Monday, October 10, 2011


    Each Halloween there are many classic themes people use to inspire their costume choice, but every year there are some that stand out from the rest.
   This year Halloween spending is projected to rise 9 percent to $6.86 billion, according to a survey conducted by BIGResearch on behalf of the National Retail Federation trade group. There are two reasons for the increase: More Americans are celebrating the holiday, and more American adults are dressing up in costumes as part of the fun. Based on the survey, it is expected Americans will spend $1 billion on costumes this year. 
   As consumers put more focus on finding the right costume, there has been a trend to “mash up” or create unique costumes by blending elements from several existing costumes.
   For those who are either too time-pressed or not as creative to create their own costumes, don’t worry. There are plenty of costume manufacturers putting fresh twists on old themes. They find just the right elements to be recognizable, while freshening up the concept to make it look like something never seen before.
   Pirates of all kinds are very popular right now among all age groups. This pirate costume, manufactured by Roma, is a perfect example of how the right elements—boots, swords, and hats—can be used to establish the theme, but the style of the costume and the material it’s made of provide a unique twist.
   Although pirates are a very traditional Halloween theme, they have become more popular in the wake of moves such as Walt Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean.”

Retro Movies

   Movies provide much of the inspiration for Halloween costumes each year, but this year there are quite a few costumes that draw inspiration from older movies.
   One example is this Miss Scissorhands costume, which taps into several trends. It is inspired by the 1990 film “Edward Scissorhands,” which was directed by Tim Burton and starred Johnny Depp. It also has a dark, gothic look, which is also popular at the moment.
   Other older movies that are inspiring costumes this year include the 1983 film "Flashdance" and the 1984 film "Ghostbusters."

Alice in Wonderland

   Tim Burton’s movies continue to inspire many Halloween looks. Since the debut of his version of “Alice in Wonderland” last year, the Alice theme has been popular not only for Halloween, but also during the year as a theme for parties.
   There are many different versions of the Alice, Mad Hatter, and Queen of Hearts costumes sold by different manufacturers.

Charlie Sheen

   Do you have one speed, one gear, go? Perhaps you can dress up like a “total bitchin’ rock star from Mars” this Halloween. You’ll have company.
   Major media events often provide inspiration for Halloween, and Charlie Sheen’s meltdown was particularly spectacular.
   There are plenty of ways people will be putting together Sheen characters. Some will interpret Sheen’s catch phrases, while others will mimic him. To help pull the costume together, there are masks and wigs, even bowling shirts, Fedora hats, sunglasses and shirts that say “Winning.” Adding a “Goddess” on each arm can’t hurt either, but I’m afraid the Tiger Blood is sold separately.

Couples Costumes
   Another popular trend this Halloween is couples costumes. Manufacturers are creating more “his and hers” costumes that have a decidedly sexier vibe than traditional pairings.
   This “Major League” costume,  is one good example. Much of the interest in this costume will come from people who are looking to dress up like Charlie Sheen in an offbeat way. Sheen played baseball pitcher Ricky Vaughn in the 1989 movie about a fictionalized version of the Cleveland Indians.


   The flesh eaters may outnumber the blood suckers this year, as the desire to be “undead” is, er, alive and well this Halloween. We are definitely in the midst of a zombie craze.
   Luckily, consumers will find there is no shortage of zombie costumes. They range from the traditional blood and gore zombies dressed in rags to other costumes that basically take a traditional costume theme and turn it into a zombie. Think, a Zombie police officer, or a Zombie girl in her pajamas, or even the Prom King and Prom Queen.
   There are plenty of reasons for this trend, including AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” a television series about zombies, as well as popular videogames such as “Left 4 Dead.” There are costumes based on the TV series, which centers on a small group of survivors, led by Sheriff’s Deputy Rick Grimes and his family.

Royal Wedding

   Let’s face it: We don’t always have a royal wedding to gawk at. So it should come as no surprise there are costumes that will have you looking like the royal couple, Prince William and Kate Middleton, on their big day.
   The outrageous hats of wedding guests Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie also may inspire some do-it-yourself costumes this year.

