Halloween is a big deal at Mr. Fun's Costumes & Magic Emporium, where employees are busy preparing for the onslaught of customers that will jam the aisles of the State Road store from opening until closing time starting in about a week.
A record 170 million people plan to celebrate Halloween this year, according to the National Retail Federation’s 2012 Halloween consumer spending survey conducted by BIGinsight. Seven in 10 Americans, or 71.5 percent, will get into the haunting Halloween mood (up from 68.6 percent last year) – the most in the NRF’s 10-year survey history.
Consumers are expecting to spend more too, reports the NRF. The average person will spend $79.82 on decorations, costumes and candy, up from $72.31 last year.
That’s good news for Mr. Fun's Costumes, family owned and operated since 1969, as well as for retailers such as Target and Walmart and second-hand shops like Once Upon a Child, where a creative mind and a few dollars can result in unique costumes.
Check out the NRF’s 2012 Top Costumes survey, which pinpoints the most popular Halloween costumes for adults, kids and pets. (Pumpkin, princess, witch and vampire costumes are perennial favorites.)
The survey also asked consumers where they looked for costume inspiration and results show that while retail stores, online searches and ideas from family and friends are still king, social media sites such as Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter are gaining an edge.
Kendra Pacifico, a longtime Mr. Fun's employee, said many Halloween revelers get their costume inspiration from hot movies and television shows, books, pop culture and current events.
She said zombie costumes are already hot this year thanks to the popular AMC drama series “The Walking Dead,” which is based on a comic book series of the same name.
Fans of the “The Hunger Games” book trilogy and its 2012 film adaption are busy studying 1980s fashion trends.
“Some of those characters in ‘The Hunger Games’ were dressed in really bad ‘80s get-ups,” Pacifico said. “We’re already seeing adults and teenagers and some of your tweener girls who want to get that funky Cyndi Lauper look. Guys want that heavy metal or ‘Joe Dirt’ look with a mullet and horrible T-shirts.”
She said sales of superhero outfits – a classic costume genre – are stronger than usual because of the 2012 films “The Avengers” and “The Dark Knight Rises.”
“I’ve seen a lot of guys and girls that are going (out for Halloween) in groups and they each pick their favorite superhero to dress up as,” Pacifico said.
And HBO’s medieval fantasy series “Game of Thrones” has customers putting together “mystic-type, medieval costumes,” she explained.
Classy costumes are also part of the 2012 Halloween scene.
“One of the new little costume lines being introduced this year is old classic Hollywood,” Pacifico said. “People are going for glamour, like late 1920s and early ‘30s movie stars, with a black and white theme.”
“Because the Akron Civic is in its third year of the party, a lot more people are going with pretty, classic eye masks paired with formals or capes,” Pacifico said. “And steam punk is still going strong, so you’ve got people blending that with the Victorian look.”
Pacifico said those wishing to avoid the Halloween rush should plan to visit Mr. Fun's in the next week or so because “the slam begins in mid-month.”
Mr. Fun’s extended hours through Halloween are: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Trick-or-teat in Stow is Oct. 27.