Last-Minute Halloween Costume Hunting? Search Activity Reveals Hot Costumes This Year

angry-birds-costumesLady Gaga and Snooki … err, Nicole … from MTV’s Jersey Shore were among last year’s hottest Halloween costume searches. Are they back this year, or have other pop culture icons replaced them?

Let’s take a look at the hottest 2011 search halloween costume searches, courtesy of a few different sources from Google to one shopping search engine. If you’re still on the hunt for a last-minute Halloween costume idea, you’re bound to find something that works below.

Google’s Halloween Costume Search Trends

Google has been digging into Halloween costume searches

But as of mid-October, the Angry Birds were overtaken in search by [black swan costume]. The Darren Aronofsky ballet drama seems poised to be the most popular costume idea by All Hallows Eve, with related searches for everything from [black tutu] to [black corset]. Some are even looking to be the alter ego [white swan].

As for Lady Gaga, Google says that searches for [lady gaga costume] are about half as popular this year (blue line below) as they were last year (red line).


Google’s blog post doesn’t have a formal list of top costume-related searches, but the company shared this list with the LA Times earlier in the week (notice – no mention of Lady Gaga or Snooki).

  1. Angry Birds
  2. Black Swan
  3. Playboy Bunny
  4. Nicki Minaj
  5. Smurfette
  6. Wilfred
  7. Monster High
  8. Tron
  9. Captain America
  10. Pan Am
  11. Charlie Sheen
  12. Rapunzel

Yahoo’s Halloween Costume Search Trends

Earlier this month, Yahoo reported that “halloween costume idea” searches were already up 351% over 2010 — pretty remarkable stat there. We’re hoping to get some updated information from Yahoo’s post on October 10th, but as of that date, here’s some of what Yahoo reported:

Top Searched Baby Halloween Costumes

  1. Angry Bird
  2. Cookie Monster
  3. Butterfly

Top Searched Celebrity Costumes (this month):

  1. Lady Gaga
  2. Nicki Minaj
  3. Katy Perry

Top Searched Adult Costumes

  1. Star Wars
  2. Vampire
  3. Pan Am Costume

Experian Hitwise: Top Halloween Costume Searches

Just as they did last year, Hitwise has posted the top costume-related search terms it’s seeing — but that was a month ago, so let’s use this updated chart that Hitwise sent us this afternoon. It covers searches over the four week period that ended last Saturday, October 22nd.


That’s the first mention of Strawberry Shortcake so far, but Hitwise also shows that Angry Birds and Black Swan are popular costume searches this month. Also, no Snooki or Lady Gaga. Top Halloween Costumes, a shopping search engine, has tracked user searches and site traffic as far back a early September to come up with its list of the top adult and kids costumes this year:

Top Adult Costumes

  1. Captain America
  2. Green Lantern
  3. Where’s Waldo
  4. The Simpsons Duffman
  5. Sexy Queen Bee

Top Baby/Kids Costumes

  1. Harry Potter
  2. Princess-themed costumes
  3. Green Lantern
  4. Captain America
  5. Elmo

There’s no sign of Black Swan on’s list, but Angry Birds did make the adult costume list in the No. 7 position … with Jersey Shore and Lady Gaga right behind.

We’ll update this post if Bing weighs in with its list of popular Halloween costume searches.

(Angry Birds costume photos from 1 Stop Costume Shop.)

Related Topics: Channel: Strategy | Search & Society: General | Stats: General | Stats: Search Behavior | Top News


About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Search Engine Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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  • Shari

    Since this is my industry, I have some insight as to things that are highly searched vs. top selling Halloween costumes. Wehn costumes are not readily available commercially, it actually inflated the search volume due to people looking for it rather than getting to a costume site and then putting it the site search. This year Black Swan costumes are not commercially available. Sure, if you do a search for them, you will see a can can type costume that is similar and several custom made ones for upwards of $200 – $300+. Not the popular price points of $30 – $40 and they are not actually licensed by whichever movie company owns the rights to the costume. The costume industry needs more lead time to license and make costumes, right now the costumes for next year are in the beginning stages of development, our industry buying shows start in December, and by February or March of 2013, all of the styles will be set and our orders have to be in to manufacturers at that time to start production. So if Gaga comes out with an awesome new look next summer, (or whatever sleeper movie is a hit) will likely not make it into costume production in time for next Halloween. But, you can be sure to see tons of variations of Black Swan costumes then, a whole Halloween late and a dollar short.

  • Mathew Guiver

    Not so sure how I feel about the angry birds costume. I think my Google+ circle of people who rock is more original. Just sayin. Happy Halloween!

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