Costumes for Halloween this year lean toward superheroes

NEW HAVEN — After three straight years of dressing up as Batman for Halloween, 8-year-old Ezra Vereen, of West Haven, decided it was time for a change, as he was “Batman-ed out” as his mother put it.

But as a fan of the comics and movies, it wasn’t a difficult decision for Ezra to stay within the world of superheroes and now he plans to go as Batman’s archenemy this year: The Joker.

Just like Ezra, more than 3.7 million children plan to dress as their favorite action character or superhero, continuing with last year’s trend, according to an annual survey released by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.

“Superheroes and movie-related themes continue to be among the new and popular looks,” said Bill Furtkevic, vice president of marketing for Party City. “From The Justice League and Descendants to Emojis and popular gaming characters ... customers [can] customize their costume and express themselves in a way that literally suits them best from head to toe.”

Batman characters and princesses tied for second place among children as 2.9 million are expected to don each costume. Meanwhile, 2.2 million kids will dress as some sort of an animal such as a cat, dog or monkey. Spider-Man, “Star Wars” characters, witches, pirates, Marvel superheroes excluding Batman, Disney princesses, ghosts and Wonder Woman are expected to be popular as well, according to the survey.

Jessica Patchell, who works at Spirit Halloween in Ansonia, said the popularity of these costumes coincides with the releases of their respective movies such as the release of “Spider-Man: Homecoming” in 2017. She said kids choose their particular costumes because kids see the movies characters as role models or someone they aspire to be.

However, proving Halloween isn’t just for kids, a record number of adults — 48 percent — plan to dress up as well this year. Kerri Anderson, of Shelton, said as a stay-at-home mom, she feels like Wonder Woman most of the time, so she plans to dress up as the famed film character. Her husband and two children will also dress up as superheroes.

“If the movie’s a hit, then [people] want to copy that and be characters from their favorite film,” said Evelyn Torres, who works at Spooky Town Halloween Superstore in Orange.

More than 5.8 million adults plan to dress as a witch, 3.2 million as their favorite Batman character, 3 million as an animal and 2.8 million as a pirate. Other costumes, such as Marvel superheroes, vampires, zombies, DC superheroes, “Star Wars” characters, slasher movie villains and Wonder Woman will also be common, according to the survey.

While movie characters are expected to be the most popular, Violet Harlow, who works at Fashionista Vintage & Variety in New Haven, said there has been a resurgence of the more “tongue-in-cheek, kind of smart but witty costumes” such as a pregnant nun. Todd Grosberg, of Milford, for instance, plans to go as Raggedy Andy, the male version of Raggedy Ann. He said he has always done something a “little quirky,” citing the Easter Bunny as an example.

“Given the kind of mood of what’s been going on in the country, I think we’re going to have a lot more people doing silly and fun things instead of serious things. So, less of the traditional [costumes] and some really wacky individuals that just want to go over the top,” Harlow said.

While some die-hard Halloween fanatics start shopping for their costumes months in advance, most of these shops see customers buying their costumes a few weeks or even days before the holiday. So if you haven’t bought or rented a costume yet, there’s still time left with plenty of options.