Vintage Vibes Dominate: The Hottest Halloween Costumes This Season

A new study by PracticalPie.com reveals the most popular Halloween costumes this year, as search demand for ‘Halloween costumes’ soars 168% in the past 30 days during the time outfit planning for parties begins.

When it comes to the top ten most popular Halloween costumes, it looks like many of us will be grabbing that white face paint and black wig and making like Wednesday Adams, who ranks first place, seeing a whopping 88% increase in global searches and 19,000 total searches in the past month.

The study looked at a variety of different factors to determine popularity, including monthly global search volumes and increases in those searches in the past 30 days, to rank the most popular Halloween costumes inspired by pop-culture, horror classics and mythical creatures and monsters.

2023 films dominate nine out of the top ten pop-culture costumes, with only one representing music (Taylor Swift). Despite the box office battle, ‘Oppenheimer costume’ has no searches at all, leaving “Barbie costume” to reign in popularity.

Three out of the five top horror film inspired costumes come from films first released between 1978 and 1980. But the most popular costumes of all? The classic Witches and Vampires, which received the most online searches.

Courtney Beatey from PracticalPie.com, comments on the findings: “While pop-culture has undoubtedly a huge influence on Halloween costume ideas this year, it’s not the costumes based on entirely new films or TV series that we’ll all be wearing, it is in fact the vintage, classic and traditional costumes that remain most popular overall. Wednesday Adams may be most popular this year due to the TV series back on our screens, but the Adams Family story was first conceived in 1938! Her character is one that resonates across all generations – she’s the perfect combination of innocence and terror.”

Most popular pop-culture Halloween costumes

  1. Wednesday Addams
  2. Barbie
  3. Indiana Jones
  4. Taylor Swift
  5. Little Mermaid
  6. Saw
  7. Elvis and Priscilla
  8. M3gan
  9. Mario and Princess Peach
  10. Cocaine Bear 

Wednesday Addams

Most people assume The Addams Family started life as a television series in the 1960s, but they actually appeared in a series of comic panels for The New Yorker from 1938.

With a percentage increase of 88% and a search volume of 19,000, this costume reflects a classic character from the Addams Family, which has a spooky yet endearing aesthetic. The timeless appeal and the simple, recognizable look of Wednesday Addams make this costume a go-to choice for those looking to channel a vintage eerie vibe.

Barbie

The Barbie costume, with a 65% percentage increase and 18,000 in search volume, continues to be a favorite, especially among those who seek to relive the nostalgia associated with this iconic doll. After all, she was created in 1959, but this year’s film catapulted our Barbie obsession and it’s not slowing down. With such a diverse range of looks and professions Barbie has embodied over the years, she gives hundreds of costume possibilities.

Indiana Jones 

The adventurous spirit of the beloved archaeologist, Indiana Jones, is a popular costume choice, with a percentage increase of 75% and a search volume of 11,000, it’s clear that the charm of this classic character remains undiminished since the first film was released in 1981. The latest film coupled with the timeless appeal of the character, makes it a great choice for Halloween parties.

Taylor Swift 

The only singer to appear in the top ten costume list, Taylor Swift’s distinct style, coupled with her immense fan base, contributes to the costume’s popularity. Sporting a percentage increase of 120% and a search volume of 8,900, the Taylor Swift costume reflects the modern-day fascination with pop culture icons and her latest tour has clearly impacted costume choices too.

Little Mermaid 

The whimsical allure of the Little Mermaid continues to enchant, as seen in the 73% percentage increase and 6,000 search volume. This costume offers an escape into a fantastical underwater world, making it a delightful choice for those looking to explore a fairy-tale theme. Little Mermaid fans can choose the 1989 or 2023 film versions to inspire their looks.

Saw 

The Saw costume, with a remarkable percentage increase of 173% and a search volume of 3,100, taps into the chilling allure of horror films. The creepy aesthetic of the Jigsaw character provides a spine-chilling option for Halloween enthusiasts keen on delivering scares.

Elvis and Priscilla

The highest percentage increase of 262% with a search volume of 2,500 points towards a nostalgic return to the classic era of rock and roll. The 2023 film ‘Priscilla’ is set to launch in November this year, and looks to have inspired costume wearers to relive the glamourous past. 

M3gan 

With an 86% percentage increase and a search volume of 2,000, the M3gan costume showcases the intrigue towards newer horror characters. As a character from a recent horror film, M3gan offers a fresh and modern spooky costume choice, illustrating the continuous evolution of horror in pop culture.

Mario and Princess Peach 

The iconic video game duo, Mario and Princess Peach, bring a nostalgic yet fun vibe to Halloween. With a 98% percentage increase and a search volume of 1,300, this costume choice appeals to the gaming community and those looking to recreate a playful and recognizable look perfect for couples or best friends.

Cocaine Bear

One of the most outrageous films of 2023, Cocaine Bear, doesn’t seem to be a popular choice for Halloween, with a 85% percentage increase but a meagre search volume of 30. This offbeat costume choice reflects a niche interest, perhaps driven by humor or the absurdity of the concept, yet its lower search volume indicates it would be a good choice for those looking for a unique costume.

