Not all heroes wear capes, but plenty of kids at Halloween do.
This Halloween, princesses are no longer the top category in kids’ Halloween costumes ending an 11-year reign. Superhero is now the most popular Halloween costume in the country, according to a recent survey of parents about their children’s plans for Halloween costumes.
“If there has been a trend over the past decade, it’s because superheroes have become so prominent in popular culture,” says Chris Eckert, the store manager of the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co. in New York City. The store is a “front” for 826NYC, a non-profit tutoring and writing organization. Since 2004, it has sold the “basic building blocks” of custom superhero costumes: capes, gloves, utility belts, and more.
Some of the change could also be because more girls are deciding they would rather don a mask and cape than a tiara and ball gown. “There’s been a marked uptick in girls that also want to be superheroes in the past ten years,” says Eckert.
The most popular options also included animals, characters from the movie Frozen, and spooky standbys like witch and zombie.
Survey respondents could write in any costume, and their answers were sorted into categories. Researchers decided to break up the more popular superhero responses and categorized some of them separately (see table below), such as Batman or Spider-Man, who both got lots of votes. But the group of heroes that didn’t fit neatly into any other categories was still the number one choice.
“At the end of the day, we tried to keep the list as specific as possible, but also wanted to recognize the trend toward superhero costumes as a whole,” says Ana Serafin Smith, a spokesperson for the National Retail Federation, which commissioned the survey.
Unique hero costumes, rather than character-specific ones, might be popular because they’re a creative way for people to express themselves. “You might as well make it yourself,” says Eckert. “You’ve got your own personal story to tell.”