Platts: Canine Costumes

by barbara platts

The month of October, leading up to All Hallows’ Eve, must be the main time during the year that we truly test our pet’s unconditional love for us. Those who don’t own pets may not be sure what I mean by this. But pet owners who have spent hours crafting costume ideas, forcing sleeves, pants or hats on their beloved animals and rolling on the ground in hysterics when the costume finally fits, know exactly what I’m talking about.

This month, my boyfriend and I have let our personal costume ideas fall by the wayside because we have a much bigger priority: dressing up our year-old puppy Cassius. We’ve been prepping the pup for weeks. Scheduling casual fittings and reassuring him that silver bowties around his neck are completely natural and that beanies on his head or bracelets around his wrist are not for chewing, but for flaunting proudly.

People who don’t own pets (and the ones that only own a fish, which is very difficult to dress up) often guffaw and roll their eyes at their counterparts’ obsession with outfitting their little ones in bright colors, funny masks and clever booties on Halloween. But ask any dog owner what their furry friend is going to be for the holiday and the answer is almost immediate: “A spider, a taco, a rabbit, a moose, a ballerina, Where’s Waldo, Mariah Carey, Donald Trump or maybe even a piece of bacon!” The list goes on and on.

Now, before you go thinking I’m the only freak that cares about dressing their pet up for Halloween, let me throw a few numbers at you. Last year, Americans spent $55.7 billion dollars on pets. Although all animals are created equal, it goes without saying that the largest percentage of that chunk of change was spent on the best type of pet: a dog. In the U.S. there are an estimated 83.3 million dogs. I don’t even want to start imagining the piles of abandoned turds throughout this great nation of ours. These numbers were all found in a study conducted by the American Pet Products Association. People estimate that this cost will only increase as the years go on because the trend of “humanizing” our animals has become the norm in the last couple of decades.

To zoom in on these numbers a bit more, let’s just look at Halloween. The National Retail Federation recently released a report stating that 20 million pet owners are planning on spending roughly $350 million on their pets for Halloween. Now, as stated before, there are more than 80 million dogs in this country, meaning that there are at least 60 million dog owners (and more owners of various other pets) that don’t know what the hell they’re doing right now and need to go get a costume for their pet stat. But anyway, we spend $350 million on costumes for our pets each year. To put the number in perspective, that’s like buying six or seven mansions on Red Mountain.

We don’t have an exact number for the amount of pets in Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley…but since there are 80 million in the country, I’m estimating about a quarter of them live around here. Because of that, we are sure to see some great outfits on our non-human friends this weekend.

If you aren’t an animal lover and think Halloween costumes for pets are silly, immature and downright ridiculous, try to keep your feelings to yourself this weekend as us proud owners are out and about flaunting our pet’s fashionable threads. For us, this is one of the most thrilling times of year. We won’t have a chance to dress up our dogs again like this until…Christmas most likely.

For those of you who are pet owners and have yet to find an appropriate costume, don’t worry, there’s still time. Check out C.P. Paws on the Hyman Mall, Halloween headquarters upstairs at Carl’s Pharmacy or The Thrift Shop of Aspen. If you can’t find a proper dog outfit, sift through the children’s costume section. Your pet won’t mind…as long as you cut a place out for his or her tail.

Barbara Platts has not yet decided what she is going to be for Halloween because she’s been busy dressing up her dog. However, she will be out and in the spirit on Saturday night and hopes to see you about town at one of the numerous costume parties. Reach her at