Donald Trump might not be on track to win the US election next month but he is making a strong showing in Australia in the lead up to Halloween.
Masks of the brash presidential candidate are selling out and many costume suppliers are urgently importing fresh supplies from overseas in a bid to keep up with demand.
Mask of his rival Hillary Clinton are also doing well but this is one race Mr Trump is winning hands-down.
It’s a curious trend in a nation thousands of kilometres away from the United States and where Halloween is not celebrated widely.
Costume shops and suppliers say they completely failed to anticipate the demand.
One big supplier, Tomfoolery in Victoria, sold 400 Donald Trump masks in eight weeks but still has plenty of Hillary.
Tomfoolery spokeswoman Yvonne Fragiacomo said they had underestimated the public interest in Mr Trump when they placed their orders at the start of the year.
“I never realised how many people followed him – I am really surprised,” she said.
One big Australian online costume store, costumes.com.au, said its warehouse had been emptied of this year’s hot-ticket item.
It sold 530 Trump and Clinton masks, with the controversial Republican candidate outselling his Democratic rival by three to one.
The store is now getting masks flown in from the US to sate buyer demand.
“We have been restocking when we can, but we suspect the volume of sales has perhaps even surprised the whole market as we haven’t been able to get consistent stock,” company co-founder Nathan Huppatz said.
‘It is not a pretty mask’
In Perth, the Australian capital city furthest away from the US, only one Donald Trump mask was available at five costume stores across the metropolitan area.
“They have walked out the door,” Doyles Fancy Costumes manager Trent Pavlos said.
“It’s not a pretty mask.”
But American-born Gordon Flake, chief executive of the Perth USAsia Centre, can see plenty of reasons why Aussies want to dressing up as the ‘Donald’.
He said it showed how closely Australians were following American politics and also the growing popularity of Halloween.
“Candidly, they are far more engaged in the US election than they were in the Australian election,” he said.
Mr Flake also pointed out that the true spirit of Halloween is to dress up to scare away evil spirits.
“It’s about being as scary as possible and Trump has given us grist to the mill,” he said.
“He is both in appearance and demeanour cartoonish. That itself lends itself to a mask.”
But as for the preference of Trump masks over Clinton, Mr Flake belives it is just a gender issue.
“There’s probably more knuckled-headed males willing to put on a mask than females,” he said.