Halloween Costume Trends: What to Expect…

Halloween Costume Trends: What to Expect for 2016

Tis the season for trick or treat, haunted houses, and costumes galore!  Using an analysis of search behavior from our Hitwise platform, we are able to see the latest Halloween costume trends and what to expect online during this year’s spooky season.  Hint:  2016 is the year of Disney’s Moana, Harley Quinn, and lots of facial hair.

Costume Search Demographics

While looking at an analysis of costume-related searches for 2016, it is apparent that folks of all ages plan to participate in the fun.  Costumes for kids made up almost half of all searches that specified a demographic, at 49%.  This is actually down from 2015, when these searches comprised almost 56% of demographic searches.  The remaining searches were 21% looking for adult costumes, 14% women costumes, 8% pet costumes (mostly dogs), and 7% men.  As we’ll mention later though, you can expect to see searches for men’s costumes spike right before October 31st.

costume related searches

Costume Planners Vs. Last Minute Ideas

Looking at different Halloween costume trends by demographic in 2015, we can see that people are searching for kids costumes early on.  The week of 9/19 and 10/10 are when kids costume searches spiked, while showing a decrease after 10/10.  This tells us that a lot of children already have their costume planned and picked out by the week of 10/10.  Based on searches from 2015, we can expect to see women-related costume searches continuously increase starting the week of 9/19, hitting the biggest spike the week of Halloween.  Men-related searches are consistently the lowest type of demographic related search until the week of 10/31, when we see a big jump—therefore don’t expect a high amount of men-related costume searches until later in the month, when they look for last-minute ideas.

costume trends by demographic

What’s New in Costume Trends?

While we see different Halloween costume trends by demographic type, the most popular overall costume searches in 2016 so far are “Disney Moana”, “Harley Quinn”, and “Deadpool”.  Each of these terms represented the highest amount of search share for all costume-related searches the past four weeks (ending 10/1).

In addition to Disney’s Moana— upcoming live-action Disney flicks are having an influence on this year’s Halloween trends. “Belle”, “Beast”, “Ariel”, “Little Mermaid”, and “Beauty and the Beast” all showed increases in costume-related searches compared to 2015.

Costume-related searches that showed a decrease compared to last year include many Frozen related characters.  When it comes to Halloween costumes—kids may be starting to “let it go”.

What Women Want

So far in 2016, popular keywords in women-related costume searches included “Plus Size”, “Sexy”, and “DIY”.  Plus-size costume searches compromised over 8% of all women costume searches, while “sexy” related searches made up over 7%.
When it comes to the most popular searches for women, we can see that “Disney Moana”, “Harley Quinn”, “Super Woman”, and “Poison Ivy” snag the top spots.

Beard-Friendly Costumes are on the Rise

A big trend spotted in the search analysis of 2016 was beard friendly costume ideas.  Searches for “Halloween costume for guys with beards” is up 4x compared to last year.  Here are the top trending searches in this category:

beard-friendly costume searches

So gentleman, feel free to hide your razors and embrace the 5 o’clock shadow, as beards are ready to make their mark on this spooky holiday.

Frocks for Furry Friends
We can’t forget about our beloved pets, as there will be many festive furry friends this year as well.  While most pet-related costume searches are for dogs, we did see an increase in searches for cat costumes as well.  It looks like top costumes so far in 2016 are for “spider dog costume”, “dog lion costume”, and “dog pumpkin costume”.  Other trending terms include “Rapunzel”, “Pokemon” and “Shark” costumes for our four legged friends.

What to Expect Overall

Looking at all costume-related searches this year, we started to see larger increases during mid-September:

halloween costume searches 2016

So far, this trend is similar to what we saw in 2015:

halloween costume searches 2015

Expect to see big jumps in these searches week ending 10/22/2016, with consistent spikes up until the day before the 31st.

Methodology:  The analysis from Hitwise is based on US adults who searched for costume-related terms during the 4-week period ending October 8, 2016.  For demographic searches, costume-related terms were grouped together into distinct audiences to analyze trending results. For more information or a free demo of the Hitwise AudienceView product, please reach out to us here.

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