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Holiday Spending

Tis the Season to be Creepy

By Karina Masolova,

This Halloween season is expected to generate a record $9.1 billion in spending with 72% of American adults celebrating, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF).

Costumes make up the largest share of spending, coming in at an estimated $3.4 billion in total. Pets aren’t left out—about 10% plan to dress their furry friend in a pumpkin costume.

Discount and specialty stores are the top shopping destinations (47%), followed by Halloween stores (38%), grocery stores (25%), department stores (24%), and online (22%; multiple responses allowed). Interestingly, interest in home décor and home improvement stores grew over 20% since 2016. (For example, Game of Thrones fans are using Ikea rugs as capes; Google ranks Daenerys Targaryen as its 46th most popular costume.)

Most Popular Costumes

The NRF says that this year, 17% of consumers will be inspired by pop culture, up from 12% last year. This is especially apt for the younger set—34% of those aged 18–24 say the same.

According to the NRF, Americans planned to costume themselves (and their pets) as a favorite DC Comics or Marvel superhero, Star Wars character, or Disney Princess.

Top Halloween Costumes, 2017
Note: *Tied. Data: NRF
Rank Children Adults Pets
1 Action/Superhero Witch Pumpkin
2 Batman/Princess* Batman Hot dog
3 Animal Animal Dog/Lion/Pirate*
4 Spider-Man Pirate Bumble bee
5 Star Wars Marvel Devil
6 Witch Vampire Batman
7 Pirate/Marvel (excl. Spider-Man)* Zombie Ghost
8 Disney Princess DC Comics (excl. Batman,
Wonder Woman)/Star Wars
9 Ghost Slasher movie villain Witch
10 Wonder Woman Wonder Woman Star Wars

While Wonder Woman ranks lower on NPD’s list, according to Google’s Frightgeist service, she is the top costume choice for revelers this holiday season.

Top Halloween Costumes, 2017
Data: Google Frightgeist
Rank Character Franchise Licensor/Agent
1 Wonder Woman DC Comics Warner Bros.
2 Harley Quinn DC Comics Warner Bros.
16 Steven King’s IT Warner Bros.
17 Batman DC Comics Warner Bros.
21 Belle Disney Princess Disney
23 Joker DC Comics Warner Bros.
25 Chucky Child’s Play Universal
28 Spider-Man Marvel Disney
29 Minnie Mouse Disney
30 Star Wars Lucasfilm Disney

For the above table, we only included properties that have some identifiable licensing program. Filling in the top 10 list of costumes for Google’s list are clown (No. 3), unicorn (4), rabbit (5), witch (6), mouse (7), pirate (8), zombie (9), and dinosaur (10). Superhero clocked in at No. 14.

Other notable entries from the Frightgeist ranking are Mario (No. 37), Catwoman (41), Mickey Mouse (42), Power Rangers (43), Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones (46), Paw Patrol (47), and Lego (50). The female Joker was its own category, ranking in at 381.

As for the “slasher movie villain” characters identified by NPD as American adult’s most popular choice, the research firm cited Jason and Scream as popular examples. Epoll’s index identifies a few more, not all of which are specifically indexed by Google.

For the characters that are ranked by Google, Chucky ranks in at 25, followed by Freddy Krueger (No. 121), Annebelle the Doll (184), and Jigsaw (332).

America’s Creepiest Characters
Data: Epoll
Rank Character Franchise Licensor/Agent
1 Pennywise the Clown Steven King’s IT Warner Bros.
2 Twisty American Horror Story 20th Century Fox
3 Annebelle the Doll The Conjuring Warner Bros.
4 Freddy Krueger A Nightmare on Elm Street Warner Bros.
5 Dr. Hannibal Lector Silence of the Lambs MGM
6 Jigsaw Saw Lionsgate
7 Norman Bates Psycho Universal
8 Count Olaf A Series of Unfortunate Events HarperCollins/Netflix
9 Leatherface Texas Chainsaw Massacre Lionsgate
10 Chucky Child’s Play Universal

Clowning Around

One of the major trends this season is the creepy, scary, and lovable clown. Number 3 on Google’s list of most popular costumes is the helpful “clown” category.

So, aside from Steven King’s Pennywise (which isn’t ranked by Google as a discrete term), who are the most popular clowns? Epoll offers a hint at who you might see parading around town.

Surprisingly, the list includes decidedly not-creepy characters like The Three Stooges and The Little Tramp as well as the fast food mascots from McDonald’s and Jack in the Box.

America’s Favorite Clowns
Data: Epoll
Rank Character Franchise Licensor/Agent
1 Harley Quinn DC Comics Warner Bros.
2 Chip Baskets Baskets (TV series) 20th Century Fox
3 The Three Stooges C3 Entertainment
4 Twisty American Horror Story 20th Century Fox
5 The Joker DC Comics Warner Bros.
6 The Little Tramp Charlie Chaplin Chaplin Office/
Bubbles Inc.
7 Krusty the Clown The Simpsons 20th Century Fox
8 Pennywise the Clown Steven King’s IT Warner Bros.
9 Jack Jack in the Box
10 Ronald Mcdonald McDonald’s


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