Halloween has become the second most celebrated holiday in the United States, just after Christmas. This year, some 179 million Americans are expected to take part in Halloween celebrations, setting a new record high for the amount spent on this spooky holiday – a total of $9.1 billion. The total consumer retail spending will, therefore, increase with $700 million from 2016 (which, according to the National Retail Federation, was another record year).
"Halloween continues to be a highly anticipated holiday for Americans, who will spend a record amount this year with increases across all purchasing categories," said Pam Goodfellow, an analyst with Prosper Insights.
The National Research Foundation conducted a survey in partnership with Prosper Insights about people’s Halloween shopping plans. They interviewed 7,013 consumers in the United States, and found out that this year a record number of adults – 48% – intend to dress up for Halloween. Some of the most popular costumes among survey participants are witches, Batman and animal characters. Superheroes are the most popular choice for kids, while pets will mostly be dressed as pumpkins and hot dogs.
The record spending around Halloween in the country also reflects sales predictions for the coming winter holidays. The NRF, the world’s largest retail trade association, announced that it expects between 3.6% and 4% increase in total spending from last year – a very good indicator for a strong season ahead in North America!
Halloween's popularity is perceived as vastly increasing in other countries besides the United States. The new Halloween trend has been associated with the influence of the U.S. culture, but its rituals and customs root back to Ireland and Medieval Britain. Halloween beliefs and rituals were brought to the U.S. by Irish immigrants in the first half of the nineteenth century. The folklore is said to have been started by the Celts, who lived about 2,000 years ago where today’s Scotland, United Kingdom and northern France are. Halloween festivities were usually celebrated by lighting up huge bonfires and wearing costumes to ward off evil spirits. Furthermore, this time of magic, according to many cultural traditions, draws the line between autumn and winter, harvest season and paucity, life and death, a time for superstition and celebrations.
Trick or treat, one of the most distinguished present-day Halloween traditions, is the main event for children and teens, who disguise themselves in costumes and go door to door in their neighborhoods, yelling "Trick or treat!" to ask for candy. Some of the top European cities where kids and adults are celebrating Halloween are London (U.K), Prague (Czech Republic), Transylvania (Romania), as well as Edinburgh (Scotland) and Dublin (Ireland), where Halloween originated from. Germany is also among the countries where the holiday is gaining great popularity, with a total Halloween retail spending of approximately $230 million per year. Surely, Europe has a long way to go to catch up with the celebration fanfare seen in the United States.
In Mexico and other Latin American countries, October 31st marks the celebration of Día de los Muertos — Day of the Dead —, which honors deceased loved ones and ancestors. Festivities often feature bread, candies and “other foods in the shape of skulls and skeletons.” "Day of the Dead" rituals have been observed for as long as 2,500–3,000 years.
We've compiled a list of 17 top-trending Halloween costumes from your favorite game/movie characters that will definitely make you look like the coolest person at the party:
Star Wars is an indissociable part of pop culture, and it's very present in games – such as Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars Battlefront II, to mention but a few.
Every year, there's only one time when joining the dark side of the force is a cool thing to do, and that time is Halloween; this Darth Vader costume will turn you into one of the world's most dreaded villains (only losing to Dr. Hannibal Lecter and to Norman Bates, according to a list by the American Film Institute). Grab your red lightsaber, embrace your dark cape, put the iconic mask on and hop on the Death Star – and while on it, it might be a kind gesture to tell Luke and Leia that you're their father.
Princess Leia is an icon not only for Star Wars fans but also for feminists. The beautiful princess of planet Alderaan is a member of the Rebel Alliance, fighting against the Galactic Empire. Who could resist a noble character fighting for freedom? This costume would certainly be a good fit for you if you are a hardcore Star Wars fan or simply a politically engaged person, struggling to “make the world a better place”. It’s also a really good option if you really like the “cinnamon bun” hairstyle.
