Courtesy of Yandy.com, the “Nicest Neighbor” costume—which retails at $59.95—features a fitted red crop top resembling Rogers’ trademark red cardigan, a detachable collar and tie, and tight gray shorts. The model on the site is also shown with hand puppets that look like King Friday the 13th and Daniel Striped Tiger, both of which are characters from Rogers’ show. We should note that the puppets and wig featured in the costume images aren’t sold with the costume.
However, people in Rogers' hometown of Pittsburgh and beyond weren’t happy with Yandy.com’s iteration of a sexy Rogers. “NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. DO NOT WANT,” tweeted Pittsburgh radio station 961 Kiss.
“Our goal at Yandy is to create costumes that are sexy, fashion-forward and lighthearted,” Alicia Thompson of Yandy told USA Today. “We don't take ourselves too seriously and neither do our customers.”
TMZ caught up with the model who wore the costume for Yandy.com, Dessie Mitcheson, who’s been modeling sexy Halloween costumes for almost 10 years.
“I’ve made it to so many worst costume lists. I’ve never had one get taken out of measures this far though,” she told the outlet. Like Rogers, Mitcheson was born and raised in Pittsburgh. Laughing, she said, “I’m getting a lot of hate mail from Pittsburgh people saying, ‘How could you do this to Mr. Rogers.’”
She continued, “As soon as I saw the costume, I knew there was going to be people who loved it, there were going to be people that hated it, people that just judged it. But I think it’s getting blown out of proportion.”
“Mr. Rogers was all about being nice and people are being pretty mean,” she added. “I think the nicest people are always sexy. I mean I thought of his more as a father figure I guess than a sex symbol. But everyone loves Mr. Rogers.”
TMZ has also learned that Rogers' own family doesn't mind the costume. Rogers' son, John, told TMZ that while the costume is "silly" and "ridiculous," his dad had a great sense of humor and would have found it funny.
The beloved Mr. Rogers will be the focus of the Tom Hanks-starring film, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, which follows a journalist who profiles Rogers in the latter days of his career. The movie is slated for release on Nov. 22.