In some families, Halloween is strictly a kids' holiday. The youngsters get all dolled up and spooked out and hit the town while Mom or Dad (and the pets) stays home and doles out candy. Bor-ing. There's no reason that the whole gang can't get in on the Halloween action -- dogs included. Plenty of towns have special dogs-only Halloween events, but you don't need an official pet parade to promenade your pup. Just take them out trick-or-treating with the rest of the family!
The sky's the limit when it comes to dreaming up a doggie costume, but you do need to take your dog's temperament into account. Some dogs, obviously, take better to wearing glasses, wigs and dresses than others do. Your nervous shih tzu probably wouldn't enjoy an elaborate pony costume, but a more laid-back dog might be up for anything -- we know a boxer that actually has her own personal box of costumes. And, of course, your dog's comfort and safety should always be your top priority. That headless horseman costume you worked on for three months won't last three minutes if your dog can't see to walk down the street.
If you're thinking of parading your pooch this Halloween, check out our list of 10 costumes that'll be sure to turn heads.
If you're having a tough time figuring out the perfect Halloween costume for your doggie, you can't go wrong with a little cross-dressing. So doll up Sammy the Saint Bernard in a sequined dress and platinum wig or put Annie the poodle in a tux, top hat and perhaps a moustache. Halloween is the perfect time for a little gender-bending -- pooches included!
Pop-culture costumes are always a hit for humans, and they're certainly fair game for dogs, too. Show your news knowledge by outfitting your pooch in a creation inspired by the latest political scandal or tabloid disaster. Think about all the Hollywood starlets who are in legal hot water, the craziest characters on the hottest TV shows or what's getting top views on YouTube. The possibilities are literally endless!
Since Halloween occurs during football season, what better occasion is there to deck out your dog as your favorite team's mascot? Of course, this idea is a cinch if you're a University of Georgia fan and you actually own a white bulldog -- but there's nothing saying you can't make your golden retriever into a longhorn if you bleed Texas orange. But fans of the University of Arkansas at Monticello's Boll Weevils and the University of California Santa Cruz's Banana Slugs? You're on your own for this one.
If you have a dachshund, the hot dog costume is a no-brainer. Sure, it's a little obvious, but it's an unwritten law of wiener dog ownership that you have to trot out the frankfurter getup at least once. And who doesn't get a kick out of a cute little weenie puppy in a bun with a squirt of ketchup or mustard?
If you own more than one dog, you gotta go with a group costume. Suit up your pooches as the starting lineup on your favorite sports team. Love sci-fi? Deck them out as the Justice League superheroes (or perhaps the Legion of Doom). Go the good versus evil route and dress your pit bull as a devil and your bichon frise as a little angel. If your pooch is a singleton, round up some canine companions and take a band of pirate dogs for a Halloween plunder of the 'hood.
Yes, we know -- the white-sheet ghost costume is usually a last-minute cop-out when you can't come up with anything else, but it's a simple yet effective option for dogs (and yourself!). As long as your dog doesn't mind having a sheet covering his head, it would be fairly comfy and easy to take on and off. But make sure to belt it somewhere that won't impede your pooch's movement and vision, and don't forget to cut a mouth hole so Fido can breathe!
What could be cuter than a teacup poodle? A teacup poodle in an actual teacup, that's what. A real teacup is a wee bit small, for even the tiniest dog (and forget trying to get her to stay in it), so get creative. You could attach a string to a teacup from a child's play tea set and put it around the poodle like a party hat. Then, cut the bottom out of a plastic bowl, paint flowers on it and slide it around her midsection to mimic the shape of the cup. Attach a handle to the bowl, and it's teatime in no time!
If your pooch resembles any well-known dog -- real or otherwise -- now's the time to work that angle. Just about any tiny black-furred dog who's willing to ride in a basket can be an instant Toto (if you're willing to be Dorothy, of course), and beagles the world over can easily become Wonderdog. Other ideas include Scooby Doo, Huckleberry Hound, Goofy, Astro Jetson and -- for the really ambitious -- Fluffy, the three-headed dog from the Harry Potter series (see it here).
Big laughs can come from the unexpected when you're disguising your dog as another animal. Sure, it'd be adorable to doll up your tiny Pomeranian as a pink butterfly, but it's also predictable. Why not make her a Tyrannosaurus Rex instead? And imagine the chuckles you'll get as you stroll down the street with a Great Dane bunny rabbit or a fluffy German shepherd lamb.
It's a popular theory that pets and their owners look alike, so why not make it true, at least for a night? Dress your dog as you. The easy way out is to get matching costumes for you and your pup, but it's much funnier to truly make your dog into a Mini Me. Alter some old work clothes and suit up Fido for a day at the office, or play up one of your defining characteristics on your dog -- glasses, beard, long hair, whatever -- to make sure people know your pooch is supposed to be you. If you pull it off, you'll take the cake at any Halloween parade.
Are you the ringleader, the offerer or the fifth wheel? HowStuffWorks Now talks with some haunted house experts on how to scare each one.
- The Daily Treat. "Best Halloween Dog Costume Ideas for 2010." Oct. 18, 2010. (Aug. 13, 2011) http://blogs.discovery.com/daily_treat/2010/10/best-dog-costume-ideas-for-2010.html
- Martha Stewart. "Halloween Pet Contest 2008." (Sept. 13, 2011) http://www.marthastewart.com/photogallery/cutest-pet-halloween-costumes-2008-winners#slide_1
- Random History. "99 Fun Facts About Dogs." Feb. 15, 2009. (Sept. 15, 2011) http://facts.randomhistory.com/2009/02/15_dogs.html
- Real Simple. "10 Silly Halloween Costumes for Pets." (Sept. 13, 2011) http://www.realsimple.com/holidays-entertaining/holidays/halloween/halloween-costumes-pets-00000000043843/page8.html
- Woman's Day. "Darling DIY Dog Costumes." Sept. 10, 2008. (Sept. 13, 2011) http://www.womansday.com/Articles/Home/Crafts/Darling-DIY-Dog-Costumes.html