The Most Popular Halloween Costumes of 2021
Halloween—it’s the time of year when kids and adults alike dress up, eat candy, and show off their spookiest selves. It’s also when the scariest home decorations are the talk of the town, and people are frightened left, right, and center.
With the help of data from Google Trends and their unique Frightgeist series, we visualized the most searched Halloween costumes in the U.S. in 2021.
From spooky to sweet, these are the costumes everyone wants to dress up as this Halloween.
A Brief History of Halloween
Halloween is celebrated each year on October 31, with this year’s Halloween occurring on a Sunday. The tradition originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, where people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts.
The concept of Halloween didn’t gain popularity until it reached the United States. Borrowing from European traditions, Americans began to dress up in costumes and go house to house asking for food or money, a practice that eventually became today’s “trick-or-treat” tradition.
Other superstitions also started to form around the holiday. Young women believed they could divine the appearance of their future husbands by doing tricks with apple parings or mirrors.
Over time, Halloween moved away from focusing on witchcraft and ghosts to the festival we know and love today—a day focused on games, foods of the season, and festive costumes.
What Are the Most Popular Halloween Costumes?
With COVID-19 cases down compared to last year and Americans expected to spend over $10 billion on Halloween this year, much of the United States will be partaking in celebrating the spooky holiday.
From classy costumes and last-minute DIYs to pop-culture outfits and even era-inspired costumes, here are the top 25 most popular Halloween costumes in the U.S. in 2021.
|4||Spider-Man||Comic Book Characters|
|5||Cruella de Vil||Film Characters|
|7||Harley Quinn||Comic Book Characters|
|16||Among Us||TV Charaters|
|19||Superhero||Comic Book Characters|
|23||Squid Game||TV Charaters|
Notable Trending Costumes
The Netflix show Squid Game has had a meteoric rise in popularity in recent weeks, becoming one of the most-watched shows on the streaming platform—just in time for Halloween.
Squid Game costumes are the 23rd most popular in Google’s search, and they continue to trend high, being the most searched costume idea in Detroit.
In 2020, the mobile game Among Us was the talk of the gaming world, and this year it is the 16th most popular costume, with its popularity spiking in Jacksonville, Florida.
Other notable costumes in the top 50 include Pokémon at #50, Fortnite at #44, Velma Dinkley (of Scooby-Doo fame) at #42, Poison Ivy (the comic book villain) at #33, Beetlejuice at #24 and the entire 1980s decade at #18.
Most Popular Halloween Costumes by State
When it comes to festivals, every state has its unique perspective and traditions on celebrating them. This extends to popular Halloween costumes too.
Though there might be some overlap, digging deeper into the most popular costumes in every state allows us a unique look into how diverse people’s tastes are across the country.
Here is a breakdown of the most popular costumes in the U.S. in 2020 by state:
|State||Most Popular Costume||National Rank in 2020|
|District of Columbia||Beyonce||333|
|North Dakota||Star Wars||28|
|Rhode Island||Hermione Granger||146|
|South Carolina||Wonder Woman||31|
A look at popular costumes at the state level reveals some interesting quirks. Montana, for example, is uniquely interested in The Purge, and Rhode Island trick-or-treaters are big fans of Hermione Granger of Harry Potter fame.
Traditions are Here To Stay
At its core, Halloween still remains that same old fright-inducing festival it has always been.
Even though pop culture might influence your Halloween choices, traditional costumes will always have a unique place in everyone’s heart.
Population Boom: Charting How We Got to Nearly 8 Billion People
In the next year or so, humanity is expected to pass the 8 billion person milestone. These charts and maps put global population growth into context.
Today, the global population is estimated to sit at 7.91 billion people.
By the end of 2022 or within the first months of 2023, that number is expected to officially cross the 8 billion mark. Incredibly, each new billion people has come faster than the previous—it was roughly only a decade ago that we crossed the 7 billion threshold.
How did we get here, and what has global population growth looked like historically?
In this series of six charts from Our World in Data, we’ll break down how the global population got to its current point, as well as some big picture trends behind the data.
#1: Mapping the Population Over 5,000 Years
New York, São Paulo, and Jakarta were not always bustling metropolises. In fact, for long parts of the history of civilization, it was unusual to find humans congregating in many of the present-day city locations we now think of as population centers.
The human population has always moved around, seeking out new opportunity and freedoms.
As of 3,000 BC, humans could be mainly found in Central America, the Mediterranean, the Fertile Crescent, and parts of India, Japan, and China. It’s no coincidence that that agriculture was independently discovered in many of these same places during the Neolithic Revolution.
#2: The Hockey Stick Curve
For even more context, let’s zoom way out by using a timeline that goes back to when woolly mammoths still roamed the Earth:
From this 10,000-foot view, it’s clear that human population growth started going exponential around the time of the Second Agricultural Revolution, which started in the 17th century in Britain. This is when new technologies and farming conventions took root, making it possible to grow the food supply at an unprecedented pace.
