stock for this year, so we thought we might pick up a lot of lastminute panic buys. No real trends seemed to emerge


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either, although the clown theme seemed to surge in localised areas, which was good to see, considering last year’s social media’s anti-clown hysteria! I think this was helped by the heavily promoted IT film. Overall it was a bit of a mixed bag across the board and was difficult to identify why Halloween was a success for some retailers and poor for others. There is one positive though; most retailers seem to have sold through their excess stock from the previous year! Hopefully this issue has now been corrected and the party industry can look forward to Halloween 2018 with a degree of confidence?” GARY VINCENT, business development manager, Bristol Novelty

“Halloween was busier than last year, but it was nearly all focused on the weekend before.

That was mega for us, but the 30th and 31st were much quieter, mostly just the regular Trick-or-Treat children’s items. Trends were mainly zombies along with Suicide Squad and killer clowns. The demand for traditional Halloween costumes such as witches, devils, grim reapers and vampires was virtually non-existent. The main challenge we found was the ever-increasing sense of entitlement of so many children to go as exactly the character they want – we also had far too many requests for fishnet stockings for seven-year-olds than this shopkeeper thinks is strictly decent! Our experience is that people balk at paying for quality until they order cheap stuff online and then realise it’s Above: Jollyjesters, Derbyshire bad quality. We sometimes get asked if our children’s costumes are fireproof? Errrrmmmm, no, they’re not made of asbestos. We only stock costumes with the genuine CE mark which have been subjected to EN71 testing. We’re still amazed at how many people buy unbranded zombie lenses online for a fiver. Why would anyone take that risk? But they do. We were very careful not to over-order because we knew we were up against the supermarkets, chainstores and the internet, so we actually came out of it okay. I think there will be some major retailers licking their wounds, going by the number of shops that were selling their stock at 75% off after the big day. That might impact on next year’s high street hype, especially as it’s on a Wednesday in 2018.” KATE MOORE, owner, Jollyjesters, Derbyshire


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“For some time the topic of Halloween

in our market has been quite difficult. In our country (Poland) 1 November is a religious holiday when we visit the graves of our loved ones. Consequently, among some social groups, Halloween is not very popular. We pay close attention to what impact this will have on our industry. This year we have seen a lot of interest in accessories and decorations and less interest in costumes. But for the moment it is difficult to say whether this is a trend that will continue or a temporary phenomenon. Generally speaking, Halloween is still a very important point in our calendar and every year we try to offer our customers interesting new products.” KRZYSZTOF MALEWSKI, marketing, Godan

Clowns made a resurgence.

“I think

“We are pleased to report a modest increase in sales over Halloween 2017 compared to last year, with a huge demand for exciting new costume designs. Day of the Dead continued to Dominique Peckett be a popular theme for both children and adults, with trends continuing in the demand for Halloween make-up, special fx and lenses. Our stand-out bestsellers were the President and Dictator costumes and masks, with demand outstripping supply, despite the last minute airfreight drops up until the weekend before Halloween. As ever, we were very busy with last minute orders and top-ups so our extended opening hours and Sunday deliveries ensured retailers were able to respond to the late customer rush. Our continued investment in safety paid off again as our costumes that featured in The Sun’s annual ‘flammability test’ passed with flying colours. Perhaps this meant that social media had to find something else to focus on and created a storm in a teacup surrounding World War II evacuee costumes!” DOMINIQUE PECKETT, director, Smiffys

‘steady’ and ‘as predicted ‘are the best words to describe Halloween 2017. Many retailers have told us Sergio Battaner the season was roughly on a par with 2016 and sales turnover was similar. It was nothing to write home about, but not dramatically bad either. Having said this, following Halloween 2016, many retailers were left with an incredible amount of stock. They have now cleared a lot of this backlog and made more money than last year as they have converted stock into cash. Clowns were the theme of the year for 2017, but Zombies are still very strong, as is Day of the Dead. There are a number of new trends across make-up. Commodity items (such as white face paint, blood and latex) sold very well and consumers seem to be happy to pay extra for better quality make-up. They are looking for a ‘customised’ look to make their costume more unique and personal. For next year, a Wednesday Halloween might seem like a ‘soft’ Halloween, but it also brings new opportunities as it allows retailers to be more prepared for the three key dates: the first weekend (when 75% of parties are usually held), Halloween itself for trick-or-treating and then the ‘leftovers’ of the second weekend.” SERGIO BATTANER, marketing director, Palmer Agencies

Above: Halloween 2017 saw people getting creative and creating their own unique - and gory - costume.

“Halloween for Boland Party in the UK was good. But we are still new and growing. Our customer base was broadly happy insofar as it was no Mark Brett worse than last year; some slightly up, some down. Looking at what sold is becoming increasingly difficult as the consumer is becoming a lot more creative and not just asking for what is on the shelf. They want to mix, match and make up their own ideas. One of our retailers reported a high demand for cowboy product, while another said they kept getting asked for horror mermaids. I think, especially with ideas passing rapidly through social media, this as aspect of Halloween will only intensify. In theory this should favour the good independent retailer.” MARK BRETT, UK agent, Boland Party

Above: Fun ‘n’ Frolic

“For us, Halloween was not great and not terrible.

Face paints were essential for creating this year’s Halloween look.

It was not quite what we had hoped for, but at the same time it wasn’t a complete disaster. We sold more props and decorations this year, but overall sales were nothing to shout about. It’s a disappointing result, but we always try to stay positive regardless. Although footfall was down, average spend was up. I did notice that the three major supermarkets near us were doing a 50% sale on Halloween stock on the 31st and they had tonnes of stock and rails upon rails of costumes left. So I’m not really sure who has the bragging rights on costume sales this year… the web? Suppliers have been having sales, discounts and incentives all through Halloween, so this makes me think they are maybe sitting on stock too.” DAN PARSONS, director, Fun ‘n’ Frolic


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H&P Expo 2018 Preview


Party! As the most important season in the party calendar it’s important that trends for next year’s Halloween are identified early. Retailers, agents and distributors from across the world are preparing to travel to New Orleans for the Halloween & Party Expo – the world’s biggest dedicated party trade show. PPE spoke to show manger Marni Vinci to find out more.


t might feel like the the cobwebs have only just been taken down, but plans for next year’s Halloween are already well underway. The Halloween & Party Expo, taking place from 12 – 15 January 2018 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, is well-known for being the most comprehensive event in the industry and next year’s show is shaping up to be the biggest and best so far. “As always, visitors joining us in New

Inset: Medusa made an appearance at last year’s catwalk show.

The Haunted Trends Runway Returning for its second year, the runway is the place to be for visitors looking to see the hottest products the industry has to offer. The 2018 show will also see the return of the Haunted Trends Runway, where exhibitors bring their products to life. This will showcase exhibitor tutorials, fashion shows, party displays and the brand new Artist Battleground.

Show Highlights H&P Expo Retail Programme

Orleans can expect to experience the most comprehensive event for Halloween, party and celebration,” says Marni. “The show floor will feature more than 300 international exhibitors representing costumes, accessories, make-up, props, décor, seasonal items and more.” The H&P Expo works closely with the Halloween Industry Association so it’s natural that many of the association’s members will be represented on the show floor, including major companies such as Rubies, Elope, Disguise, FunWorld, Funny Fashion, Morphsuits and Dreamgirl. In addition to this, visitors will be able to take advantage of a new partnership between H&P Expo and HAuNTcon – the Haunted Attractions National Tradeshow and Convention. This new collaboration brings the Halloween, party and haunt industries together under one roof, giving H&P Expo buyers unprecedented access to a further 400 leading exhibitors across the props, décor, special effects and make-up categories. “Retailers who traditionally attend the Halloween & Party Expo will now have access to both events,” Marni explains, “with expanded opportunities to source one-of-a-kind props and décor as well as new chances to explore New Orleans and network with fellow industry professionals away from the show floor.” HAuNTcon traditionally hosts pre-event and night-time tours and this year Halloween & Party Expo attendees will be able to join in with

This year H&P Expo has partnered with Retail Minded to redesign its education offering. The programme has been developed in response to buyer feedback and will provide buyers and store owners with insights to help strengthen their store operations and retail efforts. “We understand the time commitment of attending an event and want to be sure our visitors leave with the tools in hand to grow their business and have fun in the process,” says Marni. All visitors to the show can take part for free as part of their show registration. these, taking in tours of haunted attractions, vendor factories, escape rooms, Mardi Gras World, the Museum of Death and more. Back in the convention centre, the new-look show will also be playing host to a number of new and expanded product categories and is focusing on working with companies specialising in Below: The opening of last year’s show, which was full of exciting new lines.


