Ignoring all anthropological research and social science ever, let’s declare this: there are three types of people.
The first decided their Halloween costume for this year on November 1st 2017, and they’ve spent the past 11 months arduously assembling it. Halloween is their Graceland, and the moment the moment a party host opens their door and goes “Oh!…. You’ve come as… er, Chris Tarrant(?)… awarding the Cheating Major a cheque for one million pounds(?!)…Cool…” is all they live for.
The second category of person is against Halloween in its entirety, calling it “A made-up excuse of a holiday to sell sweets, and for depraved people to lose all sense of morality just because they’re dressed like a cheap werewolf’”. They absolutely will not be dressing up for Halloween this year, or any other year.
The third category is: you. You idiot, you forgot it was only bloody Halloween in basically a week, didn’t you? Now you’re scrabbling around last minute, trying to think of something to go as. That’s why you’re on this article.
You may be a numbnuts, but we here at ShortList understand your pain. You’re at least putting in some effort to avoid being the 15th person at the staff party with a face full of flour and a mouth full of plastic vampire teeth. You can’t be bothered to think of an idea yourself, but you also want to stand out.
Thankfully, Google has compiled a site filled with costume search trends, so you know exactly what the vast majority of your kind of people are planning to go as. Therefore: AVOID THESE.
It wasn’t so long ago that the royal family’s public approval was so low they were degrading themselves in daft gameshows to try and win back favour. Now, after a string of image-revitalising wedding ceremonies to telly celebs, as well as a new intake of offspring, the royals are back on top, and everyone wants to be them! Which means your cards are Meghan Markle(d) if you’re planning on donning the tiara and crown jewels. Also, Disney fans have got this one down.
Avoid unless you’re going super old school - the ghost of King George V perhaps? Euthanised by his own doctor by injecting the ruler with a mixture of cocaine and morphine just before midnight on January 20, 1936. The reason for the timing? So it would make the morning papers not the evening ones. True story.
Might seem a surprising entry, but if you consider the derided ubiquity of cat costumes, then the rabbit makes a lot of sense and you don’t even need to be a Donnie Darko fan to see why. It requires virtually identical effort - namely, putting ears on a headband and slapping bit of face-paint on your nose and cheeks - but when the world zigs, you zag. The time is ripe for you to bust out that cat-look once more. Be a beautiful cat in a sea of bunnies.
Arguably, pirates have rehabilitated their image way more than the Royals. Several hundred years ago, pirates were considered marauding sea criminals who should be executed for treason, or else for other unspeakable crimes. These days, they’re campy scamps who would sooner down the plonk than walk the plank. This means if you plump for a peg leg and a captain’s hat, you’re going to have to contend with at least 3 other Jack Sparrows all doing terrible Johnny Depp-as-Keith-Richards impressions.
Quite vague this one. You’d think the majority of people would try and search for a specific superhero, rather than all of them at once. But then again, I suppose if you’re having to Google ‘superhero costumes’, it’s possible you lack the sufficient imagination to simply remember who ‘Batman’ is. Not to worry, you’re not alone - there’s going to be thousands of generic caped crusaders out come October 31st. Go for a real superhero - like one of these guys.
6. Harley Quinn
Now this is a specific superhero, at least, but come on, Suicide Squad came out two years ago already. Why don’t you go the whole hog and go back at it with the ‘Damn Daniel’ white Vans, ya stickinthemud?
A classic of the genre, but also a hallmark of the lazy trick-or-treater. If you do have your heart set on boring everyone by going as a witch, do you really need to ask the internet for a tutorial how to put a hat on and hold a broomstick?
Dinosaurs are truly spooky. Not only would a whole load of them seen the human race as prey to hunt and eat, but they all got made right extinct in an apocalyptic event that seems increasingly redolent of our near-future. Unfortunately, there’s an inflatable dinosaur costume which is incredibly popular right now, and as everyone knows: a Halloween costume doubled is a spook halved.
We feel kinda bad ragging on this one, as it has dawned on us that this choice (and probably a few others in this list) are really popular because it’s kids searching for it. Innocent kids who are have real, pure excitement about dressing up as the mythical creatures that capture their imagination. Children whose evenings spent knocking doors and receiving sweets will be a big highlight in their precious childhoods, a childhood which will be over no sooner than they’ve realised it’s begun. Still, fuck ‘em. A horse with a horn on its forehead? Think of something else you tedious cliche.
A recent viral article ran with the headline ‘They Turned Spider-Man Into A Damn Cop And It Sucks’, the gist of which being that in the recent Spider-Man PS4 game, you have to go round apprehending petty criminals and enforcing ‘the law’ on the behalf of some benevolent and oppressive justice system, and I mean, sure, but what did you think Spider-Man did before? A far bigger stain on his character is the fact that his alter-ego Peter Parker is effectively a journalist, which, as a self-hating content farmer, I will assure is far worse (Eds note: “Technically Peter Parker isn’t a journalist, he’s some kinda tech-scientist in the game…”). Also, everyone who isn’t a Hollywood actor with 18 months of personal training looks terrible in the spandex necessary to pull off the Spidey look.
Now, you’d think this would fall under a category similar to above, where you’d feel compelled to go: “hey, don’t be mean to anyone who wants to dress up as a character from a cartoony video game aimed at children… they’re just kids!” but as the World Cup and the entire sport of professional football proves, adults are arguably even more taken with the cartoony video game aimed at children. That means, against all odds, there’s serious social capital to be won dressing as a character from a cartoony video game. Except, if Google trends are to be believed, everyone has had the same idea, and you’re likely to see loads of people in khaki cargo pants and face-paint. Nu-metal is back, baby.
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(All images: Getty/Amazon)