• DC, California and Utah are the country’s top trick-or-treating states, registering over 100 Halloween-related searches per 1,000 residents.
  • Jack-o’-Lanterns are scarce in Mississippi, Hawaii and Alaska, with these three states ranking last for interest for Halloween.
  • This year’s Halloween is going to be more pink than scary, with Barbie the most popular costume across the US.

Americans are brewing more than pumpkin spice lattes this fall – in fact, there’s a huge cauldron of Halloween spending that’s about to spill over. According to the National Retail Federation, Americans are planning to go all in for Halloween and spend a record $12.2 billion dollars on costumes, decorations and candy, exceeding both last year’s spending and pre-pandemic levels.

Additionally, more people than ever are planning to get into the Halloween spirit this year. According to the NRF survey, 73% plan to join in the spooky fun in 2023, up from 69% in 2022. Favorite activities remain consistent: 68% will hand out candy, 53% will decorate their homes, and half of those surveyed will dress up in costumes. In a nod to pre-pandemic times, 32% are organizing Halloween parties, and 28% look forward to trick-or-treating with their kids.

But Halloween-related enthusiasm differs in intensity across the US. To see which American states are best for trick or treating, which Halloween costumes are top choices this year and how costume-related preferences evolved over time, we turned to Google and analyzed online searches for Halloween-related terms at both national and state levels. Interestingly enough, it seems DC’s allure extends beyond its status as the nation’s capital, as it’s also emerging as the capital of Halloween interest.

Halloween hotspots: DC takes trick-or-treating seriooously, but Western States Hold Strong to Halloween Spirit

Washington, DC, ranks first for regional Halloween enthusiasm, recording more than 108 searches per 1,000 residents in the past three months. Given its wealth of historical sites — many reputedly haunted, like the National Theatre, Lafayette Park and even the US Capitol Building — the nation’s capital offers an ideal backdrop for Halloween-themed activities and tours.

Second in line comes California, with 101 searches involving Halloween for every 1,000 residents – and it’s only fitting that the creative Californians can’t wait for the big day to showcase their amazing new costumes and decorations.

Utah ranks third for interest in Halloween, with a solid 100 searches per 1,000 residents. This may not be surprising given that family-oriented Utah boasts the largest average household size among all US states – 3.08 people per household – and the highest proportion of children under 18 in its population, approximately 27%, per latest US Census Data.

Salt Lake City, in particular, is quite enthusiastic about Halloween, offering an array of spooky activities, from thrilling corn mazes to haunted hayrides and chilling theater performances.

At the other end of the spectrum, Mississippi is the country’s least enthusiastic state for trick or treating – there are only 52 Halloween-related searches for every 1,000 residents here, less than half compared to DC. Hawaii doesn’t go too crazy for Halloween either, seeing 54 online searches per 1,000 residents. As for Alaska, the third-least enthusiastic state for celebrating Halloween, we totally get it: it’s all fun and games until that very realistic polar bear costume you were admiring turns out to be an actual polar bear!

In a sea of Barbies, be the Maverick: Most and least popular Halloween costumes

Barbie really had her moment this year, and not only in terms of box office – the movie is also now one of the main sources of inspiration for Halloween costumes. Searches for “Barbie costume” are firmly dominating the internet both nationally and in almost all the states. And it’s not just Barbie: Ken is also showing up among the top 10 most-popular costumes.

In fact, the only outlier states where Barbie doesn’t take it all are Wyoming, New Mexico and West Virginia. The streets of New Mexico and West Virginia will look like a Barbie and Spider-Man crossover this Halloween, with the average number of monthly searches for both costumes tying. Wyoming residents, on the other hand, are inclining to be a tad more toward the wall-climbing superhero.

If Barbie is just not your style, or you want to go against the current for a change, we’ve got the way forward as we’ve also looked at which costumes generate the least amount of online interest. You’ll definitely stand out if you put together a sophisticated outfit inspired by the cutthroat world of the “Succession” TV show. Or, why not be the maverick of your group of friends, inspired by the Top Gun sequel that hit the big screen this summer. With Lady Whistledown’s identity now revealed and no ghastly secrets in her life anymore, Bridgerton has also lost the hearts of Halloween fans and ranks among the least searched-for costume ideas.

The Ken to her Barbie, or the avocado to his toast?

Predictably, Barbie and Ken will be this year’s golden couple, gathering the majority of online searches for couple’s costumes. If your heart is set out on it as well, but you still want to differentiate yourself from other couples, you can branch away from the basic costume and go for variations such as Wild West Barbie and Ken, or Roller-Skating Barbie and Ken. Those who prefer spookier, more gothic aesthetics have another very popular option, the Addams Family’s beloved couple Gomez and Morticia, who ranked second in online searches this year.

