Witches, superheroes and princesses will fill neighborhoods on Halloween night, hearkening back to traditional costume trends, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation.
More than 5 million adults plan to dress as a witch this year and 2.9 million will dress as a Batman character, the survey says. Princesses, animals and superheroes top the list for tiny costumed characters.
Americans are expected to spend $2.6 billion on Halloween costumes stores, the survey says. The average person will spend $75.03 on the total Halloween celebration. That number is slightly lower than last year's average of $79.82.
Karen Grizzard, owner of Party Station in Newport News, says she is seeing similar trends toward the traditional in her store.
"They're going more conservative again," she says. "Thank goodness, we're kind of getting away from the sexy look. They had gone way too far with the sexy thing. They had pre-teen costumes that were sexy."
Superheroes, witches and vampires are big sellers at Party Station, along with men searching for Duck Dynasty costumes.
"The men like costumes that are easy, and they like to be manly," Grizzard says.
Zombies continue to be a huge hit among customers, too, she says.
"Another trend this year is that our customers are telling us that they want to shop local," she says. "We have heard that so much. Shoppers are really starting to shop where they know their money will stay in the community, which, to me, is really good."
And, like the National Retail Federation survey indicates, shoppers are being a bit more careful with their money this Halloween.
"I think people are shopping wiser," Grizzard said. "They're thinking about what they're buying. They're being a bit more conservative with their dollar. With what is going on in the economy, what would you expect?"Go homemade
Thrift stores are still a big hit for Halloween shoppers.
Amanda Bartley, of Newport News, is going with the "Star Wars" theme this year, and she found all of the pieces to make her costumes at a local thrift store.
"I found a brown hoodie to turn my 2-year-old into a Jedi knight, a lion costume to turn my 8-month-old into an Ewok, and a graduation gown for me to be Leia," she said.
Even if you don't want to piece together a costume from scrap materials, thrift stores are a great place to find used Halloween costumes in their complete form.
Children's consignment stores, such as Twice Upon A Time in York County, are advertising large stocks of gently used Halloween costumes, as well.Tricks for cheap treats
Regina Novickis, an employee with the website promotionalcodes.com, is organizing an office-wide costume-swap with a co-worker.
"Get with friends to trade kid and adult costumes or coordinate a swap within your neighborhood or at your office," she recommends. "Not only will others appreciate the money-saving idea, but you'll likely score a great costume for free."