Choosing a killer Halloween costume is no longer just a matter of ingenuity–it’s a game of numbers, and you aren’t taking home the prize for Best Costume without a solid strategy. Luckily, the Google News Lab team has made scoping out the competition easy: their latest data viz, Google Frightgeist, pulls data from online costume searches to predict the most popular costumes by region.
Type in a film character or typical halloween costume and Frightgeist pulls up its national ranking, regional rankings, a pie chart comparing to other costumes and the likelihood you’ll run into one at a party (“You have a frighteningly high chance of seeing another Vampire at this party. Boo!”). You can also search see how the costume has fared over time–from 2005 to 2015.
Frightgeist doesn’t let you get too detailed with the costume search: Type in sexy nurse and you’re looking at the searches for “registered nurse,” sexy or otherwise (nat. rank: 464). Romy and Michelle are no where to be found, though they’ve been at every Halloween party I’ve ever attended. Generic costumes like superhero, pirate and witch round out most of the top 10, beat only by characters from major franchises gearing up for big releases this year (Harley Quinn is #1 and Star Wars comes in at #2).
Want to get points for originality this year? Get as specific as possible. And do your research.