Each year, a number of popular personas seem to stand out among the typical ghoulish Halloween get-ups, however, this year looks to showcase a variety of well-known characters, plus costumes with a unique touch.
“Mostly it’s been people looking for something different this year,” said Perry Ann Estepp, costume manager at Celebrate Studios, 3711 Bristol Highway. “In years past people have wanted to be specific characters. This year people have been coming in asking ‘Make us something different. We want to stand out.’ ”
Some of the one-of-a-kind costumes Estepp and her staffers have helped create surround the “steampunk” theme of Victorian clothing combined with steam powered items like wheels and cogs. Transforming mainstream characters like Marilyn Monroe into a zombie is another way people are adding an extra twist to their costumes.
“You can make anything into a zombie,” Estepp said. “You could go the to thrift store and get pieces and parts and then come here and get your makeup and then a wild wig and make your skin look like it’s falling off.”
The zombie craze isn’t just for adults. Annie Potter, who works at Spirit Halloween inside Party Corner at 2219 N. Roan St., says young boys have been going crazy for zombie costumes.
Other popular dress-up ideas this year originated from movies released over the summer. Estepp said Sucker Punch and Harry Potter costumes have flown off the shelves and Potter has seen a lot of requests for Smurf outfits at Spirit Halloween. Other mainstays like “Star Wars” characters, super heroes, pirates and vampires remain top-selling costumes.
As Halloween weekend approaches, stores like Celebrate Studios and Spirit Halloween will be continually flooded with people looking to mimic someone or something. While some come in with an idea, others wander through the store hoping something catches their eye.
“It’s been a madhouse,” Potter said while admitting people into the fitting rooms at Spirit Halloween. “When we first opened it was hard to find things to do, now I can’t stand still for five seconds.”
Figuring out what to wear and what accessories make a person recognizable as their character of choice is part of the fun. James Cate came out of the dressing room at Celebrate Studios wearing a Jawa costume from “Star Wars.” He was trying to find something to match a friend’s Princess Leia costume and both of them agreed that the mask with glowing eyes worked perfectly.
“It’s easy and it will look good,” he said.
Isaac Justus and friend Andrew Doermer were looking for costumes to wear to a party this weekend. After searching for several minutes among the walls of wigs and hats and the rows of rentable costumes, they decided on something very basic.
“We think we might just be plain ol’ ghosts with just sheets over our heads with holes cut in them,” he said with a grin. “We saw all this stuff, but decided to go really plain with it because it’s easy and it will look good with all the other costumes.”
It was a tougher decision for Jeff Henninger, who was looking for two costumes so he can dress up during his shifts at O’Mainnin’s Pub Bristol.
“One of them is for saloon-western night,” he said. “It’s hard because I have to be able to work in it.”
Not everyone goes all out for Halloween, of course. Potter says she’s seen a lot of people buy solid staples like cop and devil costumes, plus accessories for cat outfits.
For those who do take the holiday a bit more seriously, makeup artists like Derek Smithpeters at Celebrate Studios can create a little Halloween magic. On Saturday, he’ll paint the faces of Frankenstein and his bride in black and white, just like they popped out of the TV. He’s also planning to doll up a Dolly Parton wanna-be and provide a red devilish look for another.
Children get pretty excited about Hallow’s Eve festivities, too, with plenty of trick-or-treating events scheduled throughout the weekend, plus door-to-door candy gathering on Monday.
All the childish behavior and dress-up rituals are fun for adults as well, even if it’s not the most popular or extravagant costume.
“I mean the kids love it because of the candy and the trick-or-treating and all of that, but as adults we have to be who we are 364 days out of the year and this is one day that we can be anybody that we want to,” Estepp said. “We can step out of ourselves and be somebody different. And I think all of us really need that every now and then.”