However, if you’re not the kind of couple who chase the latest trends, you might want to choose something that’s not quite as common. You could go for Vincent and Mia from the classic “Pulp Fiction” – there are very little chances you’ll stumble upon another couple wearing similar costumes. Steve and Robin from Stranger Things are another solid option that will also allow you to experiment with fun 90s’ fashion to your heart’s desire. Or, if you’re a foodie couple, a cute avocado and toast combo might be right up your alley.

Oldies but goldies – pirates and witches will always be popular for Halloween

Movies and current pop culture are, obviously, major sources of inspiration for Halloween costumes. But, going back to the holiday’s roots, there are the classic, evergreen Halloween costumes that will always be crowd pleasers. We wanted to see how preferences change over time, so we looked at how the top five most popular generic Halloween costumes, selected from the Google Keyword Planner, did over the past ten years.

room decorated for Halloween with children in costumes

Witches are always a hit, but they were particularly popular during the past two Halloweens (2021 and 2022), peaking with scores of 97 and 100 out of 100, respectively, in Google Trends. Pirates, on the other hand, enjoyed their glory days a decade ago, in 2013 and 2014 (the fact that Pirates of the Caribbean was still a big phenomenon back then probably helped).

When it comes to couples, you really can’t go wrong with all-time favorites such as the devil and angel costumes, which continues to have a solid fan base year after year – and, apparently, 2018 was their moment of glory. The more mundane peanut butter and jelly costume combo is another one that keeps its appeal long-term, and rightfully so. Who can say no to such a delicious sandwich?

The most popular Halloween decorations: Jack o’ lantern holds hauntingly strong to all-time favorite status

Certain elements of Halloween décor have enduring charm, connecting generations and communities in their shared love for all things eerie. With its toothy grin, the jack o’ lantern remains an all-time favorite in terms of Halloween decorations, gathering over 110K monthly online searches on average – and for good reason. Carving pumpkins is one of the highlights of the season, bringing families together for a fun activity.

Living room decorated for Halloween

Skeletons and witches rank second and third in online searches, putting the spooks front and center, as it should be on Halloween. Corn stalks decorations – a rustic nod to the season's agricultural roots – are fourth in online interest, followed by crochet Halloween decorations, so it certainly looks like the celebration unleashes our creative juices. Other popular items of Halloween décor that people love using year after year in their homes and backyards include spider webs, skulls, bats, scarecrows and tombstones.

Speaking of evergreen Halloween items – here's how to store Halloween costumes and decorations properly

Keeping costumes and decorations from one year to the next saves you from being spooked by Halloween-related spending. Even if you don’t use the exact same costume again in the future, you might still want to recycle parts of it. “I keep costumes for several years in a row so that I can repurpose them into new ideas,” shares Nick Valentino, VP of Market Operations of Bellhop. “For example, the fabric from old costumes can easily be used to create one-of-a-kind Halloween decorations for your home,” he suggested.

Proper storage is highly important considering you’re paying a pretty penny for your outfits. “I'm spending nearly $100 on my Halloween costume this year,” says Dan Bailey, president of WikiLawn Tampa Lawn Care. “I'm a pretty big Doctor Who fan and I'm dressing as Jack Harkness from the David Tenant seasons. I'm not spending nearly as much on decorations because we make some decorations ourselves and we use many of the same ones from the previous years,” he added.

Additionally, Halloween costumes and decorations tend to be fragile (storing fake cobweb is no easy feat), some might have all sorts of detachable parts, while others are inflatable and need extra protection. To put it plainly, you should make sure you pack them correctly and find a good spot for them, out of sight but also protected from humidity or heat.

Elaborate costumes that have a lot of detailing and accessories on them should be packed using individual garment bags and even bubble wrap, if the situation requires it. As for storing your Halloween decorations, the best option is clear plastic bins that, on the one hand, protect the items from being squished and from dust and, on the other hand, allow you to see what’s in each bin. “Just don’t put them in your garage or attic if you can help it because you don’t want them exposed to too hot or too cold temperatures,” says Gadget Review CEO Christen Costa.