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+1 (800) 474-2074 (US)

+31 6 27 41 76 94 (NL)

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H&P Expo 2018 Preview

It’s An Education The Halloween & Party Expo has partnered with Retail Minded to provide a new education format featuring retailer panel discussions and roundtables. Retail panel discussions will cover: ■ Across the generations: understanding the woman shopper ■ Realistic omni-channel strategies for brick and mortar retailers: an industry expert panel ■ Brick and mortar in-store experiences: best practices to strengthen customer loyalty, sales and more ■ Tech, retail and why you shouldn’t

be afraid: welcoming technology into your retail business Interactive roundtable discussions will cover: ■ Ask the experts: all things retail ■ Retail realities: five hot topics among merchants today ■ Maximizing vendor partnerships ■ Halloween & Party Expo: the present and the future

make-up, props and décor, while also from last year’s show, it is returning to introducing over 40 first-time exhibitors. showcase the latest costume trends and new An increased demand for make-up has products. “We’ve expanded the runway meant that H&P Expo has worked hard to this year to include an extra day of fashion ensure the sector is well-represented on the shows, product launches, demonstrations show floor. Over 30 make-up companies and competitions,” continues Marni, “and will be showing, including have a wide range of Mehron, Wolfe FX, companies participating, The Brewing Graftobian Make-up, including Dreamgirl, Paint Glow, Kryolan, Hot Pink, Peaberry Boos & Booze Cinema Secrets, Moon Maternity, Northstar Costume Ball Glow, among others. Artisans, Pastease, A night of networking and “We will also be Scared of My Shadow, celebration for the entire hosting an all-new Artist Rubie’s and more.” industry – all in costume, Battleground competition, The Halloween & Party naturally. This year’s party where make-up brands Expo is the first place to will be held at the iconic will be put to the test to see new products and Generations Hall on Friday transform models based trends but as the largest evening and is the perfect on a mystery theme,” Halloween and party place to network, dance says Marni. “The event in North America, and celebrate the industry. competition will give overseas retailers making visitors the opportunity the journey to New to get a closer look at the products Orleans will have plenty to keep them busy. and application techniques and will be “Overseas retailers will be able to presided over by celebrity judges Skin browse thousands of new products and Wars fan favourite Kyle Vest (Blast Effects) releases from the major costuming, party and Nick Wolfe (Evil Twin FX).” and celebration vendors,” says Marni. Other show highlights include the “This is a great opportunity to source Haunted Trends Runway. A favourite these products before the competition! But there are also great opportunities Below: The show offers a relaxed way to see new product. to network with fellow retailers from across the globe, to connect and discuss strategies, merchandising ideas and more.” Marni also has some sage advice for first-time visitors. “Take time before the show to plan your visit,” she says. “View our interactive exhibitor list and the show map to plan your route in advance. See which vendors are offering special deals on orders placed at the show and create a must-see list.” She also advises taking a moment to look through the schedule of runway shows,

Artist Battleground Held on the Haunted Trends Runway, this make-up competition will see the top make-up companies taking part in a live face-off onstage! The theme of the battleground will remain a surprise, and artists will be given just four hours to completely transform their models before a winner is crowned. The competitors for 2018 are Cinema Secrets, Costumes USA, Foothills Creations and Kryolan Professional Make-up.

Above: Stiltwalkers add to the atmosphere at the Brewing Boos & Booze costume ball.

education sessions and special events so you don’t miss out. “Finally,” she adds, “take some time to experience the ‘Big Easy’ – the culture, the food and the music. If you’re not sure where to start, just sign up for one of the free haunted tours which take place after the show floor closes.” For more information and to register for the buying trip of a lifetime, visit Below: Props are expected to be key at this year’s show.


New Names Make sure you take the time to visit these first-time exhibitors, making their H&P Expo debut in 2018. Sweet Midnight, Creature Cups/ Jan Bixler Resort and Gifts, Peaberry Maternity, Party Ears, MoonGlow, Whatsofun, United States Postal Service, PosiPush, Pastease, Pro Bow The Hand,, Banana Costumes, Silver Buffalo, Stroller Costumes, Good L Corp, Shanghai SEPT Events, Funny Balloons, Brite Boltz, LumoSquid, Hot Pink/HPI Apparel, Sourpuss Clothing, Cutting Edge Haunted House, I Love Yumio, 360 Party Lab, Joyin , Unique Vintage, Mardi Gras Trendz, Blueoco /Masqarae/ BarY3, Kole Imports, UPD, Export Solutions/Mago, Balloon It, Pet Krewe, Karnival Costumes.


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+44 (0) 8453 070707

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H&P Expo 2018 Preview




The Show

With over 350 exhibitors at the 2018 Halloween & Party Expo, there’s plenty of fabulous new party product, while a range of exclusive discounts and special offers for orders placed at the show will save international buyers both time and money. The varied exhibitor list represents a diverse range of categories, such as: costumes (of all types), party goods, masks, novelties, sexy costumes and lingerie, costume accessories, christmas merchandise, costume kits, make-up, body paint, latex paint and make-up appliances, decorations and haunted house props – and more! Here are a few choice highlights...


Booth 128 Join Smiffys at the Halloween & Party Expo and see the dress-up company’s fantastic new lines! Visit the team at the show to take advantage of offers only available at H&P Expo. Now shipping from Dallas with year-round stock availability, you can be sure R H Smith is a supplier you can rely on. The R H Smith family values are translated into its friendly, helpful approach to customer service – so wherever you are in the world, you can be sure to receive the high level of service Smiffys is renowned for. Contact Maxine at to book your advance appointment.

Booth 2024 Blueoco Brands owns Masqarae, which offers a full line of beautifully designed hand-painted masks and other Halloween products which are great for any stores that sell décor or costumes. Blueoco also has other brands made specifically for entertainment such as Kolorae, BarY3 and Viovia. All of Blueoco’s packaging features eye-catching graphics and design and is made for high traffic retail environments. Blueoco’s pricing will deliver 50% + in gross margin to your store. Contact Sam at to book your advance appointment.


Booth 2518 Kashi is a family-owned and operated import company. In the spring and summer it travels up and down the West Coast at street fairs, music festivals and concerts. Come winter, the team returns to India for fresh stock and new styles. The Kashi team love going to The Halloween & Party Expo because they get to meet so many great new people and are able to see their customers and talk with them. “It is always nice to hear how much they love our fun and creative garments,” says office manager Etty White. “We carry pirate gear, capes and gorgeous belly dancer garb, bags, scarves and leather belts.” Lots of Kashi’s clothing is created from repurposed saris with one of a kind patterns and brocades. Some of the tapestries are decorated in the traditional manner using vegetable-based dyes and wooden block prints. At the show Kashi will bring an exciting selection of some of its most famous clothing. NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017 PROGRESSIVE PARTY EUROPE

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H&P Expo 2018 Preview


J Templeton

Booth 618 Home of neon colour, PaintGlow is ‘the most innovative and creative manufacturer of colour cosmetics in our field’. As the original neon/UV manufacturer, PaintGlow is always a step ahead of its competitors and sets the standard which all other companies try to achieve. For all the latest FDA and EUapproved Halloween cosmetic products and many other exciting never-seen releases please visit the booth at the H&P Expo.



Booth 1002 MoonGlow has been through many months of drastic changes, endlessly preparing for the upcoming event calendar. Halloween & Party Expo 2018 will see the launch of its complete brand overhaul and introduce new parent brand, Moon Creations. Moon Creations will now parent all other new and existing brands, including; MoonGlow (the well recognised and consumer loved range of neon UV, face paints and cosmetics), MoonGlitter (a huge range of glitters and glitter cosmetics) and Moon Terror (new spooky Halloween range). Two further brand new special launches make the MoonGlow stand a must-visit this year!

