Google Trends uncovers America’s fascination with Halloween

halloween united states google trends trish hamme flickr

It’s nearly Halloween, the time of year that dentists must absolutely love, and neighbourhood watch organisations absolutely hate. After all, how do you know if a criminal is dressing up for Halloween?

Beyond these tough questions, the world — and particularly the United States — just loves preparing for the final day of October.

The day has become as important as Thanksgiving and Christmas in the States (see below graph), and this year, Google Trends is shedding some interesting and spooky light onto people’s habits taken from 3 October to the present.

Here are some of the more interesting takeaways from the company’s findings.

People don’t know when Halloween is

“When is Halloween?” was the top question typed into Google Search prior to 31 October. We, or Google, have no idea why.

Other search queries focussing on Halloween or Trick or Treating were notable.

“When is trick of treat” was a common query which made us chuckle a little. “What does trick or treat mean?” is an interesting query coming from the United States. While “How old is too old for trick or treat” made us sob woefully into our sleeves.

Different states prefer different scares

In a less emotional graph, Google Trends outlines just what activity Americans across the 50 states enjoy the most.

In the northeastern corner of the country, including Alaska, South Dakota and Mississippi, “haunted house” is in high demand.

This changes for Montana, Wyoming and the US’s extreme northeastern tip. “Corn mazes” are all the rage.

For every other state? They make do with a “pumpkin patch” or two.

DC Comics or… Bonnie and Clyde?

Part of the allure of Halloween is the dress up, and we can totally understand that. After all, why wouldn’t the top searches for Halloween consumes this year be Wonder Woman and Harley Quinn?

DC Comics must be loving life right now.

Stephen King also gets a shout out, with “Clown” undoubtedly inspired by the IT remake coming in as the third most searched costume.

“Moana” and the evergreen “Unicorn” rounded out the top five.

But we aren’t all destined to be alone, so Google also tallied up the most searched couple costumes. The results:

  • Bonnie and Clyde
  • Beauty and The Beast
  • Forrest Gump and Jenny
  • Lilo and Stitch
  • Tarzan and Jane

The United States really, really loves donuts

Why all the effort to dress up? Apart from the escapism, confectionary plays an important role in Halloween festivities too.

And the most searched Halloween sweets for 2017 is… not a sweet at all. “Donuts” are oddly popular this year.

M&M’s feature in second, while Candy corn, Candy bark and finally plain-old Chocolate featured in fifth.

Feature image: Trish Hamme via Flickr (CC BY 2.0, resized)

Andy Walker, former editor


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