Thanks to Hollywood, politics and pop culture, a few characters are guaranteed to be on the guest list of almost any Halloween party this year: muscular superheroes, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, blood-soaked zombies and Donald Trump (or at least his hair).
And that’s children’s costumes and costumes for adults.
Halloween has become more of an adult event than ever, with more than 157 million Americans planning to spend $6.9 billion on the holiday this year, according to a recent survey by the National Retail Federation. Americans will spend $2.5 billion on costumes — including store-bought and homemade. But they will spend the most on adult costumes at $1.2 billion, compared with $950 million for children’s costumes and $350 million on pet costumes.
More than one-third of Halloween consumers already have started their shopping online, at discount stores, costume shops, and area pop-ups like Spirit Halloween, Halloween Express and Twisted Halloween.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Kansas City Star
Millennials are all in, with 70 percent planning to dress up and 48 percent planning to throw a party.
Superheroes like Batman and Captain America, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, zombies, Star Wars characters, Minions and witches will be popular choices for both children and adults.
Princess costumes are perennially a top choice, as well, with Disney’s “Frozen” characters. Pets will be decked out as pumpkins, hot dogs, Batman Dog and Kitty Potter, the Devil and bumblebees.
Kansas City Costume Co., a year-round shop that rents and sells costumes, said trending Halloween costumes are Lion and Lion Tamer couples costumes, his-and-her Steampunks (especially the goggles and top hats), 1920s outfits (flappers for women, pinstripe Italian-cut suits for men), and “being so close to Kansas,” characters from “Wizard of Oz” like Glinda the Good Witch and the Wicked Witch of the West.
There’s also been a rush on Donald Trump-esque wigs, which the costume shop describes as a strawberry-orange Dreamsicle shade in a style from Trump’s early “Celebrity Apprentice” days. At Spirit Halloween on North Oak Trafficway, it’s called the “comb-over candidate wig.”
Spirit Halloween also carries an “Olympian” and “Caitlyn” set, but Kansas City Costume Co. isn’t carrying any Caitlyn Jenner/Bruce Jenner costumes.
“Our client base is not the kind of people who would want that kind of thing,” said Ashley Silver, retail manager.
Outfits based on Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who went to jail for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, can be put together from thrift store finds, Silver said. One website recommends graphic T-shirts, thermals, maxi skirts and athletic shoes with maybe a scrunchie to pull off a Kim Davis look.
Masks are popular at many pop-up Halloween shops because they are easy. Scary clown masks have hit the market, as well masks that make a political statement, from Sarah Palin to Hillary Clinton to President Barack Obama, even Barakula (a vampire Barack Obama).
Nine out of 10 Halloween shoppers also will buy candy, spending a total of $2.1 billion, and consumers will spend $330 million on greeting cards. Two in five celebrants will decorate their home or yard with total spending on decorations to reach $1.9 billion, according to the National Retail Federation survey.
Still, predictions say total sales will be down from 2014’s $7.4 billion. Last year’s holiday fell on a Friday, allowing for a two-day weekend celebration. Many celebrants may reuse past purchases.
“After years of … helping grow the holiday to enormous levels of participation, consumers this year will spend just about what they did last year. Many may simply already have enough life-size yard decorations and costume accessories,” said Kathy Grannis Allen, spokeswoman for the NRF.
According to the National Retail Federation’s survey of 6,754 consumers, the favorite 2015 costumes will be:
3. “Batman” character
5. “Star Wars” character
2. “Batman” character
5. Disney’s “Frozen” character
2. Hot Dog
3 “Batman” character
Source: National Retail Federation