Booth 1255 The original crazy suit company! This year OppoSuits will once again be at the Halloween Party Expo in New Orleans, where the brand will showcase the new collections of both OppoSuits and Suitmeister. With licensed and generic lines available, a range of more than 60 different designs are available in all sizes – including new kids suits. The H&P Expo will be the perfect occasion to make an appointment to discuss the results of 2017 and to plan for 2018. To make an appointment, feel free to contact your OppoSuits account manager or send an email to sales@

Booth 531 Bringing its wide selection of easy-to-wear skirts and tutus to the show, J Templeton will be showcasing a number of new designs for the 2018 season. Offering a total of five appealing collections, including Back To School (stretchy plaid skirt with basic directional pleats). The bold Play-Off collection features a spirited glittering waistband over zesty tutus for cheering your team on, while the Rebel Girl collection (malevolent leather skirt with our devilish top) is ideal for unleashing the inner evil spirit. The snazzy Rave Glow collection features a multiple combo of colours, enhanced with an LED light along the edge so the wearer can party all night.


Booth 828, 829 The optical illusion effect has been extremely popular for MorphCostumes this year and this inflatable Alien Pick Me Up Costume is the company’s best-selling inflatable. With a starting retail price of £22.99 for kid’s sizes, this costume is a must-have for any party Another best-seller this Halloween was the Zombie Piggyback Costume which sold out just seven days after being launched. With a detailed latex mask, compact self-stuff legs, and the unique optical illusion effect which is currenly popular in costumes, it’s no surprise that it sold so quickly! Starting retail price is £18.50.

Splashes & Spills

Booth 1227 Splashes & Spills had a great show last year and is back with more best-selling products and great offers for all its independents looking to stand out in an increasingly competitive industry. Splashes & Spills prides itself on the special relationships it develops with its partners so please stop by to say hello to find out how you can collaborate with Splashes & Spills to make 2018 the best year yet!


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UV RANGE special fx

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COME see us AT THE SHOWS FOLLOWING Jan 12–15 Hall D, Booth 1227

Jan 31–Feb 4 Hall 9, B-12 Feb 4–8 Hall 5, Stand 5L116

Looking for something new? Zombie


Golden Eye

Red Devil

Explosion Red

Gold Rush

Black Magic



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H&P Expo 2018

Halloween & Party Expo 2018 Exhibitor List BOOTH NO.




329 430 2155 523 1845 508 2456 604 2539 1254 1929 231 431 1054 620 2024 820 522 809 919 711 1925 847 2025 1737 403 1926 2028 2119 2319 2201 709 429 2011 837 1424 1306 2137 1500 1106 1047 529 1229

360 Party Lab 88 Merchandising Aeromax Alchemy Aline Greetings American Gas Products Appliques with Glitz / Glitz Teaz Pasties Balloon It Banana Costumes Bauer Pacific Imports Be Wicked! Beistle Billy Bob Products Bimax Hairoine Blinky Products Blueoco / Masqarae / BarY3 BOA Novelty Feather Brite Boltz Burleska / Lostwear California Costume Camden Candy Showcase Caretas REV S.A. de C.V. / Ghoulish Productions Cinema Secrets Clausplay by Rubie’s / Secret Wishes Conver USA Cool Glow Novelties / Fun Central Costume Agent Costume Culture by Franco Costumes USA Creature Cups / Jan Bixler Resort & Gifts Cutting Edge Haunted House Cykxincorp / Funhouse D. M. Merchandising Daisy Corsets Davy Theatrical Cosmetic Specialties Dillion Importing Disguise Dongguan Rui Hai Exhibition Co. Dreamgirl Dress Up America Eleglance Ellie Shoes

1937 913 2454 427 423 1319 2355 2107 1137 1307 1419 1511 1727 237 819 503 1119 528 519 402 755 2410 1454 2529 524 1960 1944 2125 2354 2224 505 804 2019 1958 655 2406 1736 737 1924 408 622 531 2219

elope Eurofins Product Testing Eurotique Export Solutions Int / Veneziano Party Export Solutions Int. / MAGO Faux Real First Imperial Trading Flashback & Freedom Foothills Creations / Dracula House Forplay Forum Novelties Froggy’s Fog Fun Express Fun World Funk Plus Inc. Funny Balloons Funny Fashion Gantom Lighting & Controls Gloco Accents Good L Corp. Graftobian Make-Up Halco Halloween Resource Center Happy Boa Haunted Attraction Network Havercamp Hearts & Roses Henan Fukang Feather Heritage Lace HGM Costume Hi-Float Hilary’s Vanity HMS Horrornaments Hot Pink Inc. / HPI Apparel I Love Yumio Imagine by Rubie’s / Delicious of NY Incharacter Costumes It’s In The Bag IVY Trading / Cutie Collections J. Marcus Company J. Templeton Jacobson Hat


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H&P Expo 2018

Halloween & Party Expo 2018 Exhibitor List (continued) BOOTH NO.




422 2523 2307 1507 940 2518 1907 609 1827 2106 2537 1501 2610 855 861 518 822 605 1502 1219 705 654 1610 409 955 411 1329 1954 1401 1002 1855 2001 2455 2543 818 2520 1422 1147 555 1255 618 947 418 2525 1055 2203 1403 2202 808 2100 511 1008 1257 1323

Joyin JSA Fashions / BellaSous Kalan Kangaroo Karnival Costumes Kashi Kayso Intl KBW Global King Zak Industries Kole Imports Kritter Klips Kryolan Professional Make-up Leg Avenue Liquid Latex Fashions Liquid Latex Lounge Little Adventures Loftus International LumoSquid Magic Angel Eyes Magic Creations Maple City Rubber Mardi Gras Creations Mardi Gras Trendz Maryland Plastics Mask-R aid Mayflower Distributing Mehron Makeup Midwest Design Imports Mischief Masks Moon Glow Morris Costumes MR2D Global Mustaches National Costumers Association / Lounge Neptune Trading / Wuu Jau Company Neva Nude Northlight Seasonal Northwest Enterprises Novelinks Opposuits PaintGlow Paper First Affiliates Parris Manufacturing Party & Halloween Retailer Party Club of America Party Ears PASTEASE Peaberry Maternity Pet Krewe Pichincha Pioneer Balloon Pleaser USA PosiPush Primal Contact Lenses

2159 Pro Bow The Hand 419 1862 Rasta Imposta 1836 Regent Products Corporation 1207 Rhode Island Novelty 1901 Rockstar Wigs 1819 Roma Costumes / Bikini 1237 Rubie’s 2357 Sassy Royals Hats 1919 Scarecrow Vampire Fangs 859 Scary Peeper 328 Seeing Red 1860 Shadow’s Edge 428 Shanghai SEPT Events 810 Shrine 2630 Silver Buffalo 754 SKS Novelty Company 1407 Sky Hosiery (Music Legs) 2254 Smart Beauty 128 Smiffy’s 704 Sourpuss Clothing 527 Spangler Candy Company 1227 Splashes & Spills 1761 Stagefrights / Halloween Direct 2407 Starline 2636 Stroller Costumes 2129 Sun-Staches 1318 Sunnywood 619 Sunstar 2103 Sweet Midnight 1927 The Big E & Apparel 1455 The Diamond Collection / Princess Paradise 1654  The Diamond Collection Charades / Pizazz / Highest Heel 2161 The Mardi Gras Collections 909 2207 Tinsley Transfers 1837 Trick or Treat Studios 1037 Underwraps 412 Union Products 1326 Unique Vintage 2637 United States Postal Service 2522 UPD 2007 US Jaclean 1301 Vision Science Studios 1155 Visual Effects 854 West Bay Inc. 1719 Western Fashion 1102 Whatsofun 918 Wolfe FX 1302 Yiwu Lilan Hair Accessories Factory 1755 Zagone 526 ZTag 2255 Zucker Feather


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Party Fashion

Right Outfit. Right Time. Right Party! WIDMANN S.r.l. M I LANO

Party Fashion

Viale dell’Industria, 3/C 20020 Busto Garolfo (Milano) - Italy Tel. (+39) 0331 560001 - Fax (+39) 0331 537565 E-mail:

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National UK Wholesaler/Distributor Tel. 01702 447676 - Fax 01702 447677 E-mail:

07/12/2017 17:08

The Jester Says




Writing freely, from behind a magical cloak of confidentiality, The Jester draws on an entire lifetime of party experience to bring us controversial opinions, interesting viewpoints and all the latest industry gossip, fresh from the grapevine...


Below: Independent stores add a bit of colour and interest to the high street.

