It can be tough to choose what to be for Halloween. With so many choices, from classic monsters to pop culture favorites, many freeze at the start of the month, unable to decide. A recent trend in costume selection, however, has taken the weight off of a single Halloween celebrator, as more people opt for group costumes alongside their friends, family and significant others.

According to a survey of Goodwill shoppers and the general public during Goodwill's National Halloween Poll, this year has seen an increase in those looking to dress up in group costumes. According to the poll, 19 percent of Halloween shoppers will plan a group theme, while 31 percent of millennials will dress alike.


Couple Nicole Bradley and Chris Stout, of Westminster, said they try to plan their costumes together every year. Last year, the two joined a group of friends to go as Batman characters — both heroes and villains — but with a zombie twist.

Stout said the group theme can be an easy way to garner a lot of attention when attending costume contests. Each year, he said, they head out to concerts on and around Halloween. Bradley said they enjoy looking around at the options at Halloween stores, but then going home and fabricating their own costumes.

Stout created his Batman costume by combining store-bought pieces with homemade additions, like a screen-printed bat symbol.

"It makes you feel more proud of your costume if you made it yourself," Stout said. "If you're entering a contest, you don't want something you bought. You want something you made."

Stout said the zombie aspect of the Batman costume was simply a component to make it fit in with Halloween.

"Having a little bit of blood coming out of your mouth adds a real pop to whatever you're being," Stout said. "A little bit of bloodiness makes everything more exciting."

Jessica Fuchs, of Westminster, said this was the first year she was dressing up as a group with her friends and family. The group of new mothers — who met through mom groups on the internet — will dress themselves and their babies up like characters from the Wizard of Oz. She said she's loved the process of preparing for this Halloween.

"It's a lot more fun when you go out as a family," she said. "When you're an adult, sure you can go out to parties, but when you become a mom, you see holidays in a different light."

Halloween stores provide easy options for groups looking to dress alike, from slasher villains like Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers, Freddy Krueger, Chucky and Ghostface, to the Power Rangers, to characters from Harry Potter, each property is grouped together.

Some franchises are mainstay from previous decades, with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles having two sections of their own at the Spirit Halloween Store — one for children and another for adult fans of the heroes in a half shell.

Spirit's clearance section provides an interesting insight into past trends, characters that are no longer as popular as they once were (a wide spread of Angry Bird's costumes) to characters that never caught on like maker's hoped they would (a full selection of costumes celebrating Disney's "The Lone Ranger" from 2013).

Superheroes remain a popular fixture, taking up a huge amount of store real estate, allowing groups to form their own Avengers or Justice Leagues — provided you have a friend who doesn't mind dressing up like Hawkeye or Aquaman.

Some superheroes, like Superman and the Hulk, have remained popular Halloween costumes for decades, while others have had a boosted profile due to their appearances in recent films. Prior to their respective Marvel movies, few, if any Halloween stores carried costumes for Ant-Man, Rocket Raccoon and Groot.

For the more popular superheroes, trick-or-treaters have about as many options of costume variations as they do options of characters as a whole. A child trying to dress as Spider-Man will have to choose if they want to be a cartoon Spider-Man, comic book Spider-Man or Andrew Garfield Spider-Man from the "Amazing Spider-Man" movies. If someone wants to be Batman, they've got to choose from the Adam West Batman '66 costume, to the Dark Knight rendition or be Batman from the Arkham Asylum series of video games. Each choice has its own stylistic markers, from the blue underwear on the outside of the tights of the comic hero to the molded body armor of the Christopher Nolan trilogy.


According to the National Retail Federation's annual Halloween poll, Star Wars characters have leapt from being the 12th most popular costume option to the fifth, following a commercial push in light of the release of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" this December. Fellow Disney property, "Frozen," has held strong despite being two years old, dropping only a single place from fourth to fifth in the top 10 children's costumes.

Another group heading up the charts are the yellow cartoon henchmen, the Minions. First appearing in "Despicable Me" in 2010, the Minions starred in their first film this year, and made their first appearance in the top 10 for both Children's and Adult costumes, while remaining the 11th most popular costume for pets.



Top 10 most-popular costumes:

Top Adult Costumes

1: Witch

2: Animal

3: "Batman" character

4: Zombie

5: "Star Wars" character

6: Pirate

7: Vampire

8: Super hero

9: Doctor/nurse

10: Slasher villain/political/wench/Minion (tied)

Top children's costumes:

1: Princess

2: "Batman" character

3: Super hero

4: Animal

5: "Frozen" character

6: "Star Wars" character

7: Zombie

8: Witch

9: Pumpkin

10: Minion