THE BLOG
10/10/2014 04:48 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Where to Buy This Year's 10 Most Popular Halloween Costumes

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By Jennifer Calonia, Editorial Manager

From your local grocery store to Instagram, signs of Halloween's quick approach are everywhere. Stores are lining their aisles with cobwebs, candy and costumes to satiate even the most robust appetites of Halloween enthusiasts; in fact, Halloween 2014 will be even more widely celebrated in the U.S. than usual, with the National Retail Federation predicting costume sales this year will hit $2.8 billion, a 55 percent increase in spending since 2006.

Dressing up for the holiday hasn't been an activity reserved just for the kids in recent years. The number of adults -- and even pets -- wearing costumes to get into the holiday spirit has increased, with the NRF anticipating adults will spend $1.4 billion on costumes for themselves this year (and another $350 million to dress up their furry friends).

With total U.S. Halloween spending expected to reach $7.4 billion this holiday -- and young adults age 18 to 24 planning to spend $87 on their 2014 outfits -- GOBankingRates investigated online retailers to reveal where consumers can find the best deals on this year's hottest costumes.

The stores investigated ranged from the online portals of big box retailers -- Target, Walmart, Party City, for example -- to smaller specialty costume sites like CostumeCraze.com and CostumeDiscounters.com. We evaluated each store on the availability of each costume (and variety of options -- adult and children's costumes for both genders were considered). We also curated prices, available discounts and promo codes, and other money-saving deals (such as free shipping).

Click through to see where you should be buying your favorite costume this Halloween.

Related: The GOBankingRates Ultimate Guide to Saving Money This Halloween.

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1. Captain America Costume

The Captain is sure to have a strong showing this Halloween. You'll find a large selection of costumes patterned after the hero, ranging from inexpensive colored jumpsuits to movie-quality threads.

Even if you don't have a blockbuster budget, just about every online retailer will have something for you; you'll find higher-quality (and much more expensive) costumes like the one pictured above at the smaller, more specialty costume retailers, whereas bigger sites like Target and Party City will carry the cheaper versions. The one exception? Walmart, which carried a surprising selection of outfits that varied widely in quality and cost.

For any ladies who wish to don the red, white and blue, just about every retailer carries a women's version of the costume. But both men and women shouldn't expect the iconic shield to be part of what they pay for.

  • Price: Simple versions of the costume will run you as cheap as $15 for a shirt and mask, up to around $40 for a full suit; the more elaborate ones can range from $100 to $300. The shield will tack at least an extra $25 to your purchase.
  • Make it yourself? Not unless you've got serious cosplay skills.
  • Pair with: Other Marvel Avengers, the Winter Soldier or Black Widow.
  • Cheapest at: Walmart, Target and Party City
  • Coupon and discount offers: Use Target code TGLPTPHF (expires Oct. 31) for $5 off a $50 or more purchase; the retailer also provides free shipping on all online purchases of at least $50 as standard practice.
Screenshot: HalloweenCostumes

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2. Star-Lord Costume

As a central character in Marvel's 2014 box office giant, "Guardians of the Galaxy," the masked sheriff of the stars will certainly be a costume on the radar of Halloween celebrants this Oct. 31. For a men's version of the costume, avoid the big box retailers like Target, Walmart and Kohl's. Instead search around specialty costume retailers like Spirit Halloween.

With that said, the selection for kid's versions of the costume is limited, and you'll be hard-pressed to find more than two versions of the Star-Lord Halloween costume at any retailer. Warning -- you'll be buying accessories, like the laser gun, separately!

  • Price: You shouldn't be paying more than $50; the average Star-Lord costume will run you $10 to $45 for a child's costume, or $30 to $50 for adults.
  • Make it yourself? The red leather trench coat is doable, but replicating the mask would be Comic-Con-quality work.
  • Pair with: Other "Guardians of the Galaxy" characters, like Rocket, Drax or Gamora.
  • Cheapest at: Spirit Halloween, Walmart, and CostumeDiscounters.com.
  • Coupon and discount offers: Visit Spirit Halloween pop-up locations with this printable coupon (expires Oct. 31) or use code LOCATE14 online for 20 percent off any one item. Save more through Oct. 16 with code LIVING14, which will save 25 percent on one item.
Screenshot: HalloweenCostumes

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3. Maleficent Costume

You'll be seeing a lot of Disney's iconic witch, Maleficent, this Halloween. This year's box office hit with Angelina Jolie boosted the popularity of the character and added new designs to a classic costume. Most online retailers, both big box and costume specialty, will be carrying a solid selection of the costume.