The US party industry still I never dreamt that when I was first manages to have the advantage asked to write an article for Progressive over us, and unless we begin to Party magazine, that nearly five years later learn some lessons from them I would still be writing them. But today as I cannot see how our party I put fingers to keyboard this is my last; I show within the Spring Fair can will hang up my feather quill and Jester’s possibly survive much longer. hat and settle back to being kept informed I have taken you on a journey by my own copy of the magazine. to the past to tell you how it used I am hanging up my Jester’s crown at an exciting time for the team behind magazine, to be and given you a glimpse of the future to thanks to the recent launch see how things of its online newsletter, We have had may turn out. If you have not had a chance two elections and I have touched to take a look I would on politics, as a vote for Brexit, highly recommend it – free it is hard not yet we still have newsletters pop into your to when retail inbox twice a week, making the same political is so directly affected by it fairly effortless to keep up the decisions made by party in power with what’s going on in all and the media and the powers that be – but areas of the party industry. it does seem strange that government are I thought as my final in that time nothing discussing every piece I would take a look seems to have changed. back and review my We have had two day how we are previous ramblings. elections and a vote for to leave Europe In the time that I have Brexit, yet we still have and whether we been writing I have covered the same political party really should. four Spring Fair party in power and the media shows, getting ever more and government are worried each time that this could be the discussing every day how we are to leave last. I have also taken you to the USA to Europe and whether we really should. show you how they do things Stateside. The old saying ‘it’s a long day in politics’ seems to have changed Newton’s laws Below: Technology and online shopping has and stretched a day to well over four changed the face of retail as we know it. years. I would laugh if it was not so sad. During this time, we have also seen dramatic changes on the high street and changes in our own industry. Companies have come and gone while others have grown, merged or been brought out. The one thing that is changing our industry the fastest is technology. Not that may years ago, if you had a website

it was really just an advert. I remember our first was made by Yellow Pages and was basically our advert with a map on the second page. Recently I saw on a website a system where the browser is able to add their own photo and would then be able to see the clothes that they were looking at on their own image. This sort of interactve technlogy could be invaluable for the costume companies. Where the future will take us nobody knows, but I for one am very excited. If I can pass on any knowledge it is that I urge you to find that small quirky supplier, because they will have that one item which will set you apart from the rest of the pack. What makes us special is that every party shop is slightly different; it would be a shame if we turned out like the high streets, just bland clones. I leave as always with a joke that I hope makes you smile. A shopkeeper was dismayed when a brand new business much like his own opened up next door and erected a huge sign which read ‘BEST DEALS.’ He was horrified when another competitor opened up on his right, and announced its arrival with an even larger sign, reading ‘LOWEST PRICES.’ The shopkeeper panicked, until he got an idea. He put the biggest sign of all over his own shop. It NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017 PROGRESSIVE PARTY

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07/12/2017 16:34

Talking To: Neviti

Tableware designer Neviti is celebrating its tenth year in 2018. Progressive Party Europe spoke to creative manager Cathy Crawford about the company’s last decade and its plans for the future. Show Time! Join Neviti at the following shows to see new ranges and celebrate its ten-year anniversary. ■ Spielwarenmesse: 31 January – 4 February (Hall 9, Stand F-75)



leading designer and manufacturer of tableware and decorations for weddings, parties and seasonal occasions, UK-based Neviti first launched into the market in 2007. The trend-led brand has experienced considerable growth since then and now offers a wide choice of ranges for every conceivable celebration. The name Neviti is an anagram of ‘invite’, which perfectly reflects the company slogan; ‘invite to all occasions’. New collections are developed throughout the year and a large customer base across the UK, Europe and further afield means that the company relies heavily on the dedicated multilingual sales team which looks after all its customers. So how significant is the ten year anniversary? What will it mean for Neviti as a company? “Ten years is a long time but it has crept up on us very quickly,” says Cathy. “We have experienced a great deal of change since we began in 2007, when

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■ Ambiente: 9 – 13 February (Hall 11.1, Stand A24)

Design we started out from our garden shed. Moving to our first business unit was a huge step but has allowed us to grow Neviti to the business it is today.” Unsurprisingly, the industry has changed a great deal in the last decade, and business has changed a lot for Neviti in that time. “When we first began the internet was still in its infancy,” explains Cathy. “This meant that we could really get to know all of our customers as we spoke to most of them by phone and met them all personally at trade shows. Now many customers only order

Top: Pattern Works offers a mix of pink and blue dots and chevrons combined with gorgeous accents in shiny gold and was one of Neviti’s stand-out successes for 2017. Below: With its geometric design and stunning rose gold metallic details the Geo Blush collection is popular for modern weddings. Below middle: The enduring Tiny Feet range will include a number of new additions for next year. Below right: Guess How Much I Love You is ideal for baby showers, christenings and first birthdays and remains one of Neviti’s top selling lines.


■ Spring Fair: 4 – 8 February (Hall 3-3A, Stand 3K21)

Neviti’s Top Five ■ Scripted Marble ■ Just My Type ■ Geo Blush ■ Pattern Works ■ Guess How Much I Love You

from us on the internet and reaching out to them can be a challenge. I think all of us, either as manufacturers, wholesalers or retailers have this challenge and we need to think creatively about how to reach out to our customers.” The team will be celebrating ten years with a party later this month, and will be holding a number of other events to celebrate with its customers throughout 2018. “We are really excited and proud to be celebrating this significant anniversary,” says Cathy. “Some special treats will also be on offer at trade shows including Spring Fair, Ambiente and Spielwarenmesse.” Trade shows are important to Neviti’s business, for a number of reasons. “We always look forward to trade events as they offer an excellent opportunity to meet with our existing customers and new prospective buyers both in the UK and overseas,” explains Cathy. The beginning of the year will be a busy time for Neviti as the team is heading to Spring Fair, Ambiente and Toy Fair in Nuremberg. “We are continuously launching new collections and by showing


07/12/2017 16:37

Talking To: Neviti

Above and right: Classic childrens licenses such as Miffy and Dear Zoo continue to do well for Neviti.

at trade shows we give customers the chance to view them in the flesh. This gives us the opportunity to get to know our customers better and find out how What’s New For 2018 we can support them further.” Neviti caters for a wide range of ■ Glitz and Glamour occasions and styles and has introduced a ■ Colour Block Marble number of new occasions over the years, ■ Tiny Feet Additions reflecting the changing marketplace. “Baby ■ Showered With Love Additions showers are definitely still one of our ■ Pattern Works Additions most popular occasions,” Cathy reveals, ■ Scripted Marble Additions “and now gender reveal baby showers – where the couple dramatically reveal the The most significant launches for baby’s gender – are becoming increasingly Neviti recently were the two new ranges popular as a trend throughout the UK. Pattern Works and Scripted Marble. For 2018 we have some new items that fit “These have been our stand-out amazing into this trend and will be updating some successes of 2017,” Cathy offers. of our current bestselling collections.” “Our most popular range with retailers It is crucial that new designs is currently the Scripted Marble collection. and collections reflect the ‘Neviti During our design period we noticed the style’ and that new ranges remain trend of marbling being used on cakes and true to that signature look. other decorative items in wedding magazines “It is very important to us to remain true and online. Sometimes it’s a case of being in to the ‘Neviti style’. Our products will never the right place at the be the cheapest on the market, right time and this however this is due to the is one trend that we high quality materials used got right and bang and the uniqueness of our on time which made designs, giving our products it a top seller for the an excellent reputation in year. And with sales the industry,” says Cathy. still looking strong Neviti’s design process we expect this and takes on in-depth market Design Works to research to find gaps in the continue to perform market, what is on-trend and exceptionally well what customers are looking right into 2018.” for, as well as listening Although design to valued feedback plays a crucial from retailers. part of Neviti’s “We are also very enduring appeal fortunate to have a throughout the passionate artwork and partyware industry, it product development is also important that team onsite who work the team continue to closely together to create add new products and our designs,” adds Cathy. clever innovations to “We are continually the classic collections. adding new items to our “Refreshing bestselling collections our ranges is so and introducing new important,” Cathy ranges each year to agrees, “especially keep our offering with our older fresh and on-trend Above: Colour Block Marble combines on-trend pastels and beautiful collections, if we are marble detailing and is expected to remain strong well into 2018. for our customers.”

to to keep them fresh and on trend. Our Tiny Feet range continues to be one of our bestsellers and with some new additions for 2018 we expect this range to continue to be successful for our customers.” Communicating with its customers is essential for Neviti, and the team makes clever use of all the most prominent social media channels – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. “We find social media is a great way to grow our brand and launch new products,” Cathy continues. “It’s also a nice way to interact directly with the end user and get some feedback since we do not sell directly with the public and would otherwise miss out on this important interaction.” With a whole host of plans to celebrate its tenth anniversary in the coming year, 2018 is set to be an exciting year for Neviti. Three key trade shows will give the year a strong start, followed by a wide range of new product launches for a variety of different occasions. “We’ll be launching a number of new additions to our current ranges as well as brand new collections,” says Cathy. “It’s going to be a fun-packed year! We just hope that throughout the next ten years we will be able to continue bringing new and on trend ideas to the party market – and 2018 will get that off to a flying start!”

