A Brief Survey of Rare Birds or Most Creative Halloween Costumes for 2012

As we rapidly approach the time of the year when Halloween bashes will be in full swing, I thought I would take a brief look of what the fashion craze is this year?
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As we rapidly approach the time of the year when Halloween bashes will be in full swing, I thought I would take a brief look of what the fashion craze is this year?

It's really quite staggering the number of shops across the country which cater to costumes.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau (2010 estimates), there are 1, 634 costume rental and formal wear establishments across the nation. And according to the National Retail Federation, 35.7 percent of Americans look to a retail store for costume ideas. What's more, seven in 10 Americans (71.5 percent) will get into the haunting Halloween mood, up from 68.6 percent last year, the most in NRF's 10-year survey history.

NRF's survey also points out that the average person this year will spend $79.82 on decorations, costumes and candy, up from $72.31 last year, with total Halloween spending expected to reach $8 billion; and nearly six million adults planning to dress as a witch, and 3.2 million as vampires.

So let's take a brief tour around the country to see what's trending.

1.) At Ricky's NYC, an edgy, ultra-hip beauty shop specializing in unique fashion accessories (with a number of stores located throughout Manhattan), their top 10 Halloween costumes for adults are as follows:

• Catwoman

• Sexy Flash

• Smurfette

• Captain Jack Sparrow

• Big Bird

• Red Riding Hood

• Burlesque Babe

• Parisian Showgirl

• Snow White

• The Huntsman

2.) Straight from the first presidential debate, ``Big Bird'' has been an eye-catcher at Mallet Pharmacy & Costume in Madison Wisconsin, so much so that the owners of the store have even shipped yellow feather wigs to NPR in Washington, DC. In addition to Big Bird, President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney masks have also been popular as well.

As of yet, no requests for a Clinton Eastwood mask with any empty chair attached to the customer. NFL replacement ref costumes, however, according to the shops owners, `` have flown out the door.''

Other popular items at Mallet's include:

• Shades of Grey, (Grey clothes, grey wig and grey makeup) are also popular for "50 shades of grey."

• Super heroes, including Teenage Ninja Turtles still are top on boys list followed by Harry Potter and Basic Black Robes with a Scary Mask.

• Girls are still interested in Princesses, Witches and Animal Costumes.

• The classics are still strong! Adults still make Zombies their number one choice followed by vampires.

3.) Massachusetts may not be considered a swing state, but the Garment District in Cambridge, Ma., has been rocking it with a variety of politically themed costumes, including Barack Obama and Mitt Romney masks, elephant and donkey mascot costumes, and other politically correct accessories.

The owner informs me they had a Big Bird on order - that's been a popular political-themed request this year; and at least one creative customer put together a "workout Paul Ryan" costume using items from their store.

For the nonpartisans, other popular items at the Garment District include: Gotye, Hunger Games characters, Snow White characters, and superheroes - especially The Avengers or the new Dark Knight-style Batman. In addition, the "classics" are still going strong -including pirates, Star Wars characters, zombies, and vampires.

4.) At Costume World Dallas , the most popular costume of the year is Kia Dancing Hampsters.

Also popular are:

• Grapes costume - add helmet and a gun or sword- Grapes of Wrath

• Any pig mask or ears tail. Nose of a pig - add wings- Swine Flu

• Any bug kit or bug accessories- add wings- Flu Bug

• Priest set with wig with curlers- Holy Roller

• 18th century with cow bell or any bell and skeleton makeup- you are a dead ringer!

5.) At Beyond Costumes in Yonkers, the owners tell me they have received tons of requests for Big "Yellow" Bird since the debate. Other popular costumes include: many of the super heroes, including Avenger's, Thor, Captain America, Black Widow, and Iron Man. Also doing well are Batman, Batwoman, and Catgirl from Dark Knight Rises.

Some of the more artistic costumes, according to the stores owners, have involved creative futuristic styles, mixing shiny body suits and capes with platinum wigs and giant wings, more of a Lady Gaga inspiration. Also taking classic Halloween costumes such as Frankenstein and putting a modern twist to it.

6.) Sword & Stone in Burbank Calif., is a costume shop which for the most part caters to film and commercial clients. Since they supply costumes to Capitol One for their "what's in your wallet" campaign, they have received some interest in the Visigoth outfits. And according to store owner, Tony Swatton, they have also received inquiries about sexy gladiator costumes for women.

7.) At Gene's Costumes in Kensington, MD, while there are plenty of political masks and some celebrity masks like Donald Trump, Charlie Sheen, The "Governator" and Uncle Sam in stock, Gene's most popular this year, much like other years, involve Decades like '70's and 80's and 20's, pirates, superheroes, Renaissance costumes, vampires and zombies.

8.) At Backstage Inc., in Washington D.C., their top 10 most popular costume include:

• Lincoln and Vampires

• Zombies

• Boardwalk Empire

• Renaissance

• Fairy Tale

• Super Heroes

• Steampunk

• 70's

• Asian themed (the theme D.C.,s drag event this year

• Skin Suits

This post originally appeared at The Morning Delivery.

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