For the widest selection, poke around CostumeCraze.com, SpiritHalloween.com and BuyCostumes.com. Both adults and teens will find what they're looking for, while it will be harder to find a version for the younger witch in your family. Sorceress staff and crow accomplice will have to be bought separately.

  • Price: The basic versions go for about $40. There are higher quality Maleficent costumes running for $100 or more, most of which are modeled after the villain from the original Sleeping Beauty.
  • Make it yourself? If you have a dark gown, adding some pointy shoulder mantles and purchasing the horned cap could be more cost-effective.
  • Pair with: Aurora, Stefan, pixies or other characters from the "Maleficent" or "Sleeping Beauty" movies.
  • Cheapest at: Walmart, WholesaleHalloweenCostumes.com and CostumeDiscounters.com.
  • Coupon and discount offers: Apply CostumeDiscounters.com code SAVE25 (expires May 2, 2015) at checkout for 25 percent off any costume $20 or more, and receive free U.S. ground shipping on purchases of at least $70.
Screenshot: HalloweenCostumes

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4. Elsa Costume

"Frozen," the highest-grossing animated film of all time, will without a doubt be chosen by many young Halloween participants this year. Snow queen Elsa might very well be the most popular character from the film. Those looking for a wider selection of child and adult versions of the costume than big box stores can offer should browse around costume specialty retailers, which often carry alternatives like an "ice queen costume." Tiaras, when pictured, are generally included in the costume set.

  • Price: The cost for a child's Elsa costume starts around $25 and shouldn't exceed $40. For adults, the price gets bumped up a small amount to around $50.
  • Make it yourself? Sew some snowflake designs onto a light, glittery blue gown and add a tiara if you want to get crafty and keep your wallet fat.
  • Pair with: Other "Frozen" characters, like Anna, Olaf and Kristoff, or other Disney princesses.
  • Cheapest at: WholesaleHalloweenCostumes.com, Walmart and Party City.
  • Coupon and discount offers: Shop one of Party City's more than 800 stores and save money with this printable coupon (expires Oct. 24) which is good for $10 off your purchase of $60 or more; or, use the code PCWC8HG to get the same discount when shopping online.
Screenshot: CostumeCraze

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5. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Costume

With this year's live-action "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" film, being a karate-kicking, nunchuck-swinging turtle will be the goal of copious costume wearers on Halloween. Every retailer, whether costume specialty or big box, will carry a wide range of costumes patterned after the four turtles (from low to high quality). You won't have trouble finding the costumes for any age and gender. Expect to buy any ninja weapons separately.

  • Price: Don't expect to spend a fortune on one of these costumes. The most expensive ones GOBankingRates could find ran for $90, but generally speaking, a turtle costume should cost you $20 to $35 for kids or about $30 to $50 for teens and adults.
  • Make it yourself? If you're willing to forego the shell, a simpler version of the costume could be achieved, but at these prices, it might be best to just purchase a pre-made outfit.
  • Pair with: Additional "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" characters, like Splinter, April O'Neil or Shredder.
  • Cheapest at: Target, Party City or CostumeCraze.com.
  • Coupon and discount offers: CostumeCraze.com shoppers can save a few dollars with the store's online code GET5 (no expiration date listed) for 5 percent off any purchase.
Screenshot: CostumeExpress

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6. Orange Is the New Black Costume

Netflix's hit show gained quite a bit of popularity in 2014, and there will be a good number of women looking to get their "incarceration" on this Halloween. There are two versions of the costume (beige and orange), and you'll notice those same two at pretty much any big box and costume specialty retailer you can find, with minimal exceptions. While Walmart and a few costume retailers are missing the product, it shouldn't be too much trouble to find the costume anywhere else for about $30. Search around, you could find the costume for as low as $24 depending on the site you purchase from.

  • Price: Can be found as cheap as $20, but anything more than $40 is not worth your time.
  • Make it yourself? This is definitely one you can work with. Any orange or beige jumpsuit/scrubs would work.
  • Pair with: Police officer or prison guard costumes.
  • Cheapest at: CostumeDiscounters.com, WholesaleHalloweenCostumes.com and Party City.
Screenshot: SpiritHalloween

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7. Jon Snow Costume

"Game of Thrones" has arguably been the most popular series on television in recent years. HBO's big-budget show has perfectly captured George R.R. Martin's mixture of gritty adult themes and medieval fantasy. One of the more popular characters to dress up as will be Jon Snow (though you'll also likely see a lot of Daenerys Targaryens and Khal Drogos walking around Oct. 31).

