TORONTO - From the complex characters in a medieval epic to a band of bearded duck hunters on the Louisiana bayou, elements of fantasy and reality are inspiring some of this year's hot Halloween costumes.
Value Village store manager Christine Riddell said the large cast and regal twist showcased in the hit cable series "Game of Thrones" has made the show a go-to for those seeking to recreate the ensembles, such as the sword-wielding knights or platinum blond Daenerys Targaryen, Mother of Dragons.
At the other end of the style and time spectrums, the Robertson clan featured on popular reality show "Duck Dynasty" is offering an ample dose of Southern comfort for costume enthusiasts clamouring to mimic their distinctive, outdoorsy ensembles.
"Most guys have a pair of rubber boots or a camouflage pair of pants. You've just got to put an old T-shirt with it, a bandanna, a pair of sunglasses, and of course, the big accessory is the big beard," said Riddell. "It's a funny show, so the guys really have fun putting this (costume) together."
"Breaking Bad" may have faded to black, but fans of the recently concluded TV crime drama can still channel Walter White with their Halloween getups.
Geoff Waszek, co-owner of Candy's Costume Shop in Toronto, said they've been fielding requests for costumes inspired by the award-winning series. They've managed to come through by bringing in hazmat suits inspired by those worn by the fictional meth-maker.
Waszek said the costume-buying process begins in January when he attends a Halloween convention in Houston to scope out ensembles slated to be produced for the year. He said the costumes always follow what's popular in the news, media or movies.
"For example, the Avengers are very, very popular. All the girls, they want to be Catwoman, Black Widow, Wonder Woman, Silk Spectre from 'The Watchmen,'" Waszek said. "The children want to be Spider-Man, (characters from) 'Despicable Me,' Wolverine — all basically the most popular costumes that we sell generally follow the movies.
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Silent Movie Actor
Cover your face with black and white makeup, spray your hair black, and put on a black suit with a white shirt. <a href="http://www.shrimpsaladcircus.com/2011/10/diy-halloween-couple-costumes.html" target="_blank">Easy and clever</a>.
Memes are great costume fodder, and you can <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7uTvCtcbXA" target="_hplink">pull off this one with makeup</a>, kitty ears, and something beige and comfortable. Adorable and cozy, all at once.
Closed National Monument
Get relevant with this costume that references the U.S. government shutdown: dress as your favourite national U.S. monument, or as a park ranger, and then hang a <a href="http://style.mtv.com/2013/10/08/halloween-2013-government-shutdown-costume/" target="_blank">CLOSED sign around your neck</a>.
Orange Is the New Black
This breakout Netflix show makes an <a href="http://www.marieclaire.com/fashion/tips/easy-halloween-costumes#slide-9" target="_blank">easy enough costume</a> for most women if you just get orange scrubs and white sneakers, but we like this as a group costume that includes Piper, Red, Taystee, Poussey, Crazy Eyes, Sophia, Pennsatucky, Alex...really, as many of these awesome characters as possible. For a much cheaper spin on designer prison duds, <a href="http://www.uniformadvantage.com/pages/prod/35-unisex-scrub-pant-js.asp?frmcolor=ambe&itemnumber=71&itemcolor=ambe&itemposition=1" target="_blank">check out this uniform shop</a>.
Bacon and Eggs
This <a href="http://makezine.com/craft/eggs_and_bacon_halloween_costu/" target="_blank">couple costume</a> is made with inexpensive felt. If you can't sew, you can use fusing tape and an iron to put this one together. Have a third person you need a costume for? Cut two circles of beige felt and you've got a pancake!
<a href="http://handmakemyday.com/2011/10/28/diy-paint-chip-halloween-costumes/" target="_blank">Here's one you can make with $5</a> and a trip to the dollar store with poster board, string, and some paint. If you've got a group, each of you can pick a colour to represent.
