It's the law of Halloween. The most popular costumes always spawn "sexy" versions. And this year's most popular costume by a landslide is Big Bird.
After four decades as a kids' icon, the feathered yellow muppet has made a comeback--first a topic of presidential debate, and later as the hottest costume of 2012. The latest surprise is his reincarnation as a "fantasy" costume for daring women.
The website Yandy.com, a retailer of lingerie and Halloween costumes that look like lingerie, features a "yellow bird" outfit that's not very kid-friendly.
Imagine your favorite Muppet as a bachelor-party surprise guest. Those fuchsia-and-orange chicken legs are now thigh-high stockings. And those feathers are now a matted down "cuddle plush mini dress."
Yandy has labeled the costume "exclusive yellow dress and stockings" but those floppy bird feet attached to the stockings' ankles are a dead giveaway. Big Bird's got a brand new bag.
The costume, which retails at $34.95, does not include the Big Bird headband. The two googly eyes and a familiar beak--dainty enough to keep attention focused elsewhere--are sold separately on the site for $9.95.
After discovering the get-up, Big Bird's bosses at Sesame Workshop were not pleased. As of Thursday, Sesame's legal team had issued a cease-and-desist order to the site, according to the New York Daily News. "We have contacted the sellers of the infringing costumes demanding that they stop producing and selling these (obvious) imitations," a Sesame official told the News.
Since the costume doesn't directly reference Big Bird, Yandy may be working around copyright, as the News suggests. As of Friday, Yandy.com still had its "exclusive yellow dress and stockings" costume up for sale, though now without the googly-eyes and beak headpiece. The headpiece--which is not at all risque on its own--is made by Disguise, an authorized Sesame licensee, according to Sesame Workshop officials. It's still available for sale on the site, though the model wearing it is now only featured from the neck up.
Big Bird is not the first children's character to inspire adult-friendly Halloween innovations. Yandy's "pin-up mouse" boasts some obvious Minnie-inspired dots over its few inches of fabric. And have you checked out Mr. Potato Head's legs lately?
But right now everyone wants a piece of Big Bird (sorry kids). He killed it during a recent cameo on Saturday Night Live, and became the most viral takeaway from the first presidential debate, after Mitt Romney's controversial remark about cutbacks to Sesame's mothership, PBS.
Within 24 hours, Big Bird was big news. "We couldn't help but be surprised by … how viral the whole Big Bird coverage became in such a short amount of time," Sherrie Westin, executive vice president of Sesame Workshop, told Politico after the debate.
Despite competition from the second debate's viral scandal--"binders full of women"--the bird is set to win the popularity contest come October 31. As of this week, retailers are reporting sold-out Big Bird costumes. Maybe it's because of the yellow giant's "bipartisan appeal," as Politico has noted.
Or maybe it's because even the fans of ridiculous "sexy" costumes would draw the line at Sexy Three-Ring Binder.