Superheroes and witches take tops this year in Halloween costume popularity, but creativity rules

Photo submitted by LeeAndra Smith Kenzie and Lyanna Smith dress in costume during a recent visit to Walt Disney World. The Smith family from Marietta enjoys coming up with creative ways to celebrate Halloween.

With more than 179 million Americans planning to partake in Halloween festivities, up from 171 million last year, spending is slated to reach a record high, according to the National Retail Federation.

This year, consumers are expected to spend $9.1 billion, up from $8.4 billion in 2016.

“Americans are planning to spend more than ever as they gear up for Halloween,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “Retailers are helping customers celebrate in style with a huge selection of costumes, candy and decorations to cater to ghosts and goblins of all ages.”

Judy Sharp, manager of the Marietta Kmart, said many Halloween and fall decorations have already been snatched up and the costume aisle is slowly being depleted to make way for Christmas.

“People are out shopping and starting to buy candy and all that,” she said. “As far as the costumes, superheroes are really popular. Really anything that has to do with a new movie that came out is popular this year.”

According to the NRF, the top costume for children is reported to be an action hero or superhero, while the top pick for adults is a witch. Pets will not be left behind, with 10 percent of consumers dressing their pet as a pumpkin. Other popular costumes include zombies, pirates, Star Wars characters and Wonder Woman.

Still, not everyone hits the big box department stores because sometimes that unique gem can be found at yard sales or secondhand stores.

Heidi Lannigan and Kaleigh Scott, employees of First Settlement Physical Therapy in Marietta, were on the hunt for ’80s-style prom dresses at Goodwill Monday.

“We’ll dress up at the office, probably on Halloween, and thought this would be a fun theme,” said Scott, who held up a peach chiffon number.

The pair said they intended to go all out, with teased hair and blue eye shadow.

Photo submitted by LeeAndra Smith Brad and LeeAndra Smith go all out for a party at the Peoples Bank Theatre. The couple will host a fundraising event at the theater this month.

Lannigan found the perfect strapless, floor-length dress, complete with a multitude of sequins.

“Oh and look at these shoes,” she said, holding up a pair of silver oxfords. “These are perfect; this is my lucky day.”

Goodwill manager Judi Luke said they get a lot of Halloween costume donations and have a hard time keeping them on the floor.

“We will put out vintage clothes that we think might be good for a costume, like for a zombie or something. And we get some kids’ costumes. But as soon as we get them, they’re gone,” she said.

The Smith family from Marietta also prefers to think outside the box when coming up with unique costumes.

“Our family is very theatrical. We have always enjoyed dressing up at Halloween,” offered LeeAndra Smith, who, with husband Brad, hosts a Halloween get-together every year. “Brad and I grew up in the Bible Belt and Halloween had become very tame. There wasn’t any trick-or-treat anymore. We were so excited when we moved here and saw how big Halloween is celebrated.”

Their two children, Kenzie and Lyanna, seventh-graders at Marietta Middle School, also love dressing up.

“It’s a challenge each year to find the ‘perfect’ costume. This year the girls are going as a zombie and Star Butterfly…Brad and I are still not 100 percent sure,” Smith said. “We try to not buy costumes off the shelf; we like to be different.”

LeeAndra said she has made several of the girls’ costumes by hand, often taking pieces they already have and embellishing them.

“We also have a friend, Angela Bailes at Just Sew Peachy, who has made several of our costumes. So, sometimes we can throw together something in an hour and sometimes it might be a couple of weeks,” she said.

According to the NRF survey, consumers plan to spend $3.4 billion on costumes, $2.7 billion on candy, another $2.7 billion on decorations and $410 million on greeting cards.

Among Halloween celebrants, 71 percent plan to hand out candy, 49 percent will decorate their home or yard, 48 percent will wear costumes, 46 percent will carve a pumpkin, 35 percent will throw or attend a party, 31 percent will take their children trick-or-treating, 23 percent will visit a haunted house and 16 percent will dress pets in costumes.

Top costumes

¯ Children

1. Action/superhero.

2. Batman character/princess.

3. Animals (cat, dog, monkey).

4. Spider-Man.

5. Star Wars.

6. Witch.

7. Pirate/Marvel superhero* (excluding Spider-Man).

8. Disney Princess.

9. Ghost.

10. Wonder Woman.

¯ Adults

1. Witch.

2. Batman Character (Batman, Catwoman, Harley Quinn, etc.).

3. Animal (Cat, Dog, etc.). 4. Pirate.

5. Marvel Superhero (Spider-Man, Captain America, etc.).

6. Vampire.

7. Zombie.

8. DC Superhero* (excl. Batman, Wonder Woman)/Star Wars Character.

9. Slasher Movie Villain (Jason, Scream, etc.).

10. Wonder Woman.

¯ Pets

1. Pumpkin.

2. Hot dog.

3. Dog/Lion/Pirate.*

4. Bumble Bee.

5. Devil.

6. Batman character.

7. Ghost.

8. Cat.

9. Witch.

10. Star Wars character.

* = tie

Source: National Retail Federation.