For U.S. retailers, Halloween kicks off the end-of-year holiday spending spree (time to panic: it’s only 54 shopping days until Christmas). Even though Halloween didn’t become a commercial holiday until the early 1900’s, it is now the fifth most profitable holiday for US retailers behind Christmas, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, and Easter. Various reports show that this year Americans spent about $7B on Halloween costumes, candy, and decorations. To put it in perspective, that’s more than the entire GDP of Bermuda.

The National Retail Federation estimates 68 million Americans dressed up for Halloween this past weekend, spending a total of $2.5B on store-bought and homemade costumes. For the 11th year in a row, the most popular costume for adults was a witch (4.3M people) and the most popular costume for kids was a princess (3.2M). That’s remarkable consistency. However, I went back to a blog I wrote 5 years ago and discovered the rest of the top ten was much more volatile. Here’s my analysis:

Top Adult Costumes Top Children’s Costumes
1. Witch (no change) 1. Princess (no change)
2. Animal (new) 2. “Batman” character (+7)
3. “Batman” character (+7) 3. Action/super hero (+3)
4. Zombie (+3) 4. Animal (new)
5. “Star Wars” character (new) 5. Disney character (no change)
6. Pirate (-3) 6. “Star Wars” character (+4)
7. Vampire (-5) 7. Zombie (new)
8. Action/super hero (new) 8. Witch (-5)
9. Doctor/nurse (-5) 9. Pumpkin (-1)
10. Wench/Tart/Vixen (-5) 10. Minion (new)

Hollywood movies clearly have a disproportionate impact on how people decide to dress on Halloween. The rapid rise of Batman, Star Wars, and Minion costumes mirror the success of those movies.

However, I am at a loss to explain the appearance of animal costumes – anyone have any ideas?

This blog was originally posted on Manage by Walking Around on November 1, 2015.

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