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The 26 Most Popular Halloween Costumes by State

Thanks to social media platforms like Instagram, painstakingly-crafted Halloween costumes now live on in viral glory long after the night has ended. For people who measure the success of their Halloween in Instagram hearts, the holiday outlet store Halloween Express has put together a map of the app’s most-liked costumes from the past four years. 

The spooky data was compiled by searching posts from 2012 to 2015 with the tag #halloween and combing through the captions for costume mentions. The most popular costume posts have been organized by state, so you can see how your area stacks up against the rest of the country on October 31.

There are a handful of classic costumes that crop up year after year, like ghosts, zombies, skeletons, and cats. Others reflect pop culture trends: Marvel superheroes were popular in California in 2014 while Star Wars characters are beginning to make a comeback this Halloween. Surprisingly, E.T. has remained the most consistently liked Halloween costume each year, despite being based on a 33-year-old film.

Then there are the oddball costumes that appear in one state for a year only to vanish the next. For Halloween 2014 in Massachusetts, Where’s Waldo? was unusually popular, while narwhals experienced an inexplicable hot streak in Utah in 2012. To see what each state’s most popular costume looks like in the filtered flesh, we've gathered together some of this year's creepiest, funniest, and most adorable #halloween posts from Instagram. 

1. GHOUL 

Ghoul earned the top spot in North Carolina.

2. ARTIST 

An artist is this year's most liked costume in Wisconsin and Connecticut.

3. CAT 

This classic costume nabbed the number one spot in New Hampshire.

4. ELF 

Elf costumes are a favorite among Iowa residents this year.

5. WONDER WOMAN 

Wonder Woman is an especially popular costume choice in Nevada.

6. E.T. 

E.T. is the most popular costume in not one, but seven states this year including Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Alaska, New Mexico, Mississippi and New Jersey.

7. CORPSE BRIDE

Corpse Bride is the top choice in Colorado. 

8. DEADPOOL

This year, the majority people in Georgia are dressing up as this topical Marvel character.

9. GHOST

Residents of Maryland know you can't beat the classics.

10. HARRY POTTER

Harry Potter costumes are still going strong in Oklahoma. 

11. FOOTBALL PLAYER

Even if they don't have an NFL team of their own, there are plenty of football players in Utah come Halloween.

12. THE FLASH

This superhero costume is popular in Hawaii.

13. FRANKENSTEIN

This costume takes first place in Arizona.

14. GOTH

An abundance of Pennsylvanians are going goth this Halloween. 

15. MONSTER

Monsters take the top spots in Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Minnesota, Tennessee and West Virginia.

16. MERMAID

Mermaids are this year's most popular costume in South Carolina.

17. PUPPY

It shouldn't be too hard to spot puppy costumes in Oregon, Washington and Ohio this Halloween.

18. PUNK

Michigan is channeling their inner punk rocker for Halloween this year.

19. SCARECROW

So far, scarecrows are Maine's most popular costume of 2015.

20. GHOSTFACE

This cinematic villain is the costume of choice in Rhode Island.

21. WITCH

This year, witches account for the most liked costumes in Alabama, Nebraska and North Dakota.

22. SPIDER-MAN

Spider-man is the most popular costume in the superhero's home state of New York.

23. STAR WARS

The new movie isn't coming out until December, but that hasn't stopped residents of Kansas, Massachusetts and Florida from getting in touch with their inner Star Wars nerd for Halloween.

24. WIZARD

This is Texas' most popular costume of 2015.

25. SKELETON

This year, Kentucky residents are breaking out their spookiest skeleton outfits.

26. WEREWOLF

Be on the lookout for werewolves in Louisiana come October 31. 

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40 Years Later: Watch The Johnny Cash Christmas Show
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Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Over the course of his career, Johnny Cash made a series of Christmas TV specials and recorded a string of Christmas records. In this 1977 TV performance, Cash is in great form. He brings special guests Roy Clark, June Carter Cash, The Carter Family, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison ("Pretty Woman" starts around 23:50), Carl Perkins, and the Statler Brothers. Tune in for Christmas as we celebrated it 40 years ago—with gigantic shirt collars, wavy hair, and bow ties. So many bow ties.

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7 Spine-Tingling Tales of Christmas Ghosts
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Traditionally, Christmas in England was a time for scaring the bejesus out of little children by telling ghost stories around the fire. Charles Dickens led the way with his famous ghost story A Christmas Carol, but what of the "real" ghosts said to haunt the land at Christmas time? Below are seven spine-tingling and seasonal stories of Christmas ghosts.

1. THE HAUNTED CHRISTMAS FEAST AT ALCATRAZ

Dinner hall at Alcatraz
Alex Light, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

The island of Alcatraz, off the coast of San Francisco, has a long and spooky history. In its earlier days, Native Americans allegedly used to banish miscreants to the island as punishment, where they were reportedly plagued by the local spirits. Alcatraz, of course, became a notorious federal prison in 1934, housing criminals such as Al Capone before it was shut down in 1963. Today, visitors to the island report hearing screams, the clanging of metal doors, and the sound of voices within the walls. One of the more famous tales associated with the island supposedly occurred in the 1940s, when warden James Johnston held a Christmas Day party at his residence for the staff at the prison. The good cheer is said to have been brought to a swift halt when an apparition sporting mutton-chop whiskers and a gray suit appeared. The temperature in the room plummeted and the fire blew out, before returning to normal when the spirit disappeared about a minute later. The rattled guards were too scared to stay in the residence, and the rest of the Christmas celebration ended abruptly.

