Halloween 2018 Trends — Wakanda Forever and Don’t Send in the Clowns

It’s time to get spooky! Which costumes are scary good and which ones are getting booed this Halloween? We surveyed 1,000 US adults who will be dressing up this year to find out whether they will be DIY-ing or buying their costumes, and which costumes they feel should RIP. Find out if this year’s costumes are tricks or treats, plus is 2018 the year that cute costumes put scary ones six feet under?

The Lowdown on Dressing Up

Though they may be attending several Halloween events, 85% of respondents plan to wear one costume vs. having multiple costumes. 67% will wear an individual costume, 21% will be dressing as part of a couple (e.g., Prince Harry and Meghan Markle), and 11% will be part of a group costume (e.g., The Addams Family). Consumers ages 18-24 are more likely to dress as a couple, while those ages 25-44 are more likely to dress as part of a group. Once dressed up, here are the top places to head out in costume:

  • Halloween party at a friend’s house (41%)
  • Trick or treating in your neighborhood (38%)
  • Halloween event at a public place such as the zoo, an amusement park, or a museum (24%)
  • Halloween party in your home (22%)
  • Workplace (21%)
  • Restaurant/bar (14%)
  • Halloween parade (9%)
  • Dance club (8%)
  • Halloween run/5K race (4%)

Devilish- DIYs & Supernatural Savings

Do-it-yourself (DIY) costumes are quite popular this year with 39% of respondents planning to create their own costume and another 26% planning a costume created with both DIY and purchased elements. 31% plan to purchase their costume and just 3% are planning on renting a costume. Men are more likely to purchase/rent their costume vs. women who are more likely to combine DIY with purchase. Of those, making their own costumes, 36% plan to spend 1-2 hours on costume creation and 17% plan to spend more than 3 hours.

The majority of respondents (60%) plan to spend between $11-$50 on their costume this year. 17% plan to spend less than $10, 18% plan to spend $51-$100 and 5% will spend over $100. Spending trends are similar to what we found in our 2017 survey with 54% planning to spend between $11-$50 and 6% planning to spend over $100 last year. Women are more likely to spend $11-$50 while men, consumers ages 25-44, and consumers with household income of $75k-$100K are more likely to spend $51-$100. Costume features our respondents will be buying include wigs (36%), special effects makeup (32%), hats (28%), masks (23%), hair dye (16%), and contact lenses/glasses (15%).

Trick-or-Treat, Cute or Scary

Times are changing when it comes to Halloween costumes. Scary and sexy costumes are on a deadly decline while cute costumes are on the rise. In our 2017 survey, the top adjective used to describe respondent’s costumes was “scary” chosen by 24% vs. just 12% this year. “Sexy” was chosen by 20% in 2017 vs. 15% this year. “Cute” was this year’s top choice with 21%, up from 16% in 2017. Men were more likely to describe their costumes as “scary” and “funny”; and women were more likely to say “sexy”, “cute”, and “classy/sophisticated”.

Most Searched Costume Ideas

Based on search trends, Pinterest and Lyst compiled their annual list of the most popular Halloween costume ideas and here are the top 10:

  1. Tonya Harding
  2. Riverdale character
  3. 90s icon
  4. Black Panther character
  5. Flamingo
  6. Edna Mode from The Incredibles
  7. Dancing queen inspired by ABBA
  8. Cosmic fairy
  9. Frida Kahlo
  10. Cow

We asked our respondents if any of these were their top choice for a costume this year. Turns out that 59% do not plan to dress in any of the costumes on this list. The most popular idea on this list according to our respondents was Black Panther chosen by 6%.

Trendy Costume Categories

Most popular costume inspirations were:

  • Movie (18%)
  • Animated movie (11%)
  • Animal (10%)
  • TV show (10%
  • Comic book (9%)

Other responses included:

  • Character from a book
  • Mythological creature
  • Historical timeframe
  • Religious figure

The Not Costumes for 2018

When asked to rank a list of traditional Halloween costumes in the order of which ones they are most tired of seeing, these were the top five:

  1. Clown
  2. Zombie
  3. Athlete
  4. Witch
  5. Cat

Clowns just can’t get a break and zombies are everywhere. Pumpkins, mummies, and scarecrows were among the costumes that our respondents were not tired of seeing. Hot tip – you still have time to change it up — turn your zombie into a zombie pumpkin or wrap yourself in bandages like a mummy clown.

The Takeaways

2018 looks to be the year that the treats are outdoing tricks, with cute costumes leading in popularity and scary outfits being sent to the graveyard. Pop culture continues to heavily influence costume choices, as many consumers plan to dress like their favorite celebrities, superheroes, and movie/TV characters. The DIY trend is on the rise with a majority of consumers going mad scientist to create their own costumes (with a little help from store-bought wigs, makeup, etc.). And finally, our survey also showed that consumers’ Halloween spending has stayed just about the same since 2017.

We hope you have a Happy Halloween, and whether your tricking or treating remember, if you give out toothbrushes and raisins, your house is definitely getting TP’ed and Clown costumes are never a good idea.

For full survey results see below-

Allie Smith is the former Director of Charts for eMarketer with over 15 years of experience in the world of market research. Her love for charts and graphs is only outweighed by her love for her whippets. She spends her free time watching Law & Order reruns while knitting cute hats for dogs.