Halloween creeps closer every day and now that it's October, it's time to haul out the creepy decor and start planning parties, candy and costumes.
There's good news for local retailers: Americans are poised to spend more money on Halloween this year than in the past decade, a survey by National Retail Foundation shows. Sales of costumes, decor and other Halloween merchandise are expected to hit $8 billion, the foundation says, with 70 percent of Americans planning to celebrate the holiday. At that rate, the average person will spend around $80 total on costumes, decorations and candy.
So what characters will darken your doorway looking for treats and doling out tricks?
You'll see the traditional witches, goblins, ghouls and Goths, many of which will be zombified.
Party-bound couples will dress in themes: Barack and Michelle, ketchup and mustard, King Arthur and Guinevere, The Flintstones, Alice and the Mad Hatter, Olive Oyl and Popeye.
Toddlers will go as princesses and characters from their favorite books, movies and cartoons: “Yo Gabba Gabba,” “The Cat in the Hat,” Dora, Buzz Lightyear, “Jake and the Never Land Pirates;” or even old-school favorites such as “Power Rangers,” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.”
But if there's one huge trend for costumes this year, it's sci-fi and superheroes.
“I guess because Hollywood has pursued the superheroes so much lately, the costumes follow suit,” said Matt Dillon, co-owner of Party Galaxy, a locally owned party supply store that's been in business since the 1930s.
Favorite superhero costumes include “The Avengers” characters: Iron Man, Captain America, The Hulk and Thor. Spider-Man and Batman are also hot.
Women also are getting in on the superhero costume trend, dressing as Black Widow from “The Avengers” and Catwoman from “Dark Knight Rises,” as well as the classic female superhero: “Wonder Woman.” Batwoman, Supergirl and Batgirl also are sure to be popular this year.
You're likely to see some Katniss Everdeens from “The Hunger Games,” and, especially among the teen girl set, an eye-full of Lady Gagas, Nicki Minajes and Ke$has.
Also popular among women are fantasy and storybook characters such as Alice and The Queen of Hearts from “Alice in Wonderland,” Snow White from “Snow White and the Huntsman,” and Dorothy from “The Wizard of Oz.”
On teen boys, expect gory masks, Dillon said. On grown men, masks are cool, too, but are often less gory and more political and pop culture-themed.
For tween and teen girls, many of the most popular costumes are also the sexiest, with micro-mini skirts and plunging necklines. To tame down a too-sexy costume, Dillon suggests buying it a size too big for more coverage. Add leggings or tights and a tank top to cover some overexposed areas.
People are just getting started thinking about their costumes this year, but “Star Wars” seems to be another strong costume theme, said Dean Johnson, owner of Costume Fun House. He's already rented three costumes from the movie franchise.
Costume Fun House sells some costumes, but its primary business is costume rentals. Johnson said rentals start about $35 and go up to about $75. The shop offers a Halloween special that includes a weeklong costume rental from Oct. 25 to Nov. 1, for the price of one day.
At Costume Fun House, which has been locally owned by Johnson's family since its opening in the '70s, Halloween is just the start of costume-rental season. After Halloween, Johnson focuses on renting his inventory of about 200 Santa suits, elf costumes and Mrs. Claus costumes during December.
Then, it's all eyes on rabbits until after Easter.
All told, Johnson said he has somewhere in the neighborhood of 10,000 costumes in his 3,000 square-foot shop at 4917 NW 23.
Here are a few tips for creating a perfect Halloween makeup look from makeup artist Sharon Tabb of The Makeup Room Agency in Oklahoma City.
Use the right kind of makeup. Theatrical makeup has several advantages over your day-to-day makeup for Halloween use. It often has more pigment for more opaque coverage. Theatrical makeup is less likely to stain your skin. For example, if you use red lipstick for blood around your mouth, you’ll likely end up with a stained red beard the next day. And it’s often easier to work with.
Practice makes perfect. Make yourself up a few days before Halloween to make sure you know what you’re doing and have all the makeup items you need.