Within 24 hours of Taylor Swift’s surprise appearance at a Kansas City football game in September, Ashlee Hartley and her husband, Charlie Tighe, began gathering materials for their Halloween costumes.
A red jacket. A blond wig. A bottle of blue Gatorade.
Ms. Hartley, 31, and Mr. Tighe, 35, who live in Sarasota Springs, N.Y., hand-painted a white jacket and jeans to resemble the denim set worn by Travis Kelce, a tight end for the Kansas City Chiefs who is rumored to be dating Ms. Swift.
Ms. Hartley expects Halloween parties to be packed with doppelgängers of the couple. “I think it would be so hilarious to see 10 Taylor Swifts and 10 Travis Kelces in a room,” she said.
At the height of Barbiemania this summer, it appeared that Barbie and Ken would be the dominant couples’ costume of Halloween. This week, SAG-AFTRA discouraged its members from dressing up as characters from major movie studios in solidarity with the continuing actors’ strike.
And now an October surprise may have arrived in the form of Ms. Swift and Mr. Kelce. Social media is dotted with couples posing in red No. 87 jerseys and sequined leotards more than a week before Halloween.
“Thank you, Travis and Taylor, for giving boring straight white couples a 2nd Halloween costume,” Lucas Johnson wrote on X, formerly Twitter. (Ms. Hartley said she thinks any couple could pull off the look.)
Small online retailers say that requests for the costumes — with delivery by Oct. 31 — are surging.
“I’m up until 3 or 4 in the morning every night, customizing bodysuits,” said Angela George, 40, who lives in Portland, Ore., and sells clothing on Etsy. Already this month, she said, she has sold more than 300 pieces inspired by Ms. Swift in October, several to customers who said they intended to wear them for couples’ Halloween costume contests.
Enthusiasm is not always so strong for couples’ costumes, which an article in The New York Daily News once proclaimed “the worst part of Halloween.”
But Ms. Swift and Mr. Kelce have broad appeal, and convenient timing, working in their favor. The pairing represents a moment of alignment between two of the country’s “biggest media entertainment entities,” Nora Princiotti, a football writer for The Ringer, told The New York Times in an article earlier in October.
Many Swifties have leftover attire from dressing up to see the Eras Tour or its recent concert film, Ms. Hartley said. And reddish football jerseys are not exactly hard to come by. “It attracts sports people, it attracts non-sports people, it attracts Taylor Swift fans,” Ms. Hartley said.
Even Mr. Kelce has found the N.F.L.’s prime-time coverage of the couple to be a little bit overkill. But the pair’s exposure was a plus for Richelle Terry, 31, an elementary school teacher in Houston who was looking for a recognizable costume.
Each year she and her husband dress up as whichever celebrity couple “is the happening hashtag at that moment,” she said. Last year her husband, Chase Terry, 37, shaved his head to be the Travis Barker to her Kourtney Kardashian. This year, he grew a mustache to evoke a different Travis.
Halloween costumes have evolved from a standard stock of characters (witches, ghosts) to looks that reflect the zeitgeist. Costumes based on TV shows, comic books and movies took off in the second half of the 20th century, thanks in part to costume companies that licensed characters like Spider-Man and Snow White.
Some shoppers now want costumes that make references to social media trends from the weeks leading up to Halloween. And because such looks are less likely to be available at large retailers like Spirit Halloween and Party City, some smaller sellers have sensed an opportunity.
Stormy Kelly, 33, who lives in Miami, sells made-to-order costumes based on celebrities like Ms. Swift and Kylie Jenner through TikTok and Instagram. “I can see a paparazzi photo and have the sample made by the next morning,” she said. Her most intricate costumes can cost up to $2,000, but most sell for $200 to $300.
About half of her sales since the Eras Tour began in March have been inspired by Taylor Swift. “I’ve ditched the $50 bikinis I used to sell because these projects are so much more profitable,” she said.
When Kayla Highley, 29, who lives in Fishers, Ind., added a red jersey that says “Taylor’s Boyfriend” on the back to her Etsy shop in September, it quickly became her top-selling item. She said she had gotten about 15 inquiries in the past week asking if orders could be delivered before Halloween.
Ms. Swift and Mr. Kelce have also made appearances in Halloween décor. In one setup that was widely shared on TikTok, a skeleton wearing a Kelce jersey proposes to a skeleton in a blond wig. The scene takes place in the front yard of a house, where the skeletons are surrounded by gravestones with the names of Ms. Swift’s exes.