Halloween costumes for pets to top $330 million

By Elisa Black-Taylor

Halloween collage Cats
Poster by Elisa Black-Taylor
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So, do any of you celebrate Halloween with your pets? Do you buy into the excitement of going to a pet store and buying your cat or dog a costume? Or will you purchase materials and make your pet a costume from “scratch?”

Regardless of how you and your pet celebrate Halloween, pet costumes are expected to bring in between $330-$370 MILLION dollars this year, according to the National Retail Federation. These figures appear to be for the U.S. alone. Please correct me if I’m wrong. Retailers such as Petsmart and Petco are very happy in how pet owners display their pets on Halloween. Except for Christmas, Halloween is their next biggest opportunity to part pet owners from their money.

Yes, I said display, because any time you dress up your pet in an outfit that’s solely for vanity (as opposed to keeping a pet warm), you’re doing it for the simple reason of showing off your pet.

Dressing a pet in Halloween gear has been big business for several years now. Even with the government shutdown in the U.S., average spending on Halloween has increased 55 percent since 2005. One reason is the number of young adults dressing in costume, showing Halloween isn’t just for the young. In 2012 a total of $8 billion was spent on all things Halloween. This year the figure is down just a bit at a projected $6.9 billion.

The National Retail Federation has projected that 22 million pet owners will dress their four-legged companion up for Halloween. And these people won’t scrimp and get the cheapest costume they can find. Cat and dog owners want the same amount of thought and money to go into a pet Halloween costume as they spend on themselves or their children. To many, the pet in the family IS the child.

Petco, a San Diego based company, predicts a lot of lion’s manes, dinosaurs, alligators and giraffe costumes to be sold for dogs. The trend for cats is hula tops, fake grass skirts, mermaid tails and saddles with mouse cowboys.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has some advice for pet owners as they search for that perfect costume. Make sure the costume you choose fits your pet well. It shouldn’t be tight, and it shouldn’t be loose. Your pet may not enjoy being dressed up, but if you do put an outfit on your pet, at least be sure it’s comfortable.

I found this old photo of our first cat Lola (who’s still alive and well and costume-free these days) made one of the first Halloween’s she was with us. Our neighbor had purchased a witch costume for her dog, and gave it to us when her dog decided he didn’t want to be a witch.

Personally we don’t dress any of our pets up to celebrate Halloween. We do dress our cat Sealy when the weather is colder. Sealy is an older cat, who had very thin fur last winter, and seems to enjoy the warmth the clothing brings. Several people who follow Sealy have sent him outfits.

Do any of the readers plan to play dress up with their pets? Let’s make this article a fun one by adding Halloween costume photos of YOUR pets.

NOTE: Please be safe with all things Halloween. Keep candles, candy and anything else that can hurt a pet away from your cat or dog.

Associated pages: Search results for “Halloween” on PoC.



  • http://web.archive.org/web/20140707065345/http://annandale.patch.com/
  • http://www.nj.com/

19 thoughts on “Halloween costumes for pets to top $330 million”

  1. I don’t know anyone who dresses their pet up for Halloween and I hope it never catches on here.
    It used to be a very low key day when I was a kid, but now the supermarkets have whole sections of kids costumes and accessories and Halloween sweets and pumpkins and so on.
    We have been pestered for weeks by ‘trick or treats’ at the door on an evening.
    I just today heard someone grumbling about ‘damn yank customs coming over here’ lol
    But it’s totally confusing right now anyway, as we have had Christmas stuff in the shops since September and fireworks since October for Guy Fawkes day on November 5th as well as Halloween stuff too, I keep expecting Easter cards and eggs to appear any day now lol lol

    • Agreed again. Halloween is an American import isn’t it? I don’t know. I never get involved with it. Or Guy Fawkes night nor Christmas… 😉 Well, I do get involved with some Christmas festivities. It’s quite nice. But do cats enjoy these festive times? No, not really. The opposite probably.

      Things have become far too commercial. Businesses encourage people to buy during these festivities. It is driven by business. There should be a greater emphasis on the basics, cat welfare. I sound like a stuck record 😉 It’s just me. I am more interested in the real things.

        • The money would have a massive impact. It would transform TNR or the shelters. People prefer to buy cat clothes and I am fairly sure lots of what is bought gets thrown away before the next Halloween celebration. C’est las vie. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose (“The more it changes, the more it’s the same thing.”).

          We can’t get out of our rut.

