|The cost of a Halloween costume
At online retailer Lillian
Vernon, Batman costumes range from $40 to $50 for child and
adult costumes, respectively.
3. Power Rangers
The colorful jumpsuits and masks are very popular with the younger boys, according to McConahay. Power Ranger costumes retail for $24 to $40 on AnniesCostumes.com.
4. Disney princesses
"For younger girls, it's the Disney princesses," says
Aracelis Rojas, a Halloween and toys buyer for online retailer Lillian
Vernon. These costumes offer the look of Disney heroines such as
Ariel, Belle and Cinderella. On Lillianvernon.com,
one Cinderella ball costume costs $45. Other Disney princess costumes
cost around $40 to $45 on the site.
Other comic characters
This category includes The Flash, Robin, Spiderman and Thor. "These
are evergreen costumes," says Bertolino.
One deluxe Spiderman costume nets $115 at Boston Costume. Robin rentals start at $65.
6. Scary costumes
Goth costumes, witches, zombies, vampires and a recent addition, "V for Vendetta" costumes appeal to both boys and girls. At the Wizard's Chest, the black and white mask sells for $10. The black hat and cape cost $20 apiece.
Among younger kids, McConahay says that costumes inspired by Nickelodeon
TV shows, including "Dora the Explorer," "SpongeBob
SquarePants" and "Lazy Town," are popular. These
costumes sell for $20 to $50 on AnniesCostumes.com.
8. Diva costumes
Preteen girls are going for the diva look, according to Lillian Vernon's Rojas. Diva costumes on the site start at $10 and go up to $40.
Star Wars down, but not out
Both Bertolino and McConahay contended that Star Wars costumes still appeal, but are not as hot as they were last year. The recent advertisements for the individual "Star Wars" DVDs may fuel popularity for the costume, McConahay believes. "Movies push whatever's popular," she says.
Boston Costume carries various Star Wars-licensed accessories and costumes. The cheapest costume starts at $70.
Short on funds? Just accessorize.
Look in your closet and see what you could pair together with a mask, cape or set of wings. If you need help getting ideas, walk into a costume shop and browse the accessories section first, looking for items that match what you already possess. Seeing those devil horns might just remind you of that all-red outfit you have hanging in your closet.
Also look for cheap shortcuts. Buy shoe covers instead of new shoes, for instance, and replace basic costume pieces with regular clothing where possible. Alternatively, buy clothes you can use for the costume but also wear again.
Online shoppers beware
If you're buying costumes online, make sure to deal with companies
you know and trust or whose reliability (and existence) you can
verify. Obtain a company's reliability report by going online to
the Better Business Bureau's Web
For more tips on how to shop safely on the Web, read
the Bankrate feature, "6
tips for safe online shopping."