HALLOWEEN BY THE NUMBERS
$79.82: Average amount Americans will spend on decorations, costumes and candy for Halloween.
35.7: Percentage of Americans who will look to a retail store for costume ideas.
27.1: Percentage of Americans who will look for costume ideas via a social-media site
Source: National Retail Federation
Halloween costumes for adults are leaning a little bit sexy, a little bit spooky, a little bit super, a little bit ... stuffed?
According to Sandy Hawkins, an associate at the Spirit Halloween store in Hixson, a popular costume among adult males is Ted, the titular crass-talking teddy bear from the movie starring Mark Wahlberg. A fully committed partygoer can purchase a full suit for around $79, while the casual Halloweener might choose fuzzy hood and gloves for $29.99.
Ted is not the only pop-culture hero cropping up at costume stores. Outfits representing characters from "Glee," "Edward Scissorhands" and "Where's Waldo" are only a few of the beloved screen- and page-inspired costumes on the shelves. Superhero costumes also are being sold at high volume.
Traditional Halloween-themed costumes, like witches, cats and zombies, continue to be popular.
According to the National Retail Federation, witches are projected to be the No. 1 costume for adult women this season.
Marie Bogart, a flight attendant who lives in North Chattanooga, has worn several incarnations of witch costumes, she wrote in an email.
"I've been the scary one, gruesome one and sexy one or good one. Luckily you can transform witches into many different kinds, like Glinda the Good Witch or her evil sister on "The Wizard of Oz."
Bogart wrote she has always been a Halloween enthusiast.
Other Top 5 adult costumes are vampires, pirates, Batman characters and zombies.
"Zombies are hot," Hawkins said, "and they're fairly cheap to do."
A full zombie costume retails for about $50. Plenty of makeup, including fake blood and scars, is available as well.
For women, Halloween can be a time to show a little skin. Even traditional costumes come in racy versions, such as naughty nurse or sexy witch.
Companies such as Leg Avenue, which sells lingerie and burlesque wear as well as costumes, offer titillating options for costumes perhaps not always associated with more prurient desires. Sexy ladybug? Naughty Strawberry Shortcake? Or perhaps a reference to the TV show "How I Met Your Mother," slutty pumpkin? All ready and available, ranging from about $30 to $80.
"They're all pretty seductive," said Inez Gutierrez, associate at Spirit of Halloween.
For men who don't mind leaving little to the imagination, Gutierrez said Super Skins, one piece head-to-toe body suits, are flying off the shelves.
"We just restocked, and this is what we have left," she said, indicating the nearly bare shelves. Both solid-color and patterned versions are available, with themes such as American flag, skeleton and The Flash. Inflatable options, called Blimpz, also are on hand.
At Spirit, most full costumes, including outfit and accessories, range from $35 to $80 retail. For those choosing costumes on a budget, Spirit sells Halloween accouterments such as ears, tails, wings and wigs, which can be combined with homemade costumes or worn with street clothes for just a touch of spooky spirit.
Oftentimes, a touch of creativity can be just as important as cash to spend on a costume.
In response to a Facebook query, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga alumna Meghan Morrison wrote she is creating her own voodoo doll costume by sewing a heart onto a brown dress she already owns.
"Add homemade push pins and face paint (think X's over the eyes) and voila!"
Staff writer Karen Nazor Hill contributed to this story.
Holly Leber is a reporter and columnist for the Life section. She has worked at the Times Free Press since March 2008. Holly covers “everything but the kitchen sink" when it comes to features: the arts, young adults, classical music, art, fitness, home, gardening and food. She writes the popular and sometimes-controversial column Love and Other Indoor Sports. Holly calls both New York City and Saratoga Springs, NY home. She earned a bachelor of arts ...