While Halloween staples such as witches and vampires are always in style, adults like to be original at their costume parties, drawing inspiration from the hottest movies and books, pop culture and current events.
"Halloween has become more about the adults than the kids," says Nancy Altman Guzzetta, owner of Nan's Antique Costume and Prop Rental in Port Jefferson. "Everyone's in it for the prize."
2012's big players? Gatsby-era revelers, superheroes from "The Dark Knight Rises" and "The Avengers," and, of course, some bondage a la Christian Grey.
Trendsetter: Hurricane Sandy
Whether it's as "Frankenstorm" or one of the famous characters that share her name like Sandy from "Grease" or squirrel Sandy Cheeks from "SpongeBob SquarePants," Hurricane Sandy is sure to make appearances in many different forms this Halloween. Stay safely inside and work on a do-it-yourself costume inspired by this Frankenstein costume, $39.99, and "Grease" Sandy costume, $29.99; both at halloweencity.com.
Trendsetter: Disney-Pixar's "Brave"
This 2012 film might be a cartoon, but that doesn't mean adults can't admire Merida's fearless attitude, fierce red hair and glamorous gowns. Recreate the look with a fake bow and arrow, fiery wig and an outfit like this forest princess gown, $69.99; at costumeexpress.com.
Trendsetter: "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn: Part 2"
With Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson's breakup and the final "Twilight" movie's release in November, this could be Bella and Edward's last big Halloween hurrah. Girls, put on your best scowl and guys, pick up this "Love at first bite" wig, $9.99; at halloweencity.com.
Trendsetter: "Magic Mike"
Skimpy Halloween costumes usually target women, but thanks to the hunky entertainers in Summer 2012 movie "Magic Mike," plenty of guys will be showing some skin this year. To create this look, cut a collar and cuffs off of a shirt, throw on a tie and pants and show off your dance moves while the ladies swoon. (Sorry, Channing Tatum's abs are not included.)
Trendsetters: "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles"
These four famous turtle warriors made a serious comeback in 2012, with a new TV series and a buzzed-about movie slated for 2014. Cowabunga! Get a full body costume for $68.99 or just the accessories for $12.99; at halloweencostumes.com.
Trendsetter: The 2012 Summer Olympics
The U.S. women's gymnastics team, also known as the "Fab Five," stole the hearts of viewers from coast to coast during the 2012 Summer Olympics when they brought home the gold. Go for this look solo with a red leotard, Nike U.S.A. jacket, faux gold medal and a tight bun, or gather your very own Fab Five.
Trendsetter: James Bond
Looking like suave British Secret Service agent James Bond is always in style, and the 23rd 007 film "Skyfall" will be released this November. All guys have to do is put on their best suit and accessorize with a toy gun and martini glass (shaken, not stirred). As far as the ladies are concerned, who doesn't want to be a Bond girl? Pick up a ready-made costume or just replicate your favorite look (bikini with knife holster belt encouraged.) This James Bond "Goldfinger" girl costume is $38.46; at ebay.com.
Trendsetter: Honey Boo Boo Child
"Toddlers and Tiaras" star Alana Thompson, better known as Honey Boo Boo Child, has become one of the most recognized reality TV personalities. To get her look, just get yourself a frilly pageant dress and crown, and throw around phrases like "A dollar makes me holler." Carry a stuffed pig like Honey Boo Boo's pet Glitzy, and make "go-go juice" your drink for the night. (It's a mix of Red Bull and Mountain Dew.) This pageant outfit is $69.99; at buycostumes.com.
Dressing up as the smart-mouthed teddy bear from this popular 2012 comedy has its perks . . . you'll be warm and cozy, and you can make all the insulting jokes you want (at your own risk). This fuzzy tunic, mittens and headpiece set is $79.99; at buycostumes.com.
Trendsetter: A monster makeover
With playful, bright colors and sexy silhouettes, this year's new collection of monster costumes by Leg Avenue is making women want to explore their scary sides. There are a bunch to choose from, but this Shaggy Shelly monster costume is $57.55; at gojane.com.
Trendsetter: "Gossip Girl"
CW series "Gossip Girl" is in its last season, and we'll miss the Upper East Side drama almost as much as we'll miss the fashion. You can dress as Jenny Humphrey in her goth phase or go glam like Serena, but we recommend choosing Blair Waldorf to really get recognized. Just throw on your preppiest dress and jacket, top it off with a headband with a bow and carry a bunch of shopping bags and a perfectly glossed pout. Don't forget your other arm candy-- you have preppy Nate, downtown Dan and dapper Chuck to choose from (or a prince will always do, of course).
Trendsetter: Angry Birds
This hit game inspired adults and kids alike last Halloween, and Angry Birds are a top costume again this year. Just remember, slipping into this role doesn't make it OK to push around anyone dressed like King Pig. This adult costume is $49.99; at halloweencity.com.
Trendsetter: Mitt Romney and Barack Obama's public disagreement over PBS.
Americans had a social media field day after Big Bird became a topic of debate between the presidential candidates this election season, so dressing up as the famous character from "Sesame Street" makes a political statement this year. Rakuten's Buy.com has full-body bird suits for adults and kids, or try this ladylike twist for $48.95; at buy.com.
