Red light or green light?
Costumes based on Netflix's smash hit "Squid Game" have soared in popularity this Halloween - and searches for baby costumes based on the ultra-violent Korean drama are currently No. 1 on Google's top-trending rankings.
Google searches for "Squid Game Halloween costume" have spiked 450% in the U.S. the past week, according to the internet giant. In addition to being the top-trending Halloween costume search overall, "Squid Game" is also No. 1 for baby costumes, per Google.
After "Squid Game," the top-trending baby costume searches this week were: Little Red Riding Hood, spider, Peter Pan and Addams Family. Overall, "Squid Game" was the top U.S. costume search, followed by gorilla, Britney Spears, carnage and venom (the last two related to Sony's recently released antihero flick "Venom: Let There Be Carnage").
Among the top "Squid Game" baby costume search results is a long-sleeve baby bodysuit (pictured above), available for $25.95 in sizes ranging from newborn to 18 months from etailer Artist Shot. At this point, however, you're not going to get it in time for Oct. 31.
As it happens, "Squid Game" mania is providing a spillover tailwind effect for anything squid-related: A baby pullover red squid Halloween costume from Hyde & Eek! Boutique ($25 at Target) pops up in searches for "Squid Game" costumes even though it's not even tied to the Netflix show.
Meanwhile, for some schoolkids in New York, "Squid Game" costumes have become verboten: Three elementary schools in Central New York banned students from wearing the costumes because of the brutal violence depicted in the show.
"It would be inappropriate for any student to wear to school a Halloween costume from this show because of the potential violent messages aligned with the costume," Fayetteville-Manlius School District Superintendent Dr. Craig Tice said in a statement to USA Today. According to Tice, district staffers had observed students mimicking games from the show during recess, raising red flags for administrators.
Netflix says "Squid Game" is its biggest-ever original TV show: The company said 142 million member households sampled the show in its first four weeks of release, setting a new record. A caveat: That tally counts anyone who watched at least two minutes of "Squid Game."
So far, Netflix has not officially announced a Season 2 order for "Squid Game," but that seems certain. In a recent interview with the U.K.'s Guardian, show creator Hwang Dong-hyuk confirmed talks for a second season. "Of course there is talk. That's inevitable because it's been such a success," he said, adding drolly, "It's possible that I have to do season two to become as rich as 'Squid Game's' winner."
Netflix paid $21.4 million for "Squid Game" and estimates the series will deliver $891 million in what it calls "impact value." That's according to confidential internal data that was leaked to Bloomberg. Netflix fired an employee it said had accessed the info and shared it outside the company; the employee denies they shared the data with Bloomberg and filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board alleging Netflix retaliated against them for protesting Dave Chappelle's "The Closer."
In "Squid Game," set in modern-day Korea, 456 contestants in dire financial straits are invited to compete in a deadly competition pitting them against each other in a series of children's games. The winners of the game - organized by some sort of secret cabal - are promised a cut of the ₩45.6 billion prize pool (about $38.8 million at current exchange rates).