Superman -vs- Batman ... Halloween smackdown!

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Choosing the perfect Halloween costume can be a tough decision ... especially when it comes to choosing between two awesome favorites like Superman & Batman!?! I think we're gonna need a bigger boat! (and by 'boat' I mean analytical software, of course!)

Let's start with Superman. This character has been around since 1933, and has been a popular costume for many years. Here's a vintage picture my friend Margie sent me, showing that Superman was popular when she was little. I really like this picture - it reminds me of the days when I was a kid, and everyone made their own costumes. :)

halloween_superman

And now, on to the analytics! ... For my data, I went to Google-Trends and did a keyword search for 'superman costume'. I saved the data as a csv text file, and then used a data step to read it into SAS. From there, it was a simple matter of using Proc Gplot to plot the past 5+ years of data. Looks like the interest in Superman costumes increases at Halloween each year, and has been increasing the past 5 years.

superman

And now for Batman ... Batman has been around since 1939, and the Google Trends for 'batman costume' follows the same general yearly pattern as 'superman costume.' Interest has been been pretty high the past 4 years, without the gradual rise each year like the Superman graph.

batman

But how do we compare the two graphs?!? What does the 0-100 rating mean? Reading the details on the Google search page, I find that they always make the graph go 0-100, and scale the data such that 100 corresponds to the maximum value. Therefore, in order to compare Superman and Batman, we need to do a Google-Trends search for both of them at the same time, so the numeric values will both be to the same scale. Below is the result of that combined search...

superman_and_batman

And the winner is ... Batman!

So, what was your favorite costume growing up? Did anyone in your family dress as Superman or Batman?

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November 3rd update:

Even though Google says Batman costumes are consistently trending higher than Superman, I personally have a new favorite. My friend Kevin's son dressed as Superman this year, and you can't help but love his costume! :)

superman

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About Author

Robert Allison

The Graph Guy!

Robert has worked at SAS for over 20 years, and is perhaps the foremost expert in creating custom graphs using SAS/GRAPH. His educational background is in Computer Science, and he holds a BS, MS, and PhD from NC State University. He is the author of several conference papers, has won a few graphic competitions, and has written a book (SAS/GRAPH: Beyond the Basics).

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