Local costume shops say expect to see brain-eating zombies knocking on doors
this Halloween as ragged costumes and decomposing corpse makeup fly off the
Released in late September, a survey by the National Retail Federation found seven out of 10 Americans, or 71.5 percent, will celebrate Halloween 2012 in some fashion.
That number is up from 68.6 percent in 2011.
Costumes are arguably the most important aspect of taking part in Halloween, though collecting candy comes in a close second.
Commercially known as a children's holiday, costumers are noticing Halloween is gaining in popularity in adult circles.
"It's become more of an adult holiday," said Mark Miller, owner of Perfect Occasion Costumes & Magic Emporium, 15919 W. High St. in Middlefield.
"It's also become a very large drinking holiday with bars hosting Halloween costume contests. We've got probably 90 percent adults to 10 percent kids."
Buck Bresler, owner of Illusions Magic & Costume, said parents with young children don't want to spend $40 on a children's costume.
"They go trick-or-treating for an hour, so they're only going to spend about $10 or $12," he said. "Older people who go out to parties or whatever want to have a better costume and will spend $60 or $70."
Driving a lot of costume choices is what is popular on television, Miller said. Shows like AMC's "The Walking Dead" are likely behind the popularity of zombies this year.
Bresler and Miller said they're seeing more professional makeup being sold as people test out gruesome zombie faces and bleeding injuries.
Miller attributes the interest in higher-quality makeup to reality shows like SyFy's "Face Off," which has professional makeup artists compete against each other to try and create the best makeup looks using their skills. Some tasks the artists must do include creating a horror villain and beings from other worlds.
In the NRF survey, the top three adult costumes of 2012 are witches, vampires and pirates. Topping the children's list are princesses, Batman and Spider-man. Americans will spend $2.87 billion on costumes in 2012.
Family pets are even getting a special Halloween ensemble, with pumpkin, devil and hot dog ranking the highest for pet costumes. According to the survey, Americans are expected to spend $370 million this year on pet costumes.
Also driving costume choice is originality, Bresler said.
"You'll always see that. People are all over the board," he said. "Either everyone wants to be something different or they want to be what they saw on TV last night."
Earlier this month Bresler had a man call him up and ask if he had an apple or phone costume.
"I asked him, 'What do you want to be an iPhone 5?' and he said, 'Oh, you guessed.' " Bresler said. "It's silly, but it's fun."
September to November is the largest retail time for permanent costume shops. Miller said his shop also services local high school theater departments and regional theater guilds.
"We've been pretty steady for most of the month," he said. "Most people don't start thinking about Halloween until October, and then the last 10 days before the 31st are really crunch time. Most costume shops stay open later because people don't get off work until 5 p.m."
The average American consumer will spend $79.82 on Halloween candy, costumes and decorations, according to the NRF's survey.
The survey also found costume ideas come from a varied list including blogs, 4.5 percent; Twitter, 4.8 percent; habit/same each year, 6.7 percent; Pinterest, 7.1 percent; current events, 7.8 percent; pop culture, 14.8 percent; Facebook, 15.2 percent; print media, 19.3 percent; friends/family, 23.7 percent; online search, 33.3 percent; and while within a retail store, 35.7 percent.
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