      • I’m a stuck record too lol but it makes me sad the amount of money thrown away when cat charities (and some people too) are in dire need of financial help.
        I can’t see the need for all the over the top celebrating costing huge amounts of money, nor the constant knocking at the door by kids nowadays wanting money for some occasion or other, it just doesn’t seem right.
        Our local police have even put out a warning about youths harrassing older people in their own homes, demanding money for Halloween. They can be quite frightening, big figures dressed up in masks and refusing them money puts peoples cars and property at risk! I’m glad the police are taking this seriously and calling it a crime.

        • Our local police have even put out a warning about youths harrassing older people..

          That is another problem with this “celebration” or festivities.

          I call the extravagant use of money waste. A lot of people with disposable income prefer to throw money away on trivial products rather than using it wisely to help animals.

          • Yes it’s usually the people who haven’t much themselves, or who have known a time of hardship, who are the ones who help charities most.

              • We get quite a few trick or treaters. Monty is mystified by Halloween because all these people are coming to the door saying his favorite word but no one is giving the kitty anything. My friend Melanie and I sat out on our front porch carving pumpkins and handing out candy. Monty sat on a chair inside the screen door watching everything. At first he wanted to be out on the porch with us, but as soon as people started coming he wanted to be inside. He was so cute in the window watching as the first few kids came, but then he disappeared when things really got hectic. It was a nice day for it (West Allis trick or treats the Sunday afternoon before Halloween) so a lot of kids came out. I saw quite a few dogs in costume trick or treating with their people, but the dogs didn’t get anything for trick or treat. The way so many pet treats have been tainted I’d be afraid to buy anything for them, and their humans would probably be afraid to give it to them. Not that candy isn’t seriously bad for kids. I think I nibbled too much candy myself while handing it out, because I’m really sick with a nasty virus and I never get sick. Sugar lowers your immune system function.

            • Good point Elisa. I think it is because people who have suffered hardship, understand it and empathize with others including cats who are suffering. The privileged remain above it all.

    • Communities have set times for trick or treat here. Some have trick or treat on Halloween night, but most do it on the weekend before Halloween in the afternoon. You just look up online when your community has it. In the past we’ve had a few who start early or continue a little past the official start and end times, but not this year. We do always get kids obviously not from our neighborhood. Some people don’t like that, but what are they supposed to do? Send the kids trick or treating up to drug houses?
      When I was a kid we didn’t just trick or treat in our neighborhood because that consisted of about five houses. Mom would drive us to the homes of people she knew, many out in the country. Some of my friends from Lake Delton trick or treated in Wisconsin Dells because the houses are closer together there so they could get more candy. My mom thought that was wrong. Every house we went to was actually in at least the town of Delton if not the village. She felt we should trick or treat only in our own community and only at the houses of people she knew.

  2. I still remember sticking poor Lola in that outfit long enough to photograph her. There are lots of cat photo contests for cats in costume. I believe its more for showing off on social sites that actually taking the cat anywhere in public. Dogs in our area had costume events last weekend. Mainly to gather dog lovers together.

    • I hate to say it but it is having fun at the expense of the cat. Halloween is entirely about people looking for fun. Low and behold the cat is a convenient object to dress up for a laugh.

      I know I am a bit extreme (let’s say passionate) but dressing up cats for Halloween is about people using cats for entertainment.

  3. Thanks for this Elisa. Two comments (a) Halloween is much bigger in the USA than UK. Halloween is not a bank holiday in the United Kingdom so everything is as normal (b) in the UK very few people dress up their cats anyway. I’ve never seen it in real life.

    I suppose the amount of money spent on cat’s clothes for Halloween is part of the dressing up by people. If a person buys clothes for himself he might also buy for his cat or dog.

    Halloween is big in America and very commercial it seems.

    • It wasn’t always so commercial and overdone. It used to be most costumes were hand made and you only trick or treated at homes of people you knew. My favorite Halloween memory is trick or treating at Mr. Rooney’s house. He and his wife had celebrated their 80th wedding anniversary shortly before we moved into the neighborhood. They invited all the trick or treat kids into the house and offered homemade cookies. He put oranges or apples into the plastic pumpkins we used to collect our trick or treat candy. I remember my plastic pumpkin had such a narrow opening at the top that Mr. Rooney always had trouble getting the apple in there and later it would be stuck, almost impossible to remove, and like a big plug it would make it hard to dump the candy out.


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