Barbie strutted down a Hopkins street Saturday, wagging her tail to hoots and hollers.
The canine’s owner, Jessica Klugman, decked the 11-year-old Chiweenie — a crossbreed of a Chihuahua and a Dachshund — in a blond wig and pink glittery bodysuit for a dog costume contest as part of Saturday’s Halloween in Hopkins. But Pearl’s model performance did take some incentivizing.
“There were a lot of treats that were involved today,” Klugman said.
A record 73% of consumers plan to celebrate Halloween this year, up from 69% last year, the National Retail Federation reported earlier this month. But that doesn’t just mean buying candy or costumes for kids. Well, human kids, at least.
Americans spend $700 million annually on costumes for their pets, the Retail Federation said. The most popular pet costumes include a pumpkin, a hot dog, a bat, a bumblebee and a spider. Though Pearl proved some of the trendiest costumes for people translate to the animal kingdom. Her $30 Barbie outfit from Amazon helped her become top dog and won her owner a $50 gift certificate to Bear Cave Brewing in Hopkins.
Jim Berg, owner of Twin Cities Magic & Costume in West St. Paul, has found more pet costumes available from his vendors in the past 10 years and said licensing deals helped increase the pop culture options for cats and dogs.
“If the rest of the family was dressed for Star Wars, the dog could be also be dressed up, so it integrated the family pet into Halloween,” Berg said.
Retailers like Mankato-based Fun.com see revenue growth from pet costumes consistently climbing, growing 15% this year vs. 2022, a spokeswoman said. Because of this trend, the company also increased the selection of pet costumes by more than 30% in the past two years.
Many of the dogs in costume Saturday in Hopkins reveled in the attention they received.
Finn, a 4-year-old Basset Hound dressed as a hot dog, is excited whenever owner Stephanie Hinrichs pulls out his costumes.
“It means, he’s going out, and he likes that,” she said. “He gets attention, which is great for him.”
But not all the dogs are so impressed.
Devin Slavicek of St. Louis Park tried a pizza delivery man costume on her English bulldog, Reuben, at a pet store. The young dog initially stood frozen in the $19.99 costume.
“We got such a chuckle out of it that we bought it,” she said.
Reuben begrudgingly wore the outfit Saturday and took second place in the costume contest.
The American Veterinary Medical Association has some advice for pet parents who want their animal to be in the holiday spirit. The organization suggested never leaving a costumed pet unsupervised and making sure the outfit doesn’t have any pieces that a pet can easily chew off or that can be a choking hazard. It also said to make sure the costume doesn’t block the animal’s sight, hearing, breathing, mouth or movement.
When it came to game-planning for Pearl, the Chiweenie, this year, Klugman knew they had to step up their strategy after last year’s second place showing as Snow White.
Using the popularity of the “Barbie” movie to aim for number one proved to be the winning combo for her Pearl. And it also gave Klugman a chance to relive some of the best parts of childhood.
“My son is 15, and he’s not dressing up anymore,” Klugman said. “So she gets to be my baby.”
Want to show off your furry friend’s costume? Enter the 2023 Star Tribune Halloween Pet Costume Contest.