What will local party people be wearing this spooky season? Who better to ask then Viktor Bruzek, owner of the Halloween Store who has seen October 31 transform from a blip on the social radar to a mainstream holiday in the Czech Republic.
Bruzek, who recently opened his seventh branch, the two-floor Halloween super store Ptákoviny-Florenc, says of the trend:
“When we opened our first store on Křižovnická 8 in 2006 there were almost no Halloween parties in Prague. Nowadays most bars in Prague have them and Halloween is popular among both expats and Czechs.”
And those two groups tend to have completely differing taste when it comes to costumes, says Bruzek whose clientele is half comprised of foreigners at Halloween.
“Czechs understand Halloween in a more bloody way and buy mostly horror costumes such as Dracula, Grim Reaper, or skeletons,” he says. Foreigners, meanwhile prefer “non-bloody” costumes like pirates and cowboys.
Last year’s bestselling costume overall was Dracula; Bruzek predicts that it will be this year’s top costume once again or possibly the Grim Reaper; among women, Death Hospital Nurse is an anticipated favorite.
“We also have new Darth Vader and Ghost Indian costumes,” he adds.
Surprisingly genteel choices given the vast array of costumes available at Ptákoviny-Florenc which range from politically incorrect (Indians, Geishas) to just plain obscene (giant male anatomy, sperm bank, the Borat swimsuit) to costumes that might actually be the hit of the party: 1940s factory girl, Uma Thurman Kill Bill costume, Hannibal Lecter in straight jacket, man being eaten by shark, more Elvises than you can imagine, and, yes, Donald Trump masks.
How does Bruzek personally celebrate Halloween? “We visit the cemetery with family and with friends we go to Hangar Bar where the bar is turned into a horror flight crash accident with death pilots and death flight attendants.”
Of the recent controversy surrounding the celebration of Halloween in Czech schools and additional backlash against the holiday, he says:
“I think that it is good to support local cultural traditions that make the world more colorful. On the other hand, there is no reason to fight foreign traditions which Czech people enjoy.”