Halloween Trends 2014

by Kim Merrikin, Seattle Goodwill
October 8, 2014

What are YOU dressing up as for Halloween this year? (We understand if it’s a secret!) This year, it’s estimated that around 162 MILLION people (and 23 million pets) will celebrate Halloween. And for the first time in eight years, Halloween falls on a FRIDAY! This means more parties—and an uptick in adults celebrating the holiday—with approximately 77% of adults planning to dress up.

For the first time ever, a number of Goodwill companies partnered with ORC International Research to ask people about their Halloween habits. The poll had three aspects: a national phone survey, a nationwide in-store costume poll (thanks to all shoppers who participated!), and opinions from some of the world’s top costume designers and manufacturers. Together, we gathered Halloween data from over 9,000 people—and we want to share some tips with you!

  1. With over 60% of adults preferring do-it-yourself (DIY) costumes, you can expect a bit of a rush at thrift stores as we get closer to the 31st. Start shopping as early as possible if you’ve got your costume planned already—and check in regularly if you haven’t found what you’re looking for. We’ve got plenty of stock for the season—but it rotates quickly!
  2. About 50% of adults are most impressed by unique or funny costumes. If you’re looking to be the highlight of the party—aim for something unique, unlikely to be duplicated, and funny!
  3. According to Karen Bauer from Bauer Pacific Imports, your costume doesn’t need to be complicated. “Using your imagination is key,” said Bauer. “Take a witch hat and pair it with a pair of gloves and it’s that easy – you have your costume.” Trends are indicating that minimalist costumes will be popular this year! (The legacy of Jim Halpert, perhaps?)
  4. Watch for media trends that might be fun to play off of. Howard Beige of Rubies, the world’s largest purveyor of Halloween and theatrical products, says, “I always tend to wait until a few weeks before Halloween because news and current events affect what adults wear.  An example of this was last Halloween’s 2013 Miley Cyrus’ twerking outfit – which became popular in the last month.  So it’s a little too early to say what will become that spectacular costume this year.”
  5. Warren Berkowitz of Forum Novelties said, “Monitor media and entertainment, using books, movies, and TV. Any supplier of Halloween products is a good idea source, be it a store or the internet.  Browse the stores, browse manufacturer websites and use your imagination, after all this is all about fantasy.”

If you don’t have a plan for your costume yet, visit our DIY Costume Collection—it’s got some tips on what pieces to pick up for various themes, including many of this year’s trending looks. When you costume is ready, come back between October 20th and November 2nd to submit a picture of your 2014 Halloween costume in our 5th annual costume contest! Stay tuned on our Facebook and Twitter pages, too, for two weeks of giveaways and some Halloween tips and tricks!


Kim fancies herself a professional communicator. She has experience in writing, graphic design, and social media, and is always looking to expand her knowledge base into other fields of communication. She loves people, coffee & Seattle (including the rain).

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