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Halloween costumes for grownups

Aly Walansky is a freelance writer and editor based in New York City. She lives with her two Shorkie-Tzus, Scarlette and Max, and a display of pink polka-dot-themed home decor -- not to mention a selection of flavored vodka. Check out he...

Halloween costumes

Halloween is just as fun for adults as it is for kids! For one night, everyone gets to play pretend. Here are some costume ideas for your grown-up Halloween celebration.

My gal pals and I started planning for this Halloween just about as soon as we finished celebrating last year's festivities. Annual events surrounding this holiday are a unique exercise in self-expression -– one night of the year that you can dress, act, be an entirely different person –- and leave your own identity at home for a while.

Buffy: You're missing the whole point of Halloween. Willow: Free candy? Buffy: It's come as you aren't night: The perfect chance for a girl to get sexy and wild with no repercussions!
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer, "Halloween"


Cady: Halloween is the one night a year when girls can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it.
- Mean Girls

That said, self-expression and freedom doesn't necessitate dressing as a "slut" if you don't wish to. In fact, some of the most fun costumes you can dream up may involve wearing more clothes than usual! The idea is just to break down some barriers and explore other sides of yourself. Oh -- and look as hot as possible in the process.

What she's wearing

"Popular costume choices for women again this year will be those that show a woman's curves, legs and whatever else she's willing to reveal," says Dorice Dionne, Senior Vice President of Merchandising for iParty, a national party supply retailer (funatiparty.com). "Sexy costumes continue to be best-sellers for us. Occupational sexy costumes like Nurse, Policewomen, Race Car Driver, Referee and French Maid have lots of play and fantasy potential. When women wear those costumes, not only are they beautiful and sexy, they can play up the character and have lots of fun."

Have a secret wish to be Little Miss Muffet for the evening? "Halloween is the ultimate excuse to try on another personality," Dionne says. The holiday gives everyone the go ahead to be anything they can imagine and for a lot of people that means it's a chance to fearlessly step out of character.

Shirley of Hollywood, a leader and originator in sensuous lingerie since 1948, is in the midst of a major expansion of its costume collection. "We've been doing costumes for some time now, but over the last few years our collection and business has consistently doubled in size annually," said Eric Schlobohm, the company's international sales director. "We've had a fantastic response to both our missy and plus-size costume and are expanding both lines this year based on the popular demand last Halloween's near total sell-out collection received."

Shirley's collections feature even more his and hers costume sets for couples, women, men, and plus-sizes. They are also bringing out full themed groups, from The French Revolution, to The Wild West, Pimpin' the Boulevard, Patriots and its very popular Pirate motif.

How to pick the best adult Halloween costume

Ready to make the choice? We've got some great guidelines for you.

Some tips for choosing your costume (courtesy of Shirley of Hollywood):

1. Accessorize. Like any outfit, it's all about accessories. SH Halloween costumes come with all the special touches that make for a hauntingly memorable look. For instance, our Little Miss Muffet costume comes complete with a lace up dress, hanging spider, cotton hat cap, a ribbon tie choker and spoon, while our Roman Emperor costume comes with tunic, cape, breastplate, golden leaf crown, imitation leather ciraso and sword!

And you can add you own to finish your look -- like long satin gloves, boas, bling, boots and vintage shoes, and fishnet or sheer hosiery.

2. Connect to pop culture. Costumes that connect to current pop culture and trends are always a hit, which is why his and hers pirate costumes are so hot this year -- following on the success of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.

This year, keep your eyes open for pirates, rock stars, Roman looks, Casino Royale style, French Revolution, Desperate Housewives-inspired characters -- and of course, the ever-popular cowboy and cowgirl ensembles.

3. Get wiggy! Wigs are a great addition to any Halloween costume. They really help ignite the fantasy of taking on an alter ego for the night. (Bonus: A wig can be worn any time of year!)

4. Try couples costumes. There are all kinds of great his and her costumes -- from French Majesty and Miss Antoinette to Musketeers, Pirates, Queen of the Nile and Roman Emperor, Cop and Inmate and Man of the Mansion and Hippity Hop Hot Bunny to Cupid.

Dressing up as a couple can be just as much fun as the party itself!

5. Emphasize comfort. Approachable textures, breathable fabrics, and body-clinging yet functioning materials will encourage partygoers to live it up past midnight.

And remember, October's Halloween costume is next month's boudoir role-play outfit! Use October 31st events as an excuse to explore your wild side -– and then keep it around for as long as possible!

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