CONWAY — Trick-or-treaters ringing doorbells tonight will be wearing costumes running the gamut, but expect to see a lot of zombies, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Uncle Si from Duck Dynasty.
“Duck Dynasty is huge,” said Sarah Fulmer, manager of Halloween Express in Conway, referring to the television show. “It’s all sold out everywhere now,” she said the week before Halloween. “We literally sold out of it in one day.”
When the packaged Duck Dynasty costumes were gone, shoppers bought all the beards in the store, she said.
Also, Conway and Greenbrier high schools had a “beard day,” Fulmer said. “We sold every single beard, except for two.”
The store ordered more beards, and sold out again.
Americans are expected to spend $2.6 billion on costumes, according to the National Retail Federation.
The average person will spend $27.85 to make or buy a costume, down from $28.65 in 2012, the federation reported.
Fulmer said sales are expected to be down this year, but in Conway, “it’s way up,” she said.
The popularity of the Ninja Turtles was a surprise to Fulmer.
“Ninja Turtles just popped out,” she said. “It’s for little, little kids.”
However, one of the managers modeled an adult Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle costume.
The Ninja Turtles have experienced a resurgence lately, but they’ve never gone completely away since the 1980s.
“Zombies are really popular,” Fulmer said. “You can pretty much zombify anything. We’ve got the mask to do it; the blood.”
Paige Bly, 21, of Heber Springs and Taylor Owens, 20, of North Little Rock, students at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway, said they will celebrate tonight as zombies.
“Cheerleader zombies,” Owens said.
“Even better,” Bly added.
Owens said they were high school cheerleaders, so they already have uniforms.
“We just had to buy the blood and stuff,” Owens said. They were looking at white makeup and blood.
One of them held a bottle of vampire blood.
An employee pointed out the store had “zombie blood.”
“I didn’t know if I wanted the green-red or red-red blood. It’s a tough decision,” Owens said, jokingly.
Some people were walking around the store trying to get inspiration from the rows of costumes.
Bree Hill, 21, of Greenbrier was shopping with Blake Marchal, 32, of Houston, Texas.
He said he wanted a humorous costume.
“I’m not into scary,” he said.
“We want to do something sort of themed,” she said, adding that she forgot about Halloween until the last minute.
Casey Broadway, 30, of Perryville was buying a “soul seeker”
costume for her 11-year-old.
“She wanted to be Carrie from Stephen King,” Broadway said, and that was the closest she could come.
Costumes ran the gamut from the silly whoopee cushions to the classic Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz.
“Any superhero is pretty much popular,” Fulmer said.
She said she’ll probably dress up as a prisoner, “something simple.”
Area thrift stores see an influx of shoppers who want to create their own costumes.
“Zombies are the theme this year,” said Amanda Page, a manager at Goodwill in Conway.
To transform themselves into zombies, she said, shoppers were buying “just old clothing, anything that looks old, dated — hats, scarves, ties.”
Page agreed that characters from Duck Dynasty are popular, and she has seen people coming in to get ’90s period clothes.
“They’re putting those together — bright colors, funky baggy clothes,” she said.
“They’ve been looking for more celebrity look-alikes, because it’s simple and they can come get the clothes here. One girl was doing Lady Gaga, and one was doing Katy Perry,” Page said.
Standing outside a dressing room in Goodwill, a young woman modeled a dress for her friends.
“It’d be an adorable cave-lady dress, like the Flintstones,” she said.
Costumes for Halloween were selling fast at The Salvation Army Family Store in Conway, too.
“That rack up there used to be full,” Manager Holly Hernandez said.
Hernandez said she’d noticed the Duck Dynasty craze, too.
“A lady bought some thick glasses because her grandson was going to be Uncle Si,” Hernandez said.
“I’ve had lots of requests for overalls,” she added. “Zombies are always big.”
Capt. David Robinson, corps officer for The Salvation Army Conway Corps, said that despite the season, Halloween isn’t the biggest seller.
“We’re selling more Christmas than anything,” he said, laughing.
It’ll be here before we know it.
Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or email@example.com.