Despite the show's reputation, you'll be hard-pressed to find the costume. We recommend SpiritHalloween.com as your one-stop shop for "Game of Thrones" costumes, where you'll find a nice selection of outfits and accessories patterned after multiple characters from the series. A basic Jon Snow outfit retails for about $50 (add another $60 for the deluxe coat). On the other hand, if money is no object, HalloweenCostumes.com carries an elaborate $700 Jon Snow replica outfit.

  • Price: Getting the cloak, tunic and sword will set you back around $130. The separate pieces of the costume range anywhere from $20 to $60.
  • Make it yourself? The full costume (tunic, cape, sword and wig are all separate) will cost quite a bit. Any medieval/fantasy costumes can be adapted to look like a GoT character, or play around with what you already have. Due to the rarity of the costume, making one from scratch is definitely a good option.
  • Pair with: Other characters from the show, including Daenerys Targaryen, Khal Drogo, Cersei and Tyrion.
  • Cheapest at: SpiritHalloween.com
Screenshot: SpiritHalloween

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8. Katniss Everdeen Costume

Film adaptations of the popular teen novels have done wonderfully at the box office, and with the newest film just around the corner, this costume is likely to be a hit this Halloween. Like our friend Jon Snow, a solid Katniss costume is tough to find. CostumeCraze.com, HalloweenCostumes.com and SpiritHalloween.com have the greatest selection of costumes and accessories to transform yourself into the District 9 tribute, though. The bow, arrows and quiver will have to be fabricated or bought separately. HalloweenCostumes.com carries the highest quality version of her leather jacket, priced at $120.

  • Price: To get the desired effect, about $40 will have to be spent on a costume, and another $20 to $30 on a prop bow. Having a black leather jacket is essential for pulling off this look.
  • Make it yourself? This is another one that can easily be homemade and passed off as authentic. Combining a leather jacket, rugged pants, combat boots, bow and arrow, and possibly a wig could be a cheaper/easier alternative.
  • Pair with: Other "Hunger Games" characters.
  • Cheapest at: Party City and BuyCostumes.com.
  • Coupons and discount offers: Enter BuyCostumes.com's code PTRVALPAK1 (expires Oct. 31) for 20 percent off site-wide.
Screenshot: CostumeCraze

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9. Daryl Dixon Costume

AMC's "The Walking Dead" has become a staple of Halloween television. The hit show has a diehard following -- and its theme makes it a natural choice when picking costumes. Daryl Dixon is a fan favorite, and his vest, crossbow and zombie ear necklace make the character a fun costume for those looking for something unique. Unfortunately, SpiritHalloween.com might very well be the only place to find this costume (and its the wing-embroidered vest) in both men's and boy's versions. Accessories are sold separately.

You might find fellow character Rick Grimes' sheriff outfit at other costume specialty retailers, but SpiritHalloween.com easily offers the best selection of "The Walking Dead" costumes, including Daryl Dixon, Rick Grimes and Michonne.

  • Price: The vest goes for about $30, while props such as crossbow and zombie ear necklace add on a few extra Hamiltons to the total cost.
  • Make it yourself? Depending on the tools (and skills) at your disposal, this could be a possibility. The costume is relatively cheap though.
  • Pair with: Zombies or other "Walking Dead" characters.
  • Cheapest at: SpiritHalloween.com.
Screenshot: SpiritHalloween

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10. Nicki Minaj Costume

In previous years, controversial pop stars like Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus inspired a great deal of teens and adults to dress up in wild outfits for Halloween. This year, costumes mimicking Nicki Minaj are likely to appear, considering her recent success. While most retailers will have a nice selection of crazy wigs, only a handful of sites carry multiple costumes patterned after her red carpet appearances and music videos.

For a wide selection, the main costume retailers you'll want to browse are SpiritHalloween.com, HalloweenCostumes.com and CostumeDiscounters.com. Of course, for a more authentic Nicki Minaj experience, you might not want to wear much at all.

  • Price: No more than $40 for the base costume and another $10 to $20 for the wig.
  • Make it yourself? You definitely could do some interesting things without purchasing a costume. Unrelated costumes and wigs could be made to look like something Nicki Minaj has worn.
  • Pair with: Other pop stars and an entourage of backup dancers.
  • Cheapest at: TrendyHalloween.com and HalloweenCostumes.com.

Edward Stepanyants contributed to this report.

Screenshot: SpiritHalloween