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It's a pink Halloween. Here are some of the most popular costumes of 2023

A cosplayer dressed as a boxed Barbie doll attends the MCM Comic Con at ExCeL exhibition centre in London on May 26, 2023.
Henry Nicholls
/
AFP via Getty Images
A cosplayer dressed as a boxed Barbie doll attends the MCM Comic Con at ExCeL exhibition centre in London on May 26, 2023.

Consumers are dropping more money than ever on Halloween, with this year's total Halloween spending expected to reach a record $12.2 billion, according to the National Retail Federation. That figure is almost $2 billion more than the $10.6 billion people spent on the holiday in 2022.

People are dishing out a record amount of money on costumes, too. The NRF says spending on adult, child and pet costumes will reach $4.1 billion. That's nearly a billion dollars more than pre-pandemic spending.

There are costumes that remain popular every year for adults — like witches and vampires. This year, NRF says 5.8 million people are planning to dress as a witch and 2.4 million plan to dress like a vampire.

Spirit Halloween, the largest Halloween chain in the U.S., says what's hot in pop culture determines the most popular costumes every year. So a new girl in town became the third most popular pick.

"When the parties start happening, we're gonna see a lot of Barbie," Marisa Uzzolino, manager of PR for Spirit Halloween, told NPR's Morning Edition. "Western Barbie, Skating Barbie, Skating Ken."

The Barbie movie is the highest-grossing movie of the year and made over a billion dollars in the box office. About 1.8 million people are planning to dress up as Barbie this year.

For the other most popular costumes of the year, Uzzolino says Spirit Halloween is "looking at Wednesday and the Addams Family and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles." Both had new TV shows and movies released over the past year.

When it comes to costumes inspired by iconic eras, last year, 1980s costumes were among the most popular. But this year, it's all about the tie dye, bell bottoms, and fringed dresses from the 1970s.

"We did see a new wave of the hippie styles and hippie stuff coming back," Uzzolino says — adding that Spirit Halloween expanded that section in stores this year.

The most popular costume this year for children is Spiderman, with 2.6 million planning to dress as the superhero. But Uzzolino says that along with Spiderman, there's another character who is extremely popular with children this Halloween.

"We see a huge rise in Bluey. It's a very popular show, and it's also geared towards parents too. So we have it for the kids and we have it for the parents," she says, referring to the main character from the hit children's show Bluey.

Speaking of dogs, the past few years have seen a boost in popularity for pet costumes.

"This is something that we've expanded on since last year. Next year we're going to continue to grow it because it's something that people ask for every year." Uzzolino says.

NRF says the top three costumes for pets are pumpkins, hot dogs and bats. Pet costume spending has gone up by $200 million during the pandemic.

Whether you're going to be Barbie, Wednesday or Spiderman, it's still recommended to get your Halloween costumes now. Spirit Halloween says the last two weeks before Halloween are their most busy, and that the majority of customers are last-minute shoppers.

"The month goes fast. So I think the earlier, the better. Get your costumes now," Uzzolino says.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Kaity Kline
Kaity Kline is an Assistant Producer at Morning Edition and Up First. She started at NPR in 2019 as a Here & Now intern and has worked at nearly every NPR news magazine show since.
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