It’s nostalgic, yet obscure.
And as far as Pittsburgh-themed Halloween costumes go, it may be one of the best.
A fan of weird and eye-catching costumes, Maggie Graham, a Who’s Next Communications honoree, was chatting about a holiday tradition a few weeks ago when inspiration struck — she could dress up as the Eat’n Park Christmas star commercial.
It’s part of every Yinzer kid’s childhood, Graham said. There’s even a Pittsburgh Dad episode where he says it’s not time for Christmas until “that Eat’n Park Star commercial” is on.
“That’s what it really was for my family,” she said, of growing up in Greensburg.
It’s still a family tradition. Graham said her family will text her sister, Katie Key, when the commercial is back, since Key — who loved the costume idea and helped Graham design it — can’t see it air from her home near Raleigh, N.C.
Graham said she typically isn’t a Christmas-before-Thanksgiving (or even before Halloween) type of person. But she made an exception this time.
“Since I’m a Christmas tree, I’m already out,” she joked, adding she was grateful for early holiday supplies at the craft store, so she could assemble the look.
Graham wore her tree costume to three Halloween parties this weekend. Friends who grew up in the area got her costume right away, she said, adding that at the first party, she still had her Eat’n Park sign in her purse when she walked in. But one friend knew right away: “Oh my gosh, are you the Eat’n Park Christmas tree?”
People shared stories about the commercial with Graham, and she said posts of her costume are the most-liked thing on all of her social accounts. Even in the marketing world, nostalgia is really popular right now, said Graham, who owns communication consulting firm Meet Maggie.
Eat’n Park noticed her costume, too.
“When the star reached the top and the tree lit up, we got the same goosebumps as we get from the animated commercial every year,” Spokesperson Kevin O’Connell told The Incline via email. “To our knowledge, we have never seen a Christmas Star Halloween costume before, although we did have a tree mascot costume many years ago.”
So what do you get for having one of the most nostalgic costumes in town? Eat’n Park told its followers about her costume and gave Graham a gift card.
But when she entered one costume contest this weekend, Graham only received an honorable mention. There weren’t enough people who grew up in Pittsburgh there, Graham laughed.
“Anyone who’s a transplant didn’t get it,” she said. “I’m not just a Christmas tree, I’m the most important Christmas tree.”