Licensed Lines “Our licensed children’s ranges have been very successful, with Dear Zoo, Guess How Much I Love You and Miffy still proving to be some of our most popular children’s collections. With children’s licenses it is important to pick a license which is trending and we have been very lucky to have strong licences which have retained their popularity – all three are still popular for children’s birthday parties and other events such as baby showers. We would definitely be interested in taking on more licenses in the future.” Cathy Crawford, creative manager


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07/12/2017 16:37

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Going For Gold

Rose gold is a trend that is well and truly here to stay and Creative Party has some fabulous first look products in. The rose gold bubble weight has been extremely already been extremely popular with a strong preorder demand. The company also has glittering cake ribbon, extra tall candles, sugar hearts and a new cake drum across cake accessories and décor.

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Heads Up!

Once again expanding its product offering with product from US partners Forum Novelties is Bristol Novelty, as it introduces a new range of product for 2017-2018. In among the drinking games, fake teeth and and other jokes and novelties are these bull and horse heads, which come complete with moving mouths.

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As always, Simon Elvin leads the way with design, bringing a new look to the party sector with this innovative floral set of products for release January 2018. This floral range is available across foil balloons and wall banners as well as gift bags and social stationery ranges. Brochures for party and social stationery will be available from January 2018.

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New products don’t come much better than this...

W  edding Wonders

The Qualatex wedding range has recently been expanded to offer an increased range of large foil balloons including wedding cake and diamond ring shapes in pastel shades. Also on trend for this year are script “Mr and Mrs” balloons, glitter and confetti styles and large 3ft balloons which make perfect props for stunning wedding photographs.

Unicorn Madness

Unicorns are really big news for Henbrandt at the moment. This unicorn headband is just one of the items in the ever-growing collection, which includes dress-up accessories, stationery, puzzle books, stickers, tattoos, inflatables, bubbles, party bags and lunch boxes.

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Tiny Tots

Costume company Fun Shack has launched a new range of toddler costumes. Launching just in time for Christmas, the range is available in ages one to four years. The collection features everything from ducks and bears to princesses and dinosaurs. A number of seasonal lines will also be included, perfect for the littlest members of the grotto.


07/12/2017 16:46





John Bowler has been part of the party industry for more years than he cares to remember! John currently runs the Balloon And Party Industry Alliance (or BAPIA) and can be contacted on


One of the most exciting things about meeting new people in the same business as you is that there is always something new to learn. In his latest column John Bowler finds out more about the power of networking....


etworking, what is that all about? Definition:

■ N  etworking is the process of trying to meet new people who might be useful to you in your job, often through social activities. ■ Interact with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts.

Really, what is the point of networking, standing around talking to a bunch of people who I had never met before and I who I would probably never see again. It’s a waste of time…. Isn’t it? There are lots of formal networking groups around now, and they are all aimed at putting people with different skillsets together with the intention that one might be able to help the other in some way; whether it be to give referrals or to assist in the growth and development of the others’ business. Many of these official networking groups may charge a fee and will only allow one member from each trade to be in a group to ensure exclusivity for members. These can be very beneficial as they can generate referrals and prove financially extremely worthwhile. It is also possible to network within your own business community which can be very beneficial for both you and your business. I have attended many events and conventions over the years and at each one I see people being inspired not only by the classes that are taking place, but also by the interaction that they are having with like-minded people from the same industry. People are sharing stories about their past experiences and how they have handled different situations or different clients and their requirements – and everyone is learning. For the past five years I have watched BAPIA members who are lucky enough to attend the Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) children’s party décor day. The one thing that always stands out for me are the friendships that start and build during the

day and then continue long afterwards. I then see some of these friendships continue to flourish through the BAPIA Facebook group as people comment on each other’s posts and offer help and advice where needed. More often than not, the next thing I see is that they have worked together to help one another on a large or more complicated job. We always make sure we finish the GOSH day with a drink in the bar once our work is done and while at first glance this may seem

like a time to simply relax and have fun it is actually when the real networking begins and contact details are exchanged. The balloon and party industry is made up of a large number of independents and in these days of social media it is very easy to find ourselves with no opportunity to share our experiences or ask for advice or ideas and support on a face-to-face basis. Personally I think that face-to-face conversations are far more productive and inspiring and there is far less likelihood of any misunderstanding that can very easily occur through social media. The balloon and party industry is made up of a really friendly and giving community and I would recommend everybody to take advantage of any opportunity to network, even if it is only over lunch at a day class. It’s amazing who you might find yourself talking to and what snippets of information or advice they may give you.” Above: The BAPIA Facebook page is a hotbed of networking and contact-making. Left: Delegates who attended Colin Stewart’s UK Tour earlier in the year were also able to network among themselves.

What Is BAPIA? The Balloon And Party Industry Alliance, or BAPIA as it’s more commonly known, is designed to work for the party industry to promote the benefits of using industry professionals and to bring significant benefits to our members. BAPIA is a member of the European Balloon and Party Council (EBPC) and keeps members updated on the latest news, including the most recent initiative – the Code Of Best Practice for balloon retailers and professionals. You can read more about this in BAPIA’s latest quarterly newsletter. Mailed directly to members, John is happy to send a copy of the latest edition to interested parties – simply email him at


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07/12/2017 16:41

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07/12/2017 17:19

The Amscan Tour

Inset: Amscan’s showroom is based in Milton Keynes, and visitors are always welcome.

Going For


Leading party, balloon and costume supplier Amscan invited a number of key independent retailers from across the UK to its vibrant Milton Keynes showroom earlier this month, as part of its preferred partner Gold scheme event. Progressive Party went along to find out more.


he leading party, balloon and costume supplier Amscan recently played host to a wide variety of customers as part of its APP (Amscan Preferred Partner) programme. The recently launched APP Gold scheme has been created created specifically to provide the highest level of service and support to a carefully selected range of key independent bricks and mortar retailers. Taking place from 12 to 13 November; the event allowed visitors to tour the showroom and see some of the latest ranges to be integrated into merchandised displays across Amscan’s party, balloon and costume categories. While browsing the showroom customers also had the opportunity to meet with department heads and discuss upcoming product launches. Licensed product remains a key Left: Chris Horne was onhand to chat to APP customers and give advice. Right: Amscan’s gold-themed New Year collection for seeing in 2018.

part of Amscan’s offering, and visitors were also treated to a brand-focused presentation with an update on which new and emerging properties are likely to become a top party theme in 2018. The day also entailed an insight into some of the latest trends in the market. Key themes included current major trends such as unicorns and rose gold, both of which are set to continue throughout 2018. Amscan also presented the mermaid theme in this category, which includes a striking collection of costume accessories, as well as an insight into trend colour schemes for 2018 and beyond. Balloon decorations took centre stage over the two days, with a stunning assortment on display, featuring arches, numerous bouquets and ceiling hanging features. The event also offered the perfect opportunity to showcase Amscan’s exciting new collection of

Showroom Smarts The Amscan Showroom is open all year round to customers and is an ever-changing party platform with displays being regularly updated to reflect the latest trends and licenses. The 500msq space also features a variety of different merchandising options that can be adapted to fit virtually any retail space. To make an appointment to visit the showroom, email

Above: Clever ranging and themed displays help bring the showroom to life. Left: Amscan’s new decorator range from Sempertex will also be available to see at Spring Fair 2018.

decorator latex balloons created by popular global brand Sempertex. Balloon legend Chris Horne was on hand to demonstrate the quality and versatility of the new range. Visitors were given a selection of samples from the new ensembles to take away with them and the feedback so far indicates that the range has fantastic potential. Andy Smart heads up Amscan’s independent retail division, and described the event as a huge success. “This is the first time we have organised such an event where customers were able to experience a different side to the business,” he said. “It was particularly pleasing to see interaction between different sets of customers and witness some enthusiastic dialogue between them and our heads of category.” “We are keen to work closely together with our customers, providing a mechanism where we can help them thrive,” Andy continued. “The Gold APP programme was developed to offer support to a select number of bricks and mortar retailers. I’d like to think all those that came to the APP event went away delighted with what we are working on for them now and in the future.” “It was a superb event, we have been to similar set ups previously but not to this standard,” said one of the APP retailers. “Everyone at Amscan made us very welcome and we went away with some really good ideas. Chris Horne was amazing and we loved how the team presented the dress-up category.” “The whole APP event was very interesting; it was informative in such a good way,” agreed Jayne Ivinson from Struts. “I loved seeing all the new ranges early and how they were all laid out. The event was great fun and our relationship with all the staff at Amscan will continue to grow.” To find out more about the Amscan Independent Retail APP Programme, please contact Andy Smart at NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017 PROGRESSIVE PARTY

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07/12/2017 16:42

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Licensed to Party Spring Fair

Progressive Party rounds up the latest licensed releases.

