The chances a ghoul, goblin or ghost will ring your doorbell this Halloween aren't as good as in years past.
This year, trick-or-treaters are moving away from traditional scary costumes and focusing on creatures from "The Lord of the Rings" and characters from "The Matrix," Lawrence costume and game shop owners said.
"Movies always have an effect," said Sarah Fayman, owner of Sarah's Fabrics, 925 Mass.
Characters from the Wizard of Oz also are in high demand this year, Fayman said.
At Fun and Games, 816 Mass., Kyle Billings said werewolf costumes have been hot, too. For just $10 or $15 and some creativity, he said, a trick or treater can purchase werewolf makeup and hair accessories for a costume. As with any elaborate makeup, though, "it will take some time to get you there."
Werewolf masks cost as much as $60 at Fun and Games.
Though Saddam Hussein masks were popular a few years ago, Billings said he had received no requests for masks of the Iraqi dictator this year.
"People are just not wanting to go there," he said. "It hits a little too close to home. We'll have to wait until the cloud lifts a little."
Renaissance characters also are popular, in part because of the large annual Kansas City Renaissance Festival that ended earlier this month. Of course, the usual gamut of costumes and masks are available at Lawrence-area retailers, but with the big night just days away, they're going fast.
And children apparently find it easier to decide on a costume than adults playing dress-up.
"Kids know exactly what they want," Billings said. But adults often wander around the store for hours, trying on a number of costumes before finally deciding.
Many children want to be action heroes or princesses, but there are some who "want to be as gross as their parents will let them be," Billings said.
Girls frequently want to be princesses or witches.
Billings said when he was growing up, he wore a lot of army-type costumes or "gross stuff."
In addition to costumes, Halloween is known for decorations, falling second in sales only to Christmas.
For people looking for some Halloween spirit without make-up or wigs, The ETC. Shop offers a variety of Italian charms bracelet links.
The small silver charms are becoming more popular each year, and they are an easy gift for girlfriends or wives, said Alex Graham, a salesperson at The ETC. Shop.
The ETC. Shop got out of the costume business six years ago, but every year a number of people come in looking for outfits.
"I enjoyed it, but it was long, hard hours at the time," said owner Linda Lester.