In 2009, clowns were the fourth most popular costume for adults. But clown stock crashed in 2010, as the costume dropped to 13th place. Rumor has it, the clown hasn’t smiled since, his frown now permanently stained with strawberry schnapps.
These are the trials and tribulations hiding within NPR’s irresistible data viz, Top-Ranked Halloween Costumes For Adults, 2009-2013, by Quoctrung Bui and LA Johnson. It mines the last five years of costume sales data from the National Retail Federation, charting all sorts of important trends as you hover over the graphic with your mouse: Pirates and devils are out; zombies and Batman are in. And ladies, you can never go wrong dressed as a witch.
Seriously, the witch costume is the perennial monster hit. Its No. 1 dominance has gone unchallenged for (at least) five years straight, though one can almost see the vampire (or is it fair to say, dude witch?), nipping at its heels, always the bridesmaid [of Frankenstein], never the bride.
Those who want to switch up the witch this year for something similar, know that the “vixen” was a solidly ranking alternative until 2013, when it disappeared from the map, making it a risky investment. (Though in defense of vixens still doing their thing everywhere, sexy Halloween costumes are a part of the very fabric of our culture.) A better witch alternative may be lurking down in ninth place, the cat. Now, the cat isn’t as popular as it used to be, but I’d bet that whoever is the Jim Cramer of costumes would agree with me here: Cats, and more specifically, cat ears coupled with anything at all, are severely undervalued in today’s costume market. Cats are never more than a headband away from their comeback.