Tri-City costume tastes range from cute to scary

By Loretto J. Hulse, Tri-City HeraldOctober 21, 2013 

value village costume halloween shopping

Kim Spencer of Pasco suggests another possible outfit for her son Elija Saba, 12, on Monday while shopping with her son Levi, 7, and their dad Yul Saba of Pasco (not pictured) at Value Village in Kennewick. At right is Kirkpatrick Langord, costume consultant at Value Village, who suggests deciding whether you want to be dark and scary or fun and bubbly if you're a last-minute costume shopper. "Break it down to a general category, so you're not looking at everything," he said.

KAI-HUEI YAU — Tri-City Herald Buy Photo

Zombie or pirate? Princess or Monster High ghoul? When it comes to choosing a Halloween costume, it's really a question of scary versus cute.

That's advice from Kirkpatrick Langford, a costume consultant at Value Village in Kennewick.

According to a survey by Value Village stores, more men than women -- 43 percent to 18 percent -- go for scary while 42 percent of women opted for costumes that make them look attractive.

Zombie looks are No. 1 this year at Value Village, Langford said.

"With the close of season three of Walking Dead, zombies are more popular than ever and it's easy to make your own costume with some makeup and old clothes you can rip and tatter," he said.

At Spirit Halloween's seasonal storefront in Kennewick, superheroes are a hit with toddlers and adults.

"Teens not so much; they prefer the scary," said Kim Boyd, Spirit's central Washington district manager.

That's if they have a costume at all.

"A lot of adults like to dress up for the trick or treaters and then go off to a party. The kids who are too old to go door to door are less inclined to wear costumes," said Shamia Ogren, assistant manager at Lets Party in Kennewick. Lets Party also has opened a seasonal Halloween store at Columbia Center mall. It will close after Halloween.

When it comes to young girls, the princess look is a classic.

"It's hard to beat the Disney princesses -- Sophia, Cinderella, Ariel. And Rapunzel, too is popular. We even have the long hair wigs," said Boyd.

But not all girls opt for pretty and feminine.

Langford had two girls come in -- they were about 5 and 10 -- who wanted to be werewolves.

"But the youngest wanted to be a girl werewolf. So I made her a pink hair bow, and she loved it," Langford said.

Guys are into the ninja look, anything special forces or hunting related.

And Duck Dynasty -- think lots of camo and bushy beards -- is tops with Value Village shoppers.

While some shoppers are content to choose a prepackaged costume, others prefer to mix and match.

Some will start with a packaged costume but change out the hat or wig. Others add more horror with extra fake blood and bloody gauze or accessorize with other gory items, Ogren said.

Thrift stores are a popular place to shop for Halloween costumes.

"We see a real uptick in sales this time of year," said Cole Carlson, assistant manager at St. Vincent Centers in Kennewick. "We have wigs of all types, masks, full costumes. People come in and get creative. Anything from a previous era, the '60s, the '80s, or older, gets snatched up."

Shoppers get their inspiration from TV, movies and social media.

"Hunger Games, Power Rangers, Batman, they all have their followers," said Boyd.

And then there's the classics -- witches, vampires -- or legendary characters like Robin Hood and Zoro, Langford said.

"Even if people go classic, they can make it new, give it a twist. I had one woman come in and couldn't decide on a costume. I suggested she go as a witch, but to be a very elegant one instead of the stereotype from the Wizard of Oz. She loved it," Langford said.

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w Loretto J. Hulse: 582-1513; lhulse@tricityherald.com

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