For the younger crowd, this year's most sought-after Halloween costumes include those based on the Pokemon cartoon and trading card series.
But for the older crowd, boys still prefer the classic themes: blood and guts and lots of it, one local costume shop owner said.
Michael Brotman, 36, of Magic Planet, a year-round costume and magic shop in Thousand Oaks, should know. He has been selling costumes since 1979.
"Things today are more sophisticated," he said. "Kids won't be just a bum or a hobo. There's so many good quality costumes out there that the makeup thing on your face doesn't fly."
One of the most popular costumes for little ones is Pokemon outfits, he said, while a lot of adults are buying Austin Powers costumes, based on the bucktoothed spy spoof movies.
An informal survey of students at Medea Creek Middle School in Oak Park, however, confirmed what most already know: boys love blood and guts; girls, however, not so much.
"I'm going to go with my friends for a party. I don't know what my costume is yet," said Matthew Weiss, 13, adding that he went last year as a zombie covered with blood. "I'll probably do the same thing. I'll probably buy the blood and stuff."
Last year, Ryan Benton dressed up as a dead person, complete with a mask showing a gunshot wound to the head. This year, he's not yet sure what he'll be.
"I'll probably wear a mask, something like a skeleton," said Ryan, 12. "The more scary, the better."
On the other end of the spectrum, Dani Beck said she's going as a piece of M & M candy--a green one at that.
"My sister was an M & M last year," noted Dani, 11.