Tetris is probably one of top five Russian exports, along with natural gas, petrol, precious metals, and vodka. It was the first Russian game that made its way to the United States in the 80s and could be played on the Commodore 64 and the IBM PC. Since then, Tetris has been made available for a wide range of gaming platforms and it’s currently one of the most popular mobile games. You can’t go wrong dressed as a tetromino - it’s easily recognizable, colorful and fun. Plus, it’s a good option for those who love simplicity or are just...lazy, as it doesn’t require fancy shoes or a special make-up. Another huge advantage is that you don’t have to worry if other people attending the Halloween party come dressed as tetrominoes - if anything, it will just make things more fun.
Ten years after the first Assassin's Creed game was released, the series has become one of the most profitable video game franchises ever. Available for the Sony PS4, the Microsoft Xbox One and the Sony PS Vita consoles (as well as Windows computers), the series' upcoming release, Assassin's Creed Origins, will be available just in time for Halloween. We understand that this might put fans into binge mode, so dressing up as one of the game's characters on October 31st would be quite appropriate, and a lot of fun.
Sonic the Hedgehog was a great childhood companion, and today he keeps bringing new adventures for kids and adults alike. More than 20 games featuring the friendly blue creature (created by Sega in 1991) have been released to date. We know Halloween is very much related to spookiness, but why not warm your friends' hearts for a change by dressing like the hedgehog and reminding them of good ol' days? You don't even need to be able to run and jump as well as Sonic does.
Pac-Man, one of the most famous arcade games ever, was released in Japan in 1980. It didn’t take long until this cute, little devouring monster conquered the world, becoming the game character with the highest brand awareness in the United States, as reported by to the Davie-Brown Index. If you enjoy eating snacks as much as Pac-Man enjoys the Pac-Dots, then this is the costume for you.
90s kids surely remember Mega Man, or Rockman as it is known in Japan, the robot whose mission is to save humanity. Mega Man fights against Dr. Wily, the evil scientist leading an army of robots with which he plans on taking over the Earth. The game series created by Capcom was a hit on Super Nintendo, Sega and Game Boy consoles, selling over 30 million copies from its release in 1987 until 2013. You should definitely get this costume if you look good in blue and if you believe that “humans and robots can live in peace”, as Mega Man often says in Mega Man V, the popular game for Nintendo 3DS.
21 years since the release of the first Tomb Raider game, its protagonist Lara Croft remains as cool as ever, and the character's badass archaeologist outfit is still a highly sought-after Halloween costume. Featured in movies, TV, novels, and comics, this contemporary pop culture icon has gone beyond video games, though that may still be the most exciting medium for Tomb Raider fans – it has been recently announced that a new game, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, is in the works. Gamers are excited, but still don't know whether this will be a Microsoft Xbox One and Xbox 360 exclusive, as was the most recent title of the series, Rise of the Tomb Raider (2015).
It's impressive to look back and realize that Final Fantasy, one of the most successful franchises in the gaming world, was first released 30 years ago. Known for its realistic characters, this role-playing series has shown immense development over the decades, often at the forefront of gaming technology. Final Fantasy cosplay can be seen at every major gaming-related event, but you don't need to book a flight to the next San Diego Comic-Con to impersonate one of its characters – after all, Halloween is just a few days ahead! In the meantime, fans can warm up by acing the series' original arcade game, which comes with the Nintendo NES Classic Edition.
Attack on Titan started out as a Japanese manga series, which was then turned into video game adaptations. Available on several platforms (such as the Sony PS4 and Microsoft Xbox One), the game has gathered a loyal following; if you're part of this fanbase and are looking for a more obscure Halloween costume (though fellow fans will quickly recognize it!), going for Attack on Titan might be the ideal move.
With the rise of Pokémon Go, dressing as a Pokémon on Halloween is not only super cool but also a really fashionable disguise. These cute animal-like characters have been among us since 1996, living through several generations (with more and more Pokémon creatures created) and conquering millions of hearts. Pokémon started out as a Game Boy game, and throughout the years, it became available for consoles such as Nintendo 64, GameCube, Wii U, as well as more advanced handheld consoles, like the Nintendo Switch and the Nintendo 3DS XL.
