Halloween nostalgia hits when looking back at 18 years of costumes

Peyton Waymeyer

As we get older, Halloween becomes a nostalgic holiday. As kids, we would rush home from school to excitedly put on our costumes.
But now that we don’t dress up as much, we look back at what we dressed up as. From the popular movies and video games to the classic outfits, the costumes of our childhoods bring back memories.
After browsing many lists that were built using information such as Spirit Halloween sales and google searches, we compiled this list of some of the most popular costumes for each year of the student body’s lifetime.

2004 – SpongeBob SquarePants

“I’m a Goofy Goober, you’re a Goofy Goober, we’re all Goofy Goobers”
“The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie” made an impact on the children in 2004 that wanted to dress up as the true Goofy Goober himself, SpongeBob SquarePants. They were ready to have some fun and show their true goofy sides.

2005 – Darth Vader

“May the force be with you”
“Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith” largely influenced costumes in 2005, as people were intrigued by the Sith leader himself, Darth Vader. Viewers were impressed by the character that showed what the true dark side was.

2006 – Vampires

There’s always room for a classic costume!
The popular character, a vampire–with the fake sharp teeth, fake blood, caps, and wild confidence–seemed to have made its comeback in 2006.

2007 – Hannah Montana

“Sweet Niblets”
The most popular halloween costume was based on the popular teen tv show character Hannah Montana. Little girls were dressed as this innocent country girl pop star that sang her heart out, and wanted to shine.

2008 – The Joker

“Haven’t you heard of the healing power of laughter?”
There were a lot of people laughing on Oct. 31, 2008 with the most popular costume of the year, the one and only clown villain, the Joker.
The costume was made popular by Heath Ledger’s Oscar-winning portrayal of the Joker in “The Dark Knight.”

2009 – Witches

“There’s a little witch in all of us”
There were a lot of people really feeling that inner witch in 2009 and wanted to let it shine, through their Halloween costumes. The wicked giggles, pointy hat, and dark colored outfits were seen all over.

2010 – Rapunzel

“Let your power shine.”
In 2010 many girls fell in love with the 2010 Disney animated movie “Tangled.” The costume was a popular costume for those that wanted their power to shine through the long blonde hair and the confidence that comes with being a princess.

2011 – Angry Birds characters

“Ah-Hing it!”
The popular online game “Angry Birds” allowed players to slingshot birds across a level where their angry faces would crash into destructible towers. This app had quite an effect on children, many of whom dressed the part to slingshot from door to door on Halloween.

2012 – Merida (Brave)

“Some say fate is beyond our command, but I know better. Our destiny is within us. You just have to be brave enough to see it. “
Many girls really showed how brave they were when dressing up as the big ginger haired princess Merida in 2012. They wanted to show their strength and charismatic personalities that Merida let out in the movie “Brave.”

2013 – Minions

The little yellow friends to the grumpy Gru were groundbreaking to the kids that couldn’t help but laugh at their quirky personalities. The round goggles and overalls to represent the minions were seen all over in 2013 while this was the most popular costume of the year.

2014 – Frozen characters

“Let it go!”
This movie about two strong sisters left quite a mark on the world. Little girls were astonished by these siblings, one with powers and one without, but both equally as empowering to the girls that dressed up as them. These funny, brave, and powerful sisters were seen all over in 2014, making it the most popular costume of the year.

2015 – Star Wars: The Force Awakens characters

“You probably don’t recognize me because of the red arm.”
As the first movie in the latest trilogy, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” was a hit with a younger generation that could buy costumes to be just like the popular characters.

2016 – Stranger Things characters

“I didn’t realize it was such an honor to go trick-or-treating with you.”
The Netflix teen show was groundbreaking to viewers. Teens, adults, and pre-teens fell in love with this upside down world and began dressing up as the loveable characters, making them the most popular costumes in 2016.

2017 – Wonder Woman

“Suffering Sappho!”
The 2017 Wonder Woman film took over theaters while inspiring girls to let their bravery shine. The new movie based on the comic books left quite an influence and blossomed through the nation as it was the most popular costume of 2017.

2018 – Fortnite Characters

“Victory royale!”
Fortnite was released in 2017, but started gaining more and more popularity in 2018. The players expressed their love for the game by dressing up as the characters and learning the taunts and dances.

2019 – Pennywise/It characters

“Time to float”
The 2017 movie adaptation about the not so friendly clown dominated the pre-teen and teen movie market. In 2019, “It Chapter Two” came out and satisfied the viewers that needed more. In 2019, It characters were announced as the most popular costume of the year.

2020 – Dinosaur

The well known inflatable dinosaur costumes became wildly popular because of the fun spirit it brings everywhere it goes. Many have seen these costumes on Halloween, especially in 2020 when it became the most popular, and in viral videos on many social media platforms.

2021 – Squid Game characters

“Red light…Green light.”
The concept of the Netflix show “Squid Game” sounds normal: people compete to earn a cash prize. But these competitions had extreme outcomes including death.
The show went viral and–in addition to inspiring Tik Tok and YouTube challenges–it became the most popular Halloween costume in 2021.