Get your ghoul on in one of the top 10 Halloween costumes

Scary is big business year-round, but never bigger than during the season of spooky: Halloween. The celebration of ghouls and ghosts is the third biggest party day of the year and second only to Christmas in consumer spending. Outfitting more than 36 million trick-or-treaters and stocking up with adequate supplies of fun-sized candy bars and candy corn will account for more than $4 billion in sales.

One and a half billion of that revenue can be attributed to Halloween costumes, as All Hallows Eve can’t be properly celebrated without dressing up. And it’s not just kids donning superhero masks and fairy princess wings: Adults unleash their inner child using the holiday to indulge in a little make-believe.

The tradition of dressing up for Halloween comes from a Celtic superstition that used scary costumes to ward off evil spirits. Today, costumes are a way to show off your party spirit. The 31st falls on a Sunday; meaning kids of all ages have the whole weekend to get down in a fantastic get-up this year.

According to the National Retail Foundation, the 10 most popular costumes for adults are:

1. Witch – It’s no toil or trouble to come up with this costume: head-to-toe black, a pointed hat and warty nose. Grab a broomstick from your pantry and you’re good to go.

2. Vampire – This could end up jumping to No. 1 given the current vampire-mania – not to mention the fact that it’s pretty easy to “scare” up this costume. A set of plastic fangs and some fake blood will do it. A red satin-lined cape will add some old school elan, but if jeans and a hoodie are good enough for Edward Cullen, they’ll work for you, too.

3. Pirate – It’s been a while since the last “Pirates of the Caribbean” installment, but peg-legs and eye patches are still hot. After Johnny Depp reprises the role of Captain Jack Sparrow in the fourth Pirates movie, pirate costumes should see a spike in popularity in time for next Halloween.

4. Clown – Whether you’re going for funny (Bozo), scary (Batman’s Joker) or sad (Pagliacci), a red bulb nose, painted smile and floppy shoes are definitely crowd pleasers.

5. Wench/Vixen – While guys tend to opt for funny or scary costumes, many women use Halloween as an opportunity to unleash their inner sex symbol. Witches become “sexy witches,” pirates become “sexy pirates” and vampires become — well, you get the idea. Dressing up as a wench/vixen is another example of this trend — as well as being a perfect excuse to get some use out of that bustier.

6. Cat – Another easy last-minute costume: Slip on a black leotard and tights, make a tail and some ears and use eyeliner to draw some whiskers.

7. Devil – Although mischief-makers may have anointed the night before Halloween as “Devil’s Night,” plenty of horned heads and pointed tails make an appearance the day (and night) after.

8. Scary costume/mask – The ultimate last-minute costume: a scary latex mask. It only needs to be worn long enough to frighten the hosts and then you can shove it in your back pocket while you do the Monster Mash.

9. Athlete – If you’re a sports fan, you’re probably more than halfway prepared with this costume in the form of the sports jersey of your favorite player. It’s a safe bet that there won’t be many Clevelanders going as LeBron James this year, though.

10. Police officer – At one popular costume retailer, more than 200 different varieties of cop costumes are available including, unsurprisingly, numerous “sexy police officer” get-ups.

This year, “over-the-top pop singer” may make the list, as Lady Gaga costumes are now available for the sartorially adventurous. Of course, homemade Halloween costumes are the way to go for the budget-conscious partygoer, but if you’re not crafty or creative or are running short on time, online costume stores offer a wide variety of options for dress-up – from Iron Man to Alice in Wonderland. If you’re going the store-bought route, keep costume costs in line with a Costume Discounters promotional code or BuyCostumes coupons from deal sites like

Courtesy of ARAcontent