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■P  ony Pals

■O  nly Joking

■T  he Last Jedi

The latest vibrant new party range from Amscan features the popular girl’s brand My Little Pony! Expected to be popular with MLP fans of all ages, the vibrant new range includes invitations, party tableware, decorations and favours. A complete balloon range includes mini-foils as well as a whole range of showstopping SuperShapes and Orbz.

After releasing the official Batman version last year, OppoSuits now puts the spotlight on Batman’s nemesis: The Joker, with an outfit resembling his famous look. OppoSuits put their twist on his outfit, by adding a ‘hahaha’ print on the purple pants and jacket and finishing off the look with a complementary green tie.­

Fans will be getting ready to join their own cast of Star Wars: The Last Jedi with these amazing new Rey costumes from Rubie’s. Available in both child and adult versions, Star Wars heroines don’t come much smarter than Rey. The new look jumpsuits both include leather-look belt, gauntlets and wristbands, ensuring the wearer is always ready for battle!

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■A  Very Special Bear

■W  ord Play

■F  eeling The Force

Following the successful cinema release of Paddington 2, Creative Party has launched a luxury limited edition Paddington cake topper set in resin. The set features the famous bear himself, a delightfully festive Christmas tree and a traditional red phone box, each topper is painted lovingly by hand. Available as a 2017 limited edition set, this one won’t be around for long.

Love board games? You can arrive at your next costume party looking like you’ve just eaten the Scrabble dictionary with these costumes from Smiffys. Available as a full Scrabble board with tabard, or a delightful dress for the ladies, each costume has interchangeable letters so wearers can create their own hilarious messages. Perfect for couples!

With the eagerly anticipated cinema release of Star Wars - The Last Jedi this December, there is bound to be a strong demand for more Star Wars partyware and balloons among discerning fans. The new Pioneer party range featuring Star Wars – The Last Jedi tableware is sure to hit the mark, especially when paired with co-ordinating latex balloons on the same theme.

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07/12/2017 16:49

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What’s New?

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New Year Style

The Black and Gold New Year’s Eve Collection by PartyDeco includes starshaped plates, stars garlands and confetti. It also matches perfectly with black fabrics, paper pompoms and black balloons. PartyDeco has also introduced a number of black and gold New Year’s Eve balloons with different double-sided prints and great quality foil balloons numbers and star-shaped.

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Gold Rush

Customers are becoming increasingly interested in decorations and theme parties, and so party company Godan is putting a great deal of emphasis on these products over the coming year. One of the new lines is this gold collection which features a whole range of plates, paper cups, caps, masks, whistles as well as golden garlands and other décor.

Looking for something a bit different? Then it’s time for an international shopping spree!

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Colourful Confetti

Following on from the introduction of balloons pre-filled with assorted coloured confetti, Globos Payaso (I.T.I. UK) has now extended its range of these balloons. Available from midDecember will be the 12” balloons filled with either pink, blue, silver or gold confetti in retail packets of six. Great for many occasions, including birthdays, anniversarys or just a fantastic party.

Costume expert Widmann’s range of Jacquard coats and tailcoats has had a wonderful response and is a great added extra for the carnival season. Of premium quality, available in bright attractive colours and adorned with sequins and sparkle they certainly ensure that the wearer will be noticed in the crowd.

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Carnival Coat

Galaxy Guy

One of the latest batch of fantastic new designs from Amsterdam-based OppoSuits. This new Galaxy Guy suit is perfect for all space nerds or anyone who’s out of this world. All OppoSuits’ men’s suits have a slim-fit design, are lined and made of open woven, high quality fabric. They also have genuine pockets, full lining, buttons and belt loops.

Make A Wish

One of the most charming trends at the moment is the popular unicorn theme. PartyDeco designers have created this beautiful pastel unicorn collection which is perfect for birthday parties, babyshowers, bridal showers. The collection includes a colorful rossette and garland set, plates and cups, paper bags and handdrawn cake and muffin toppers.


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07/12/2017 16:48

Carnival and Mardi Gras

Once the Christmas and New Year celebrations are over, party attentions turn to one of the biggest events in the European party calendar – the Carnival season. PPE finds out what’s behind the mask.


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arnival is a no-holds-barred celebration which takes place across a number of European cities and is also rapidly growing in popularity in the UK. Taking place primarily in the weeks leading up to Mardi Gras (the day before Lent), it is traditionally the last opportunity to indulge before a time of reflection. “Places like Venice, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Cologne, Nice and Cadiz transform to create an atmosphere of colour and fun,” says Palmer Agencies’ marketing director Sergio Battaner. “These are the main two characteristics of these festivals, along with groups dressing up together to mock an event or political character!” According to Gary Vincent, business development manager at Bristol Novelty, much of the UK party industry now considers Carnival to be the second most important festival in the year. “For many UK suppliers the growth of carnival has been a hugely significant source of additional revenue directly after Halloween,” he explains.

“The season is a good financial buffer for what is often considered to be a lull after the Halloween period and will certainly help suppliers smooth over any slight downturns they may have experienced throughout the October period.” Suppliers are looking to capitalise on this and source more carnivalstyle products for the European market, although this can mean different things as the season adopts new trends and themes. “We are seeing more Europeans moving away from the traditional Carnival themes of colour and local historical dress-up to more elaborate costume Above: One of the flamboyant new carnival styles from Bristol Novelty, Miss Monarch Butterfly. Left: Masks and headwear – like this feather headdress from Widdman – are always popular. Below: Where there’s confetti, there’s a party! This Confetteroni suit from OppoSuits is perfect for the Carnival season. Below right: Unique Party’s neon tissue decorations and neon confetti balloons are sure to add a pop of colour to any Carnival celebration.

Most Carnivals take place during the run-up to Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday – 13 February 2018. This is the last day of the Carnival season as it falls the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. ■ Carnival Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 26 Jan – 18 February ■V  enice Carnival, 27 Jan – 13 February ■ Cologne Carnival, 8 – 13 February ■ Carnival de Cadiz, 8 – 18 February ■ Nice Carnival, 17 February – 3 March

genres, like Steampunk for example,” says Gary. “We expect Steampunk to be a strong contender for Carnival 2018, perhaps with more emphasis on flamboyant genres.” Mark Brett, Boland Party’s UK agent, has also noticed the UK’s growing awareness of the Carnival season. “As a Dutch company, Boland is in pole position to take advantage of this potential market,” he says, “as many of Boland’s dress-up items were designed with Carnival in mind.” “At the same time,” he continues, “there is a greater convergence in what sells here and in Europe. For example, there is not a huge difference from the top selling items in Germany to those in the UK. Yet there is still product that is very specific to the Carnival market. I strongly believe there is a big future in the UK for this theme – albeit in a slightly different format.” Based in Amsterdam, Carnival is a big season for the team at OppoSuits, and their Dutch and German business is very strong due to retailers across the spectrum carrying the colourful suits. “Our lower price point product is becoming more and more popular for the conscious consumer while the main

CARNIVAL COLOUR “We are witnessing a move away from your traditional Mardi Gras parties and seeing a growth in parties all year round, which are all about colour with a carnival feel. People are finding great inspiration on the internet and becoming really creative with the use of bold bright decorations in an array of colours to really dress the party.” Holly Burgin, Unique Party


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07/12/2017 16:09

Carnival and Mardi Gras

CARNIVAL LOWDOWN “Carnival is still a big growing market for us and 2017 was our best year to date. We’re expanding our range for 2018 and trying to offer costumes that are popular for the European market as they won’t necessarily be the same as the UK. It’s interesting to note that some traditional Halloween styles can be popular for Carnival as well as everyday. This provides a good challenge to ensure that we are stocked for it.” Stuart Wheeler, account manager, Delights Direct OppoSuits outfit is still the best performing category across the smaller independents,” said head of marketing Dana Barrs. “Consumers within mainland Europe want quality – it is not always about the cheapest costume. For us, it’s exciting to see that our OppoSuits are being sold in higher-end department stores, which sees the high-quality party goods being merchandised within fashion sectors and attracting a different type Right: Mythical mermaid costumes from Smiffys embrace the fantasy element of the Carnival scene.

