— This year, Halloween is strictly for the birds — Angry Birds and Black Swans, to be precise.
The pig-bombing videogame characters and the gifted (if unstable) ballerina portrayed by Natalie Portman are the fastest-rising Google searches for Halloween costumes since August, as Al Roker, Natalie Morales and Savannah Guthrie revealed on TODAY Friday.
Halloween garb captures the spirit of the times — rarely do costume choices remain popular from year to year. For instance: Lady Gaga’s outrageous outfits made her the most searched Halloween costume on Google in 2009, but she slipped to No. 5 in 2010 and disappeared from the list all together this year. Gaga’s preeminence among pop stars seems to have been stolen by colorful singer/rapper Nicki Minaj — she of the pink wigs and studded tutus —who has the fourth most sought-after Halloween look this year.
TV shows also provide plenty of inspiration. Though NBC’s drama “The Playboy Club” lasted only a couple of episodes, the classic Playboy Bunny get-up is the third most-searched costume on Google, while the dirty dog costume from FX’s bizarre comedy “Wilfred” comes in at No. 6, and a vintage stewardess uniform (a la ABC’s “Pan Am”) ranks 10th. And while Charlie Sheen may no longer be on “Two and a Half Men,” he is still on the minds and in the hearts of many trick-or-treaters: His costume, sold in many stores with a mask, bowling shirt and fedora, ranks 11th.
As always, hot movies make for hot costumes. While last year saw costumes inspired by “Avatar,” “Iron Man” and ”Alice in Wonderland” fly off store shelves, this year it’s “Smurfs” (No. 5), “Tron: Legacy” (No. 8), and Rapunzel from “Tangled” (No. 12). And don’t forget Marvel Comics’ Captain America, checking in at No. 9 (his teammate Thor had a movie this year too, but ranks far behind.)
Still, Angry Birds and Black Swans clearly lead the flock of Google searches — in particular, the yellow Angry Bird that speeds up in the air when fired from a slingshot in the addictive Apple app (although Roker revealed his son Nicholas is dressing as the red bird this Halloween). In fact, Angry Birds and Black Swan rank No. 1 and 2 in nearly every state, though with some variation: while Black Swan is No. 1 in the populous states of New York, Texas and California, Angry Birds are first in trick-or-treaters hearts in the heartland states of Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio.
But individual states carry their own flavor. In Wisconsin, where people are given to wearing cheese on their heads on Sundays, some unique, retro choices are hot for Halloween garb. Strawberry Shortcake, whose heyday was back in the 1980s, is among the 10 most searched costume choices on Google.com, as is Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, who heroic deed in saving 155 passengers in New York’s Hudson River happened back in 2009. Costumes based on the 2001 movie “Monster’s Inc.” also made Wisconsin’s list of most-searched.
In New York, Amy Winehouse costumes cracked the Top 10 most-searched, and costumes based on party-hearty rappers LMFAO are listed in the Top 10 in Texas and California. And inexplicably, in Michigan, the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers are making a comeback.