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Young’s e-mail address is gyoungnlj.com “pirate boy,” “witch”and the “Abdul Sheik of Arabia”-three of the Halloween costumes made by Rubie’s Costume Co.-are properly classifiable as “festive articles” that are entitled to duty-free treatment, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled on Aug. 1. Rubie’s Costume Co. v. United States, No. 02-1373. Responding to a request for classification, the U.S. Customs Service issued a directive that certain flimsy textile costumes not designed for normal wear are classifiable as “festive articles,” which, unlike fancy dress costumes, are entitled to duty-free treatment. In the Court of International Trade, Rubie’s challenged the directive as it pertained to costumes imported by its competitors, arguing that durability is irrelevant to the determination of whether a costume is an item of apparel or not. The court granted Rubie’s motion for summary judgment. Reversing, the Federal Circuit said the imports were plainly of a flimsy nature, lacked durability and were not normal articles of clothing. Unlike fancy dress costumes, they were intended solely for one-time festive occasion use and only incidentally afforded an element of covering for decency or comfort.

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