Right: Colourful new pinatas and garlands from Godan keep the Carnival spirt high. Below: This 38” foil Mardi Gras mask balloon is one of Pioneer Europe’s key Carnival lines. Below right: The traditional Mardi Gras jesters and clown outfits remain popular lines for Fun Shack.

of customer.” Italianbased costume and accessories company Widmann is continually growing its range of Carnival product as the season continues to grow. A huge array of Carnival accessories and decorations are available all throughout the year, with premium quality feathered headdresses in bright, attractive colours are doing particularly well at the moment. Less well-known for embracing the Carnival season is Godan, but it is an extremely popular period in Poland, where the company hails from.

“In most schools and kindergartens there are carnival balls, where children come dressed in a variety of costumes” says company director Krzysztof Malewski, “from classic Indian to heroes from the latest fairy tales.” Godan creates a fresh Carnival offering each year, covering dress-up, accessories and décor. “Our customers are very interested in decorations,” Krzysztof continues, “so we put a lot of emphasis on these products.” According to these reports, the current carnival season shows no sign of slowing down and is in fact growing year-by-year. With different European countries celebrating carnival at different times of year, the staggered season offers the party industry a key opportunity to capitalise on this exciting sector as it embraces the very essence of celebration.


Tinsley FX Face Tattoos are striking and easy to use. These full face temporary tattoos can create an entire look and Candy Skull Face, Clown Face and Carnivale Face are expected to be popular.

This Comite Hat from Boland Party is a traditional hat worn by those involved in the Carnival clubs.

For a really dramatic look, Rasta Imposta’s Giant Clown is perfect. The full body tunic, with huge moveable mouth, even has a handy flap for eating and drinking.

A complete new Steampunk range from Bristol Novelty includes this outfit and space gun, as well as hats, masks, shoes and other accessories.

Boland Party’s Tanzmariechen Hat is a traditional hat for female dancers and is a popular sight on many European Carnival floats.


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Carnival and Mardi Gras

CARNIVAL TIME! Clowns are set to make a big comeback in 2018 and Smiffys circus-inspired costumes in brightly coloured fabrics complete with LED lights lead the way.

These gnome costumes from Palmer Agencies are a great choice for Carnival as are colourful and come in many different options, ideal for ensembles and large events.

Bristol Novelty’s Piggyback costumes range are expected to be an essential part of the Carnival season for 2018.

Delights Direct have a wide offering of Carnival costumes for adults and kids, including this very popular mermaid theme.

Widmann offers a tremendous array of Carnival accessories and decorations all throughout the year, including quality masks and feather headdresses.

A bold Mardi Gras mask theme from Creative Party features punchy purples, yellow and greens and works well with colours from the Solid range.

Widmann’s new range of tailcoats has been selling fast and is a great added extra for the Carnival season.

Fun Shack’s Masquerade masks feature unusual designs and other embellishments such as feathers. Pioneer Europe’s new 3ft latex Mardi Gras balloons are out-and-out showstoppers, which are already making a statement in key markets.

Combining comedy and clown costumes is this Lift Me Up line from Fun Shack, just one of the new collection for 2018.

Everyday costumes do well at Carnival time and pirate costumes are always popular lines for Henbrandt.

These body crayons from Moonglow come in 16 different colours and create sharp, defined lines and patterns.

This long-lasting mascara and eyeliner from Splashes & Spills combines two UV products into one compact and convenient item. Available in six vibrant colours which glow in UV light.

This Cute Clown foil from Pioneer Europe has been a key figure in the company’s European market sales this year with a constant presence in the top sellers list since it was introduced in January.

New Piggyback styles for 2018 from Smiffys include ‘The President’ and ‘The Dictator’, among other mirth-inducing characters.


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07/12/2017 16:09

Valentine’s Day

Love Is In

THE AIR The annual celebration of all things romantic is the perfect opportunity for party and costume shops to showcase the power of balloons, décor and other heart-shaped product. PPE gets the lowdown on the latest lovethemed lines.

Left: Pioneer’s Bubble balloons are ideal for instore displays and last up to four weeks. Below left: This on-trend Rose Gold Intricates SuperShape balloon from Amscan is a stylish choice.

decline in this market over the last five years,” says Mark Brett, UK agent for Boland Party. “There are two structural problems really. Firstly, it sits too tightly between the Christmas and Easter periods and secondly, much of the market involves teenagers who have a limited spend.” Mark believes that, while balloons dominate the party sector for this occasion, there is also a market for partyware and décor. “That all said, we have launched a ‘Love’ themed collection, which is very Valentine’s orientated but which also appeals to a much broader romantic market.” Unique Party also focuses on its balloon offering for Valentine’s. “With over 20 Valentines designs to choose from, customers will be sure to find the right balloon for them,” says national account manager Holly Burgin. “Many feature cute phrases like ‘Sweet’, ‘Be Mine’ and ‘I Love You’ but the heart eyes Emoji Balloon is perfect for anyone who is lost for words!” The final word goes to Godan’s marketing manager Krzysztof Malewski. Although the company has focused on new, fresh prints and patterns across a range of balloons, she also has a word of caution for retailers. “Valentine’s Day can be difficult in our industry, because it is only one day and everyone is trying to offer something. Retailers need to be very careful and ensure they choose an assortment to stand out from the competition.” That’s the power of love!

Valentine’s Day’ message balloons are always popular,” she continues. “And anyone looking to achieve a real ‘wow’ effect can use balloon bouquets featuring Bubble balloons or deco Bubbles filled with confetti or tulle. Stuffing balloons can also be used to deliver a very special gift – all creations that will be sure to make an impression in person and on social media!” “Valentine’s Day is a key seasonal event for balloons,” says Amscan’s marketing ove can be a funny old manager Charlotte Cox, “as thing. It’d have to be, they make a fantastic surprise gift. “ to make the UK spend There is a broad choice within over £980m on gifts, cards, Amscan’s offering, so there’s flowers, balloons and something available to suit any other Valentine’s Day taste, from classily romantic to essentials (according cute, on-trend or humourous. to GlobalData’s “We’ve noticed popular 2016 figures), Top: A gold heart-shaped cake topper is a sweet touch from Creative Party. Above: A rose gold party trends such as despite almost 80% script balloon from Unique Party is on-trend. unicorns and rose gold of the public claiming that transition into Valentine’s themed the occasion has become too commercial. product for 2018,” continues Charlotte. The year-on-year increase in overall Amscan’s partyware range also includes spend (0.7% or £15m) is a positive sign for a number of on-trend new additions retailers who cater for the occasion, with including letter banners people across the UK spending just under and a number of new £50 on their loved ones, on average. Balloon Boost accessories and favours such This is all great news for Pioneer Europe, “Retailers can maximise their business during the as candy heart foam glasses which has a wide range of new balloon romantic season by creating eye-catching displays. and heart rubber ducks. designs across its entire portfolio. “The These could include anything from fun and silly novelty “Valentine’s is key to Valentine’s Day sales success is items, to balloons and other products that can be an odd event in choice,” says Julie Dommett, head of given as a gift by customers to their loved ones. that there has marketing. “Having stocks of cute, funny With new designs and styles being created more and probably been and classic options to suit all different more frequently, balloons have become very popular with a slight tastes will definitely help sales.” customers. Last year we stocked small heart-shaped balloons Julie believes that key trends this by the side of the tills, which proved to be incredibly popular. year will include cute animal designs We believe that the trend will be even more popular this year.” such as the Studio Pets Terrier print or Emma Angel, director, Angels Fancy Dress the Lovestruck Panda Bear shape. Inset: PartyDeco: A “For those not quite ready to new love-themed line from confirm undying love, the PartyDeco offers a complete décor and partyware range. simpler ‘Happy



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Valentine’s Day


Valentine trends this year include cute animal prints on balloons, such as this officially licensed Studio Pets Terrier from Pioneer Europe.

