The pet costume category has grown quite a bit since Rubie’s Costume Company entered the playing field four years ago. The American Pet Products Manufacturers Association estimates that Americans will spend US$40.8 million on their pets this year, and that includes accessories. So what began at Rubie’s as a lower-priced, plain Halloween cape for dogs is expanding into an entire line of upgraded licensed pet costumes.
Nick properties will be among the first to get the treatment, as per a two-year deal Nick & Viacom Consumer Products just signed with Rubie’s. Family hounds across the US will be able to morph into SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer, Blue and Pablo and Tyrone from The Backyardigans this Halloween, and next year, the plan is to move the line into dog sweaters, bandanas, leashes and head pieces. Sizes for this fall’s specialty retail offering range from extra small to extra large, and the costumes will retail from US$9.98 to US$19.99.
Because the biggest market for Halloween goods is still North America, Rubie’s EVP Howard Beige says there are no plans at present to sell the line into other territories. But he adds that there are definite expansion plans on the horizon for the market’s quickly growing pet industry, and Rubies is looking to apply more family-friendly licenses.
In the meantime, the company is taking a crack at expanding its Star Wars license to include Jedi and Queen Amidala pooch getups that will hit retail in 2008. A safari/explorer costume is also in the works to complement next year’s Indiana Jones movie.