Disgraced Politicians

   Vinyl masks have largely fallen out of favor, said Cheryl Kerzner, vice president of Design & Marketing at Jakks Pacific’s Disguise unit.
   According to Kerzner, this is mostly because people want to go to parties and eat and drink without having to remove their costume. For this reason, costumes with half-masks are gaining in popularity and manufacturers such as Disguise are making more of these designs.
   That said, the recent exploits of former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will likely inspire some to dust off their Schwarzenegger mask.
   Disgraced New York Congressman Anthony Weiner's sexting scandal also is sure to provide plenty of fodder for costumes.
   And the jury is still out on whether Casey Anthony will be a popular Halloween costume. A controversy was sparked earlier this year when a mask depicting Anthony, who was acquitted of murdering her two-year-old daughter Caylee, sparked a bidding war on eBay.

Katy Perry

   After making headlines with her meat costume, Lady Gaga became one of the hottest themes for Halloween costumes last year. No doubt there will be plenty of “little monsters” out and about this year dressed in both homemade Lady Gaga apparel, as well as in store-bought versions. Even domestic doyenne Martha Stewart appears to be channeling Gaga on the cover of her Halloween issue this year.
   One of the more popular takes on the Lady Gaga theme this year could be the Jo Calderone outfit that she wore to MTV's Video Music Award Show. Don a greaser wig, a white T-shirt, and a leather jacket, and you're almost there.
   Still, there will likely be some competition this year from singer Katy Perry. There are two main costumes that stores will be selling that were inspired by Perry’s “California Gurls” video.

Bridget by Roma

   This year, Roma teamed with Bridget Marquardt, star of E! Television’s reality television series “The Girls Next Door,” to create a line of high-end Halloween costumes. Most of the costumes in the line sell for more than $100, which is a bit higher than Roma’s typical pricing.
   Pictured here is a French Maid costume, but the Bridget by Roma line includes 17 costumes with themes such as a mermaid, a ringmaster, and even a bachelor costume that plays off of the idea of Hugh Hefner’s red robe.
   As more young adults wear Halloween costumes to parties, there is greater demand for higher-end costumes, according to Sam Fard, president and head designer of Roma.
   “They are willing to spend more,” Fard said. “They are worried about how they are going to look…and they want something that catches the eye.”

Angry Birds

   Without a doubt, one of the best-selling costumes this Halloween for both children and adults are the ones based on the characters in the Angry Birds game, according to Halloween costume retailers.
   According to Halloween Express spokesman Brad Butler, manufacturers were scrambling to get the Angry Birds costumes to retailers in time for Halloween. Judging by sales, it looks like it was worth the effort.
   “There is a lot of interest in the funnier stuff,” Butler said. “In particular, the Angry Bird costumes. It caught us by surprise.”
   There are Angry Bird costumes for all age groups, but adults can pick from either a costume that covers their body, or a mask that covers their head.

Harry Potter

   With the release of the final “Harry Potter” movie, there will likely be many Potter fans dressing up as their favorite characters. This is especially true for young adults, who have grown up with the series.
   Not only are there Harry costumes in various forms, but other characters such as the evil Lord Voldemort, the Death Eater, the Tree Man and the Dementor are also well represented. The costumes also vary from ones that are fairly standard issue Gryffindor Robes to more adult-takes on Potter theme.

Mad Men

   What's a “Mad Men” fan to do while pining away waiting for the show to return to the air? Dress up like characters on the show perhaps? If this idea appeals to you, you're in luck. The Mad Men Show site has a guide to creating the perfect Mad Men costume
   Some of the tips: For those dressing as Joan Holloway, choose a bright bold color. If you're more of a Betty, it advises that you must get the hair just right, and even walks you through how to style it.
   As for Don Draper, it's all about how you hold the cigarette, lighter and glass.
   You can even do a gory Mad Men costume. How? Remember Guy McKendrick's accident at the office party? The site advises, "You'll need a light suit, a sliced-up wingtip, and lots of fake blood."


   The original morphsuits were made in solid colors, but now they can be found in many different patterns including flag patterns, a rainbow tie-dye version, black and white check, and several styles specifically for Halloween, among others.
   The Halloween morphsuits are styled after popular holiday themes such as Frankenstein, witches, vampires and pumpkins.   
   Despite their all-in-one coverage, the company says it is easy to breathe, see and even drink through the Lycra.

The Black Swan

   Some costume retailers are reporting strong sales of tutu skirts. The leagues of would-be ballerinas are probably being inspired by actress Natalie Portman and her role in last year’s “The Black Swan” movie.
   If you’re not up for creating your own Black Swan costume there is this one, with jewel accents and a feathered tail and headpiece.

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