Map of the Most Popular HALLOWEEN Costume by State since 2014

This is an animated thematic map of the most Googled Halloween costume since 2014 in each state. Every state displays the most searched costume by year. Every state also displays a color assigned to a costume category. Play the button to see the changes from 2014 to May 2020. Hover over the map to get the state name. For more information scroll down.


US Map of Costumes

This is the list of most searched costumes on Google. I chose the classes according to my personal experience. A costume could be classified into more than one group. For example "Alice" could be in Book and in Disney. I chose the latter because I believed it was the popular option when selecting the look of the costume. The same with other costumes, therefore it is classified according to my personal experiences.

ClassColor  Costumes
ToyCare Bear, LEGO, Lego Ninjago
CartoonPJ Masks, Scooby-Doo, Powerpuff Girls, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
DisneyAlice, Belle, Cheshire Cat, Descendants, Mad Hatter, Monsters, Inc., Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Moana, Princess, The Incredibles, Tinker Bell, Toy Story
Book/tv/movie characterBaywatch, Beetlejuice, Hermione Grange, Chucky, Grease Costume, Hocus Pocus, Purge, Clueless, IT, Jason Boorhees, Jurassic World, Katniss, Little Red Riding Hood, Minions, Pennywise, Power Rangers, Stranger Things, The Addams Family, Tiger King, Beyonce, Tin Man, Vampire, Walking Dead, Zombie
ComicBatgirl, Batman, Black Panther, Captain America, Catwoman, Deadpool, Flash, Harley Quinn, Joker, Poison Ivy, Spider-Man, Suicide Squad, Superhero, Superman, Wolverine, Wonder Woman
Video GameFortnite, Luigi, Mario
Star WarsDarth Vader, Star Wars, Storm Trooper
CharacterBlack widow, Clown, Doll, Genie, Mime, Nerd, Ninja, Pirate, Scary Clown, Steampunk
Mythical/ReligiousAngel, Devil, Dragon, Fairy, Ghost, Goddess, Medusa, Mermaid, Monster, Troll, Unicorn, Witch
FoodBanana, Pizza, Pumpkin
AnimalBear, Deer, Cat, CHickeh, Cow, Dinosaur, Spider, Dog, Horse, Lion, Monkey, Mouse, Rabbit, Shark, T-Rex
PoliticsHillary Clinton, Melania Trump
Activity/ProfessionCheerleader, Cowboy, Doctor, Firefighter, Footall Player, Police Officer
Time Period1980's, 1990's, Hippie

Most Searched Halloween Costume of 2020

This list does not prioritize any state. It includes the most Googled costumes for 2020. The source is Google Trends Freightgeist!

  1. Witch
  2. Dinosaur
  3. Harley Quinn
  4. Rabbit
  5. Clown
  6. Angel
  7. Fortnite
  8. Devil
  9. Ninja
  10. Spider-Man
  11. Cowboy
  12. Doll
  13. Zombie
  14. Pumpkin
  15. Purge
  16. Pirate
  17. Cheerleader
  18. Fairy
  19. Vampire
  20. Chucky

History of Costumes

Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. This day marked the end of summer and harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with death. Later Pope Boniface IV dedicated the Pantheon in Rome in honor of all Christian martyrs, and the Catholic feast of All Martyrs Day was established in the Western church. Pope Gregory III later expanded the festival to include all saints as well as all martyrs, and moved the observance from May 13 to November 1.

By the 9th century, the influence of Christianity had spread into Celtic lands, where it gradually blended with, and supplanted older Celtic rites. All Souls’ Day (November 2nd) was celebrated similarly to Samhain, with big bonfires, parades and dressing up in costumes as saints, angels and devils. The All Saints’ Day celebration was also called All-hallows or All-hallowmas (from Middle English Alholowmesse meaning All Saints’ Day). This is how the night before All Saint's day became Halloween!

The first trick or treaters were poor children in medieval Europe, who would go door-to-door begging for food and money during Samhain. In exchange, they would offer to pray for the souls of their neighbors' and recently departed loved ones.

Holidapy, remarks that during Samhain the celts would make ritual sacrifices to their deities (in the hope of appeasing the spirit world). They believed it was necessary to “disguise” themselves against these spirits by dressing in costumes. These disguises were often simple in design and were likely created from animal hides or heads.

“All Hallows’ Eve” continued to evolve and incorporated many elements of modern-day trick-or-treating. During the 1600s, for example, individuals continued to dress as saints or spiritual beings (to hide from spirits), but also went door-to-door in a manner referred to as “souling.” Dressed in their spiritual garb, individuals would approach houses where they would then recite religious songs or verses in exchange for “soul cakes” (similar in texture and appearance to biscuits).

According to Bustle, during the 1800s, Gothic themes were huge. This was reflected in how people dressed up on Halloween during the Victorian Era. Egyptian-inspired costumes, bats, ghosts, and Masquerade parties were super on trend during this time, and pretty much all costumes were still homemade.

