Halloween is around the corner, on Oct. 31. Do you need a few costume ideas to stand out from the crowd this year? Whether you’re trick-or-treating with the kids or plan to hit up a few parties, having the right costume can make all the difference. We talked to two Chicago-area costume experts last August regarding their picks for top costume ideas. Take a look at their recommendations and tips for creating a great costume.
This is merely a CEO Wig. It is not supposed to resemble anyone "real." (Photo Credit: hicagocostume.com)

This is merely a CEO Wig. It is not supposed to resemble anyone “real.” (Photo Credit: hicagocostume.com)

Brian Bowers
Halloween Hallway

Brian Bowers is the owner of Halloween Hallway, a retailer based in the Chicago area that offers wigs, costumes, makeup, props and decor for the home for the holiday. “I have always loved Halloween,” he said, and added that customers can find “everything you can hope for to make a costume.” Are you worried you’ll be one of a million pirates roaming the streets on Halloween? Then consider Bowers’ advice. “This year, because Halloween is on a Saturday, you’ll find people going out on both Friday and Saturday, so it tends to be larger. Since more are people celebrating, we’re encouraging people to be creative so they’re not in the exact same thing as everyone else. Make a costume their own with their own accessories and wigs for their take on it [the costume],” he said.

Courtland Hickey
Chicago Costume
1120 W. Fullerton Ave.
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 528-1264

Courtland Hickey is the general manager of Chicago Costume. According to Hickey, the retailer sells more than 50,000 different items, including costumes, masks, accessories and hats. In addition, customers can purchase or rent costumes. In addition to its Lincoln Park location, Chicago Costume has a location in Chicago’s Portage Park neighborhood. Both locations are open year-round. According to Hickey, it’s not unusual for someone to change their mind regarding their Halloween costume, especially in the last few days before Halloween. “People have the ability to buy what they want, when they want,” he said. He also noted the trend in making costumes unique. “The trend now is to buy pieces and assemble it yourself to create a unique costume. People don’t necessarily want a cookie-cutter costume in a bag. They want something unique to themselves,” he said.

Get Political

The presidential election is still more than a year away, but Bowers predicted political-themed costumes will be popular this Halloween. “Politics will be big, especially Donald Trump, and especially with how it’s been publicized,” he said.

Zombies Will Be Big

This year, zombie costumes are an option for those looking for a more traditional scary costume. “Zombies are big,” Bowers said, noting the popularity of shows such as “Fear The Walking Dead” and “The Walking Dead.” People who opt for zombie costumes are “going back to scary, and not funny,” he explained.

Interest In ‘Frozen’ Costumes Won’t Thaw

Finding just the right costume for kids can be difficult, especially as it’s based on your child’s whims. So what’s popular this year for kids? Some characters might make a return. If you thought you saw the last of the Anna and Elsa costumes from the film “Frozen” in last year’s Halloween, think again. “I don’t think ‘Frozen’ has died down yet, and will be a big seller this year” Bowers said.

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Upcoming Movies Give Inspiration For Costumes

Even though the films “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and “Ghostbusters” won’t be released until Dec. 18, 2015, and July 2016, respectively, Hickey noted both movies will be likely sources of inspiration for costumes this Halloween. “People can see they’re making the characters, so they want to get costumes like that. They want to be ahead of the curve,” he explained.

Empowered Costumes Are In

According to Hickey, costumes for women have increasingly included those portraying empowered characters. He noted customers purchase costumes based on characters from the TV show “Orange is the New Black,” as well as characters from the upcoming “Ghostbusters” film. “These costumes are still interesting and cool,” he said.

Mash Up Your Favorite Characters

If you’ve ever wanted to combine your love of two completely different TV shows, comic book heroes or movies into one costume, then take Hickey’s advice. “Mash ups are popular, and you can combine different elements to make a unique character. There are characters that do well with mashups, such as comic book superheros with an element of video games,” he said.

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Megan Horst-Hatch is a runner, reader, baker, gardener, knitter, and other words that end in “-er.” She is also the president of Megan Writes, LLC. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.