The Most and Least Popular Halloween Costumes of 2018 by Paid Search Clicks, Plus the Top Costume Advertisers

Halloween is upon us and once again we get in the spirit by ranking the most and least popular costumes of the year by paid search clicks. To do so, Kantar Media examined U.S. Google desktop clicks on product listing ads and text ads displaying for 2,988 costume keywords from October 1-26.

The Most Clicked Costumes


2018’s most popular costumes, ranked 1-20 by paid search clicks:

  1. Wonder Woman
  2. Batman
  3. Pennywise
  4. Unicorn
  5. Pirate
  6. Spider-Man
  7. Moana
  8. Catwoman
  9. Dinosaur
  10. The Flash
  11. Clown
  12. Harry Potter
  13. Stormtrooper
  14. Minnie Mouse
  15. Witch
  16. Maleficent
  17. Game of Thrones (general)
  18. Little Red Riding Hood
  19. The Joker
  20. Star Wars (general)

Believe It Or Not I’m Walking On Air

Superheroes and their archenemies continue to reign as the most popular costumes this year. Perennial favorites Wonder Woman (ranked #1), Batman (#2), Spider-Man (#6) and Catwoman (#8) were joined in the Top 20 by first-timers the Flash (#10) and the Joker (#19). Harley Quinn (#1 in 2017 and #5 in 2016) and Captain America (#8 in 2017 and #19 in 2016) fell off the list this year.

Who Is This Bozo?

Scary clowns seem to be having a moment in popular culture. Pennywise, the terrifying clown from the 2017 Stephen King movie and the 1990 TV mini-series It, debuted in the top 20 costumes at #3. In addition, general clown costumes, the majority of which are clearly intended to be frightening judging by their PLA photos and descriptions, made the ranking for the first time at #11. Finally, see above for the Joker. If you were to combine clicks on all three of these costumes, malevolent clowns would be the #1 ranked costume of the season.

Google Shopping ads displaying for the keyword 'clown costume', October 29, 2018.

Dressing (Down) Disney

In previous years we saw as many as 13 Disney-owned characters among the top 20 costumes. This year we found just five. In addition to Spider-Man, Moana ranked in the top 20 for the first time at #7, followed by Stormtrooper (#13), Minnie Mouse (#14), Maleficent (#16) and general searches for Star Wars costumes (#20).

Active Fantasy Life

From the magical realm, unicorn debuted in the top 20 at #5, while Harry Potter and Game of Thrones also made the ranking for the first time at #12 and #17, respectively.

Odds and Sods

Traditional Halloween favorites pirate (#5) and witch (#15) made the list once again, along with newer favorites dinosaur (#9) and Little Red Riding Hood (#18).

A Selection of Least Clicked Costumes


We cannot have good without evil, and we cannot have a most popular costume ranking without taking a moment to consider some of the least popular costumes this year by paid search clicks:

  • Nerd – Given that the 20 most popular Halloween costumes are dominated by comic book, sci-fi and fantasy characters, it seems nerd culture is mainstream these days. Hence, why go as yourself?
  • Girls’ Kermit the Frog Costume – It’s not easy being green, and neither is getting girls to dress as you this year.
  • Baby Han Solo – Will they blame this on Solo: A Star Wars Story too?
  • Spice Girls – If you wannabe the only woman at the party in this costume, you probably will.
  • Men’s Pig Costume – Credit men on this one; it probably sends the wrong message.
  • Slave Princess – The surprise here is that this is actually a costume.
  • Boys’ Trench Coat Costume – We don’t remember these being popular during the Cold War either.
  • Child Walking Dead Costume – Congratulations parents, for either not letting your kid watch this show or pretending you don’t by not letting him dress as one of the characters.
  • Coco – All kidding aside, we were genuinely surprised to find Coco costumes receiving so few clicks in October, considering the 2017 film grossed more than $800 million in worldwide box office. Then again, we could not find any official mass-produced Coco costumes for sale, only a specialty ‘cos play’ mask and some general Day of the Dead costumes, which itself is a surprise.
  • Baby Hulk – Speaking of sincerity, judging by the photo we have no idea why this one is not more popular.

Top Advertisers

Lastly, we rank the top 10 advertisers on the 2,988 costume keywords by U.S. Google desktop product listing ad and text ad click share percentage, October 1-26. was the top product listing ad advertiser from October 1 through the 26th, with a 17.4% PLA click share on the costume keyword group. The online specialty retailer additionally ranked second in text ad clicks with a 14% click share.

Party City ranked second in PLA clicks with a 14.7% click share while also ranking seventh in text ad clicks with a 3.1% click share.
Spencer Gifts’ Spirit Halloween ranked third in both PLAs and text ads, generating an 8.3% PLA click share and an 11.5% text ad click share.
Amazon topped text ads with a 17.4% click share, but did not make the top 10 in PLAs.


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