Ranked: The Most Popular Halloween Costumes of 2021
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The Most Popular Halloween Costumes of 2021

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Most Popular Halloween Costumes of 2021

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.

RankCostume NameCategory
1WitchHorror Films
2RabbitAnimals
3DinosaurAnimals
4Spider-ManComic Book Characters
5Cruella de VilFilm Characters
6FairyFantasy Characters
7Harley QuinnComic Book Characters
8CowboyProfessions
9ClownProfessions
10ChuckyHorror Films
11CheerleaderProfessions
12PirateProfessions
13PumpkinFoods
14AngelCharacters
15VampireFantasy Characters
16Among UsTV Charaters
17ZombieHorror Films
181980'sEra
19SuperheroComic Book Characters
20DevilCharacters
21JokerFilm Characters
22NinjaProfessions
23Squid GameTV Charaters
24BeetejuiceHorror Films
25DollToys

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:

StateMost Popular CostumeNational Rank in 2020
AlabamaHarley Quinn03
AlaskaBeetlejuice36
ArizonaRabbit04
ArkansasDoll12
CaliforniaWitch01
ColoradoDinosaur02
ConnecticutPowerpuff Girls32
DelawareDoll12
District of ColumbiaBeyonce333
FloridaRabbit04
GeorgiaWitch01
HawaiiMonsters Inc43
IdahoWitch01
IllinoisDinosaur02
IndianaWitch01
IowaChucky20
KansasMickey Mouse57
KentuckyZombie13
LouisianaWitch01
MaineDinosaur02
MarylandNinja09
MassachusettsDinosaur02
MichiganRabbit04
MinnesotaWitch01
MississippiAngel06
MissouriDinosaur02
MontanaPurge15
NebraskaJoker30
NevadaWitch01
New HampshireNinja09
New JerseyWitch01
New MexicoClueless74
New YorkDinosaur02
North CarolinaDinosaur02
North DakotaStar Wars28
OhioWitch01
OklahomaDragon35
OregonFortnite07
PennsylvaniaWitch01
Rhode IslandHermione Granger146
South CarolinaWonder Woman31
South DakotaSpider38
TennesseeHarley Quinn03
TexasHarley Quinn03
UtahWitch01
VermontDeer125
VirginiaRabbit04
WashingtonAngel06
West VirginiaZombie13
WisconsinWitch01
WyomingPhysician67

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.

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Misc

Visualizing Two Decades of Reported Hate Crimes in the U.S.

Hate crimes across the U.S. have been on the rise since 2014. Here’s a look at the most common types of offenses over the years.

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Two Decades of Hate Crimes in the U.S.

Visualizing Two Decades of Reported Hate Crimes in the U.S.

Across the U.S., thousands of hate crimes are committed each year, with many different motivating biases.

In 2020 alone, more than 10,000 unique hate crime incidents were reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)—and it’s likely that thousands more were committed that didn’t get reported to law enforcement.

What are the most commonly reported motivating biases, and how have hate crime rates evolved over the years? This graphic uses data from the FBI to visualize two decades of reported hate crime incidents across America.

What is Considered a Hate Crime?

Before diving in, it’s important to determine what constitutes a hate crime.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, a hate crime is a crime that’s “committed on the basis of the victim’s perceived or actual race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability.”

These types of crimes are a threat to society, as they have a broader impact on communities than other types of crimes do. This is because hate crimes can foster fear and intimidate large groups of people or marginalized communities, making them feel unwelcome, unsafe, or othered.

Hate Crimes on the Rise

Hate crimes have been rising across the U.S. in nearly every year since 2014. By 2020, reported crimes across America reached record-level highs not seen in over two decades.

YearNumber of Reported Incidents% Change (y-o-y)
2001973018.4%
20027485-23.1%
200375450.8%
200476851.9%
20057411-3.6%
200677154.1%
20077625-1.2%
200880395.4%
20096613-17.7%
201066330.3%
20116299-5.0%
201265944.7%
20136044-8.3%
20145599-7.4%
201558714.9%
201662766.9%
2017732116.7%
20187170-2.1%
2019789210.1%
20201029930.5%

And sadly, these figures are likely a vast undercount. Law enforcement submit this data to the FBI of their own volition, and in 2020, thousands of agencies did not submit their crime statistics.

