Point of No Return — Google list gives us the top 2017 costumes

Date Published: 
Oct. 27, 2017

It is basic human nature to fantasize about living the life of someone else, right?

We’re not talking about people having full-blown delusions that they actually are someone else, as much as the person who takes a mental vacation from time to time to metaphorically slip into the shoes of another for a brief moment in time.

Think about that guy in the car next to you playing the drums on his steering wheel, as he mentally transforms into Neil Peart for a few minutes. Or the young women who sports the same hairstyle as one of her favorite actresses, or the child playing basketball alone outside, and channeling his or her inner LeBron James or Elena Delle Donne with a “winning” jumper as an imaginary time clock expires.

It’s fun, right? And it’s not an age-specific exercise, by any means. “The grass is always greener” is an expression that kind of sums up this mentality. A married guy with eight kids might be looking at his single buddy with a little bit of envy, while that single buddy often thinks how nice it would be to have a family to spend the holidays with, while they both think their other friend has a far-better job than either of them do.

Of course, there is no better time of the year for people to take on the persona of their “alternate personality” than Halloween. We see nice people become witches, timid people become superheroes and shy people become rock stars. There are traditional costumes — such as ghosts, police officers and various forms of goblins — and an interesting test study in what is popular in any given year, with more trendy costumes being seen around Halloween.

Google News Lab’s Frightgeist is an annually-released database compiled by trillions of Google searches, per the Atlanta Journal Constitution, and tracks the most popular Halloween costumes of any given year. Looking at this year’s list, there is an interesting combination of the traditional and the current — with the current offerings leaning significantly to strong fictional female characters.

The top item, which is really no surprise, is Wonder Woman. The recent movie starring Gal Gadot was a hit, both at the box office and amongst critics, and the original series has enjoyed a new round of appreciation by a younger generation who maybe didn’t get to see Lynda Carter rocking the character in the 1970s.

Interesting sidenote here: Lynda Carter and the Bionic Woman’s Lindsay Wagner were in a pretty intense competition to fill the role of my first crush, as I was apparently drawn to television characters who could crush me without having to exert much energy. I wonder if either one of them have ever gotten over the heartbreak of seeing me move on eventually to Jaclyn Smith. They both seem to be very strong. I’m sure they’re fine now.

The second most popular costume for 2017, according to Google, is Harley Quinn, the fictional supervillain created by DC Comics, and brought to a new wave of mainstream fame thanks to the (awful) Suicide Squad movie that was released last year.

I honestly can’t stress this enough: This movie was worse than awful. I watched it at an IMAX theater in Atlantic City and thought my eyes were going to start bleeding because the movie was so terrible. I love IMAX theaters, and could watch an IMAX movie about a blade of grass getting stuck to a piece of gum on some yahoo’s shoe, but I could not watch this movie again without a court order and four large officers enforcing said order.

But Harley Quinn was by far the coolest part of the movie, and she had an empowering role that I could see as being very popular with, well, anyone who is into empowering characters.

Down the list a little bit, but still very high at No. 12, is Moana, the lead character of, stop me if you heard this before... “Moana.”

Unlike Suicide Squad, Moana is a very good movie, and the title character is strong and empowering and everything a parent would want a son or daughter to be (if you ignore Moana’s propensity to put her life in danger time after time). A little bonus trivia for you here: I know the words to every song and conversation in “Moana,” and I can ably recite them while enjoying a tea party on my living room floor and trying to save a pug from a makeover. So, yeah, that’s how my Sunday mornings go these days.

The third most-popular costume this season, per Google, is a clown. Obviously, clowns have been around since the dawn of politicians...

But I digress.

Clowns can always be seen as a traditional costume, but I can’t help but wonder if the movie “It” doesn’t lend a hand in clowns being so high up the list, as well as that goofy period last year when people were spotting clowns in the woods all across the nation.

Following clowns on the list are unicorns, rabbits, witches, mice, pirates, zombies and dinosaurs — all pretty standard fare for Halloween, but still interesting that they enjoy that level of popularity today. The Google list actually goes to the 500 most-searched costumes, and offers the user to see what costumes were the most searched for a specific geographic region. Spoiler alert: Bald, fat newspaper editor did not make the list for our community.

Apparently, you people have never heard of Google.