Dressing the part this Halloween

This year’s trending Halloween costumes emulate popular characters from movies and television. (Special photos)

This year’s trending Halloween costumes emulate popular characters from movies and television. (Special photos)


Zombies and vampires are also popular choices this year. (Special photo)


Ironman from Marvel’s The Avengers (Special photo)


Halloween makeup can help make a look seem more realistic. (Special photo)

Lions and tigers and bears … and zombies, princesses and Superman?

Halloween costumes have certainly come a long way from simply cutting three holes in a sheet and pretending to be a ghost. Today, virtually any visage you imagine is possible — with some creativity and a few bucks, of course.

Whatever your choice, one thing is certain: playing pretend is no longer just for the kids.

One representative of a local costume store noted that people of all ages have been busy browsing the shelves for their costumes. “We’ve had everybody come in, from kids, to teens to adults,” she said. “A pretty constant stream of shoppers have already been coming in to pick out their stuff.”

This year’s trends mirror the current tastes of pop culture, with the most popular trends reflecting characters seen in television and on the big screen.

Top choices for children this year include animated characters from “Despicable Me 2,” “Monster’s University” and “Sofia the First.” And that’s not to say that beloved superheroes are left out of the action. The Man of Steel himself also leads the pack, along with Marvel’s The Avengers.

“In a year when the summer box office broke all-time records, there’s naturally been a lot of interest in dressing up as movie characters this year,” said Howard Schaffer, online deals site Offers.com vice president. “Shopping trends from our partners at Halloween Express show that consumers are looking for their favorite fictional characters for trick-or-treating, and those costumes are flying off the shelves.”

Traditional classics such as vampires and zombies will also be seen tramping the streets — again, reflecting today’s culture with the popularity of television shows “The Vampire Diaries,” “True Blood” and “The Walking Dead.”

Every Disney princess outfit from headband to glass slipper awaits little girls dreaming of their own happy endings. But for those girls who may not be into fairy tales, pink Supergirl and Batman outfits help them find their inner superhero as well. For boys, Toy Story characters Woody and Buzz Lightyear are still beloved, along with the Power Rangers.

Rock star microphones and bling are available for teens who want to be like their favorite pop stars, with British boy band One Direction topping the charts. One creative local girl plans to dress as group member Niall Horan’s girlfriend for Halloween. “Because he’s like, adorable, and I want to be his girlfriend,” she said.

While Dr. Seuss’ “The Cat in the Hat” is still offered, this year, adults may want to make a throwback to another character in red and white stripes. “Waldo,” of the ’90s “Where’s Waldo?” book series, is back in the game — if shoppers can find him among all the merchandise.

Or perhaps those “big kids” will also want to get in on the fun by emulating Indiana Jones, Star Wars or even Super Mario. Today’s younger generation may not remember the nostalgic impact these characters once made, but that’s why dressing up is no longer just a game children play in their mother’s closet.

And always remember that as with all fashion — even that of Halloween — accessories make the outfit, and this year’s bounty has a lot to offer. Everything from a pirate’s basic eye patch, to a rock star’s microphone, eyelashes, dollar sign necklaces and jumbo cigars are available for purchase.

Want your death-like look to seem realistic? Then buy some fake bloody skin and pre-made wounds to scare the living daylights out of people, pun intended.

With enticing costuming options available for dressing from tip to toe, shopping for the perfect outfit has the potential to become a little expensive. According to Offers.com, Halloween shopping trends are showing that spending has increased this year. The average amount spent per order is up nearly 11 percent from 2012.

“Just because spending is up on Halloween doesn’t mean you should waste money,” Schaffer said. “It’s important to have a good time but don’t burn through your family budget for one night of fun. Rely on costume deals and DIY projects to make Halloween both inexpensive and exciting.”

So during this ghoulish season, whether you desire to be heroic, witchy, magical or undead, the sky’s the limit — just be sure to get that witch’s broom to take you there.