The Halloween shopping season is already halfway through, and retailers warn that the best costumes tend to go fast. Fanatics hit stores in early September, pouncing on their garb weeks in advance.
"If you want the best selection in the sizes you need, you need to come before October," Lubbock, Texas, Spirit Halloween store manager Paige Oliver said.
Business was already up this year, she said, in line with national predictions on the Halloween shopping season. A National Retail Federation survey published in September estimated Halloween spending would climb above $5 billion this year.
The average person planned just less than $65 in costumes, candy and parties, up from slightly more than $59 last year, according to the survey.
The 18-24 crowd planned to spend the most on costumes, at more than $34, higher than the $23 average investment.
Oliver has sold a small army of adult Spartan costumes made popular by the summer action flick "300" two shipments came and went in a matter of days and pirates remained popular for older trick-or-treaters.
Those staying home this Halloween to hand out candy can expect a lot of young robots knocking on doors.
"Transformers are huge," Oliver said.
Giant animal mascot heads lined the top shelves at The Joker, another Lubbock costume shop.
Owner Darlene Nieman said customers had browsed the costumes available for rent at her shop but expected her Halloween business to pick up in mid-October.
Rental costumes tend to hold up better on the night of the party, she said.
"If they want really good stuff, then they come here," Nieman said.
Tillie Koelder, acting store manager at Kirchhoff's Kostume Kloset in Plainview, Texas, said she was renting or selling lots of hero costumes. Shrek would be big, she said, as well as Harry Potter. There was classic Potter, with the black glasses, dark coat and shirt and tie, and then the more recent Potter, dressed like a college freshman, she said.
"Well, what the freshman in college used to look like," she said.
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