SOURCE: Savers, Inc.

October 14, 2008 09:00 ET

Savers/Value Village Thrift Store Survey Reveals Top Halloween Costume Trends, Including Skipping Scary Price Tags

Palin, Pop-Culture Parodies Rule Costume Picks, While Shoppers Seek Ways to Save Money and Go Green This Halloween

SEATTLE, WA--(Marketwire - October 14, 2008) - This Halloween, shoppers are eager to save cash and the planet too, according to the fifth annual costume survey* by retail chain Savers/Value Village, which operates more than 200 secondhand stores throughout the U.S. and Canada. In all, 83% percent of U.S. and Canadian survey respondents planned to spend less than $35 on their costume; this includes 36% who claimed their spend would top out at $15. In addition, a more eco-friendly approach also proved popular. More than half of survey takers (52%) indicated their costume concoction would incorporate a mix of both used and new items.

"With global economic concerns, as well as an overall trend toward more environmentally conscious shopping habits, thrift stores have been rapidly growing in popularity among all types of shoppers," said Savers/Value Village CEO Ken Alterman. "Halloween has always been a huge retail period for thrift stores, and this year we're gearing up for a particularly busy season as people look to stretch their dollars. Throughout the Savers/Value Village store network, right now we're seeing approximately a 10-percent traffic and sales lift year-over-year."

Catering to Halloween revelers, Savers and Value Village stores bring in thousands of new costumes and costume accessories for the season at value prices, to be paired with aisles of inexpensive secondhand merchandise -- making it easy to score a costume well under $15. As costume combinations are truly endless, all Savers and Value Village stores have dedicated "Costume Consultants" on the sales floor at all times to help shoppers easily put together the perfect ensemble.

As in year's past, predictions for the most popular costumes are taking cues from blockbuster hits and pop-culture parodies -- in particular, U.S. shoppers are eager to don political caricatures in tribute to the intriguing Presidential election. Survey results revealed:

--  American respondents were most interested in White House women, citing
    Sarah Palin as their top political costume pick (46%), followed by Hillary
    Clinton (31%). These outweighed Barack Obama (16%) and John McCain (7%).
--  A majority of American respondents (51%) also indicated that given the
    jittery economy, they will "definitely" watch their budget and plan to
    spend less this Halloween season.
--  Among all North American respondents, "Sex and the City"-inspired
    costumes ranked as the most popular movie themed ensemble (35%), barely
    beating "The Dark Knight" (33%) and the comeback of "Indiana Jones" (27%).
--  If invited to multiple costume events over the Halloween weekend,
    almost 60% planned to re-wear the same costume, while some 40% were eager
    to put together a different costume for each event.

"Costumes inspired by licensed characters -- such as Indiana Jones, Spiderman, Hannah Montana and Disney princesses -- are big sellers for both kids and adults this year, as always," said Torina Salcedo, the national Costume Consultant for Savers/Value Village. "Some other trends we're seeing are a big increase in interest surrounding couple costumes and costumes for pets. Specific to females, the short and sexy look is still the most popular, but there is a shift underway toward longer hem lines and more age-appropriate looks for teen and tween girl costumes."

The "green" theme also proved a popular costume approach. Almost half (47%) of survey responds claimed that being environmentally friendly by purchasing and recycling secondhand costumes was "extremely important" to them. Roughly half indicated they would save their costume to wear another year once finished with it, while 34% planned to recycle their costume via a thrift store. At Savers/Value Village stores, individuals who bring in recycled costumes for donation between Nov. 1-15, 2008, will receive a 20% off coupon toward a future purchase. Through Savers/Value Village business model of reselling and recycling clothing, the company keeps more than 500 million pounds out of landfills annually.

Savers/Value Village store locations, hours and additional Halloween inspiration is available at or

About Savers/Value Village

Founded in 1954, Savers, Inc. is a privately held for-profit international thrift store chain with more than 200 locations in the United States, Canada and Australia. In Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and most Canadian provinces, the store is known as Value Village; it is known as Village des Valeurs in Quebec. The company benefits more than 120 local non-profit organizations by purchasing and reselling donated items. The result has been more than one billion dollars directly paid to non-profit organizations. The company employs more than 10,000 people in 23 states, 10 Canadian provinces and Australia. Visit for more information.

*Online survey of 1,860 respondents living in the U.S. and Canada, conducted by Savers, Inc. in October 2008.

Editor's Note: High resolution costume images available upon request.

Contact Information

  • Media Contact:
    Kaitlin Goodall
    Duo PR, for Savers/Value Village