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Consumer Products

Disguise dresses up its adaptive costume biz

Tapping into an under-served market predicted to hit US$294 million by 2026, the Jakks segment sees year-round possibilities for dress-up offerings for kids with disabilities, says Tara Hefter.
October 28, 2021

To better serve kids with disabilities, Disguise has unveiled a new line of adaptive costumes, with plans to grow its offering with more products, additional licensing deals, and a global strategy to meet international demand for inclusive Halloween apparel.

With more kids set to Trick or Treat in 2021 than in 2020, the costume segment has already contributed to growth at parentco Jakks Pacific. Disguise saw a 16% increase in net sales this quarter to the tune of US$64 million, Jakks reported in its Q3 financial results yesterday. Costumes was the toyco’s strongest performer this quarter, with sales up 21% overall for the first nine months of 2021. But it couldn’t save the company’s Q3 sales, which overall dropped 2%.

Disguise dipped its toes in adaptive costumes in 2020 with wheelchair coverings for Disney franchises including Cinderella and The Incredibles, and this year expands with more partners and products. New brands include Trolls, PAW Patrol, Transformers and Batman, while the line up will also have jumpsuits that have openings for braces and dresses that have gaps for feeding tubes.

The larger product range is partly driven by the bounce back in Halloween spending this year, which the National Retail Federation is predicting will reach an all-time high of US$10.14 billion this year, up from around US$8.05 billion in 2020 and US$8.8 billion in 2019. But the costume maker also saw opportunity in an under-served market, which market research firm MarketWatch predicts will grow to US$294.3 million by the end of 2026, up from US$250.1 million in 2020.

“Families have told us that these products mean a lot to them because kids are able to transform into their favorite characters and feel like everyone else on Halloween,” says Tara Hefter, president and GM of Disguise.

Few companies make adaptive costumes, she adds, and the products can be scaled globally. Currently available in the US, Disguise plans to expand the offerings to Europe, LatAm, Australia and New Zealand in the future. Next year, it will also add products from brand such as PJ Masks and Minecraft, as well as explore offerings for adults with disabilities.

Next up is making adaptive costumes a category that’s not just tied to Halloween, says Hefter.

“There’s so much that adaptive costumes can become, including growing into an every-day business,” says Hefter. “It’s opening doors for us globally with retailers, and there’s demand online for these costumes that could carry on year-round.”

About The Author
Online writer for Kidscreen. Ryan covers tech, talent and general kids entertainment news, with a passion for kids rap content and video games. Have a story that's of interest to Kidscreen readers? Contact Ryan at rtuchow@brunico.com

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