This new Happy Heart collection from Creative Party is available on special order, featuring a Happy Valentine’s Day heart motif, accented by polka dots for a fresh twist. It’s a perfect range to mix with pink and red solid tableware.

Make a sweet statement with this vibrant Valentine’s Day felt banner from Amscan.

Create a scene with Amscan’s multi-foil Love Hearts and Dots balloon, perfect for decorating venues and giving as gifts.

Unique Party’s on-trend Valentine’s décor includes everything from heart confetti balloons through to its new red foil tableware, the perfect accompaniment for any Valentine’s celebration.

This adorable Unicorn Love Junior Shape from Amscan is expected to do well with the younger lovestruck consumer for the 2018 Valentine’s season.

Boland Party’s colourful new ‘Love’ collection includes a show-stopping flag, pretty bunting and a hanging swirl.

Henbrandt has recently introduced a wide range of new balloon designs, including confetti balloons and heart shaped balloons in pinks and reds.

Palmer Agencies’ Sexy Cupid costume remains a Valentine’s Day classic and is a firm favourite in many private Valentine’s celebrations!

This new Valentine’s collection by PartyDeco is a beautiful combination of pink and red with unique glittery gold details and includes all the party essentials like rosettes, garlands as well as unique extras such as arrow-shaped toppers. The Valentine’s assortment from Godan includes decorations, tableware and new, fresh prints and patterns on foil and latex balloons in interesting, fashionable colours.

Balloon bouquets featuring Pioneer Europe’s Bubble balloons or deco Bubbles filled with confetti or tulle always look great. Dressing like royalty has never been easier than with these King of Hearts and Queen of Hearts suits from OppoSuits – perfect for creating a themed royal appearance on that big romantic night out.

If you’ve got a sweet tooth, Rasta Imposta’s Get Real Doughnut and Ice Cream Cone are great for a bit of humour on Valentine’s Day!


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is the new online news website for the global party and costume industry. Launched by the leading publisher to the worldwide party sector, Progressive Party Europe, the website will serve as an essential online resource for the global costume, party and balloon market. «T  wice-weekly newsletter landing in over 8,000 inboxes « Industry jobs / agents board « Resource section with industry analysis «D  igital editions of Progressive Party Europe « F ully supported by industry associations and key trade shows

“We know our retail buyers trust and rely on Progressive Party Europe for their news, product information and seasonal focuses the launch of an online service reaching their inboxes will help retailers even more, which is something all suppliers can support.” Tracey Devine, head of marketing and licensing EMEA, Rubie’s Masquerade.

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Best sellers Aimee Smith CAT E G O R Y

As the year comes to a close and we look forward to Christmas, PPE asks a selection of retailers about their best selling lines.

Celebrations Party Shop Marlow, Bucks


Dedicated party and balloon shop, situated in a busy side road just off the high street.



Super Shapes from Amscan, and Bubbles from Qualatex

Elf products are massive this year. The Elf Super Shape is really popular and people are loving the Qualatex bubbles in Santa and Reindeer for Christmas morning.

New Year’s Eve

Personalised Bubbles, Super Shapes and big numbers

People don’t often buy these till after Christmas but Super Shapes already seem to be big this year. And big numbers in black, gold and silver. Balloons are getting personalised too, for example; Happy New Year from The Smiths!


Banners, sparkler number candles, table confetti, age banners

Sparkler number candles are big sellers for birthdays, as are the big kids’ age badges - they wear them to school. Again the table confetti is most often the milestone age.


Snazaroo face paint

Halloween has not been as big this year as it fell on a Tuesday and it’ll be a few years until it is again. But face paints were huge this year, especially the fake gel blood.

Anything else?

Bouquets, gift boxes, personalised glasses and champagne bottles

Personalisation is big and our personalised glasses are big sellers. Latex balloons are still big sellers in quantity, foil Super Shapes are always impressive and unique but bubble balloons are the new big thing and they are massive at the moment.

Susie Patten CAT E G O R Y


Adult Costumes

Decades lines from Smiffys and Rubie’s

Adult costumes seem to have been extremely random recently. A lot of 70s disco diva and 80s dress-up for office parties as not everyone is doing a Christmas theme. There’s been lots of adults getting involved with Children in Need.

Children’s Costumes

Nativity costumes, superheros from Rubie’s

There has been a lot of school dress up this term with people wanting costumes for Eygptian, Victorian and Roman themes. We are just starting to get busy with nativity costumes. Children In Need was also big, with older children also getting involved, lots of Princesses and Superheros.

Licensed Costumes

Spiderman and Batman from Rubie’s

We have seen less princess costumes recently, but Spiderman and Batman are still huge. With the new Star Wars film coming out, we are expecting there to be high demand for this.


Miss Santa, Elves and Santa

Miss Santa and elves are popular at the moment. There is a Santa Run coming up in the area and so Santa costumes have been very popular.

Anything else?

Joke Stocking Fillers, baby shower ranges, animal dress-up kits

Stocking fillers seem to be more about practical jokes this year. Baby shower ranges are also getting more popular and we’re selling lots of sashes. Animal kits are popular too.


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A busy shop which has recently moved to the centre of town, just off the main Market Square.

Fancy Dress Hut Ipswich M A N UFACTURE RS / RANGES





07/12/2017 16:18

Best sellers


Gail Brocklebank CAT E G O R Y

Party Planet Lincoln


Destination party store for costumes, wigs, masks and decorative balloons.


Fancy Dress

Wicked and Smiffys

School children are coming in a lot for nativity costumes and animals. There’s also been a lot of projects on World War II, so we’re seeing lots of evacuee and army officer costumes. For adults it’s been a bit more random, but 80s is still a favourite, especially with people going to theme nights.

Facepaints and accessories

Paintglow, Snazaroo

Facepaints are always big but its about getting the stock back up after Halloween. We’re doing really well with accessories at the moment and Hawaiian garlands and 80s accessories are selling well.

Decorations and partywear

Amscan, Creative Party

Unicorns are still huge for this category as are the licensed lines including Trolls, Shimmer and Shine and all the superheroes. These are doing well across the board, there isn’t one particularly that stands out. Creative’s Block Party is very popular for us.


Amscan, Unique Party, Qualatex

Unicorns, birthday numbers and personalised deco bubbles are leading the field. We’ve been handwriting the personalised bubbles and demand is huge. Generally people are spending more on balloons and are pleased to get something different to the standard supermarket fare.

Anything else?

Creative Party, Amscan, Qualatex

People are going all out for baby shower packages and Christenings. Balloons and partyware for birthdays are not slowing down at all over December either.

Shirlee Gibbs CAT E G O R Y


Central high street location near an army base, popular with families.

The Dressing Up Shop Aldershot


Creative Party


Adult Costumes


Gangster nights have been popular so we’ve had a lot of requests for gangster and mol costumes, complete with gloves, etc. There was also a lot of demand for laderhosen and Bavarian maid outfits thanks to Oktoberfest.

Children’s Costumes

Smiffys and Bristol Novelty

School dress-up has been really full on this term so it’s been lots of Nativity costumes, Romans, Greeks and Victorians. We seem to be seeing a new trend for boys to be angels and girls to be shepherds, as well.


Smiffys and Mesmereyez

Accessories are big at the moment, as people like to come in and customise their own look everything from angel wings to afro and bright wigs to coloured novelty lenses. We are also selling a lot of masks for masquerade balls. Men dressing up as women is popular this year.


Snazaroo, Moonglow

People are buying blue a lot - we’re seeing a lot of Smurfs and Braveheart costumers. White is always popular as well.

Anything else?

Smiffys, Inca UK

It’s a bit early for Father Christmas outfits yet but a few gone already. Christmas Tree deelyboppers are popular! Festival dress up this year was very popular, we sold lots of flowered headbands, tutus, unicorns and wings.

Bristol Novelty

Inca UK


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07/12/2017 16:18

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Progressive Party Europe - November/December 2017  
Progressive Party Europe - November/December 2017