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Life and Religion

Charlotte gears up for Halloween
National spending down, but locals go big on fun
Published Thursday, October 24, 2013
by Michaela L. Duckett

Morris Costumes on Monroe Road was abuzz Monday afternoon with shoppers looking to put last-minute touches on their costumes. Roman Sanchez (right) has spent four months planning his "Storm" costume, which includes a black body suit and six-inch heels. Kenneth (left) plans to dress up as his alter ego "Buionca Giovianni" who he describes as "sickening" with "the attitude of the utmost diva."

What are you going to be this year for Halloween? If you still haven’t made up your mind, you’re in good company.

Halloween may be just days away, but many people who plan to dress up this year still have yet to purchase their costumes. According to Scott Morris, owner of the five Morris Costumes retail stores in the Charlotte area, said more than half of all purchases for the Halloween season will be made this week.

“It’s a very last-minute holiday,” he said.

The National Retail Foundation estimates that 158 million Americans will spend $6.2 billion this year on costumes, treats, decorations and festivities compared to $8 billion in 2012.

While there may be a decline in spending across the nation, Morris said customers in the Charlotte area are spending more.

“I’ve seen an increase in spending without a question,” he said. “The economy has gotten better, and people, I think, are ready to go out and have a good time. I think Halloween is going to be big. It’s the day of the week that it doesn’t matter what people do. It’s on Thursday, so there will be parties the weekend before and the parties will be the weekend after.”

As always, many of this year’s hottest costumes are taking a cue from pop culture. According to Google Shopping, the minion characters from the “Despicable Me” franchise, Breaking Bad, Duck Dynasty, Batman and Miley Cyrus are among the top trending costume searches.

However, NRF’s Top Costume Survey indicates that adults and children are leaning toward more traditional costumes as well. So expect to see plenty of pumpkins, princesses, zombies and witches this year.

Morris said he is also seeing a growing interest in design-your-own concepts with customers adding personal touches to their outfits with accessories to individualized their look.

“A lot of people now like to make their own costumes,” he said. “They are coming in to buy accessories – a tiger kit, a fox kit or a raccoon kit or something to be zombies and buy the makeup and maybe a mask and maybe make the rest of the costume or buy some costume parts.”

Morris said it’s all about having fun.

“It’s a holiday where people buy for themselves,” he said. “On Halloween, your alter ego comes out, and you can go out and be whatever you want to be.”

Humans are not the only ones getting in on all the fun. According to NRF, 22 million Americans plan to play dress-up with their pets, spending an estimated $330 million on costumes for their four-legged friends. Pumpkins, hot dogs, devils and witches are among the most popular costumes for pets this year.

Still stumped on what to wear? Just step into a local party store or costume shop for inspiration.

“You can get all kinds of ideas by just browsing the aisles,” said Morris. “You will see all kinds of ideas you just haven’t thought of.”

Searching online is another great resource for coming up with costume ideas. Websites like HalloweenExpress.com have plenty of cool themes to choose from. If you are not into all the fright and gore, you can select a lighter theme like time periods such as the 1920s or '70s or as a character from movie.

Whatever you decide, Morris said dressing for comfort is key.

“It’s two or three nights of having a good time, so you want to be able to go out and have fun,” he said. “If you buy a mask, you want to buy a mask that is ‘party-friendly.’ You want a mask that you can still talk, drink and you can eat while wearing. You don’t want a costume that’s going to become too hot. Whether it’s a mask, a costume, makeup or whatever you wear, you want to make sure that it’s one that you can be comfortable to enjoy yourself in.”


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