Look out for "zombies'' roaming neighborhoods in the East suburbs this Halloween season.
"Anything zombie is huge," said Tammy Sapanara of the popular costumes selling at The Fun Party Store in Hempfield.
Torn shirts and dresses, liquid latex scars and red and black "zombie blood" are used to create the look of the "undead," she said.
At least some of the fad is attributed to popular television shows with story lines such as AMC's "The Walking Dead."
At Valley Pool and Spa Dreams to Screams Halloween Superstore in North Versailles, zombie costumes are also "very popular," said regional manager Troy Funk.
One customer there last week purchased $300 worth of accessories, including fake scars, realistic "blood" and makeup, to wear to Pittsburgh's annual ZombieFest, Mr. Funk said.
The woman was one of the thousands who took part in the recent ZombieFest in the West End.
Screams employee James Brown said last year, he made the mistake of stopping at a fast-food restaurant while in costume as a zombie. His fake bloodied face and torn clothing caused employees at Burger King in North Versailles to "call 911," he said.
Though zombie chic is in for adult men and women this Halloween, every age group has its preferred costumes, according to Mrs. Sapanara.
Animal apparel is very popular for toddlers, including monkey, bear and elephant outfits, she said. At Screams, costumes for children ages 12 months to 18 months include white bunnies, lion cubs, St. Bernard dogs and garden gnome attire.
A sign at an 8-foot-tall, grinning grim reaper figure at Dreams to Screams announced, "All unsupervised children will be fed to the monsters in the back!" and urged parents to keep an eye on their offspring.
For boys, "camouflage is hugely popular," Mrs. Sapanara said.
For girls, friendly witch costumes are en vogue, she said.
Mr. Funk said superhero and ninja costumes are popular, as well as "Monster High" outfits for girls.
Both Mrs. Sapanara and Mr. Funk said outfits sometimes called "I'm Invisible" -- body suits with head coverings in a variety of colors -- are popular with teenage boys and young men.
The form-fitting jumpsuits with full-face hoods are somewhat like the Las Vegas staple Blue Man Group wears.
Mrs. Sapanara said the look became popular here after fans started to wear them to college football games.
At the Fun Party Store, the German beer wench costume has been most requested by adult women, Mrs. Sapanara said.
And wig sales are always brisk at this time of year; generally brunettes buy blonde wigs and blondes buy dark ones, she said.
The Fun Party store sells popular Catwoman accessories, which are usually worn with a body suit. Mr. Funk said he also gets a number of requests for Catwoman and Spiderwoman.
Anything scary is also popular, Mrs. Sapanara said, including masks and costumes worn by the characters Jason in the "Friday the 13th" movies, Michael Myers in the "Halloween" series and Freddy Krueger from the "Nightmare on Elm Street."
As the presidential election approaches, masks of key political figures are also available; selling well are likenesses of Hillary Clinton, Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Sapanara said many people wait until late in the month to do costume shopping. Mr. Funk said shoppers usually get outfits for their children first, get ideas and come back later in the month for their own.
Most of the costumes ranged in price from $70 and up for adults and $40 to $60 for children.
Anne Cloonan, freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.