06 Oct Pet Costumes are No Laughing Matter
I am no animal expert but I know this for sure: no dog secretly wants to dress up as a Chia pet for Halloween. Having said that, given that Buzzfeed is touting a Chia outfit as one of its ‘easy costume ideas for pets’ this Halloween, prepare for a parade of pups sporting foliage as they Trick or Treat.
The idea of making a Halloween costume for a pet sounds ridiculous to me, but then I’m obviously bitter that I did not invest in some kind of animal accessories store years ago. According to the U.S. National Retail Federation, Americans will this year spend $350 million dollars on costumes for their pets for Halloween. To put that in perspective, that’s over a third of the $1.1 billion they will spend for children’s costumes.
I’m not sure how many children are being garbed as compared to animals, but I am pretty sure that there are a lot more kids than pets excited about Halloween coming. There are likely a lot more kids are looking forward to dressing as Olaf the Snowman or whatever than there are chihuahas who are thrilled about Buzzfeed’s suggestions (which as well as the Chia pet idea include dressing your house cat up as a leopard, or you dog as a bunny). Luckily for the pet-wardrobe industry, the pets can’t give a lot of feedback, so the owners have free rein.
I will admit, as much of a trendwatcher as I claim to be, I missed the animal-clothng thing completely. I first saw a pet clothing boutique about six years ago in a Dallas mall, and did a double-take. It seemed to me to be a Texas-thing, and I thought it would never catch on any further. Wrong. Pet boutiques are now everywhere. They have grown along with the pet industry, which according to the American Pet Products Association now represents $58.5 billion a year in spending in the U.S.. That’s a 70 percent increase from ten years ago, a pace of growth few retail sectors can match.
So what comes next for the pampering the pets, whether they like it or not? I think we are at the beginning of a pet-centric spending boom. Think about it: aging boomers no longer have little kids to spend on, and the grandchildren may not be too numerous either. Pets are a great substitute, and they can offer no feedback on wardrobe choices. Want more evidence? Look to Japan, a country with a very old population and relatively few children. The pet industry is booming there, with reports of some lucky dogs now enjoying resort holidays and yoga classes of their own.
I personally do not have a pet at the moment, but I am wondering if it is now required that I have some dog biscuits on hand for all the costumed-canines that hit my door this Halloween. I can’t say I have ever bothered before, but honestly a dog dressed like a Chia pet really deserves a treat.