Yet another great <a href="http://spoonful.com/halloween/best-last-minute-kids-halloween-costumes-gallery#carousel-id=photo-carousel&carousel-item=5" target="_blank">use for party cups!</a>
<a href="http://www.pinterest.com/pin/199495458464710097/" target="_blank">Got a baby and a baby carrier?</a> Then you're most of the way towards this great costume idea. Might as well dress them up in silly outfits while you still get all the say in the matter.
<a href="http://www.pinterest.com/pin/273945589803244185/" target="_blank">If you're patient enough to apply all those dots</a>, you can have a creative costume with just some basic makeup and black clothing.
Another thrift-store special, courtesy of a visit to the menswear section. If you shop well, you'll be able to add the items to your regular wardrobe rotation. <a href="http://instagram.com/p/evuWlNADtw/" target="_blank">Annie looked great</a>, after all.
We love that these guys turned the sexy costume trend on its head with this <a href="http://www.uproxx.com/tv/2013/10/cheap-homemade-halloween-costumes-3/#page/17" target="_blank">great group idea</a>.
If you've got a hoodie, some felt, and some velcro you can put together a simple costume for the animal of your choice. Add a bit of face paint to take it up a notch, but <a href="http://thecraftsdept.marthastewart.com/2009/10/halloween-costumes-quick-easy.html" target="_blank">if it's good enough for Martha</a>, it's good enough for us.
<a href="http://www.aetv.com/duck-dynasty/" target="_blank">This will be a popular one this year</a>, we're sure, but it's still fun. You shouldn't have much trouble finding camo pants, a bandana, and a long beard. Add a mug of tea for Si, of course.
Angela Chase from "My So-Called Life"
<a href="http://instagram.com/p/d3UruhCHT4/" target="_blank">Channel a '90s hero</a> and fight the boring trend towards skimpy Halloween costumes, all at the same time. Surely you've got one comfortable flannel shirt still kicking around.
Texas Senator Wendy Davis
Blond wig, white suit, a microphone, pink shoes, and a <a href="http://www.wendydavistexas.com/" target="_blank">whole lot of awesome</a>.
Drake Working at Shoppers
Have a friend who works for Shoppers Drug Mart? Borrow a uniform shirt, make a "DRAKE" (or "AUBREY") name tag, and you're set.
You can make the classic "Dr. Who" time machine spacecraft (which stands for "Time and Relative Dimension in Space" with a big blue garment and some white paint or masking tape. Easily customizable, like this somewhat-inexplicable flapper TARDIS.
We favour the shark-head mask plus grey sweatshirt with stuff taped to it approach, to make a literal Sharknado, but you've got a few options here. It's even adorable on dogs!
<a href="http://spoonful.com/halloween/best-last-minute-kids-halloween-costumes-gallery#carousel-id=photo-carousel&carousel-item=6" target="_blank">Bring back all that cutting and glueing</a> you did in kindergarten and put this one together with a box or a couple of pieces of poster board. Perhaps you can break out some spray paint and go as the coveted gold iPhone 5S, or add some colour and go as an iPhone 5C.
Captain America is fine and all, but <a href="http://www.uproxx.com/tv/2013/10/cheap-homemade-halloween-costumes-3/#page/25" target="_blank">Captain Canada would be very polite </a>and bilingual.
This is a <a href="http://spoonful.com/halloween/best-last-minute-kids-halloween-costumes-gallery#carousel-id=photo-carousel&carousel-item=11" target="_blank">cute one for kids</a>, and is easily done with masking or duct tape, an inexpensive grey or black sweatsuit, and toy cars.
Grab an unloved orange garment from your closet, or pick one up at your local thrift store, and <a href="http://www.pinterest.com/pin/176977460326346788/" target="_blank">get creative with a black marker</a>. Bonus points if you cover the black parts with glow-in-the-dark paint. This is a fun option for people who don't have the skill or patience for carving actual pumpkins.
The Great Gatsby's Daisy Buchanan
A short blonde wig, a flapper-esque dress, and a bunch of long necklaces let you channel this <a href="http://www.marieclaire.com/fashion/tips/easy-halloween-costumes#slide-6" target="_blank">Great Gatsby character</a> for a night, and look good doing it. This one could get pricey, but you can always find gems at your nearest thrift shop or your grandma's closet.