Victorian and Edwardian Halloween costumes were typically normal clothing of the time with “spooky” themed fabrics or add-ons, like bat wings and a hat. Because of the strict morality of the Victorian era, costumes had to follow the strict dress code of the day and usually were based on gothic imagery.

"During the 18th and 19th centuries, costumes and the celebration of All Hallows’ Eve were relatively rare in Colonial America due to the strict laws and beliefs of the Puritan church and Protestant-based immigrants.

Throughout Europe, however, costumes continued to play a major role in festivities."Holidapy."With the Irish Potato Famine during the second half of the 1800s, millions of Irish refugees came to America, bringing their guising tradition, as well as other Halloween practices, with them." Fashionflashback.

"In the 1920s and 1930s, trick-or-treaters would go out into the neighborhood, in costume, and ask for treats. This practice was encouraged by civic leaders and parents alike, because it was thought to stop the vandalism that was beginning to become rampant" Fashionsflashback.

In the 1920's three major companies in the Halloween costume were Collegeville Flag and Manufacturing Company, H. Halpern Company, and Ben Cooper. H. Halpern Company was one of the first companies to license the images of fictional characters for their costumes, (think Popeye and Olive Oyl) and Ben Cooper is largely responsible for popularizing the custom of dressing up as pop culture icons (Bustle).

Halloween truly became what it is today during the 1950s, with the Baby Boomer generation Fashionflashback." The Halloween tradition of marketing over-the-top sexy Halloween costumes to women actually started off as a way for gay communities and second-wave feminists to openly celebrate their sexuality during the 1970's.

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If you would like to read more about the history of Halloween I suggest you read this book found on Amazon called Trick or Treat: A History of Halloween

If you are not sure what to wear, here are a couple of popular coustume ideas, also found on Amazon.


Sources for Costume Maps

All this history and experiences, made me think of what was the next trend. But it really did not hit me until I reviewed last year's visualizations. I have a Facebook page where I share interesting visualizations I find online. For Halloween last year I made an effort of looking for spooky and ghostly topics. That search resulted in The Most Popular Halloween Costume in Your State. I searched a bit and found these maps were the result of Google, creating a page from Google trends. This page is called Google Fright Geist. This page gathers all the information on Costume searches in the US, and makes it available to the public. I find it fascinating to see what is trending now and in each State. This is why I decided to compile these spooky looks and make them a single map of Halloween outfits to haunt your day!

The data for most popular costume for 2015 to 2018 came from Mulberrys Garment care. Last year's and this year's data came from Google Freightgeist. The shapefiles for the map where downloaded from Natural Earth. The Halloween-Fall colors were chosen from Color Scheme.

If you would like to see another visualization about Halloween, take a look at Spookiest Places in America.

Made by Luz K. Molina with D3.js.

Inspiration for Map of Costumes

A while ago, I was lucky enough to spend Halloween in New Orleans. It was crazy, and I had an incredible time. You have to remember New Orleans is home of Voodoo, Haunted Tours, and Anne Rice. Not just the history of the city make it a great destination during Halloween. The people celebrating make it worth your time. Just thinking of the costumes, makes me smile. People can come up with such amazing ideas to show their creativity. To be sincere, part of the fun was just looking at the crazy outfits people were wearing.

I have usually made my costumes at the very last minute. I never had money or time to plan. Things changed when my kids were born. I plan as much as possible. I want them to enjoy Halloween as much as I do. Cute baby costumes are a must. Trick or treating cannot be more fun. Now I enjoy kids smiles pretending to be their favorite character. I love the parade of ghosts, witches, monsters, pumpkins, and zombies.

I remember not long ago we were trick or treating, and we encountered at least 10 Elsas and Annas from Disney's Frozen. I saw then, how a trend could influence small kids that much. It was comical and repetitive, but I am sure they all felt special that day.

At four years old, my son chose his first costume. He had never seen Star Wars but he wanted to be Kylo Ren. Movies are his new source of inspiration. He has chosen Star Wars at least 3 times since. Last year the whole family dressed as the Skywalkers. This year, it looks like we will be a pirate family "matey"!

When my children were toddlers I would go to Pintrest to get ideas and embelish our ensemble. Now I am more of a Googler. I find the coolest costume for each one of us. At the end of the day, our costumes are not that original, but the variety provided by Google is immense.

There is so much variety it is almost hard to decide. Yes, even once you've made the decision of how you want to dress. My children are definately influenced by Nickelodeon, Disney and Netflix. But are all kids and candy seekers looking for the same characters? Is it the same all over the country? What was in 3 years ago? Is it still popular?

This information will also improve with your suggestions. To receive updates on this and more nature maps join my email list!!!!!!!

Map of favorite Halloween costume by state Animated map of favorite Halloween costumes in the US by state