Finding a Halloween costume doesn't have to be scary. Here's what you need to know. – Des Moines Register

For people who love Halloween, wearing a costume on the holiday means they get to play a character for the night. 
And people who love it are really getting in the spirit this year. According to an annual National Retail Federation survey, Americans will spend $10.14 billion on Halloween this year, an all-time high and up from $8.05 billion last year.
The largest chunk of that money will be for costumes. Americans plan to spend $3.32 billion on costumes this year, which exceeds the total for both last year ($2.61 billion) and 2019 ($3.16 billion). 
And, this year, people are shopping for Halloween earlier than ever. The NRF says 45 percent of people plan to shop in September, while another 39 percent will be shopping in the first two weeks of October.
With all the costume options out there, though, choosing the right one can be overwhelming. But there’s no reason to fret. Here are some helpful tips:
Juanita Cameron, office manager at the Theatrical Shop in West Des Moines, said this year there are simply less costumes to choose from. Fewer movies were released as the entertainment industry slowed during the pandemic, meaning there aren’t as many new characters for children and adults to emulate.
That means a lot of her customers are relying on classic or vintage costumes.
“A lot of people are falling back on the tried and true, the older ones,” Cameron said. “Someone just came in and got the Mad Hatter. People are mostly falling back on things they’ve known previously.”
If there’s a year to recycle that old Popeye and Olive Oyl costume, this is it.
“The princesses and superheroes are what people are leaning towards. And groups that want to be the Scooby Doo gang or Alice in Wonderland,” Cameron said. 
The Theatrical Shop at 145 5th St. in Valley Junction has more than 3,000 costume rentals, rents wings, makeup and even lighting gels for performances or displays.
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If you’re looking for a new costume, you’re in luck. In addition to the Walmarts and Targets of the world, there are number of stores that focus solely on Halloween or costumes.
Spirit Halloween
Dubbed the largest Halloween retailer in the U.S., sells adult, boys, girls and baby Halloween costumes, animatronics, inflatables and other holiday themed decorations and products. 
Locations in central Iowa: 
Party City
Considered the largest party retailer, Party City offers supplies for holidays and other celebrations including costumes, makeup, decorations, supplies for meals and party favors. 
They can be found at: 
Halloween Express
Offering props, group costumes, accessories and more, Halloween Express has one location in the metro: 
Salvation Army
For DIYers who want to assemble their own costume, secondhand shops often carry a wide variety of affordable, unique or vintage items. Here are Salvation Army locations in the Des Moines metro: 
Most popular costumes for children
According to the National Retail Federation, more than 1.8 million children plan to dress as Spiderman, followed by 1.6 million children as their favorite princess. 
Plan to see children dressed as:
Nearly 69 percent of adults who plan to dress up for Halloween have already decided on their costume, according to the NRF.
Witches are the most popular selection with more than 4.6 million adults plan to dress in their favorite witch hats. Vampires come at a distant second a the top choice for 1.6 millions adults.
Here’s who you may run into at your next Halloween party: 
For some pet owners, it wouldn’t be Halloween if their furry ones didn’t get dress up, too. The most popular costumes for pet lovers include a pumpkin, hot dog, and a superhero, according to the NRF.
Other popular ideas for furry friends include: 
Hannah Rodriguez covers retail for the Register. Reach her at [email protected] or on Twitter @byherodriguez.

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