Sometimes the scariest part of Halloween is finding the perfect costume. While homemade costumes can earn kudos from peers, there are lots of creative options in stores that can make a lasting impression.

Inspirations for this year's hottest costumes are taken from the news of the day. Get ready to see lots of tributes to the King of Pop, according to the marketing manager for Vancouver-based costume giant Party Bazaar.

"Lots of people are buying Michael Jackson moonwalker jackets," Marcela Stancu told

Politicians and celebrities will also see a ghoulish surge. Think Barack and Michelle Obama, Octo-mom and a certain reality television mom.

"People are calling a lot about Kate Gosselin wigs," she laughs.

Certainly the flipped semi-mullet will be an easily recognized costume hit. Paired with an Ed Hardy-clad husband (young girlfriend optional) and Stancu says you've got the perfect costume.

No matter what costume you choose, Ann-Marie Yanko, manager for Party Bazaar in North Vancouver, says you need to make a decision fast.

"We're getting busier and busier."

Halloween traditions

Year after year, women and men gravitate to the same themes for costume choices: Sexy and superheroes. For women, think skimpy and tight -- and anything goes.

"You've got your Catwoman and Wonder Woman, sexy cops, sexy schoolgirls," Yanko said.

One of Party Bazaar's best-selling costumes is called 'Sexy Mile-high Captain.'

"It's a short skirt and flight attendant gear," Marcela Stancu laughs. "You can guess the rest."

Classic costumes, like Marilyn Monroe and "a slimmer" Elvis Presley are time-honoured classics, as are 50's garb like poodle skirts and collegiate jackets.

Favourites for men include popular heroes like Batman or Superman. But costumes aren't just limited to the good guys. Joker is proving to be a top seller for Halloween 2009, as well as pirate costumes, like Jack Sparrow, and jail birds.

Marcela Stancu says movies and cartoons seem to inspire men to bring out their inner macho, cladding themselves in army and naval garb.

"It's something they think they can relate to and that's the time they can show their muscles."

The wee ones

Star Wars and Star Trek characters are top-sellers for kids this year. Expect to see lots of mini Darth Vaders and Stormtroopers.

Superheroes and cartoon characters also make the hit list this year, with Superman and Batman for boys and Hannah Montana and Batgirl for girls.

For children and tots, cute trumps scary. Animal costumes are consistent top sellers.

"Like little lions and cats and stuff like that," Stancu said. "It's just so cute."

On Wednesday, explores the most haunted spots in B.C. Find out if the province known as "Super, Natural" has another, more ghostly interpretation.