From left, Diana Vanden Hout, with Liza Jane, Sarah Duncan, with Klondike, Debra Maneotis, with Yonnie, and Irene Kitzman with Mitzie, Elvis and LaMia, are the with their dogs dressed up for Halloween.  They work at Victory Motors, and are dressing  up their pets for a Holloween Pet Parade.

Photo by Hans Hallgren

From left, Diana Vanden Hout, with Liza Jane, Sarah Duncan, with Klondike, Debra Maneotis, with Yonnie, and Irene Kitzman with Mitzie, Elvis and LaMia, are the with their dogs dressed up for Halloween. They work at Victory Motors, and are dressing up their pets for a Holloween Pet Parade.

Costumed canines

Dressing up pets for Halloween a local, national trend

— When asked whether she dresses up her pets, Irene Kitzman started giggling.

"Sure I do it, but I think it's more fun for me than my pets," she said. "It's almost a guilty pleasure to do it, because there's a certain amount of silliness."

Kitzman said she likes to dress her dogs up for Christmas and other occasions, but hasn't taken them trick-or-treating yet.

Quite a few of Kitzman's co-workers at Victory Motors share the same "guilty pleasure." She quickly recruited other dog-loving co-workers for a picture of dressed up canines.

According to the National Retail Federation, about 10 percent of pet owners dress up their animals for Halloween. That equates to 7.4 million pet owners across the country. Some local pet owners are following the trend.

"I have lots of clients who come in on Halloween with their pets dressed up," said Vana McCoy, co-owner of Paws-A-Tively Pet in Craig. "I make homemade doggy treats for the dressed up pets and stay open until about 8 p.m. for the pets."

Kitzman said she has yet to take her dogs Trick-or-Treating because, "of too many people," but "I've heard of quite a few people who do it."

Locally, the only store to return phone calls about carrying pet costumes was Kmart.

Last year was the first time the Craig Kmart stocked animal costumes, and the popularity brought them back.

"It's definitely growing to be a popular thing here," assistant manager Krystal Gonzales said. "They were a big hit last year, and we're sold out of them this year."

Kmart ran an ad for their four pet costumes (pirate, skeleton, witch and pumpkin) last week, which may have attracted even more pet owners.

"A lot of families consider their pets to be like children, and they want them to come along for Halloween," Gonzales said.

Felix and Fido in Steamboat Springs carries outfits for animals but nothing Halloween specific.

"I have a lot of people coming in and asking me about it, so maybe we should look into more," employee Polly Thornton said. "I saw a picture of a pet owner who shaved and died their dog to look like a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle."

Katie Johnson, who owns Katie's Kostumes in Craig, said she doesn't carry pet costumes yet.

"I see them in all the magazines I have and I would order them if someone asked me. It is definitely a popular craze and I'm surprised I haven't been asked," she said.

Regionally, stores are taking on the craze.

Petco, a national pet store chain, has a pet costume contest every Halloween. Petco employees said they see people from Craig at the Grand Junction store.

"We see people from Craig down here all the time," manager Lexie Moscrip said. "They're welcome to dress their pet up and bring them down here for the competition."

This year's costume judging is Oct. 27. Moscrip said the Halloween section grows every year at her store.

"The costumes get more elaborate as we go," she said. "This year one of my favorites is a dinosaur costume."

She said the store's costumes cost anywhere from $4.99 to $24.99.

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