Everyone has black clothing in their closet. With some yellow fabric strips, velcro, and wings made of black pantyhose and a wire coat hanger, you can easily have a <a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/alannaokun/22-last-minute-diy-halloween-costumes" target="_blank">cheap and cute costume too</a>. This one works for all ages.
Calvin and Hobbes
<a href="http://www.uproxx.com/tv/2013/10/cheap-homemade-halloween-costumes-3/#page/13" target="_blank">This adorable costume</a> is a great reason to have kids, but we see no reason why you couldn't also try an adult version.
Miley Cyrus, With A Twist
Don't go as Miley without putting your own spin on it. Robin Thicke's suit channeled Beetlejuice, so we're in favour of going as Beetlejuice and Lydia at the VMAs. Robin: striped suit (go with white paint on a black secondhand suit), crazy makeup, aviators. Lydia: very short puffy red dress, a black foam finger, black top knots with spiky bangs—and, obviously, tongue sticking out as often as possible.
You can go creative (and less messy), like in this photo, with some red tinsel, or you can just put on a white dress and blonde wig and then pour (water-based!) red paint all over yourself. Your call.
Rosie the Riveter
Denim, an updo, red lipstick, and a bandanna make this an easy costume, <a href="http://whatiwore.tumblr.com/post/11139181825/homemade-halloween-rosie-the-riveter" target="_blank">but it's a DIY classic</a>.
Another '90s throwback, and one that's easy to do with a black wig, black tights, and a black dress with a bit of lace and a white collar. Get out your glue gun!
Have a broken black umbrella lying around? Then you're halfway to a <a href="http://www.evilmadscientist.com/2007/umbrella-bat-costume-update-now-more-anatomically-correct/" target="_blank">fun bat costume</a>.
<font size="5">NEXT: Most Popular Halloween Costumes For Couples</font>
USB And Port
Because they fit <a href="http://www.costumesupercenter.com/couples+costumes/RI7235-couples-usb-port-and-stick-adult-costume.html" target="_blank">perfectly together. </a>
PB & J
Now you can wear everyone's <a href="http://www.buycostumes.com/p/803962/peanut-butter-and-jelly-couple-adult-costume" target="_blank">favourite sandwich. </a>
Burger And Beer
Staying in the theme of favourite foods, you can also dress up like a <a href="http://www.partycity.com/product/beer+and+burger+couples+costumes.do?navSet=170378" target="_blank">pint and burger. </a>
Where's Waldo (x2)
<a href="http://www.partycity.com/product/plus+size+wheres+waldo+couples+costumes.do?navSet=170386" target="_blank">Where's Waldo?</a> No really, now we have to deal with two.
Spy vs. Spy
These two are natural enemies — but you and your beau don't have to be.
Princess Leia And Jabba The Hutt
<a href="http://www.partycity.com/product/princess+leia+and+jabba+the+hutt+star+wars+couples+costumes.do?navSet=170384" target="_blank">No explanation needed. </a>
You too can be the most talked about couple of the year.
Yup, <a href="http://www.partycity.com/product/sassy+red+angry+birds+and+yellow+angry+birds+couples+costumes.do?navSet=170384" target="_blank">pretty scary. </a>
Batman And Robin
Everyone's favourite <a href="http://www.partycity.com/product/batman+and+robin+second+skin+couples+costumes.do?navSet=170378" target="_blank">superhero duo. </a>
Rob Ford And Stephen Harper
Win every single 'best dressed' contest with this one.
Plug And Outlet
Ha! <a href="http://www.costumesupercenter.com/couples+costumes/RI7233-couples-plug-and-socket-adult-costume.html" target="_blank">We think this is cute. </a>
Walt And Jesse
Just because they have somewhat of a complicated love/hate relationship, doesn't mean you do.
Bacon And Eggs
Take your breakfast to the next <a href="http://www.costumesupercenter.com/couples+costumes/7096-bacon-eggs-adult-couples-costume.html" target="_blank">Halloween party. </a>
Alex And Piper
If you really want to stay relevant this Halloween, we say stick to Orange Is The New Black's favourite duo Alex and Piper.
