Half a billion on Halloween pet costumes is latest sign of America’s out-of-control consumerism

By Jay Zagorsky for The Conversation

Pumpkins are a popular choice for pets. Reuters/Guadalupe Pardo

Day of the decadent

Halloween started as a Celtic holiday honoring the dead.

Why people spend like crazy

In the late 1890s, an economist named Thorstein Veblen looked at spending in society and wrote an influential book called “ The Theory of the Leisure Class,” which explained reasons why people spend. It laid out the idea that some goods and services are bought simply for conspicuous consumption.

Cutting-edge research and commentary out of Boston University, home to Nobel laureates, Pulitzer winners and Guggenheim Scholars. Find an expert: bu.edu/experts

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