Race-Related Hate Crimes are Most Common

Historically, the most reported hate crimes in the U.S. are related to race. In 2020, about 66% of incidents were motivated by discrimination against the victim’s race or ethnicity.

Type of BiasTotal Number of Crimes (2020)% of Total
Race/Ethnicity679366.0%
Religion162615.8%
Sexual Orientation131112.7%
Other5695.5%
Total10299--

While race is the most commonly reported hate crime, incidents related to gender and gender identity are on the rise—in 2020, there was a 9% increase in gender-related incidents, and a 34% increase in gender identity-related incidents, compared to 2019 figures.

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Science

Visualizing the Relationship Between Cancer and Lifespan

New research links mutation rates and lifespan. We visualize the data supporting this new framework for understanding cancer.

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Cancer and lifespan

A Newfound Link Between Cancer and Aging?

A new study in 2022 reveals a thought-provoking relationship between how long animals live and how quickly their genetic codes mutate.

Cancer is a product of time and mutations, and so researchers investigated its onset and impact within 16 unique mammals. A new perspective on DNA mutation broadens our understanding of aging and cancer development—and how we might be able to control it.

Mutations, Aging, and Cancer: A Primer

Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of cells. It is not a pathogen that infects the body, but a normal body process gone wrong.

Cells divide and multiply in our bodies all the time. Sometimes, during DNA replication, tiny mistakes (called mutations) appear randomly within the genetic code. Our bodies have mechanisms to correct these errors, and for much of our youth we remain strong and healthy as a result of these corrective measures.

However, these protections weaken as we age. Developing cancer becomes more likely as mutations slip past our defenses and continue to multiply. The longer we live, the more mutations we carry, and the likelihood of them manifesting into cancer increases.

A Biological Conundrum

Since mutations can occur randomly, biologists expect larger lifeforms (those with more cells) to have greater chances of developing cancer than smaller lifeforms.

Strangely, no association exists.

It is one of biology’s biggest mysteries as to why massive creatures like whales or elephants rarely seem to experience cancer. This is called Peto’s Paradox. Even stranger: some smaller creatures, like the naked mole rat, are completely resistant to cancer.

This phenomenon motivates researchers to look into the genetics of naked mole rats and whales. And while we’ve discovered that special genetic bonuses (like extra tumor-suppressing genes) benefit these creatures, a pattern for cancer rates across all other species is still poorly understood.

Cancer May Be Closely Associated with Lifespan

Researchers at the Wellcome Sanger Institute report the first study to look at how mutation rates compare with animal lifespans.

Mutation rates are simply the speed at which species beget mutations. Mammals with shorter lifespans have average mutation rates that are very fast. A mouse undergoes nearly 800 mutations in each of its four short years on Earth. Mammals with longer lifespans have average mutation rates that are much slower. In humans (average lifespan of roughly 84 years), it comes to fewer than 50 mutations per year.

The study also compares the number of mutations at time of death with other traits, like body mass and lifespan. For example, a giraffe has roughly 40,000 times more cells than a mouse. Or a human lives 90 times longer than a mouse. What surprised researchers was that the number of mutations at time of death differed only by a factor of three.

Such small differentiation suggests there may be a total number of mutations a species can collect before it dies. Since the mammals reached this number at different speeds, finding ways to control the rate of mutations may help stall cancer development, set back aging, and prolong life.

The Future of Cancer Research

The findings in this study ignite new questions for understanding cancer.

Confirming that mutation rate and lifespan are strongly correlated needs comparison to lifeforms beyond mammals, like fishes, birds, and even plants.

It will also be necessary to understand what factors control mutation rates. The answer to this likely lies within the complexities of DNA. Geneticists and oncologists are continuing to investigate genetic curiosities like tumor-suppressing genes and how they might impact mutation rates.

Aging is likely to be a confluence of many issues, like epigenetic changes or telomere shortening, but if mutations are involved then there may be hopes of slowing genetic damage—or even reversing it.

While just a first step, linking mutation rates to lifespan is a reframing of our understanding of cancer development, and it may open doors to new strategies and therapies for treating cancer or taming the number of health-related concerns that come with aging.

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