Soon these discoveries spread around the world, enabling population booms everywhere.
#3: The Time to Add 1 Billion
The data and projections in this chart are a few years old, but the concept remains the same:
It took all of human history until 1803 to reach the first billion in population. The next billion took 124 years, and the next 33 years. More recent billions have come every dozen or so.
So why then, are future billion people additions projected to take longer and longer to achieve?
#4: The Growth Rate is Shrinking
Because of demographics and falling fertility rates, the growth rate of the global population has actually been on a downward trend for some time.
As this growth rate gets closer to zero, the population curve has become less exponential like we saw in the first graphs. Population growth is leveling out, and it may even go negative at some point in the future.
#5: The Regional Breakdown
Although the rate of population growth is expected to slow down, there are still parts of the world that are adding new people fast, as you can see on this interactive regional breakdown:
Since 1973, Asia has doubled its population from 2.3 billion to 4.6 billion people.
Comparatively, over the same time frame, Europe has gone from 670 million to 748 million, equal to just an 11% increase.
#6: The Present and Future of Population Growth
Population projections by groups like the United Nations see the global population peaking at around 10.9 billion people in 2100.
That said, there isn’t a consensus around this peak.
Organizations like the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) have a different perspective, and they have recently modeled that the global population will top out at 9.7 billion people by the year 2064.
As we climb to surpass the 8 billion mark in the coming months, it will be interesting to see what path humanity ends up following.
Visualizing the Accumulation of Human-Made Mass on Earth
The amount of human-made (or anthropogenic) mass, has now exceeded the weight of all life on Earth, including humans, animals, and plants.
Visualizing the Accumulation of Human-Made Mass on Earth
The world is not getting any bigger but the human population continues to grow, consuming more and more resources and altering the very environment we rely on.
In 2020, the amount of human-made mass, or anthropogenic mass, exceeded for the first time the dry weight (except for water and fluids) of all life on Earth, including humans, animals, plants, fungi, and even microorganisms.
In this infographic based on a study published in Nature, we break down the composition of all human-made materials and the rate of their production.
A Man-made Planet
Anthropogenic mass is defined as the mass embedded in inanimate solid objects made by humans that have not been demolished or taken out of service—which is separately defined as anthropogenic mass waste.
Over the past century or so, human-made mass has increased rapidly, doubling approximately every 20 years. The collective mass of these materials has gone from 3% of the world’s biomass in 1900 to being on par with it today.
While we often overlook the presence of raw materials, they are what make the modern economy possible. To build roads, houses, buildings, printer paper, coffee mugs, computers, and all other human-made things, it requires billions of tons of fossil fuels, metals and minerals, wood, and agricultural products.
The rate of accumulation for anthropogenic mass has now reached 30 gigatons (Gt)—equivalent to 30 billion metric tons—per year, based on the average for the past five years. This corresponds to each person on the globe producing more than his or her body weight in anthropogenic mass every week.
At the top of the list is concrete. Used for building and infrastructure, concrete is the second most used substance in the world, after water.
|Human-Made Mass||Description||1900 (mass/Gt)||1940 (mass/Gt)||1980 (mass/Gt)||2020 (mass/Gt)|
|Concrete||Used for building and infrastructure, including cement, gravel and sand||2||10||86||549|
|Aggregates||Gravel and sand, mainly used as bedding for roads and buildings||17||30||135||386|
|Bricks||Mostly composed of clay and used for constructions||11||16||28||92|
|Asphalt||Bitumen, gravel and sand, used mainly for road construction/pavement||0||1||22||65|
|Metals||Mostly iron/steel, aluminum and copper||1||3||13||39|
|Other||Solid wood products, paper/paperboard, container and flat glass and plastic||4||6||11||23|
Bricks and aggregates like gravel and sand also represent a big part of human-made mass.
Although small compared to other materials in our list, the mass of plastic we’ve made is greater than the overall mass of all terrestrial and marine animals combined.
As the rate of growth of human-made mass continues to accelerate, it could become triple the total amount of global living biomass by 2040.
Can We Work It Out?
While the mass of humans is only about 0.01% of all biomass, our impact is like no other form of life on Earth. We are one of the few species that can alter the environment to the point of affecting all life.
At the current pace, the reserves of some materials like fossil fuels and minerals could run out in less than 100 years. As a result, prospectors are widening their search as they seek fresh sources of raw materials, exploring places like the Arctic, the deep sea, and even asteroids.
As the world population continues to increase, so does the pressure on the natural environment. It is an unavoidable fact that consumption will increase, but in an era of net-zero policies and carbon credits, accounting for the human impact on the environment will be more important than ever.
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