It's not just Big Bird that's trending. In Fort Dodge, designing your own costume is in, at least according to the costume department at Party Productions.
"One of our biggest sellers is the makeup," said Tiffinie Gurnett, who wore a Tigger costume as she helped shoppers find the right look. "A lot of people are doing their own theatrical makeup - the zombies, the gore."
Theatrical Manager Meredith Smith-Lane agreed.
-Messenger photo by Joe Sutter
Meredith Smith-Lane, left, and Tiffinie Gurnett show off their steampunk and Tigger costumes in front of a rack of boas at Party Productions. Smith-Lane said build-your-own costumes have been popular this year, especially steampunk and zombie-themed costumes.
"There's been a lot of build-your-own things, like steampunk and zombies," she said. "I've had a lot of people in looking for pieces of things, like they want funky gloves to go with something they're making at home. Or they want a hat to top off whatever their outfit is.
"They don't want the bag, they want something original."
Among kids, some of the most popular costumes come from "The Avengers."
"Super hero stuff is always big around Halloween," Smith-Lane said.
Election year current events also is reflected in costume choices. Big Bird costumes became popular nationally after Mitt Romney mentioned the Sesame Street character in the first presidential debate. Here in Fort Dodge, supply hasn't kept up with demand.
"Our Big Bird costume has been rented, and we've received more requests, so I should have had more," Smith-Lane said. "We have a Mitt Romney mask, but no Big Birds."
Obama and Romney masks are selling faster this year than four years ago with Obama and McCain, she said.
Candidate masks are also popular at the Halloween Boo-tique, the seasonal store located just west of the Crossroads Mall. Both stores sell makeup, wigs, decor and costumes for all ages.
"We do have Mitt Romney and Obama masks. Those sell pretty well," said Mary Rivera, who works at Halloween Boo-tique.
Rivera agreed that kids love the Avengers this year, especially the Hulk.
She explained what adults look for when picking a costume.
"A lot of women want to be sexy, and a lot of the men want to be funny. Men want just something outrageous," she said. "Unless the woman, like if she's a sexy cop, she'll make the man accessorize her. Like if she's the sexy cop, he'll be a cop. The men usually go along with the women if they're a couple."
Beer keg costumes have sold well this year, she said.
So have nurse costumes for women, said Jennifer Jorgensen, manager of Coach House Gifts and the Boo-tique.
Though Gurnett at Party Productions said zombies are still "huge," Rivera said the zombie craze is not as big this year.
"People still like the old standbys. One thing is Red Riding Hood, either a guy wolf or a girl wolf - they go together," Rivera said.
What's different or unusual this year? "What we got in this year, it's like the 'invisible suit.'" Jorgensen said. "It's like the blue man guys, but we got all different colors. And they're gone. They just flew out of here."