By Elizabeth Keys
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Puttin’ on the dog promenading costumed creatures at local pet contests is “a way for the community to meet other animal lovers who understand the bond you have with your pet,” said Leah Hinson, manager of Petco. Halloween costumes are becoming increasingly popular among pet owners who want to get their animals in on the season’s fun.
The National Retail Federation has projected pet owners will spend $370 million this Halloween to dress up a family animal member. That’s $40 million more than 2011 pet costumes expenditures. In 2010, 9 percent of dog owners surveyed by the American Pet Products Association said they bought a Halloween costume for their dog. More households today have pets than children so retailers are targeting these consumers.
There is a wave of new, licensed costumes for pets such as dogs dressed as hot-dogs, bumblebees and heroic canine breeds like Bat Dog.
“We have customers come in all the time to piece together a costume for their pet, especially the larger animals like cattle,” said Maxine Russell, owner of Costumes, Balloons & Stuff.
Petco and Atwoods have pet costume contests scheduled Oct. 28 with Atwood’s starting at 2 p.m. and Petco beginning at 3 p.m. Prizes from various vendors will be awarded. There are several categories including matching costumes for the pet owner and animal.
“People get really creative,” Hinson said. “Last year, there was a snake wrapped around the owner with a Tarzan and Jane theme. All kinds of pets show up from reptiles, miniature ponies to birds.”
Petco wants to capture lots of images of all those dressed-up pets with its “Howloween Make a Scene” photo contest where a $5,000 prize is being offered for the best pet costume photo. For a chance to win, post a photo of your pet in costume to Petco’s Facebook page by Oct. 28. The winning photo will be announced Oct. 31.