Top 5 most popular classic horror costumes

Michael Myers from Halloween

With a substantial percentage increase of 178% and search volume of 35,000, the Michael Myers costume with his ominous mask and jumpsuit, embodies horror. The simplicity yet eerie aesthetic of this costume makes it a great choice for those looking to bring a chill to the spine of fellow Halloween revelers. The longstanding legacy of the “Halloween” film series continues to fuel the popularity of this iconic horror character, making it a go-to costume for horror enthusiasts.

Freddy Krueger from Nightmare on Elm Street

The Freddy Krueger costume, with a whopping percentage increase of 308% and a search volume of 28,000, with his sinister grin, iconic striped sweater, and menacing bladed glove create a terrifying costume that is perfect for the spooky season. No doubt fuelled by the popularity of the “A Nightmare on Elm Street” film franchise.

Pennywise the Clown from IT

With a percentage increase of 133% and a search volume of 20,000, the eerie clown costume, with its sinister smile and creepy demeanour, taps into common phobias. The recent adaptation of Stephen King’s “IT” has rekindled interest in this fearsome character, making Pennywise a contemporary horror icon perfect for a chilling Halloween costume.

Ghostface from Scream

The Ghostface costume from the “Scream” franchise has shown a percentage increase of 135% and a search volume of 16,000. The mask of Ghostface has become synonymous with modern slasher horror, and the “Scream” series’ continual popularity, especially with recent sequels, keeps this costume as a top choice.

Jason Voorhees from Friday the 13th

Marking a percentage increase of 99% and a search volume of 13,000, the Jason Voorhees costume remains a staple horror costume. The character’s iconic hockey mask and machete offer a menacing appearance that is easy to recognise and associate with terror. The enduring legacy of the “Friday the 13th” franchise contributes to this costume’s popularity, allowing Halloween celebrants to step into the shoes of one of horror’s most notorious figures.

Top 5 most popular mythical creatures and monsters costumes

Witches

The Witch costume, with a 146% percentage increase and a search volume of 57,000, continues to be a hallmark of Halloween attire. The classic image of a witch, with a pointed hat and broomstick, has become synonymous with the spooky spirit of Halloween. Its enduring popularity could be attributed to the mystical aura surrounding witches, coupled with the ease and creativity afforded in putting together a witch costume. The theme also offers a broad spectrum of interpretations, from whimsical to sinister.

Vampires

With a percentage increase of 185% and a search volume of 45,000, the Vampire costume remains a timeless and sophisticated choice for Halloween. The allure of vampires, with their immortal charm and gothic elegance, offers a blend of mystery and style that resonates with many. The abundant folklore and numerous vampire-centric films and series keep this costume etched in the popular Halloween narrative. It’s a versatile costume choice that allows for a range of expressions, from the classically eerie to the modern-day suave vampire look.

Werewolves

The Werewolf costume, with a percentage increase of 223% and a search volume of 15,000, taps into the primal and wild essence of Halloween. The werewolf, a creature of folklore and horror tale, embodies a sense of wildness and the supernatural. The costume offers a chance to channel a more ferocious and untamed persona, making it an exciting choice for those looking to break away from the human mold, even if just for a night.

Zombies

With a percentage increase of 176% and a search volume of 11,000, the zombie theme, often seen in pop culture and horror genres, provides a blank canvas for creativity with makeup and costume distressing. The idea of reanimated corpses walking the earth is a chilling concept that continues to captivate the Halloween crowd, making the Zombie costume a go-to choice for a ghastly transformation.

Demons

The Demon costume, with a percentage increase of 114% and a search volume of 5,600, offers an entry into the darker and more sinister side of Halloween. The concept of demons encompasses a range of eerie and menacing imagery, allowing for plenty of interpretations when it comes to costume design. 

Full list of most popular Halloween costumes across all categories

Halloween costume Percentage increase Global online searches
Witches 146% 57,000
Vampires 185% 45,000
Michael Myers 178% 35,000
Freddy Krueger 308% 28,000
Pennywise 133% 20,000
Wednesday 88% 19,000
Barbie 65% 18,000

 

Ghostface 135% 16,000
Werewolves 223%  15,000
Jason Voorhees 99% 13,000
Indiana Jones 75% 11,000
Zombies 176% 11,000
Taylor Swift 120% 8,900
Little Mermaid 73% 6,000
Demons 114% 5,600
Saw 173% 3,100
Elvis and Priscilla 262% 2,500
M3gan 86% 2,000
Mario and Princess Peach 98% 1,300
Cocaine Bear 85% 30

Why do we like being scared?

Courtney Beatey from PracticalPie.com, comments: “Halloween costumes mirror more than just fantasies. They reflect cultural shifts, societal interests, and a blend of traditional and modern narratives. The allure of being scared, known as the “pleasure-paradox,” is a complex interplay of psychological and physiological factors. The adrenaline rush from the fight or flight response is something many people enjoy, and there is also a dopamine release in response to scaring or thrilling situations.

“Humans are naturally curious, so we have a fascination with the unknown, plus watching scary movies with friends can also strengthen bonds and bring people closer together. Some theories suggest that experiencing fear in a safe, controlled environment can provide a form of catharsis, helping individuals release pent-up emotions or stress.

“Individual reactions to fear and scary situations can vary widely, and not everyone enjoys being scared. Some people might have a higher tolerance for fear, while others might find scary situations to be overwhelmingly unpleasant or distressing.