Because sometimes, we're all <a href="http://www.costumesupercenter.com/couples+costumes/00893-cry-baby-adult-plus-costume.html" target="_blank">big babies. </a>
<a href="http://www.couplescostumes.com/operation-and-operation-sexy.html" target="_blank">Feel 10 again. </a>
Danny And Sandy
Sure, it's Halloween, but we're just thinking about those <a href="http://www.couplescostumes.com/danny-and-sandy-grease-couples-costumes.html" target="_blank">summer nights. </a>
Barbie And Ken
Perfect cardboard-cutout for the perfect <a href="http://www.couplescostumes.com/barbie-and-ken-couples-costumes.html" target="_blank">cardboard-cutout couple. </a>
We all know both of you are anxious to <a href="http://www.yandy.com/Sexy-Seventies-Couples-Costume.php" target="_blank">re-live this moment. </a>
Adam And Eve
Technically, you have <a href="http://www.amazon.ca/Halloween-cosplay-costumes-costume-Couples/dp/B000GJCP3U/ref=sr_1_14?ie=UTF8&qid=1380225309&sr=8-14&keywords=couples+costumes" target="_blank">something on. </a>
"'Iron Man' is always popular and I'm sure with the success of 'Gravity,' we're going to be having a lot of requests for astronaut suits now," Waszek added, a reference to the hit lost-in-space flick starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney.
In Value Village's fourth annual Halloween Shopping Survey of 1,000 adults, the thrift retailer found nearly half of respondents think movies and TV shows are the best source of costume inspiration.
The recent blockbuster season 4 premiere of "The Walking Dead" proved that the zombie series still has bite, and its popularity is being parlayed into Halloween costumes.
"I think we get the most requests right now for zombies. You can really zombie-fy anything," said Riddell. "It's on trend, and it's really easy and inexpensive with our gently used clothing selection here.
"We've seen the bride and groom, the prom queen. We've seen the cheerleader and football players, rock stars — and you can basically take it anywhere," she added, citing fake blood, silver hairspray and makeup and shredded or torn clothes among the staples in assembling the ghoulish getups.
Waszek said he's observed a growing appetite for spookier costumes among younger consumers.
"Generally, in previous years, a lot of girls just want to be princesses or superheroes. But we're getting a lot more requests for the horror costumes," he said, adding that they zombie costume and horror prom queen getups on offer.
Beyond mining pop culture for ideas, the likelihood of online posts, "likes" — or perhaps a desire to avoid duplication — is also a driving force behind costume choice, the Value Village poll suggested.
Almost 40 per cent of respondents said they make a greater effort to wear something different each year because they know pictures of them in costume will be posted on social media channels such as Facebook and Pinterest. Nearly 70 percent of those who typically don costumes admitted social media platforms influence their costume choices. Meanwhile, nearly half are inspired by looking at photos of what others wore that pop up in their online feeds.
While outlandish costumes may make waves, individuals don't necessarily need to to break the bank — or even buy a full costume — to piece together an on-trend look.
"If a customer has their own suit, they could do 'The Great Gatsby' where we just give them a hat, a bowtie and a cane and they're off. And they leave very happy," said Waszek.
Indeed, the recent big-screen adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic novel has helped revitalize interest in '20s-inspired fashions. And for some, thoughs of the dapper styles featured on the big screen still lingers as they assemble their Halloween outfits.
Riddell said they've been fielding a lot of requests for "Gatsby"-inspired looks channelling the glam, roaring '20s, such as flapper-style dresses.
Also generating buzz is steampunk, which draws on influences from the industrial age and Victorian-era styles. Riddell described it as a combination of a Sherlock Holmes look with "a bit of spin" with gears and gadgets, with girls sporting black boots and fishnet stockings.
"We have a lot of people asking for that. We do have a lot of new accessories: that's a lot a brown and dark colours, goggles and pocket watches and things like that. That seems to be a popular one this year."
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