You’re never too old to be Batman. Or Batwoman. Or a Duck Dynasty dude, Olaf the snowman or a White Walker from Game of Thrones. That’s right, kids: The Grinch may have stolen Christmas, but the grownups have stolen Halloween.
Apparently orange-and-black is the new black: Millions of adults will dress up and/or decorate in honor of All Hallows’ Eve. That’s why one of the best things to buy in October is anything related to Halloween.
No need to pay full price on costumes or those animatronic zombies for the front porch. The deals abound—and if you’re willing to delay your purchase a bit, the savings could make you scream.
According to the National Retail Federation, consumers plan to spend $7.4 billion this year on costumes and decor. Of those surveyed, almost half (46 percent) plan to decorate their home, yard or office—a total expenditure of $2 billion.
As far as parties, just over 33 percent will celebrate in private homes or bars. Since Halloween is on a Friday this year, those bacchanals should be major indeed. You’ll have two whole days to get through the hangover and, in this era of camera phones and Twitter, the second-guessing of both your costume and your consumption.
Some adults plan to dress up even though they’re not going to parties. A recent RetailMeNot survey indicates that nearly four in 10 parents will dress up just to take their kids trick-or-treating. And of those, 23 percent hope to “impress the other parents” with their costumes.
Dress (up) to impress
It’s easier—and cheaper—than ever to buy or build an amazing outfit. Sales on both costumes and decor last year started as early as October 1, according to RetailMeNot merchandising expert Eliza Bellock. However, the deepest discounts were generally between October 12 and 20, so waiting could save you as much as 50 percent.
Fast shipping gives you the freedom to wait for the bigger discounts. Keep in mind that holding out too long could mean the costume you want will be sold out. Being flexible helps: If you can’t get that Prince Joffrey costume, you might be just as effective as Jon Snow.
A few savings to get you started:
Buy Costumes: Through October 31, get 20% off sitewide plus free shipping off $75 or more and 20% off kids costumes!
Halloween Mall: Get up to 70% off select costumes, accessories and decor.Spiderman Costume from BuyCostumes
Disney Store: From now until October 31, save 25% off costumes and accessories, with free shipping on orders of $75 or more.
Costume Discounters: Get 25% off costumes over $20.
Spirit Halloween: Take 20% off any one item.
Party City: Through October 24, save $10 off $60 either online or in-store.
Costume Express: Save 15% off costumes.
Halloween Express: Get 25% off $25 or more.
Oriental Trading: Take up to 50% off Halloween plus free shipping on $49 or more.
Some other companies to watch on RetailMeNot’s Halloween page: Hot Topic, Toys R Us, Kmart, Sears, Target, Walgreens, and Lowe’s and Home Depot (for that giant inflatable yard decor).
If you really want to push it, wait until just a few days before the holiday and see how deep the discounts have gone. In recent years some costume sites have offered free two-day shipping shortly before the holiday.
Howl-o-ween is hot!
Another scary stat: In 2013 U.S. residents expected to spend $330 million on costumes for their pets. Because we all know how much Fluffy and Fido like wearing clothes and posing for pictures.
Of course, some cats and dogs are more tolerant than others—and a photo of a dachschund dressed as an Oscar Mayer wiener always leaves ’em laughing. Thus it’s no surprise that pet parents want to turn their furry friends into dinosaurs, Disney characters and superheroes. Look for the purr-fect match at retailers such as:Panda Hat from PetSmart
Petco: Save up to 40% on pet Halloween items or get $5 off $50.
PetSmart: Through October 11, get up to $25 off $100 or 20% off cat costumes or 20% off for fall dog apparel.
Pet360: Get 15% off all orders over $79 plus free shipping.
Sure, it’s fun to dress up your Labrador retriever and bring him along when you take the kids trick-or-treating. A particularly laid-back cat might be willing to wear the lion’s mane costume long enough for you to shoot video you hope will go viral. But observe a few basic precautions for a safe and happy Halloween versus one spent in the pet emergency room.
The Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences offers these tips:
● Avoid costumes with bells, ribbons or other embellishments that pets can chew off and swallow (these could cause choking or serious intestinal issues).
● Occasionally pets have allergic reactions to either costume material or the detergents used to wash it. If a rash develops, throw the costume away.
● Make sure costumes fit properly. Too-large attire that bunches up around a pet’s neck, legs or paws “can cause them to panic or injure themselves,” according to Dr. Mark Stickney, an associate professor and director of general surgery services.
Not your mom’s jeans
October is also a good month to buy denim. Retailers stock up on jeans for back-to-school shopping, and unsold inventory must be thinned out because of the swift approach of another holiday. (Hint: It almost rhymes with “isthmus.”)
These aren’t your mom’s jeans. Sure, you’ll find basic blues, but colors like coral, oxblood, fuchsia or mustard yellow are big too. “Super-skinny, colored denim is extremely popular with [teen] girls,” notes Amber Elliott, the fashion editor for The Real Deal by RetailMeNot. Shop for great (and colorful) deals at:
True Religion: Take 10% off plus get free shipping (and, if necessary, free returns).
ASOS: Through October 31, get 10% off $75 plus free shipping.Red skinny jeans from ASOS
Bloomingdale’s: Through October, get up to 20% off fashion at the Friends & Family sale.
Kohl’s: Through October 5, get $10 off $40 on women’s pants and jeans.
American Eagle Outfitters: Through October 5, take $40 off $150, $30 off $125 or $15 off $75 plus get free shipping.
Gap: Through October 5, get 35% off sale styles, get 30% off regular price items or 40% off for Gap Card members.
BCBG: RetailMeNot exclusive! Through October 31, get 12% off $100 plus free shipping.
Calvin Klein: Through October 5, get 25% off sitewide.
Levi’s: Through October 13, get 20% off your order plus free shipping.
JCPenney: Get 15% off sitewide.
Macy’s: Through October 5, get up to 20% off during the Lucky Star Sale.
Lucky Brand: RetailMeNot exclusive! Through October 31, get 15% off $75 plus free shipping.
7 for All Mankind: Get up to 60% off plus free shipping.
Teen boys, on the other hand, are more likely to stick with slim or skinny jeans (“Levi’s still has a huge chunk of this market,” Amber says). So are grown men, but they tend to shop at retailers like Uniqlo, Ralph Lauren, Macy’s, ASOS and J. Crew.
Skinny jeans are increasingly seen on children too young to protest. “Dressing up little ones in hipster fashion is all the rage,” Elliott says.
Incidentally, “hipster” could be a fairly easy costume to assemble. Combine those new skinny jeans with things like a plaid or flannel shirt, horn-rimmed glasses, a porkpie hat and a courier bag (preferably with a copy of a Kerouac book peeking out). Or wear all those things plus ghoulish white makeup and go as a Hipster Zombie. But I repeat myself.