USA Today: Adding Some ‘Bark’ to the Halloween ‘Boo!’

Thursday, 27 Sep 2012 07:59 AM

By John Morgan

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Spending on Halloween costumes for pets is expected to hit a record $370 million this year, according to industry estimates.

USA Today reported outfits for pets are the costume industry’s fastest growing segment.

Joseph Morales, a medical research photographer from Houston, said he spent $40 on Underdog costumes for his two Shar-Pei dogs. That’s $10 more he spent on his own Superman costume. “My dogs are my best friends,” he said. “I don’t have children, so they’re kind of my children. I spoil them.”

Editor's Note: The Truth About the Economy — Government Documents Lead to Eerie Conclusion

The Nation Retail Federation (NRF) said pet costume spending is up 20 percent this year over 2011.

“People just don’t skimp on their pets. They’ll cut corners on themselves, but not their pets,” said Michael Gatti, executive director of the organization’s marketing arm.

The Party City retail chain was told by its ad agency that customers did more Google searches for pet costumes than for pirate costumes last year. Costume makers said a popular trend this year is a wave of new licensed pet outfits, such as dogs dressed as giant Tootsie Rolls, Heinz ketchup bottles or “Bat Dog.”

Not everyone is fond of the trend. Pet owners should avoid costumes that constrict movement or cut off circulation, said Jane Dollinger of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

So why do people really dress up their animals on Halloween?

“People are dying to get dressed up themselves,” consumer anthropologist Robbie Blinkoff told USA Today. “We dress up our pets, who are a symbolic extension of ourselves.”

A NRF survey estimates total Halloween spending, for both people and animals, would reach $8 billion this year. The survey predicts some 71.5 percent of Americans would celebrate this year, the most in the survey’s history. The average person will spend $79.82 on decorations, costumes and candy.

Editor's Note: The Truth About the Economy — Government Documents Lead to Eerie Conclusion

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