2. THE GHOSTLY QUEEN RETURNING HOME AT HEVER CASTLE

Hever Castle
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Anne Boleyn is notorious as the second of King Henry VIII’s ill-fated wives. To marry Anne, Henry spent years seeking a divorce from his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, and went on to sever England’s relationship with the Catholic Church in Rome, forever changing the course of British history. Despite the lengths he went to ensnare her, Henry soon grew tired of Anne and, choosing to believe the idle gossip surrounding her, had her beheaded in 1536. A number of reports exist of the ghost of Anne Boleyn, but perhaps the most affecting is the version said to haunt her childhood home, Hever Castle in Kent. Some say that every Christmas Eve, the spectral figure of Anne Boleyn can be seen slowly gliding across the bridge over the river Eden toward her family home, where she was at her happiest.

3. THE HEADLESS HORSEMAN AT ROOS HALL


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Roos Hall in Suffolk lays claim to being one of the most haunted houses in England. The 16th century hall has a number of sinister connections, including a gruesome “hanging tree”—an oak tree planted at the site of the old gibbet where numerous criminals were hung. To make things even spookier, inside one of the building's cupboards, the mark of a devil’s cloven hoof is said to be imprinted. But perhaps the most dramatic haunting is supposed to happen every Christmas Eve: Legend has it that a headless horseman clatters down the driveway with his four black horses pulling a phantom coach, terrifying anyone who witnesses him.

4. THE HAUNTED DINING ROOM AT THE CRESCENT HOTEL

The Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas

The Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, was built in 1886 and is rumoured to harbor numerous ghosts, who seem to be especially playful during the holidays. One Christmas, the staff came down to set up the dining room only to find the Christmas tree had been moved from one side of the room to the other. Another year, all the menus in the dining room had been scattered around the room. Other visitors have reported seeing groups of ghostly dancers clad in Victorian-era clothing, whirling around the deserted dance floor.

5. THE GHOSTLY GATHERING OF KINGS AT WAWEL CASTLE

View of the Wawel Cathedral from the Wawel Castle entrance
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Poland's Wawel Royal Castle was built on Wawel Hill in the 1500s. Within the hill lies a deep cave known as Smocza Jama (Dragon’s Den); legend has it that a great dragon once lived there, terrorizing the locals, before Prince Krak bravely vanquished the dragon and brought peace to Poland. To memorialize this event, a statue of the dead dragon now stands in the cave. Go deeper into the cave and you come to yet another chamber, and it is here that on December 24 every year, all the long-gone kings of Poland are said to meet and hold a spectral special council.

6. THE MISTLETOE BRIDE AT BRAMSHILL HOUSE

The Long Gallery, Bramshill House
Tsukiko YAMAMURA, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

In the early 17th century, a young woman named Anne was to be married on Christmas Day at Bramshill House in Hampshire, England. After the ceremony and feast, as was tradition at the time, the guests were all set to carry the bride to the bedchamber. Anne suggested a game be played, and asked for a five-minute head start before the guests came to find her. Everyone searched long and hard for Anne, but no sign of her could be found. At first they thought she had played a merry trick, but soon a sense of unease fell over the guests. The bridegroom, Lord Lovell, was distraught, and guests began to whisper that she must have fled. Days, weeks, months, and years passed, and Lord Lovell never stopped looking for his bride. One day, some 50 years after her disappearance, Lord Lovell was up in the huge attic of the sprawling mansion, where he began tapping on the oak panelling. As he knocked, a long-hidden secret door sprung open, and inside he found an ornate wooden chest. He pried open the heavy wooden lid, and there, still in her wedding dress and clutching her mistletoe bouquet, were the skeletal remains of his beloved. The scratch marks on the inside of the lid of the chest attested to her desperate, but futile, effort to free herself from her hiding space. (While the story appears in many variations, Bramshill House is thought to be the most likely site.)

7. THE APPARITION OF A MURDERED HIGHWAYMAN IN KENT

A burial in the forest
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One Christmas Eve near the close of the 18th century, a notorious highwayman named Gilbert is said to have stopped a coach and horses on the Hawkhurst Road in Marden, Kent. The coach contained a young lady and her father, and Gilbert ordered them out onto the road. Just as the girl stepped out, the horses bolted, taking the coach and her father with them. The young lady was left alone on the dark road with the highwayman, and as she looked into his face, she recognized him as the very same highwayman who had murdered her brother some years earlier. Horrified, she drew a hidden knife from her bag and stabbed Gilbert in the side, fleeing into the bushes. When the horses were calmed and the coach returned a little while later, the men discovered the bloodied body of the highwayman, and buried him at the side of the road. When villagers found the woman in the forest the next day, she had gone completely mad. They avoided that spot in the road for many years, and it's said that every Christmas Eve, the bloody scene is silently replayed to all that pass through.

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