A vampire, clown and pirate prostitute walk into a bar.
No, not a joke, just Halloween.
Witches, vampires, pirates, clowns and wenches are this year's top five adult costumes, as predicted by the Washington, D.C.-based National Retail Federation.
Witches and vampires are always popular, but experts say there will be more blood suckers this year than ever before, driven by America's obsession with all things fanged, including "Twilight," HBO's "True Blood" and the WB's "Vampire Chronicles."
As usual, celebrities and pop culture are also big influencers each year. Prepare to see the bleached asymmetrical coif of Kate Gosselin of "Jon and Kate Plus 8," and the center-parted, chin-grazing bob of the late King of Pop, which has been popular everywhere from amazon.com to Phoenix's Easley's Costume and Fun Shop.
The Halloween industry is expected to bring in $4.75 billion this year, from costumes to candy corn, which marks a slight decrease from last year, according to the National Retail Federation.
Frugal ghouls: As the economy continues to struggle, Americans are getting inventive.
"This is a year you will see a lot of people revamping and revitalizing previous costumes," said federation spokeswoman Kathy Grannis.
This year, Americans are expected to spend $20.75 a person on costumes, down from $24.17 last year.
"Almost 17 percent of survey respondents said they would make a costume rather than purchasing one," Grannis said.
"And 16 percent said they would use last year's costume."
Preston Swan, 23, of Tempe, will be a chimney sweep this Halloween. "I was whistling 'Chim Chimeny' ("Chim Chim Cher-ee" from Mary Poppins) one day and it just stuck," said Swan.
He thinks store-bought costumes look cheap so he'll create his costume from items around the house and thrift store purchases.
Big business: Not all stores are feeling the crunch.
For weeks, Easley's has been full of women digging through racks of ruffled skirts and gingham corsets while men try on wigs and buy fake blood and teeth.
"We are already busier right now than we were this time last year," said Ashley Easley, a fourth generation Fun Shop employee. Working the store's make up counter this year she has been receiving a lot of requests for gore and blood.
"I am already sold out of zombie make up kits, and we are still weeks away from Halloween," Easley said.
Still sexy: While the men get bloody, Halloween for women means short skirts and skin. With designers such as Playboy and Leg Avenue, short ruffle skirts and poofy sleeves attached to a corset-style or bra top dominate women's costume designs.
"It's Halloween—you need your costume to be slutty, but semi-conservative," said Arizona State University student Glenn Macintosh, 18, who's going as "Poca-hottie," a sexy Pocahontas.
"I want to look hot and sexy."
Macintosh and her two friends thumbed through costumes at Tempe Marketplace's Spirit Halloween, looking over the naughty nun, sexy sailor and unexpectedly sexed-up Mad Hatter. Instead, a sexy Disney princess and a cute Minnie Mouse won them over.
"Some people want to look hot and sexy, others want to be gross and scary, and some go for something funny," said Debbie Easley, owner of the costume shop.
"That's why Halloween is great; you can be anything you want for one night."