Remember hugs? Those were fun. The COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing practices we've all had to adopt due to it have put the brakes on hugs, but some people have found a workaround.

TMZ reports that this inflatable hippo costume is flying off the virtual shelves at online retailer HalloweenCostumes.com. The website has already seen a 500% increase in sales of the hippo suit over last year.

The site sells the costume for $120, but can you really put a price tag on hugs?

Recently, CBS Miami featured the story of a woman who purchased the costume so that she could visit and hug her mother who lives in a senior living facility in Virginia. The staff at the facility came up with the idea of using the costumes so that their residents could get hugs from their loved ones. (The costumes are sterilized between hug sessions for safety.)

The hippo is definitely adorable, but there are other options for inflatable hugging costumes if you decide that they are something that you'd like to invest in.

And then there's the ... not-so-fun news. Whether these inflatable costumes offer sufficient protection from spreading the virus is yet to be determined. Several articles have suggested that they absolutely do not, but if they are used in combination with other measures like filtering masks, they are definitely better than nothing.

In an interview in the San Antonio Current, Colleen Young, a PHD candidate in biological anthropology at the University of Missouri in Columbia said:

"It would be better than nothing, but the HEPA filters are unique because they have fiberglass intertwined in the fabric. The fiberglass traps the particles. Of course anything is better than nothing, but a lot of particles can slip through any fabric that doesn't have those intertwining fibers."

So, womp womp goes another trend. Me mindful, be safe and maybe even just dance around in your shark costume while social distancing. That's still fun.

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