Who says Halloween is just for kids?

By Natalie Lariccia


Adults are taking time out of their busy schedules to celebrate in style.

While it’s true that mostly children will spend this spooky season dressed in costume and toting a pillowcase loaded with chocolate and candy treats, some area adults will be gearing up for their own frightful frolic by donning daunting duds and hosting an adult Halloween party.

Take it from local costume, cake, party and event store owners whose businesses are buzzing with adult customers looking for a comical costume, monster mask or party pizzazz, Halloween is becoming bigger with adults year after year.

“Halloween is a very popular time among adults when we get to let loose. We don’t need to be so serious ... you can actually get a little silly and funny,” said Marisa Lindsey, store manager at the Party Place in Boardman.

Lindsey said this year’s hot adult costumes include era-specific costumes like disco-themed and ’50s-style costumes that feature poodle skirts for women and leather jackets and jeans for men, and Michael Jackson costumes. Annual favorites include pirate-themed costumes and cartoon couples’ costumes, such as Popeye and Olive Oyl.

“I think in these economic times, people are still spending for Halloween. You’re constantly running from point A to point B day to day, and then this is the time to slow down and have fun,” Lindsey said.

Beyond the disguise

Lindsey said she has noticed an increase in customers buying Halloween-themed house decorations like window decorations and life-sized statues of ghouls and skeletons. Fog machines and pinatas are also popular and make great accents for adult parties, she said.

“Halloween is more of an adults’ Christmas, but it’s not as stressful. The adults really do it up. They like to enjoy themselves,” said Shirley James, president/owner of Ward’s Costume Shoppe in Niles.

A family-run business since it opened in 1949, Ward’s has about 2,000 different costumes available for rent, and some costumes are available for purchase. James said it’s not uncommon for her to begin receiving Halloween costume requests in the summer.

Although she anticipates Michael Jackson will be a popular costume this year, she said pirate and Renaissance-style costumes are also popular. Couples costumes with a food and people theme are also popular. Examples of these costumes include Mark Anthony and Cleopatra; a monk and nun; pizza and beer; and catsup and mustard.

Lori Bortmas, store manager of Party Max in Boardman, said her store is packed with customers loading up with decorations to celebrate this spooky season — especially adult customers.

“It [Halloween] seems to be bigger every year, especially with decorations — it’s amazing — especially with the adults. People are literally decorating like it’s Christmas,” Bortmas said.

Pet costumes such as a dog Dracula and cute couple costumes such as Wilma and Fred Flintstone and a comical ball and chain couple are also popular sellers, she said.

Bortmas recommends that party-throwers pick up a scary music compact disc and fun lighting accessories such as strobe lights.

Frightful food

Food can be simple, yet themed to enhance the party.

Maria Pastrana, owner of Sugar by Cake Creations, said she has received “quirky” requests for Halloween-themed desserts such as a dirt cake that is accented with a plastic hand to resemble a hand coming out from the ground and a cake that resembles a tombstone.

Fake eyeballs can be a fun accessory in a punch bowl or in beverage glasses, she said.

Joe Mineo, owner of Something New Florist and Events in Canfield, said party planners can take a different spin on the Halloween look with a nontraditional glamorous theme. The look is unconventional and fun and can be achieved with relatively inexpensive materials, he said.

For example, real pumpkins can be spray-painted black and metallic silver and adorned with glitter, beads and feathers. An old chandelier can be adorned with artificial cobwebs and used as a party table centerpiece.

A signature cocktail like a pomegranate martini that is infused with dark red food coloring for a “blood-red martini,” can be a fun party beverage. Photocopies of black-and-white photos of iconic horror movie stars like Vincent Price or Dracula can serve as creative drink coasters.

“It’s the whole element of making your whole Halloween party something more chic and adult — you’re glamorizing the whole holiday party — bringing it to a whole new level,” Mineo said.

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