Pokémon costumes will never get boring, as you have the choice to either dress up as one of the old school ones, such as Pikachu, Charizard or Squirtle, or pick more recent Pokémon creatures.
Five years have passed since we first espied grown-ups spending hours of their days exploring Candy Kingdom, the magical land of sweet delicacies that transcended our smartphones and can now be seen in Sony Pictures Animation's The Emoji Movie (2017) and in a CBS live-action game show. You may have been judgmental at first, but chances are, you've also succumbed to Candy Crush Saga, Candy Crush Soda Saga and Candy Crush Jelly Saga at some point; this Halloween, you may as well let your inner child loose by dressing like you belong in Candy Kingdom, and if you don't have the right phone to match the outfit, there's still time to check our list with the 7 best phones for gaming.
If you're feeling gory this Halloween but don't want to go for a classic slasher outfit, how about paying tribute to childhood memories of Mortal Kombat and its "fatality" moves? First seen on arcade machines in 1992, the game has evolved into a multimedia franchise, with films, comics and TV series (both cartoon and live-action). Its most recent game release, Mortal Kombat XL (2016), is available for the Sony PS4, for the Microsoft Xbox One and for Windows computers; it is, however, a re-release of Mortal Kombat X (2015), available for Android and iOS devices, so you can even play it on the way to a Halloween party – provided that you have a powerful smartphone for gaming.
Halo is considered one of the best first-person shooter games for consoles ever made, and it's also known as the Xbox's “killer app”, with 65 million copies sold worldwide. Who wouldn’t want to enjoy Halloween as a character of one of the best games ever? Furthermore, you would be embodying a super soldier fighting against a theocratic alliance of alien races. These super soldiers, called Spartans, are trying to save humanity from the attackers, who declared a holy war after an affront against their gods. The Halo story is quite elaborate and keeps evolving, with a TV series in the works, as well as comics, books and more games coming out. This game alone makes it worth buying an Xbox One X.
The second highest-selling video game of all time (behind none other than Tetris) hasn't been around for long: six years since its release, Minecraft has become a worldwide phenomenon, and its "intellectual property" was acquired by Microsoft in 2014 for $2.5 billion (!). This seemingly simple game allows users to create complex 3D structures out of blocks. Available for multiple consoles, computers, and other devices, Minecraft offers five gameplay modes to choose from, though we'd say that the most fitting for Halloween is the Survival mode. In this mode, the player must prevent its character from dying (from starvation or oxygen deprivation, for instance). Although this may seem dire, Minecraft is a colorful, cheerful game, and could be the highlight among all costumes at your Halloween party.
The Legend of Zelda, Nintendo’s iconic game, is another gem of the 80s. There are more than 20 versions of the game and various storylines, making the magical universe of Hyrule a place you’ll never want to leave. If you are an adventurous spirit, ready to fight evil forces with the Master Sword or Light Arrows, dressing up as Link is a perfect option. It’s also very fitting in case you want to avoid conversations at Halloween parties, since Link rarely engages in dialogues. The Zelda costume, depicting the wise and kind princess of Hyrule, also makes for a great outfit, especially if you get the sword to match it.
Many people wouldn't think twice if given the chance to ditch their realities for the magical realms of Blizzard Entertainment's Warcraft franchise. If you can see yourself doing the same, Halloween may be the closest you can get to the planet of Azeroth: just put your Warcraft suit on, and become Orgrim Doomhammer, Durotan or Garona Halforcen for a night.
With this selection, you've got plenty of choices for Halloween, and we hope you've found the perfect costume for you! You can finally embody your childhood hero and be him/her for an entire evening. Whatever costume you pick, you'll surely be the coolest person at the Halloween party (same goes for your beloved ones, in case you decide to get the costume as a gift). All costumes embody heroes or classics; that will make you seem fashionable, cool and different, since most people will probably go as some scary monster. Enjoy it!