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Angry Birds, Black Swan fly high as Halloween faves

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.

TODAY Moms: When are kids too old to trick-or-treat?

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.

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    Image: 2010 NBC's "Today" Halloween Episode

    TODAY’s Halloween spooktacular

    Meredith as Lady Gaga? Natalie as Justin Bieber? TODAY’s talent dressed as fun pop-culture icons and historic figures.

  • TODAY hosts, along with Tina Fey and Will Ferrell display their costumes at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York

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    Halloween on the Plaza 2010

    TODAY host Meredith Vieira flaunted her moves while dressed as Lady Gaga during TODAY's Halloween special on Rockefeller Plaza on Oct. 29, 2010.

    The TODAY talent pulled out all the stops for their Halloween getups, joined by stars Will Ferrell and Tina Fey, who portrayed the characters for whom they provide voices in the new animated fantasy “Megamind.”

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    In a formfitting pink hoop gown, Meredith Vieira belted out Lady Gaga’s signature hit “Bad Romance” while the crowd on the Plaza cheered in approval.

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  • TODAY hosts, along with Tina Fey and Will Ferrell display their costumes at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York

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    TODAY’s Natalie Morales channeled Canadian tween heartthrob Justin Bieber while fans screamed on the Plaza.

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    You ready, little monsters?” Natalie Morales — as tween star Justin Bieber — yelled at the crowd.

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    “Man! That was a long flight!” Ann Curry — dressed as Amelia Earhart — exclaimed during TODAY's Halloween special. “I knew I should have taken the train.”

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    TODAY's Al Roker, Natalie Morales , actress Tina Fey, actor Will Ferrell, Ann Curry, and Meredith Vieira celebrate Halloween on the Plaza.

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    TODAY's Al Roker, Natalie Morales and Tamron Hall celebrate Halloween on the Plaza.

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    Host Al Roker, clad in spandex and a wig, dressed as Superman for TODAY's Halloween special.

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    Will Ferrell and Tina Fey, who provide voices in the new animated fantasy “Megamind,” came in character for TODAY's Halloween special.

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    Tamron Hall, portraying President Barrack Obama, got up to the presidential podium and addressed the crowd as Obama. “As you can imagine, I’m pretty busy right now, but when I was invited to see the crowd at the TODAY Show, I could not resist. God bless America. Happy Halloween!”

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    Fans dressed in their Halloween best gathered on the Plaza for TODAY's annual Halloween costume contest.

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  • TODAY hosts, along with Tina Fey and Will Ferrell display their costumes at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York

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    Fans of TODAY dressed to impress for a creepy Halloween costume contest on the plaza.

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  • TODAY hosts, along with Tina Fey and Will Ferrell display their costumes at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York

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    Creepy and fun costumes from TODAY's costume contest on the Plaza.

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    TODAY fans, dressed in costumes inspired by the game Monopoly, compete in TODAY's Halloween costume contest.

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  • TODAY hosts, along with Tina Fey and Will Ferrell display their costumes at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York

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    Fans of TODAY dressed to impress for a creepy Halloween costume contest on the Plaza.

    TODAYshow.com / TODAYshow.com
  • TODAY hosts, along with Tina Fey and Will Ferrell display their costumes at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York

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    TODAY fans, dressed as iconic characters from "The Flintstones," participate in TODAY's Halloween costume contest on the Plaza.

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  • TODAY hosts, along with Tina Fey and Will Ferrell display their costumes at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York

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    TODAY's Ann Curry, along with Tina Fey and Will Ferrell, display their Halloween costumes on the Plaza.

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  • TODAY hosts, along with Tina Fey and Will Ferrell display their costumes at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York

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    Lee and Hoda Kotb have a ”ball’ during TODAY’s Halloween celebration, dressed up as actresses Lucille Ball and Vivian Vance — the iconic actresses of the classic TV show “I Love Lucy.”

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  • TODAY hosts, along with Tina Fey and Will Ferrell display their costumes at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York

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    Kathie Lee and Hoda recreate the iconic grape-squashing scene from "I Love Lucy."

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  • TODAY hosts, along with Tina Fey and Will Ferrell display their costumes at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York

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    Kathie Lee and Hoda dressed up as actresses Lucille Ball and Vivian Vance — the iconic actresses of the classic TV show “I Love Lucy.”

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    TODAY style editor Bobbie Thomas, in a Roy Lichtenstein costume, poses with Sara Haines dressed as Ricky from "I Love Lucy."

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  • TODAY hosts, along with Tina Fey and Will Ferrell display their costumes at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York

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    Kathie Lee, Hoda and Sara Haines dressed up as characters from “I Love Lucy.”

    TODAYshow.com / TODAYshow.com

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.

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