Oct. 23, 2006 -- It's the question that haunts ghosts and goblins of any age this time of year:
What am I going to be for Halloween?
But for young women on the hunt for something extra special, Tinseltown can be a gold mine.
Trashy Lingerie in Los Angeles has designed intimate apparel for Hollywood's glitterati for more than 30 years. Madonna, Nicole Kidman, Heather Locklear, Carmen Electra and Paris Hilton have all snared slips and snips of the spicy lingerie wear.
But Halloween calls for something extra special.
Nicole Kidman has snatched up a pirate costume. Paris Hilton is being fitted for a bunny disguise. And Carmen Electra will take a turn as a French maid.
It's Hip to Be a Seadog
Halloween is big business at Trashy Lingerie: The holiday accounts for 75 percent of the store's revenue. The company starts designing in April, producing prototypes in June. By July, the costumes are already getting snatched up.
Prices for its in-store costumes range from $200 to $400, but if you're buying a custom-made princess costume -- like Tara Reid -- it will cost more.
"The stars usually go for the new designs first. For instance, the pirate has been a very popular costume for the past three years. There are at least 40 pirate costumes and probably 10 new styles alone this year," says Bridget Silvestri, Trashy's PR director.
What sets the trend for consumer costume demands from year to year?
Hollywood movies definitely influence best sellers. Disney's blockbuster "Pirates of the Caribbean" attracted young adults not only because its high-flying action sequences but also because of the popularity of the cast.
"And I think they find it appealing to dress up as what they say is 'hot' during the year," National Retail Federation spokeswoman Kathy Grannis said.
Even if you aren't a size zero like Nicole Kidman, a pirate's life may still be for you.
"It's still really hip and cool to be a pirate. There are many styles because there is a corseted overdress, which fights a lot of faults. This costume is great to camouflage or cover things up," Silvestri said.
Trashy Lingerie's other top-selling costumes this year include Officer Naughty, the Frenchie Maid and Nursie. Silvestri said that because there are so many styles to choose from, "any girl in just about any shape or size will find one that is right for her body type."
Trashy Lingerie's tips to making sure you look like a star on Halloween include dressing yourself from head to toe.
"The stars come in and make sure that they have all the accessories," Silvestri said. "If there is a custom-made hat that goes with the outfit, they are going to purchase that as well. If there are stockings to match and shoes to go with -- it's the whole package."
One more tip from the pros: If you're buying online you should know your true bra size.
You can find costumes online at www.trashy.com.
Facts and Hourglass Figures
Halloween is the one time of the year when everyone is encouraged to dress up, be creative and be someone different.
The year's spookiest holiday is gaining in popularity. According to the National Retail Federation, 59.9 percent of consumers plan to buy a Halloween costume this year, up from 53.3 percent in 2005.
An estimated $4.96 billion will be spent on Halloween purchases, making it the sixth-largest spending holiday of the year.
Young adults have led the way when it comes to trends.
"As our survey shows, young adults in general are participating more and more these days in the holiday of Halloween. It's no longer just a children's holiday," Grannis said.
According to the NRF study, 85.3 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds plan to celebrate, up from 66.6 percent. In addition, 62.8 percent of young adults will dress up and get decked out in Halloween costumes, up from 54.7 percent.
This years' top three young adult costumes are a witches, pirates and vampires, according to the study.
So this year get out that hat, that sword and those teeth, and have a wickedly good time.