The time has come to put aside mundane attire and don a costume or two, as Malta gears up for one of its largest cultural events, Carnival.
Carnival revelries kicked off on Friday with eager crowds queuing up to catch the ferry that will sweep them away to a fun weekend in Gozo.
Meanwhile, others made their way to the capital city, Valletta. Despite the annual excitement, this year’s demand for Carnival costumes, though “good," falls short of the figures seen in the previous year.
Speaking to WhosWho.mt, the owner of Once Upon a Time in San Gwann remarked on the positive business climate while acknowledging that last year’s Carnival yielded better results. “This is because last year was the first proper Carnival after two years of COVID-19.”
Similarly, WhosWho.mt caught up with the owner of Bemania Party Supplies, situated in Constitution Street, Mosta. Disappointedly, she remarked that “business was slow because the area was only recently opened for access.”
Despite this, she also noted that demand, when compared to the previous year, had decreased.
On the other hand, Pukka Store in Iklin reported strong demand. She added that from Halloween up until Carnival, it's the most popular time at her store. “It’s a miracle if I manage to sleep five hours at the moment; we are highly busy.”
She pointed out that last year, when compared to earlier years, she sold fewer adult costumes. “This year, adult costume sales are on the same level as pre-pandemic numbers. Luckily, children’s costume sales were always doing well.”
With each passing Carnival season, many think of different costume ideas. Some take the liberty of creating one themselves, while some enthusiasts opt for timeless classics.
This year, the costume shops report a surge in demand for children’s costumes inspired by popular characters from Harry Potter, Pokemon, Paw Patrol, Marvel Superheroes, Barbie, Stitch, Supermario, and Disney Princesses.
Meanwhile, adults are going the satirical route by embracing roles such as prison inmates, priests, and sheiks. Other costumes such as that of a policeman and ninja also retained their popularity.
‘Costumes sell all year round’
While these costume shops are sought after immensely during this period, what happens when floats go back to the warehouse and the colors in the street fade away?
With the ever-growing love for Halloween, costume shops get another chance to market and sell their products, but not only.
“Although Carnival is for a short time, we still keep all our costume and accessories inventory available at the shop and online,” said the Once Upon a Time shop owner. He explains that costumes sell all year round.
While the majority are bought and used for school concerts, some are bought for corporate events, themed parties, hens and bachelor parties, birthday events, St. Patrick's Day, Oktoberfest, and also Christmas.
Echoing this sentiment, Bemania caters for different events and parties, and is not solely dedicated to Carnival. The owner adds that accessories remain highly popular throughout the year.
Meanwhile, the Pukka Store owner told WhosWho.mt that she is the “only store in Malta that caters for costumes only.”
She says that the shop operates from September to June, in line with school semesters.
Nonetheless, just like the other shops, she has a demand for accessories, lots of hens and bachelors costumes. “I also get a lot of requests from teachers for generic costumes and accessories such as tutus and headbands.”