What are You Wearing: Halloween Costume Culture Part I

What are You Wearing: Halloween Costume Culture Part I

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Kimberly Jackson of Hattiesburg was on the hunt at Spirit Halloween recently for just the right Halloween costume. This year, she decided to go with a classic, 1930s gangster theme.

"I'm here, looking for some Bonnie and Clyde stuff," she said. "I am going to a party (and) we have a couple of friends getting together and we're all dressing up in costume," she said.

Jackson won't be alone this Halloween season. A National Retail Federation survey shows that 75 million American adults will be dressing up for the holiday to attend parties, costume contests, midnight movies and haunted house tours.

But, why has a kid's holiday become so popular with grown-up consumers?

"You can really just use your imagination and be whatever you want to be for the one day, it's a lot of fun," said Jackson.

"You can get together with all your friends and just, I guess, be something you're not for once," said Valen Williams, a costume shopper who was looking for the right outfit at Ultimate Party last week. "And it's always fun to dress up," she said.

"It's just fun, like we're little kids again, to dress up for one night," said Catherine Campbell, another shopper at Ultimate Party.

"It's almost sad, because you only get one day out of the year to do (dress up)," said Cade Earnhart, an employee at Booger Hollow costume shop. "It would be nice if we could have more than one day out of the year," he said.

Halloween may be only one day each year, but holiday revelers have to prepare for that one day by spending lots of  time shopping. According to the NRF survey, Americans will spend about $7.4 billion this year on the holiday.

"Halloween is our peak season, so it's our busiest time of the year...especially the last couple of weeks," said David Booth, assistant manager for Ultimate Party.

"We've had people come in here for everything from homecoming parades to Halloween parties to just little festivals that are upcoming at schools and communities," said Gabrielle Bulger, a sales associate at Spirit Halloween.

And the Pine Belt community will probably follow the national trend in Halloween spending, shelling out an average of about $77.52 per person for the holiday.