Halloween: Pets thrust into ‘purr-anormal’ season
MANILA, Philippines—Who said Halloween is only for humans?
It’s finally spooky season. Many people across the globe celebrate Halloween by following traditions, like trick-or-treating and handing out candies, decorating, carving pumpkins, throwing or attending parties, and the most common custom: dressing up and wearing “spooktacular” costumes.
The tradition of wearing costumes during Halloween, according to the website History.com, dates back over 2,000 years ago, with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain on the first day of November of every year.
To celebrate the festival, Celts wore costumes—“typically consisting of animal heads and skins”—to ward off ghosts or evil spirits.
Nowadays, people—both adults and children—wear costumes to celebrate Halloween and get into the spooky spirit.
However, humans are no longer the only ones who heed the tradition as they get their pets to join the fun and dress the animals up in scary, cute costumes through the years.
Pets and Halloween costumes
When you ask pet owners—or as many call themselves, “fur parents”—why they dress up their pets or “furbabies” for Halloween, you will get different responses and various reasons.
Danielle Baranda said she decided to dress up her cat Vito this year to mark their first Halloween together.
“It’s his first Halloween with me, and it’s very exciting. That’s also the primary reason why I dressed him up, to mark our first holiday together,” Baranda told INQUIRER.net.
“Halloween is also my favorite time of the year, so I thought it would be fun to dress him up,” she added.
For Halloween, Vito—an orange Doll Face Persian kitten—dressed up as a cute carrot.
“When my mom and I dress Vito, we usually dress him in red because we noticed that it best compliments his fur,” Baranda explained when asked about the inspiration or idea behind Vito’s Halloween costume.
“But as I was going through costumes online, I found the carrot costume and thought it would be fun dressing him in orange for a change, especially because it’s the same shade as his hair!!”
Arianna, a fur mom of three golden retrievers—Phoebe, Asteria, and Hecate—said she dresses up her dogs simply because of their cuteness.
“They are cute. They are cute when they are plain and even more so when I dress them up,” she told INQUIRER.net.
Phoebe, Asteria, and Hecate recently won a Halloween pet costume contest after dressing up as the “paw-erpuff girls”—based on the characters of the popular children’s cartoon, The Powerpuff Girls.
According to data from the National Retail Federation (NRF), when it comes to dressing up their cats and dogs, the most popular costume choice among US pet owners was pumpkin (9 percent), hot dog (5 percent), bat (4 percent), bumblebee (3 percent), and witch (3 percent).
Lion, spider, ghost, cat, super dog or super cat, devil, and dog were also among the top 10 Halloween costume choices for pets this year.
The survey—by NRF and Prosper Insights & Analytics—asked 8,283 consumers about Halloween shopping plans. It was conducted September 1-6 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 1.1 percentage points.
Worth every cent
The NRF survey also found that US pet owners are expected to spend at least $710 million to dress up their pets for Halloween this year.
Vito’s first-ever Halloween costume costs only P160, according to her owner.
Arianna said the estimated cost to dress up Phoebe, Asteria, and Hecate is around P1,500 to P3,000.
“I really need to ask for tailor-made costumes for them because it’s tough to find costumes for their size. It’s also hard to find them [ready-made] costumes that would fit them comfortably,” she said in Filipino, adding that it is hard to find pet costumes of characters that come in threes.
Although buying Halloween costumes for their pets can be a little costly, Baranda and Arianna said they believe every cent spent on those costumes was worth it.
“[It’s] super worth it because pets are our babies. [I]t’s always a good bonding experience with them,” Baranda said in a mix of Filipino and English.
“For us, it’s worth it, especially since we didn’t expect that they would win [an award in the competition],” said Arianna, explaining that the costumes recently worn by her golden retrievers were made by a small business owner who also rescues dogs and cats.
“For me, [the price is reasonable]. I was able to order custom-made costumes, and at the same time, I was also able to help the [shop owner’s] rescue dogs and cats,” she said.
Arianna added that she plans on upcycling her golden retrievers’ previous costumes by renting them out to other pet owners.
DIY spooks and spoofs
Other pet owners shared that their pets can still get into the Halloween spirit minus the high costs through DIY (do-it-yourself) pet costumes.
In 2019, INQUIRER.net shared photos of a dog named Moca, who dressed up as “The Nun” and a Hershey’s Kisses chocolate for Halloween.
According to fur mom Raychelle Ann, both costumes Moca wore that year were DIY. She told INQUIRER.net that she used two T-shirts for “The Nun” outfit, while some foil and paper were needed to achieve the iconic Hershey’s Kisses chocolate packaging.
This year, Moca—a ten-year-old Pekingese from Tokyo—dressed up as a popular fast food chain’s french fries. Her costume was made out of recycled and easy-to-find materials.
Raychelle Ann shared that she got the costume idea while waiting at the fast food chain’s drive-through after a Facebook friend asked her about Moca’s Halloween costume this year.
In the past, Moca wore store-bought costumes for Halloween. However, her fur mom, later on, decided to create DIY spooky outfits—mainly to save money but also to have a more unique and creative costume.
“Aside from saving money, DIY costumes are funnier, especially if it’s puchu-puchu (so-so). We can make more people smile with DIY. That’s our only wish [as owners], to make people smile when they see Moca’s pictures online,” Raychelle Ann said in Filipino.
To make Moca’s DIY costumes possible, Raychelle Ann relied on creativity, resourcefulness, and Moca’s cooperation.
“When it comes to Moca, whether it is a DIY or store-bought costume, it is really worth it. Whichever [costume] I am holding, Moca already knows that she will wear it,” Moca’s fur mom said.
“Every time I dress her up, I see how excited Moca is. I see a different level of excitement from her. [I’m] really happy to see Moca like that,” Raychelle Ann said. She added that Moca, a paw-shionista, loves dressing up even if it’s not Halloween.