Halloween Costumes for Adults: Trick or Treat?

I knew this day was coming: The day my young daughter would request that my husband and I dress up in costumes for Halloween. You see, I'm six months pregnant and the only thing I can possibly be this year is a giant tomato. And so I began my search for adult Halloween costumes. I looked at online sites, brick-and-mortar stores and even rentals. Here's what I found:

Online: Putting 'Halloween costumes' into Google spits out a ton of sites. But I liked Costume Discounters' lowest price guarantee. If you find the same costume from another Internet retailer that's cheaper, Costume Discounters will sell you theirs for an additional 20 percent off the lower-priced version. The site had several different categories of costumes from angels, devils and clowns to fairies, super heroes and French maids. Average prices ranged from $30 to $50. One of the most expensive was a female Zorro costume for $119.97, which was marked down from $179.99. They also sell some pretty wacky costumes like When Birds Attack! for $50 from Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds." (You'll look just like Tippi Hedren during her terrifying encounter with some pretty grouchy gulls.) And then there's the Prom Queen 1983 costume for $32: a short hot pink dress, a tiara and lace wristlets. Sadly, the classic white pumps aren't included.

Rentals: I thought renting costumes might be cheaper but I found it even more expensive than buying, probably because they're more appropriate for an elaborate party than trick-or-treating. Costumes Creative in Silver Spring features a ton of full-body animal costumes, which are tough to find. The average price for a one-day rental is $100 and that includes alterations. The Costumer, an online site that rents costumes, has 60,000 choices. But, again, buying may be more economical. They rent a complete nun costume for $75 but also sell one for $19. The rental comes with a few more accessories but it is essentially the same look. So, if you vow to be a nun for the next five Halloweens, this costume is for you.

Brick-and-mortar stores: I checked out Party Depot and Party City, two retailers that have stores throughout the region and both offer a wide variety of costumes, wigs and masks. Party City had the friendlier staff, with two different employees offering help during my visit. Costumes at both stores range from hot dogs to whoopie cushions to very evil looking ghouls. Many of the women's costumes have a naughty element that require cleavage and go-go boots, but there is the occasional benign witch. Prices average between $30 and $50 at both stores. If you're not interested in a full costume, both stores sell rubbery face masks. For $25 at Party Depot you can become the Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger or Richard Nixon. If you want to go as a couple, head to Party City where Hil and Bill masks go for $15 and $20 respectively. President Bush retails for a mere $12 at Party Depot. Ouch!

Are you dressing up this Halloween? Where did you buy your costume? Post comments below.

By Tania Anderson |  October 18, 2007; 7:00 AM ET Holidays and Special Occasions
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go to the salvation army they carry new and used costumes for a very,very cheap price and also co-signment places... you will really be surprised how many differant out fits you can find... or make up at a really cheap price

Posted by: maria | October 18, 2007 8:52 AM

Halloween is for kids. I'm not dressing up. I'm an adult, if I want to come into work on some random Tuesday in March dressed as Batman, no one can stop me.

(Thanks, Lewis Black!)

Posted by: Bah humbug | October 18, 2007 9:25 AM

Best costume I've seen in years was worn by an I'd-guess-she-was-30 woman at a Halloween party in Chicago. She came dressed as Hester Prynne, from Hawthorne's novel "The Scarlet Letter".

Only instead of an "A" she wore a scarlet "A+".

"I was very good at it," was her explanation.

Yes, it WAS a fun party.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 18, 2007 9:30 AM

I fully plan on dressing up this year -- I can, and Halloween's fun! However, I don't plan on buying a costume, I'll probably end up cobbling one together from stuff I already own like I usually do (might go pick up a few accessory-type things, but the basic costume will probably be stuff I already own -- and I've gotten compliments every year I've dressed up this way and it's cheaper than going out and buying a whole outfit that I won't wear very often).

Now if I could just figure out what I want to be....

Posted by: Anonymous | October 18, 2007 9:33 AM

Go dressed as a nun since you're pregnant.

Posted by: Costume idea | October 18, 2007 9:47 AM

There's also Charelle's up in Fredrick for costume rental - they're much cheaper - I got a Red Riding Hood costume there for something like $30 for the night.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 18, 2007 10:24 AM

Let's give this a whirl:

Larry Craig: business suit, but dress shirt sleveless with a leather band around one bicep, holding big sandwich board that says, "I AM NOT GAY."

