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370 for kids costumes Walking through Central Park after a kids Halloween party at the Plaza, Sophia Rivera looks so fabulous in her costume, she is constantly stopped for photographs. It s not every day you see a 5 year old dressed as a Chanel handbag a head turning outfit her mom, Valerie Vazquez, had custom made. The other outfits in Sophia Rivera s collection are a Cleopatra toga purchased at TJ Maxx and professionally altered, a Glinda the Good Witch get up and Minnie Mouse. "We use Halloween as an opportunity for Sophia to express herself creatively and saw the design on Pinterest," explains Vazquez, a 33 year old communications director from The Bronx. "I was looking for something Moncler Tibet high fashion yet fun and, since Sophia likes to be like Mommy, the thought of being a bag that Mommy carries sealed the deal." Sophia s handbag is inspired by a vintage quilted clutch that would set you back about $4,400 if you bought it for real. Luckily, Valerie s designer friend, Denise Galarza, crafted the kid s Chanel costume out of cardboard and black fabric for no charge. But the "designer" look is only one of four get ups the girl is wearing for Halloween festivities this year. Her other ensembles Cleopatra, Glinda the Witch and Minnie Mouse were bought from TJ Maxx and the Disney store for around Moncler.Co.Uk $25 each and customized by mom. "She goes to so many events, she s truly had an outfit for every weekend in October since she was two," laughs Vazquez. "She s my only child and I call her my muse!" Vazquez is one of a growing number of New York City parents who want their child to have a standout look, not just for one Halloween party or parade, but every shindig they attend this spooky season. A new report from the National Retail Federation shows parents spent a whopping $1 billion on children s Halloween costumes in 2012, up from $840 million three years ago. Some are splurging on luxury, custom made designs from the craft Web site Etsy (where mini Mad Hatter suits sell for $275), while others rack up multiple credit card purchases on Amazon. Graphic designer Randy McManus, 43, who also runs a jewelry business Darling Designs, dropped nearly $370 on three Halloween outfits for her 9 year old, Olivia, including a $130 Marie Antoinette dress and an intricate $55 wig. She will make a grand entrance as the French queen today at an upscale Halloween fete at Dylan Candy Bar hosted by the jet set parents network Divalysscious Moms. "I was Marie Antoinette a few years ago and she was, like: The gown is beautiful, I wish it would fit me! so I went online and found one for her," says It s been a long round of Halloween events for Sofia Cropper, 5. For Annie, they reused dad Ronnie s wig from his turn as Napoleon Dynamite a few years ago. Mom Yesenia De Avila plans to reuse the $55 Etsy dress for Sofia s Annie themed birthday next month. Her other outfits are Frida Kahlo and a store bought Sofia the First. McManus, a Bronx resident. Olivia s second most expensive costume this year is an 80s girl, which cost a total of $75. Her crafty grandmother sewed her third, a ladybug get up, as a gift, although the wings and wig were bought at a store for $110. "Adult competitiveness is what s driving this movement," she says. "Whatever happened to kids making their own costume out of a paper bag?" She believes the fad for extravagant outfits is being driven by social media as parents rush to post photos and videos of their offspring on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter in the hope they will go viral. Upper East Side mom Erin Farrell Talbot, 42, spent around $300 on outfits for her sons Liam, 7, and Owen, 3. At the beginning of October, Owen wore a different superhero outfit to pre school every day for more than a week. The brothers have six new costumes between them, ranging from Captain America to Grim Reaper. "They get to put them in their dress up box and wear them year round," adds Talbot. Another factor is the popularity of online Halloween costume contests where friends, family and colleagues are repeatedly asked to vote for a particular child. "People who don t do crazy costumes start feeling like the odd one out and assume they are somehow hurting their kid," adds Borba. "It becomes a vicious cycle of guilt, expense and entitlement." Parents who won t be drawn into that cycle include self described "old schooler" Lisa Goldberg, 37, who feels zero pressure to Keep Up With the Joneses. The mom of a 5 year old boy is fiercely resisting the serial outfits craze and is dressing him in the outfit he didn t get to wear last Halloween because their neighborhood went dark after Hurricane Sandy. "Isn t the whole idea to get as much use out of your one carefully chosen or created costume as possible?" asks Goldberg, an eco minded West Village academic. Vazquez counters with the argument that Sophia gets multiple uses out of her costumes, all year round, and constantly plays in them with her friends. "It s a great way of firing her imagination," says Vazquez, who trades outfits with other moms and is given plenty of hand me downs. Upper East Side parent, Erin Farrell Talbot, 42, another fan of multiple get ups, also shrugs off accusations of overindulgence, Moncler Down Jackets Men With Hood Zip Sky Blue saying: "My two boys dress up as superheroes spring, summer, fall and winter, and the costumes are a great investment. Why shouldn t I spend what I want on things which can be handed down and used year after year?" After all, serial costume wearing has become de rigueur for kids as Halloween festivities increasingly spread beyond Oct. 31. "Consumers are making Halloween a big part of their October," says Pam Goodfellow, of the retail research group Prosper Insights. "It s no longer just one night of trick or treating for kids." Olivia McManus, 9, has been invited to a host of events, ranging from a pug rescue fund raiser at Dylan s Candy Shop fete . Her pice de resistance is the Marie Antoinette garb, bought online and accessorized with a specialist wig. The ladybug was mostly home sewn, but they bought the neon skirt and accessories for the 80s girl look from Claire s for around $75. As Village resident Yesenia De Avila, mother of 5 year old Sofia Cropper, jokingly points out: "We have that exact dilemma a monster mash for school, Halloween, a neighborhood parade and we don t .. want to repeat costumes!" Her solution: dress Sofia as Little Orphan Annie (the $55 pinafore is an Etsy custom make) for the monster mash and Mexican painter Frida Kahlo for the parade next day.
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