BILOXI -- A zombie at the door of Spirit Halloween at Edgewater Village says frights are inside while up the street a pile of pumpkins at the entrance to Gulf Coast Produce Outlet shows a friendlier side of Halloween in South Mississippi.
People have lots of choices in how they will dress, eat and observe the upcoming holiday.
Students from Tulane University and people in for Cruisin' The Coast browse for costumes and scary decor at Spirit Halloween. Disney's Descendants costumes have been sold out since the first of September, said manager Robin Schrock, but she's got plenty of super heroes, pirates and costumes for those who want to dress naughty or nice.
Princesses are always a favorite with little girls, she said, and the boys are going for Ninjas, super heroes and killer clowns if they want to be scary. Parents generally pay between $20 and $40 to dress each kids and more for their own costumes.
Always the super heroes are the No. 1 costume for adults, Schrock said. This year Star Wars costumes were added to the choices -- even R2D2 in a skirt. The humor section is for those who want to shock and the decorative shirts for those who don't want to go with a costume or without.
Cruisers are in the store this week buying costume poodle skirts and decorations to take home.
"We come every year," said Shelly Prescott of Vicksburg, who was looking for something scary for the haunted house created just for family and friends. Last year they had 150 people through, she said.
"We do a lot of decoration sales here," Schrock said, primarily fog machines and freight effects for the area haunted houses.
Across South Mississippi this month are haunted houses and haunted hayrides for those who want to be scared silly and hay mazes, pumpkin patches and Halloween festivals who want to be silly without the scare. Most all of them benefit first responders, churches and nonprofit agencies, said Schrock, who promotes them by hanging the posters outside the store.
Josette's costume shop in East Biloxi is a favorite place to find costumes and decorations and the party shops, drug chains and department stores sell everything from party supplies to candy. Halloween may be just a day -- a Saturday this year -- but it's also a month-long celebration of pumpkin-flavored foods and fall decorating.
The National Retail Federation says more than 157 million Americans will celebrate Halloween this year and spend an average of $74 on costumes, decorations and candy, down from $78 last year. That makes Halloween a $6.9 billion occasion -- and good reason why people are finding pumpkin doughnuts, pumpkin latte and even pumpkin cereal when they shop.