More consumers are buying Halloween costumes online

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Afraid of the long lines in costume stores, more consumers are buying costumes online and this Halloween's most popular costumes are inspired by Hollywood movies, says shopping search engine SortPrice.com.

Ballerinas, pirates, kimonos and superheroes were the most popularly searched costumes this season at www.sortprice.com.

"While ballerinas, witches and superheroes remained favorite costume choices in 2006, this year's most popular costumes were strongly influenced by Hollywood," said Doron Simovitch, CEO at SortPrice.com, New York.

"'Pirate costume' was the most popular search due in no small part to the success of the blockbuster movie, 'Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest,' while Hollywood's 'Memoirs of a Geisha' inspired the popularity of the geisha costume," he said.

Other popular searches include classics like witch and princess costumes, as well as the more character specific dress up outfits like Tinkerbell and Wolverine. And then there are the popularly searched yet, less traditional digs, like the pimp costume and "Stewie" costume, referring to the evil baby on Fox's animated sitcom, "Family Guy."

According to SortPrice.com's sales, consumers are spending an average of $60 on costumes this year, up about $10 from last year. And Halloween is not just for kids. This year the shopping search engine saw an increase in search queries for sexy adult costumes.

Will online shopping wipe out the costume shop? Not entirely; it may just help relieve last-minute sales and out-of-stock issues.

According to Mr. Simovitch, more Halloween costumes are currently being purchased online, due to bricks-and-mortar stores quickly selling out of the most popular costumes.

"We have noticed that the trends for purchasing Halloween costumes are consumers who are buying at the last minute," Mr. Simovitch said. "That said, most e-commerce retail sites have seen an increase in sales for Halloween costumes seven business days prior to Oct. 31."

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