One storage idea that will also save some space around the house is to put your Halloween decorations in a self storage unit. Instead of cluttering your closets with items you literally only use once per year, you can rent a small unit in a facility located close to your home. A 5’x5’ storage unit should be enough for holding all your holiday decorations. The costs of renting a small storage unit vary across the country: a 5’x5’ storage unit in San Diego, CA, hovers around $85 per month, while the same type of self storage unit in Minneapolis, MN, is just $46 per month. Below, you can check out self storage costs for 5’x5’ storage units in the country’s 100 largest cities:

Self Storage Costs in the Country's Largest 100 Cities

RankCityStateRent 5'x5' non-CC unit
1Oklahoma CityOK$32
2MemphisTN$33
3PlanoTX$34
4IndianapolisIN$35
4WichitaKS$35
6ColumbusOH$36
6CincinnatiOH$36
8BakersfieldCA$37
8GreensboroNC$37
10OmahaNE$38
10TulsaOK$38
10GarlandTX$38
13HoustonTX$39
13Fort WayneIN$39
13IrvingTX$39
16MilwaukeeWI$40
17LouisvilleKY$41
17AlbuquerqueNM$41
17MesaAZ$41
17ArlingtonTX$41
17GlendaleAZ$41
22Fort WorthTX$42
22Colorado SpringsCO$42
24DallasTX$43
24OrlandoFL$43
24St PaulMN$43
27CharlotteNC$44
27ClevelandOH$44
27Saint LouisMO$44
27ChandlerAZ$44
27GilbertAZ$44
27North Las VegasNV$44
27Winston SalemNC$44
34Baltimore CityMD$45
34TucsonAZ$45
34RaleighNC$45
34ToledoOH$45
38PhoenixAZ$46
38AustinTX$46
38MinneapolisMN$46
38TampaFL$46
38ChesapeakeVA$46
43El PasoTX$47
43Corpus ChristiTX$47
43RichmondVA$47
46Kansas CityMO$48
46HendersonNV$48
48San AntonioTX$49
48JacksonvilleFL$49
48LincolnNE$49
51ChicagoIL$50
51Las VegasNV$50
51PittsburghPA$50
51DurhamNC$50
51NorfolkVA$50
56DenverCO$52
56AuroraCO$52
58FresnoCA$53
58Baton RougeLA$53
60Virginia BeachVA$54
60SpokaneWA$54
62AtlantaGA$55
62StocktonCA$55
62RenoNV$55
65LexingtonKY$56
65IrvineCA$56
65ScottsdaleAZ$56
68NewarkNJ$57
68BuffaloNY$57
68LubbockTX$57
71New OrleansLA$58
71Boise CityID$58
73NashvilleTN$59
73RiversideCA$59
73Saint PetersburgFL$59
76PortlandOR$60
76SacramentoCA$60
78PhiladelphiaPA$62
78MiamiFL$62
78MadisonWI$62
81WashingtonDC$63
82FremontCA$67
83Santa ClaritaCA$69
84SeattleWA$72
85San JoseCA$75
86AnaheimCA$77
86Santa AnaCA$77
88Chula VistaCA$79
89DetroitMI$80
89New York CityNY$80
91HonoluluHI$81
91AnchorageAK$81
93ArlingtonVA$83
94San DiegoCA$85
94Jersey CityNJ$85
96OaklandCA$89
97Long BeachCA$92
98San FranciscoCA$107
98BostonMA$107
100Los AngelesCA$112
StorageCafe analysis of Yardi Matrix data.

Happy Halloween wherever you may haunt!

Methodology

This analysis was done by StorageCafe, an online platform that provides storage unit listings across the nation.

In this article, we wanted to determine the most enthusiastic states for Halloween, as well as the most popular Halloween costumes, both at a national and a state level.

We analyzed online searches for 1,575 Halloween-related keywords between June and September 2023 with the help of Google Keyword Planner. We ranked states for Halloween enthusiasm based on the average monthly searches per 1,000 residents. We also ranked the popularity of Halloween costumes at a national and a state level, using average monthly searches volumes.

We determined the top five most popular generic Halloween costumes (that are not actual characters in movies, TV shows or books) for one person and for couples with the help of Google Keyword planner, using average monthly searches at a national level. We then used Google Trends to check out how the popularity of those costumes evolved over the past 10 years (2013 to 2023).

The self storage street rates are from Yardi Matrix, StorageCafe‘s sister division and a business development and asset management tool for brokers, sponsors, banks and equity sources underwriting investments in the multifamily, office, industrial and self storage sectors.

Author

Maria Gatea is a real estate and lifestyle editor for Yardi with a background in Journalism and Communication. After covering business and finance-related topics as a freelance writer for 15 years, she is now focusing on researching and writing about the real estate industry. You may contact Maria via email.

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