Minnesota bridge collapse: Black outfit with yellow or white strips, with matchbox cars taped on the clothing, and speaking with a Minnesota/midwest accent "Yah, oh, ya know ..."

Homeland Security: a security guard with a bazooka, a gumball machine, and a dunce cap

Bill O'Reilly: Gray suit, red tie, box of falafel.

Don Imus: Shaggy wig, craggy face, a microphone, and one of those Afro-centric T-shirts from that place up on U Street (I think one of the tees had the word "uppity" on it).

The "Leave Britney Alone" guy -- lots of onions.

And, my personal fave -- a Geico caveman. "I'm not in love with your tone right now."


Posted by: Das boot | October 18, 2007 10:47 AM

Second hand stores are definitely a good place to go. Found a great Navy uniform from the 1940s at a second hand store for $5.00 a few years back. It was a perfect Halloween costume. Also found an old "stewardess" outfit from Pan Am. Also a classic! This year I am being lazy, and not too creative, and am just cobbling something together from the items already in my closet. Rocker 80s chick comes to mind as a possibility.

Posted by: Arlington, VA | October 18, 2007 12:39 PM

I will be dressing up this year! And I will continue to dress up every year. I am going as Marilyn Monroe with a blonde wig and everything.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 18, 2007 1:55 PM

a bumblebee!!

Posted by: unknown | October 18, 2007 2:43 PM

Tania - depending on how bold you are - you can paint your belly as a pumpkin. I've seen it done before and it is cute if done well!

And a pregnant cheerleader is always a hit.

Posted by: LBH219 | October 18, 2007 3:02 PM

My husband and I went dressed in garbage bags, tied at the neck, cut out at the legs. His was stuffed full and he was "HEFTY" -- mine, not so much, with some tears and trash sticking out, I was "WHIMPY". Cost nothing and threw it out when the party was over.

My son, being of a different generation, and not getting the "hefty,hefty,hefty - whimpy,whimpy,whimpy", of years gone by wore the same get-up to his party but said he was "White Trash".

Posted by: P K in FLA | October 18, 2007 3:04 PM

Pregnant? Get some "billybob" teeth and put on a couple of white slips, veil in your hair, flowers, etc and go as a pregnant,redneck bride. Fake cigarettes in one hand, beer bottle in another. "Groom" in torn up clothes, clip on bowtie, tattoos with former girlfriends' names crossed out, etc. Did this with my fiance last year (wasn't pregnant so shoved a balloon up my dress) and we won 1st prize!

Posted by: ShouldBWorking | October 18, 2007 3:05 PM

k so for the guy who said hes not dressing up for halloween... bud come on now... who cares if ur an adult or not so am i and i love halloween.. Its the one time of the year that u can get away with anything you want too... u need to find the little kid inside and stop thinking for one night that ur an adult with problems and bills...

Posted by: Kate | October 19, 2007 12:21 AM

I can see I'm going to spend a lot of money this winter thanks to this blog.

So here's my idea for a Halloween costume, and since I can't say it, I'll sing it:

"One, cut a hole in a box. Two, put your junk in that box. Three, make her open the box"

Yes, I'm wise enough to know when a gift needs giving. Thanks for the shopping advice Tania....

Posted by: Ted | October 24, 2007 2:55 AM

Halloween is my all-time favorite holiday, and I'm loving all these costume ideas (the Geico caveman...classic. And the "D" in a box guy...now THAT's a gift I'd like to get)! I'll be out of the country on the 31st, but curious to see how they do their masquerading south american style. In the mean time, I'm so out of touch with pop culture and shopping deals....keep the ideas coming, Tania !

Posted by: Elaine | October 24, 2007 5:24 PM

Anyone know where I can get VC black pajamas? Also need conical straw hat. and Directions to American embasy in Sigon (sorry Ho Chi Min City)

Posted by: Charles | October 25, 2007 10:40 AM

For Das Boot:

To suggest that the Minnesota bridge collapse is something to make fun of is absolutely deplorable. Many people died, were wounded and lost their jobs due to that tragedy and I urge you to think how you would feel if you saw someone dressing up as a tragedy that killed someone close to you. Halloween is supposed to be fun, no matter the age. Any adult who wishes to dress up should beware that they may be seen by children, and if so, dress appropriately.

Posted by: Jessie | October 29, 2007 12:55 AM

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