Saturday, 1 November 2014

Halifax Halloween Survey 2014: Pirates are Back!


Halloween from my window on Duncan Street

I have conducted a census of Halloween costumes as they have come to my doorstep on Duncan Street in West End Halifax for 18 years.

There was good news this year. Numbers were up, after more than a decade of decline. Also welcome news to someone who has written a history of Canadian piracy, pirates were back with a vengeance. Last year there weren't any, but this year they were the most popular costume. For comparison, see Last Year's Halloween Report. I like the whimsey and imagination of Halloween and enjoy trick-or-treaters as a kind of random theatre that tells us something about our communities. In that line by the way, the Nova Scotia Museum's history curator Martin Hubley has done a great blog post about Nova Scotia Halloween decorations from decades past.

Now to the numbers! We had 97 trick-or-treaters, up from 80 last year and showing a clear recovery from their all-time low of 50 in 2012. A Friday night Halloween helped, but a more significant factor is probably an increase in families with Halloween-aged children on our street. The weather was also fine, although I generally find little correlation between weather and the number of trick-or-treaters.

Here are some other trends that we observed:
  1. A dramatic drop in princesses, only one, aside from zombie and vampire princesses, down from six last year. Could princess culture be waning, or at least diversifying?
  2. Perhaps princess costumes were supplanted by the Disney film Frozen and Hunger Games costumes which were popular with girls.
  3. Various Star Wars characters popular with boys.
  4. Classic vampires, grim reapers and ghouls remained popular.
  5. The usual selection of superheroes and video game characters but no Spiderman, a big costume in years past.
  6. A larger numbers of parents in costume, plus a great dog costume.
  7. No surly, un-costumed teenagers – once a late night constant.
Best Overall Costumes:
  1. Giant Eyeball – well done using a Japanese lantern and bloody dangling optic nerve
  2. Octopus – homemade with working arms
  3. Vending machine – with real candy
  4. Tiger – well acted
  5. Ghostbusters – fetching homemade outfits
First Caller:  5:58 p.m.
Peak:            7:30 p.m.
Last Caller:   9:50 p.m.

A later start and finish, likely due to a Friday night Halloween (no school tomorrow.)

Here are the complete numbers:

Total - 97

Past Totals
2013: 80
2012: 50
2011: 80
2010: 88
2009: 99
2008: 103
2007: 125
2006: 168
2005: 187
2004: 184
2003: 187
2002: 193
2001: 152
2000: 171
1999-175
1998-160
1996-215

Costume Breakdown

Angel: 1
Baby: 1
Basketball Player: 1
Batman: 2
Brownie: 1
Butterfly: 1

Cat: 2
Cat in the hat: 1
Caterpillar: 1
Cheerleader: 1
Clone trooper (Star Wars): 1
Convict: 1
Cow: 1
Cowgirl: 2 (1 with horse)
Cowboy: 1

Dancing Red M&M: 1
Dementor (Harry Potter character): 1
Death: 1
Demon: 1
Devil: 1
Dinosaurs: 2
Dorothy (from Oz): 1
Dog: 1
Dog dressed as dinosaur: 1

Egyptian Goddess: 1
Eyeball: 1
Equestrian: 1

Fairy: 1
Frozen characters: 2 (Anna & Elsa)

Ghoul Masks: 1
Ghosts: 1
Ghostbusters!: 2
Gorilla: 1
Grim Reaper: 2

Hello Kitty: 1:
Hobbit: 1
Hulk Hand: 1
Hunger Games characters: 2
Hunter (no gun): 1

Jester: 1

Ladybug: 1
Leopard: 1
Luke Skywalker: 2:

Mad Hatter: 1
Mask: 1
Millionaire: 1
Minecraft character: 1
Monster Inc. characters: 2
Model: 1

Octopus: 1
Owl: 1

Phantom: 1
Pirates: 7 !
Pokémon: 1
Power Rangers: 2
Princesses: 1

Raggedy Ann: 1
Robber: 1

Scream Ghouls masks: 2
Skull Commando: 1
Skeleton: 1
Sorcerer: 1
Superman: 1
Supergirl: 1
Super Mario: 1

Tiger: 1
Transformer (Bee): 2

Vampires: 1
Vampire Princess: 1
Vending Machine: 1

Werecat: 1
Witches: 4

Zombie: 2
Zombie Princess: 1

My thanks to survey associates Patricia Acheson, Mary Louise Conlin and Bruce MacDougall!
Halloween Census Headquarters

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