Where the Wild Things Are
Photo: Warner Bros.
New Halloween costume ideas creep up every year, but you don't have to wait until All Hallows Eve to get the inside scoop on the hottest costumes of 2009. Writer and Internet trend analyst Bill Tancer goes online to discover the most searched costume ideas and shares his findings.

Wondering what neighborhood trendsetters will be sporting at your door this Halloween, or want to make sure you've got a unique idea for an upcoming costume party? You could pay attention to the buzz around the office water cooler, but let's face it, that's a very limited sample.

Gather around my water cooler and get a sample of what 10 million Internet users are searching on. With over 5 million search terms to analyze every week, there is a massive amount of data around the most popular toys, electronics, television shows and, yes, even Halloween costumes.

Searches for "Halloween costumes" began to occur as early as the first week of June this year and were in full swing by mid-August. Analyzing the top 8,000 searches containing the word "costume" for last week reveals that Hollywood remains one of the driving forces in the disguises that we choose for Halloween. If you're still stumped for what to wear, here's last week's top 10 list:

  • Michael Jackson
  • Queen of Hearts
  • Catwoman
  • Gypsy
  • Tinkerbell
  • Where the Wild Things Are
  • Pirate
  • Mad Hatter
  • Poison Ivy
  • Flapper
Keep reading for more costume ideas
In analyzing search behavior over the last six years, it's apparent that we have a fascination with the recently deceased. Michael Jackson placing top-of-list is most likely due to his unfortunate passing this year (Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter, and Anna Nicole Smith both claimed top spots after their deaths).

Beyond our death fascination, the majority of top costume searches are driven by the big screen, with Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland dominating with searches for "Queen of Hearts," "Mad Hatter" and "Alice" placing just outside the top 10 at number 11. If costume searches are any indication of movie popularity, Alice in Wonderland should be a blockbuster given that the movie won't be released until March 2010.

In more generic searches, "funny" costumes take top position this year as we search for some comic relief. We are also becoming more cost-conscious, as "homemade costumes" rank higher this year. Also, plan on seeing more couples with matching costumes, with the top couples search—you may have guessed it already— "Jon and Kate Gosselin."

What I find most interesting about our 2009 list is what's absent. Vampires, a perennial favorite didn't break the top 100 this year. Also missing, but likely to show up in next week's list, is my idea for Halloween 2009: dressing up as a giant weather balloon capable of carrying a 6-year-old child. Something tells me I won't be alone.

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