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Associated Press photos
A song by Norwegian brothers Vegard, center, and Bard Ylvisaker has created a large market for fox costumes after the video was viewed more than 150 million times.

Fox meme a costume hit

Viral video spawns boost in sales for Halloween retailers

A custom-made headpiece similar to the one worn in a viral video is part of the boom in sales of fox-themed Halloween costumes.

– What does the fox say? Ka-ching at the moment, at least for some Halloween costume sellers and two Norwegian TV hosts who asked the question in a goofy video that landed them on U.S. talk shows and music charts.

Funny brothers Vegard and Bard Ylvisaker, known as Ylvis (ILL-vis), elevated the woodland creature in early September and have scored more than 150 million YouTube views of them prancing in fox suits singing: “Ring-ding-ding-ding-dingeringeding! Gering-ding-ding-ding-dingeringeding!”

That, coming so close to Halloween, has the mysterious-sounding fox going tail to tail for meme-of-the-holiday with twerking teddy bears, the more modest companions of the barely dressed Miley Cyrus at the Video Music Awards.

Spirit Halloween, with strong online sales and more than 1,050 stores across the country and Canada, is among those doing a brisk business in fox costumes, bushy tails and a furry head piece that looks remarkably like the one worn by the duo.

Spirit sold out of some popular fox costumes and accessories online after the video struck, said Lisa Barr, the Halloween company’s senior director of marketing.

“Although fox is selling out, Twerkin’ Teddy (a tongue-out, bear-decorated leotard) is selling out even faster,” she said.

Online lingerie retailer Yandy has seen a 227 percent increase over last year in sales of its exclusive Sexy Fox costume for women – into the hundreds at $245 each.

The fox, it appears, was enjoying a boost before the shaggy-haired Norwegians put together their disco-like gyrations to promote their late-night show, mockingly lamenting: “Ducks go blub and the seal goes ow, ow, ow. But there’s one sound that no one knows. What does the fox say?”

The last thing the Ylvisakers expected was to become godfathers of the fox – a word, by the way, that translates to “rev” in Norwegian and is slang for joint, of the smoking variety.

“There have been speculations that we were under the influence at the time we wrote the song, but I’m sorry, that’s not the case,” Bard, 32, deadpanned in a telephone interview from Oslo. “It would have sounded much more rock ’n’ roll.”

At least one Halloween merrymaker is more than a little giddy. Her name? Shelby Fox, who lives in Los Angeles.

“Oh yes, I’m very excited,” said the 26-year-old, lifelong collector of select fox stuff. “When the video came out, so many people sent it to me. Personally, I think it’s just a really cute animal.”

Shelby Fox won’t be going full-on fox for Halloween but will definitely riff on her namesake.

“I think it’s going to come more down to me wearing ears and a tail and doing some combination of more normal clothing. I’m definitely not doing the sexy fox or anything,” she laughed.

Sarah Segal was on vacation in Mexico when things got truly foxy after Ylvis.

“I was in a taxi and the driver had the radio on,” she said. “I heard this song and I thought to myself, ‘Is this a children’s song?’ It was so odd. I didn’t know what it was, then I looked it up.”

Then Segal, the public relations manager for Cafe Press, hunted down fox items on the site and came up with more than 2,000 for sale. That, she said, is a lot.

Comparatively speaking, though, “Twerking teddy has gone from zero to 60 for us. The fox has been more of a slow progression. People are obviously reacting to both of those. People like animals. Last year it was Grumpy Cat.”

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