Trendsetters: NFL replacement referees
Football fans were in an uproar when the NFL's replacement refs made a controversial call against the Green Bay Packers this season, and this blind referee costume is sure to get laughs. It's $24.99; at costumesupercenter.com.
Trendsetter: “The Great Gatsby”
The new film version of the classic novel “The Great Gatsby,“ set on Long Island in the 1920s, won't debut until this summer, but just thinking about Leonardo DiCaprio looking all old-fashioned has started a frenzy.
For her: All it takes is a fringe dress, feather headpiece and the right high society accessories. Top it off with a faux bob to complete the look. This red number is $29.99 at spirithalloween.com.
For him: Dapper with a tough side, guys think Prohibition's coolest cats were the gangsters. The core of this look is a pinstripe suit and fedora. Add a cigar and fake gun and you're ready to party like it's the Roaring '20s. This version is $35.88 at rickyshalloween.com.
Trendsetter: “The Hunger Games”
Tough, selfless and determined, Katniss Everdeen is this year's hottest heroine. Tie your hair in a braid, throw on a windbreaker, stick your district's number on a sack and hope the odds are in your favor when the costume winner is announced. Or, pick up this “Hunger Games” jacket for $49.99 at spirithalloween.com.
Trensetter: "Snow White and the Huntsmen"
Being evil for a night is always fun, especially when you're channeling a bombshell like Charlize Theron. This fantasy film based on the classic fairy tale "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" was released in June, and the Queen Ravenna costume has made CostumeSuperCenter.com's top 10 list of popular costumes this year, $54.39; at
Trendsetter: The presidential election
As Barack Obama and Mitt Romney battle for the White House, their doppelgängers will be celebrating at Halloween parties across the nation. $19.99 at partycity.com.
For her: Aspiring first ladies can pick up Michelle Obama masks, too. Designer dress not included.
Trendsetter: “The Dark Knight Rises”
Batman is always a popular costume, but thanks to the movie's release, villain Bane has surpassed the Joker in popularity this year.
These are $39.99 and $49.99 at spirithalloween.com.
Trendsetter: “Fifty Shades of Grey”
The E.L. James trilogy that became the world's guilty pleasure has now inspired wines as well.
Trendsetter: Katy Perry
Katy Perry's over-the-top outfits on and offstage make her one of the most popular celebrity Halloween costumes again this year, and the same holds true for Nicki Minaj. The most copied Hollywood couple, however, is sure to be Kim Kardashian and Kanye West.
This cupcake girl costume, inspired by Perry's “California Girls” video, is $49.99; at spirithalloween.com.
Trendsetter: “The Avengers”
The movie's release gives Marvel fans an excuse to dress like their favorite superheroes this Halloween. (As if they needed one.) There are plenty of options for the guys, such as Captain America, $79.99, and for the ladies, Black Widow, $59.99; at halloweencity.com.
Trendsetter: Psy of “Gangnam Style”
South Korean rapper Psy has risen to fame since his catchy “Gangnam Style” video went viral on YouTube, and his signature style makes him a best bet for Halloween costumes this year. For two recognizable video looks, go with a black suit, white, untied bow-tie and black and white oxfords, or get a blue blazer and pair it with a black bow-tie. Just don't forget the sunglasses and be sure to practice your dance moves.
Trendsetter: The zombie apocalypse
From horror films and TV series to video games and even zombie runs, the walking dead have become popular all year round, but Halloween is their time to shine. It's an easy costume because anything can be turned into a zombie with some rips and the right makeup — think zombie cheerleader, zombie bride, zombie policeman .?.?.
This zombie wig is $18 at rickyshalloween.com.
Trendsetter: Disney's “Pirates of the Caribbean”
The latest “Pirates” movie came out last year, but Long Island costume store owners say shoppers still come in wanting to look like Jack Sparrow and his crew.
Throw on a jacket and boots and pick up the accessories, or go the authentic route with this Angelica Prestige costume for her, $99.99; at spirithalloween.com and this pirate captain costume for him, $60; at rickyshalloween.com.
Thanks to engineer Mark Rober, you can make your own animated costume using a free app called Digital Dudz, an iPhone or Android and some duct tape. We're talking skeletons with moving eyes, gushing hearts, active crystal balls and more.
Trendsetters: Hollywood fashion icons
Every Halloween, fashionistas love to channel their favorite style icons. Want to look like Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn or Elizabeth Taylor in "Cleopatra"? Rent the Runway has the perfect designer dresses for that and more, available for rent at a fraction of retail costs.
Choose your favorite at renttherunway.com.
Trendsetter: "American Horror Story"
The hit FX horror TV series is coming back this month with new characters, but it's not too late to make a statement as Rubber Man, the main character from last year's premiere season.
You'll find this rubber suit ($49.99) and costumes from your other favorite FX shows at shopfxnetworks.com.
Trendsetters: Emma Stone, Vanessa Hudgens and Jessie J
Finally, a way to keep in the Halloween spirit while staying stylish -- and without having to commit to one of those goofy costumed getups. Emma Stone, Vanessa Hudgens and Jessie J have all been spotted in spookily skeletal wardrobes, and now you can get the look, too, with Wildfox's bony tee ($84), baggy beach jumper ($108) and sweater ($209); at Lester's stores in Greenvale, Huntington and Manhattan and lesters.com.