If you’re still on the desperate search for a distinctive last-minute Halloween costume, you should probably steer clear of superheroes and clowns.

That’s according to Google, at least, which has once again demonstrated it may actually know you better than you know yourself. Frightgeist, a tool produced by Google’s News Lab project, analyzes reams of search data to identify the top 500 costume searches made in the United States since 2006.  It then organizes and maps them based on where those searches were generated, revealing both national and local costume trends.

Nationally, Wonder Woman took the cake this year, followed by Harley Quinn (the sultry Batman villain) and that old standby, a clown.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, Wonder Woman, unicorn and rabbit topped the charts.

The interactive even includes a costume-picking wizard – choose some variables and it spits out a suggestion. Where’s the humanity!

In the map below, bubbles are sized by “normalized search volume,” explains Google News Lab’s data editor Simon Rogers. “That is basically the proportion of all searches in each place that are for Halloween costumes. That’s how you can use Google data to compare a a small place to a big place.”

What’s the Most Popular Halloween Costume in Your ‘Hood? [Interactive Map] 31 October,2017Matthew Green


Matthew Green

Matthew Green is a digital media producer for KQED News. He previously produced The Lowdown, KQED’s multimedia news education blog. Matthew's written for numerous Bay Area publications, including the Oakland Tribune and San Francisco Chronicle. He also taught journalism classes at Fremont High School in East Oakland.

Email: mgreen@kqed.org; Twitter: @MGreenKQED

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