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Costume shop seeing best Halloween in years

Trick-or-treaters can buy, rent or DIY costumes at any budget

SAN ANTONIO - Pirates and politicians and zombies, oh my.  Despite a still-recovering economy, consumers are scaring up more cash this year for Halloween costumes.

At Gibson Costume Shop, Sandra Torres, general manager, said this is her best Halloween for business in years.

"Whether it's because of the election or because the economy is making a turnaround, we don't know, but we're seeing a difference," she said.  "They're spending money."

Halloween spending is expected to increase by 10 percent over last, according to a survey for the National Retail Federation.  Nearly $30 will be spent on costumes alone.  Per person who celebrates Halloween, that comes out to $28.65.

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Brant Bumpers was browsing the creepy clown masks, looking forward to a holiday that has increasingly become more for adults that candy-hunting kids.

"It's the one time of the year where you can celebrate a time where everybody can pretend to be something else," Bumpers said.

As for the "something else," Torres said superheroes, like the Avengers, are super-popular this year, along with classics like pirates, 70's costumes and storybook characters.

While many of the costumes sell for $30 to $50,  those wanting to go all-out can rent elaborate Cleopatra, Beatles, Maria Antoinette and many more for between $65 and $150.

Torres said she's seeing couples spending hundreds of dollars.

"You go all the way out with accessories, makeup, costumes, and before you know it, they've already racked up $300," she said.

Not all costumes require cash.   Do-it-yourselfers scavenge thrift stores for inspiration and one-of-a-kind costumes on a dime.

"We love to see our folks come in and really dream up creepy ideas," said  Jason Meza with Goodwill Industries.

For instance,  a pin-striped jacket and hat  inspired an $8 gangster costume. And, an old prom dress with witch hat and black boots made for a $20 witch.

"You just never know what you're going to find," Meza said. "We have exactly what you're not looking for."

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