cost of a Halloween costume
the best thing about Halloween?
Dressing up. It's your opportunity
to scare your friends, spook your neighbors or let your freak-flag fly for one
night as you take on a persona and style completely unlike your daywear.
And do we ever enjoy this holiday. Halloween is the
second-biggest decorating holiday. Americans are expected to spend
$3.29 billion for Halloween this year, according to the National
Retail Federation. The average consumer will spend $48.48 on holiday
merchandise, up from $43.57 last year.
what will dressing up cost this year? We scoured the Web and talked to managers
of famous costume stores to find out what's in this Halloween, and how much will
it cost to achieve the look.
and Spiderman return
Kevin Pohle, owner of the Wizard's
Chest in Denver, says superheroes such as Spiderman and Star Wars
characters such as the Jedi Knights and Darth Vader are popular again
this year with the boys. For girls, fairies and princesses are perennial
favorites, along with a new trend toward "scary costumes,"
The top picks in hot spots this year:
Spiderman and Star Wars characters.
Costume prices generally
range from $15 to $150. If you have more money to burn however, the Wizard's Chest
offers a Super Deluxe Darth Vader costume for $1,000! Complete with a voice-altering
mechanism, the costume is sure to be impressive at any Halloween party.
Feeling thrifty? Dress up like Napoleon Dynamite! Wigs and dork
glasses are just a few of the accessories the Wizard's Chest offers.
They also carry makeup, capes, fake weapons, an array of gloves,
wands and jewelry, "plus all the necessary details that make
a costume, such as flapper beads or the heart clock for the Tin
Man from the 'Wizard of Oz,'" he says. Wigs range from $10
Rent or ruin
Boston Costume, a Massachusetts staple
in strange styles for more than 20 years, offers over 50,000 rental costumes.
manager Terry Anderson says he expects the "sexy" costumes to be popular
yet again this year. While pimps and scantily-clad Lil' Bo Beeps are expected
hits, so are Ali G costumes, superheroes like the Fantastic Four and Batman. For
rentals, prices range from $45 to $95 ($125 up to $300 for premium costumes) and
retail costumes go for $45 to $75. Boston Costume also offers an array of accessories,
including masks, boas, wigs, Egyptian armbands and even body latex paint.
renting for $45 will get a higher-quality costume than you could purchase, quality
is not the only consideration. It depends on what party you plan to attend. So
if you plan on bobbing for severed heads, buy. Sharing high-blood tea with the
Ghouls just wanna have
In Austin, Texas, one costume emporium, Lucy
in Disguise, is open year-round. Available for rent or purchase, most of their
Halloween costumes run $5 up to $65 for rentals and sell for $10 to $700, depending
on how many pieces there are, says Rio Jennings, store manager. Like the Wizard's
Chest, the Darth Vader costume, also complete with the voice-altering mechanism,
goes for a grand. "It's actually hard for people to get into it; it has so
many layers," Jennings says. "But it looks just like him."
Vader isn't the most expensive costume in the store. Unfortunately for ogre wannabes,
one big, green, monster suit costs customers a hefty chunk of change - that'll
be $1,100, please.
On the cheaper side, Lucy in Disguise
offers a wide range of accessories for the do-it-yourselfers out there just looking
for a wand or wig. Customers can find anything from $3 garters to $6 gold scepters
or $13 parasols.
Popular (and cheaper) costumes for this Halloween include
Star Wars characters, superheroes like Spiderman and Batman, and even disco outfits.
An adult Chewbacca costume rents for $45 and sells for $100, while Princess Leia
rents for $20 and sells for $50. Spiderman will cost you $20 to $25 to rent and
$76 to own.
Jennings estimates that traditional favorites
like vampires and devils will be popular again this year.
Ghost in the machine
If waiting in line
at a costume shop is unappealing, you can look online. Lillian
Vernon's Web site has a huge costume selection including baby Winnie the Pooh
for $35, Darth Vader and clone trooper child costumes for $35 to $60, and Trinity
and Neo adult costumes for $38 each.
While you're online, look at 9mmsfx,
a specialty contact lens supplier or Lensesbymail.
You wouldn't want to wear these contacts every day though-- lenses are flecked,
swirled, cat-shaped, lizard-shaped, spiderwebbed, all black, all red, all white,
ringed with Jaw-like teeth and can even be glow-in-the-dark! These contacts are
interesting accessories but can be expensive. A pair of these lenses runs from
about $35 to $350.
Sparky gets spooky
Your pet can be an accessory too. After all, everyone needs companionship,
even the undead. Pet costume kits are available including superheroes, kings,
devils, princesses, vampires and clowns. The pet costume kits sell for $6 to $16.
Before you shove Sparky into one of these getups, there are
a few things you need to check -- or your Halloween might be spent in a veterinary
"Most of the pet costumes you buy at the store
are pretty safe," says Dr. Samantha Beck, veterinarian and medical director
of VCA Boca Del Mar Animal Hospital in Boca Raton, Fla. "You want to watch
out for hanging strings, tinsel, ribbon and feathers." These items can cause
choking and internal problems.
"Check that elastic bands
aren't too tight and that the costume doesn't interfere with a leash or hang in
the pet's ears or eyes. Pets going trick-or-treating should be wearing reflective
collars or reflective tape on their costumes to protect them from traffic."
Spooks on a shoestring
For those doing Halloween on a budget, a good cape and a mask
or painting your face will do the trick; or just buy the bare essentials
to accessorize an outfit you already have.
Editorial assistant Leslie Hunt contributed to