You’ve worked hard putting your costume together (or paid quite a bit for it) and now Halloween is almost here. Make the most of your time and dollars with a costumed photoshoot in the perfect Instagrammable setting.

Here are some of 2019’s trending Halloween costume choices and our pick of places in Council Bluffs that will make a perfect backdrop. After all, what brings to life your Pennywise costume may not work for your sibling’s fuzzy unicorn look.


It’s not too much of a surprise that Google’s most-searched Halloween costume this year is Pennywise and clowns, in general, were sixth-most searched with this year’s theatrical releases of IT Chapter Two and Joker. Pennywise specific costumes can get some great movie-esque photos by creeping out of some trees on the Wabash Trace Nature Trail or at Hitchcock Nature Center. While not directly related to the film at all, we also find the image of Pennywise peeking through a jail cell at the Squirrel Cage Jail truly terrifying.


With the release of the most anticipated superhero movie of all time earlier this year (yes, we’re talking about Shazam), it’s expected that “superhero” is one of the top costume searches on Pinterest for 2019. And Spider-Man, specifically, is the third most searched costume on Google this year. Regardless of which superhero’s cape you don, a photo with Lincoln’s Pub mural sends an inspirational message. After all, with great power comes great responsibility, or so we hear.


The second most searched costume on Google this year was “witch.” Whether you’re looking to be a specific Sanderson sister, a wicked one, or a generic version, a great spot to snap a photo is by the Ruth Ann Dodge Memorial (Black Angel Statue). It adds some authentic creepiness and an odd balance of good vs. evil (it is an angel after all) to the witch aesthetic. You could also pretend to bring to life Avoca’s Volkswagen Beetle Spider for a shot.

If you’re going in a different direction with your witch costume, say like Glenda the Good Witch or a Harry Potter character, you may want to find a less spooky spot to snap a photo. The Bayliss Park fountain could add some whimsy and magic to Glenda while Hitchcock Nature Center can sub for the Forbidden Forest in Harry Potter.


“Life, uh, finds a way …” and your photo can to with either a nature shot on any of Council Bluffs’ trails or a more threatening, humanity is in immediate danger, type of shot at Tom Hanafan River’s Edge Park with the Omaha skyline in the background. We’re leaning towards the latter being your winning photo.


Where we droppin’ boys? Fortnite’s vibrant colors and animation are hard to match setting wise, but with a game map surrounded by water, Lake Manawa is a great place to start. Grab a fishing pole and start fishing for loot, my friends.

Chucky/‘Toy Story’

The Chucky reboot and “Toy Story 4’s” same-day theatrical release this past June made for some brilliant marketing and will surely make for some creative costumes this year. Whether you find a way to combine the movies into one costume or prefer to keep your psycho killer dolls and beloved children’s characters separate, Walnut’s many antique shops provide a perfect backdrop for a toy that has become sentient. Just be sure to ask for permission from shop owners before taking photos.

‘Stranger Things’/1980s

One of Pinterest’s most searched costumes of 2019 is, of course, the crew from “Stranger Things” and, somewhat by association, the 1980s. The best way to embody the spirit of the ‘80s and season three of “Stranger Things?” The mall of course. Unless, of course, you’re dressing up as beloved Alexei. Then you need to find yourself a gas station that sells cherry Slurpee’s — not strawberry.


Unicorns, caticorns, llamacorns, and any-other-corns can take whimsical photos on the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge. Bob has recently become a fan of mythical creatures with his new buddy OMAR the troll taking residence on the Omaha side of the river. Why not add a unicorn to the mix? Take your photos near sunset for some truly sparkling, pastel pink or sherbet orange shots.

Bonus: Main Street Café & Hy-Vee

If you’re just looking for a Halloween décor-covered spot to snap a photo, Main Street Café and Hy-Vee on Madison Avenue are for you. Main Street Café is crawling with skeletons and Hy-Vee has a bit of an eight-legged problem.

We’d love to see your costume photoshoots in Council Bluffs! Post your photos using #UNleashCB to be featured on the Council Bluffs Convention & Visitor Bureau’s social media pages.

— Ashley English is the content manager for the Council Bluffs Convention & Visitor’s Bureau. For more information about events and happenings in Council Bluffs, go online to

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