PARKERSBURG - With Halloween just around the corner, children of all ages are deciding what they will dress up as during the popular holiday known for its thrills, chills and, of course, candy.
While there is always interest in traditional costumes like witches, ghouls and monsters, recent years have seen growing interest from popular culture wityh among the most popular continuing to be zombies.
Jerry Moore is manager of Spirit of Halloween in the Grand Central Plaza in Vienna.
Photo by Wayne Towner
Blake Sims, 8, center, looks at Halloween costumes with his parents, Warren, left, and Melissa Sims, of Belleville, at Spirit Halloween in Vienna.
"This year has actually been booming," Moore said. "We've almost doubled what we were planning on doing for this season."
Popular costumes for girls have been based on "Monster High," a line of monster-themed dolls from toy company Mattel, which has expanded to include books, television specials on Nickelodeon, toys and other products.
Moore said zombies continue to be a popular costume this year, after jumping in interest over the last couple of years with the success of the television series "The Walking Dead."
The creation of local zombie walks and similar activities in Parkersburg and Marietta over the last couple of years have also helped increase interest in zombie-related costumes, makeup and other items, he said.
Summer movie blockbusters can also have an impact on the popularity of costumes and the past summer offered several, including "The Avengers," "The Hunger Games," "Dark Night Rises" and "The Amazing Spider-Man."
Moore said the movies have also been popular choices this Halloween season.
Another summer movie, "Ted," about a grown man and his talking bear companion has been a surprise hit, costume-wise.
"That bear costume just flies off the shelves as soon as we get it in," he said.
Moore said dressing up for Halloween is popular with all ages, from infants up to seniors. In addition to costumes, Spirit Halloween also offers a variety of decorations, props and other items for the holiday. Many of those are proving popular this year as well, especially items that give a scare, like the jumping spider.
Eight-year-old Blake Sims was shopping in Spirit Halloween recently with his parents, Melissa and Warren Sims of Belleville.
Blake said he wasn't sure what type of costume he wanted to get this year, although it couldn't be scary because of some the Halloween parties and activities he planned to attend this month.
"I've dressed up as a Teenage Ninja Turtle and as Michael Jackson," he said of some of his previous costumes.
Jace Brown, assistant manager of Halloween City at Lakeview Plaza off Murdoch Avenue in Parkersburg, said the store has been operating seasonally at Lakeview Plaza for several years. This year it opened Sept. 7 and will run through Nov. 2.
Amont this year's trends, Brown said the most popular for girls is the "Monster High" line.
"It's been really popular, we've already sold a ton of those costumes," he said.
Younger boys seemed to like licensed characters, including "Star Wars" and many other perennial costumes like "Trnasformers" and others.
"With adults, I've noticed its been everywhere," Brown said of the trends for this season.
One popular item this year is Morphsuits, which are a spandex body costume with various designs and looks, he said.
The store also offers a new section called "Color Story" with a wide variety of costumes grouped by color.
Those seem popular with sports fans wanting to dress in their team colors but there are also lot of people who like the section for other things, he said.
Brown said he is also seeing a lot of TV and movie influences, especially zombies and superheroes. Spider-Man is the most popular superhero costume, followed by Captain America from "The Avengers" for both adults and children.
"It seems like a ton of people are buying zombie costumes and even just buying regular costumes and turning them into zombie costumes. I think it's super fun to see people do that," Brown said.
Halloween City also sells decorations and other items.
While there is some crossover, Brown said people fall into two groups, those who go all-out to create the best costume and makeup and those more interested in creating elaborate and scary displays and decorations for their homes.