US kids celebrate Halloween in French couture

31st October 2006, Comments 0 comments

NEW YORK, Oct 29, 2006 (AFP) - Millions of young Americans will celebrate Halloween this year decked out in masks and costumes furnished by — shock and horror — a French company that relies on cheap Chinese labour.

NEW YORK, Oct 29, 2006 (AFP) - Millions of young Americans will celebrate Halloween this year decked out in masks and costumes furnished by — shock and horror — a French company that relies on cheap Chinese labour.

Cesar, founded in 1842, is the world leader for party costumes and outfit accessories such as the masks and wigs that are de rigeur for any self-respecting child on a trick or treat outing.

Through its US division Disguise, Cesar provides one-third of all the Halloween get-ups sold in the United States. And it's not just child's play — 40 percent of all costumes are bought by adults.

According to the National Retail Federation, Americans are expected to spend five billion dollars on this year's Halloween festivities — 50 percent up on last year's level.

The annual celebration on the night of October 31, which has long lost whatever religious or occult significance it may have had once, sees the average American spend US $21 on a costume and US $18 on sweets.

That means that this is the busiest time of the year at Disguise's headquarters on the 10th floor of a New York office block, where it has a vast showroom of costumes of every description.

"Americans start looking for their costumes at the end of August. We have costumes from cradle to grave," said Jay Nafman, national sales manager for Disguise.

Hélène Prichta, a French woman who recently moved to New York with her husband and three young daughters, is out shopping for a cat's costume, along with a Superman mini-cape and paw mittens, for the family cat.

Nafman explains that for boys, this year's sought-after costumes are inspired by the hit Disney movie franchise 'Pirates of the Caribbean'.

"Before, little boys just wanted to be a pirate, any pirate. Now they want to be Captain Jack Sparrow," he said.

"Before, Halloween was more for children; now it's for the whole family. For instance, you can see a toddler in a stroller as Superman, and his father pushing it also as Superman," he added.

In New York, a parade that started in Greenwich Village in 1973 has now become the largest Halloween celebration in the United States, attracting more than two million people.

About 80 percent of the costumes sold by the Cesar group are made in China, but its designs stem in-house from a workshop near San Diego, California.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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