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Dressed to thrill: Halloween costumes

October 8, 2011
By Ashley Rittenhouse ( , The Marietta Times

Masks oozing fake blood, wigs in every color under the rainbow and costumes depicting everything from witches to fairies to pirates hang on store shelves -they are sure signs that Halloween is just around the corner.

Some see Halloween as a perfect opportunity to dress up and pretend to be something they're not, a way entering into a fantasy world for a short time. Costumes are influenced both by tradition and pop culture.

For Marietta resident Katie Hess, that means dressing up like a black cat, complete with a cat eyes mask and black collar.

"It's my favorite," she said of the holiday that falls on Oct. 31. "You get to be somebody different. (I like) the mystery behind it all."

"I have two black cats - I love cats," added Hess, 24.

According to the National Retail Federation's 2011 Halloween Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, Americans will spend $2.5 billion on Halloween costumes this year, with $1 billion being spent on children's costumes, $1.2 billion being spent on adult costumes and $310 million being spent on pet costumes.

A cat costume is the sixth most popular adult costume this year, according to the NRF, with witch, pirate and vampire costumes coming in first, second and third, respectively.

CNN reports that some costumes more unique to 2011 include Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Snooki from "The Jersey Shore," and costumes inspired by the phone app Angry Birds.

Zombies are also making a comeback due to the AMC series "The Walking Dead" and still more trick-or-treaters and partygoers will tousle their hair, don a vial of "tiger blood" and go as Charlie Sheen.

You won't catch Marietta resident Courtney Wentz in any of those costumes, though.

"I always try to go as something really original," said Wentz, 17. "A lot of people go as a witch but that's just not me."

Wentz added that she's considering dressing up as a yoga instructor for Halloween but she hasn't fully committed herself to that.

Her brother, J.D. Wentz, 16, may dress up as Colonel Sanders, the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken.

"I try to go as something funny," he said.

There aren't any Colonel Sanders costumes at the Kmart store in Marietta but there are plenty of other choices.

"The (popular) kids costumes are mainly character costumes like Transformers, Dora (the Explorer)...whatever is on TV is what they go for," said Danielle VanWey, a sales associate there.

"People like vampires for teenagers because of Twilight being out," she added.

Twilight is a series of books written by Stephenie Meyer that have been made into films which star teenage vampires.

While a vampire costume is number three on the list of most popular adult costumes, it's tied for the eighth most popular child's costume with Batman. Princess, witch and Spiderman costumes are the top three for children, according to the NRF.

Brandy Barengo's children won't be dressed as any of those this Halloween.

Barengo and her husband, Tom, make dressing up for Halloween a family affair.

Last year, they were characters from Scooby-Doo, with son Dominick portraying Scooby-Doo, daughter Bailey dressed up as Velma, Tom as Shaggy and Brandy as Daphne.

Bailey's stroller was even covered in green so it looked like the famous Mystery Machine.

This year, Brandy said, they'll all probably dress as characters from the Flintstones.

"It was cute and fun to do something all together and Dominick still talks about how dad and mom dressed up with him - he really enjoyed it," she said.



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