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American Halloween Goes to the Dogs

People participants row their dragon boats during the Water Festival on the Tonle Sap river in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
People participants row their dragon boats during the Water Festival on the Tonle Sap river in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Dog Halloween Costumes
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In America, Halloween is a big deal.

Americans spend $7.4 billion on Halloween — and $350 million of that is for costumes for their pets, reports the National Retail Federation.

About 15 percent of Americans will buy costumes for their pets. Time magazine reports that more people are purchasing Halloween costumes for their dogs — up 24 percent since 2010.

Halloween in New York City
Halloween in New York City

Spending has increased by 40 percent in the past two years.

Go online, and you can buy a Robin Hood outfit for your dog. Or a Wonder Woman dog costume. Or a cow costume. The outfits come in various sizes. Purchase a large one for your Mastiff or a small one for your Chihuahua.

They cost as little as $7.80 or as much as $300.

In Hollywood, pet costumes for movie characters and celebrities are popular. Some dogs are dressed as Edward Scissorhands or Kim Kardashian, reported Entertainment Weekly. In New York, Jimmy Kimmel, the late-night television host, held a dog costume parade on his show.

Cat owners can also participate in the fun. Stores sell orange and black cat nail clips and a Halloween bow tie costume collar.

Why are Americans spending so much on their pets? Time magazine reports that “pets have more status today,” and “more than nine in 10 owners consider their pets to be members of their family.” Many people have strong emotional ties with their dogs and cats.

Halloween in the Philippines
Halloween in the Philippines

The Halloween pet costume craze is spreading globally. Zoher Kapu is vice president of global optimization and data for eBay, the online marketplace.

He told the Chicago Tribune that eBay had 1.5 million pet costumes for sale on Oct. 21 out of 800 million items listed. There were 159 million active customers in 200 countries.

In Britain, The Telegraph newspaper noted that pet owners will spend $1.5 billion in 2015 on non-food items for their pets. This includes clothes, toys and holidays.

Do you plan to dress up your dog or cat for Halloween?

I’m Jonathan Evans.

Mary Gotschall wrote this story for Learning English. Kathleen Struck was the editor.

Do you have a beloved pet that you dress up? Share your photo on our Facebook page!


Words in This Story

costumes – n. clothes worn by someone in a different role ​

petsn. an animal (such as a dog, cat, bird, or fish) that people keep mainly for pleasure

mastiff n. a type of large, powerful dog, once bred as a warrior

chihuahuan. a very small dog with large ears and usually short hair originally from Mexico

characters – n. a person who appears in a story, book, play, movie or television show

celebrities – n. people who are famous

bow tie – n. a narrow length of cloth that is worn by men around the neck and tied into a bow at the throat

craze – n. something that is very popular for a period of time

optimization – n. making something as good or as effective as possible