Halloween is huge at the Short North's trio of adult emporiums. The skirts, not so much.

Halloween is huge at the Short North's trio of adult emporiums. The skirts, not so much.

Between them, The Chamber, The Garden, The Joint and a new Halloween annex hold more costumes than any other option in town, owner Tom Smith said. He's proud to say that save for some men's Aqua Teen Hunger Force costumes, all of the 5,000 choices are in-your-face alluring.

"Halloween, especially in the Short North, has turned into a bigger holiday than about any holiday you can imagine," Smith said. "And one of the things I like to say about Halloween, and it seems pretty true, is all of the girls want to dress up like sluts, and all of the guys want to dress up like girls."

Pirates. Fairies. Detectives. Nurses. Even inmates and Vikings. With a low-cut, often laced-up top and a dangerously short skirt, almost any character can be sexy, it seems.

And if that's not your thing, the stores also keep basics like fake blood, masks and a huge range of wigs in stock.

For the Halloween season, Smith brings in more than 500 styles of costumes and divides them between the four storefronts. They're grouped by theme on circular clothing racks, and DIY pieces like corsets, wings, skirts and hose are mixed in.

Standard men's Halloween outfits, like Hugh Hefner robes and various other suggestive costumes, are on display in The Joint, which carries smoking supplies year-round. Plus-sized choices for up to 4X that are just as flirty and fun as any girls' option are in stock at The Chamber.

Sneaky and seductive vampires are among the popular costumes this year, Smith said, largely thanks to Twilight and Vampire Diaries mania. And, as always, naughty schoolgirl costumes.

Plenty of dog owners want to coordinate costumes with their canines, Smith said, and he's also got scaled-down options like a sparkly Elvis outfit and bumblebees for them.

Costumes and their related accessories, like platform boots, are everyday merchandise at fetish-focused The Chamber, Smith said. That's why most of the choices are higher-quality and meant for multiple uses.

Halloween is just a chance for the shops to expand their selection and show off for droves of customers. "I love it," Smith said.