JFF: Searching, Searching–Halloween Costumes

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Based on US adults who searched for costumes online during the four-week period ending October 8, Hitwise, a division of Connexity, reports that while there are different trends by demographic type, the most popular overall costume searches in 2016 so far are: “Disney Moana,” “Harley Quinn” and “Deadpool.”

In addition, Hitwise is seeing the emergence of a beard-friendly costume trend (pictured top left) in 2016 even weeks before men traditionally get started planning their costumes. Mentions of the word “beard” or “beards” in costume searches, for instance, are up 18% year-over-year and searches for “Halloween costume for guys with beards,” are four times greater than observed in 2015.

In addition to Disney’s Moana, upcoming live-action Disney flicks are having a big 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,’” says John Fetto, senior analyst Hitwise, a division of Connexity.

So far in 2016, popular keywords in costume-related searches for include “plus size,” “sexy” and “DIY.” Plus-size costume searches, in fact, compromise over eight percent of all costume searches for women, while the adjective “sexy” was mentioned in seven percent of searches. Beyond keywords, the most popular searches for women thus far are: “Disney Moana,” “Harley Quinn,” “Super Woman” and “Poison Ivy.”

While most pet-related costume searches are traditionally for dogs, Hitwise has observed an increase in searches for cat costumes this year. It looks like the top pet costumes so far in 2016 are “spider dog costume,” “dog lion costume,” and “dog pumpkin costume.” Other trending costumes terms for our four legged friends include “Rapunzel,” “Pokemon” and “shark.”

Based on searches by demographic last year, Hitwise found that searches for kids’ costumes start early. Between September 13 and October 10 is when kids costume searches spiked, while showing a decrease thereafter. Further, Hitwise says to expect to see searches for costumes for women continuously increase from September 13 with peak searches occurring the week of Halloween. Men-related searches are consistently the lowest type of demographic costume search until the week of Halloween when Hitwise registers a big jump. So don’t expect a high amount of men-related costume searches until late in the month when men will scramble to look for last-minute ideas.

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.

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