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Mall goths (also known colloquially as "spooky kids"), originally a term used as an insult, is a term used to describe a subculture (subculture used very debatably here) of "wannabe Goths" in the '90s-early 2000s who would try to imitate the goth style without actually knowing anything about the goth subculture beyond wanting to look the part. Unlike its original subculture which had its origins in Gothic Rock, Mall goths could often be found listening to Nu-Metal, Industrial Metal and Marilyn Manson.

"Mall goth" is derived from the words "mall" and "goth", referencing how many participants of the subculture would often spend time at shopping malls. In particular, it often references their buying of items from the shop Hot Topic. The term began as pejorative, connoting solely being interested in goth for its fashion, rather than the subculture itself, similar to the use of poseur.


Visually, the style is an attempt to imitate goth and shares similarities to the style, like dark clothing, dark makeup and adding certain accessories like necklaces and bracelets. There are many differences, however, noted by Goth DJ and scholar Andi Harriman, in an article for Refinery29, stated "Most Goths don't wear a lot of neon, face masks, or those over-the-knee stripy socks, basically anything Mall Goths wear"


Fashion items such as platform boots and oversized sweatshirts and trousers are common amongst mall goths, as well as striped and checkered prints. They are often associated with wearing brands such as Lip Service, Tripp, JNCO and Demonia. Chunky and platform sneakers were common, especially Buffalo.

Mall goths' hair is often dyed, particularly using Manic Panic dye. They can also be seen wearing the iconic Tripp pants, and combining aspects of other alternative fashion with theirs by adding studded bracelets and spiky collars.

Black band tees displaying the teens favorite musicians are common, with pretty minimalistic makeup, usually black eyeliner "done in a way that can only be described as racoon-esque" and simple black lipstick.


  • Spending time in malls with a Hot Topic store
  • listening to popular metal music (most notably nu-metal)


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