In the USA Halloween is a much bigger event. From Baltimore’s BARCStoberfest to the Happy Howloween Contest at the Hotel Monaco Alexandria outside Washington, DC great prizes are on offer every year. – Theres’ the political pooch award, most glamorous get-up, best-dressed couple (pet and owner), and best all-around costume.
In the UK Halloween is a much smaller affair, but growing in popularity so all pet owners can have a blast at dog-friendly Halloween parties. But this year they will be much smaller, or virtual, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.
Halloween Costumes Ideas for Dogs
Consider your pets’ personality when deciding on a costume. Dog with a sunny disposition? Dress her up like a flower. Always watching the neighbours out the window? Dress him up as Sherlock Holmes. Beagle that constantly howls? Sounds like the latest pop singer to me!
Here are some popular Halloween costume ideas for dogs and owners
- Hot Dog
Finding fun Halloween costumes for dogs
The internet is the obvious place to find a great assortment of ready-to-wear costumes in a variety of sizes. Type “dog costume” into any search engine, and dozens of suppliers will appear. There are no universal sizes for dogs.
Additionally, different breeds of dogs have a range of body types, so costumes will fit some dogs better than others. It’s advisable to order early, so there is time to exchange or order a new costume if the first choice doesn’t work.
Local pet stores like Pets at Home and major supermarkets like Morrisons, Asda, and Tesco usually offer a selection of dog costumes, especially for smaller dogs. For larger dogs, a child’s Halloween costume could be altered to fit your pooch if you’re handy with a needle and thread.
Choose the Right Costume
Your dog is much more likely to be comfortable wearing their costume if it fits comfortably. Here’s some tips on what to look for.
- Not tight around the neck
- Make sure it’s not rubbing around their front legs or genitals
- Their tail should not be restricted and free to wag
- Room to go for a pee and a poop
- Loose fitting so it’s comfortable, but not so loose that they could get caught up in it and panic.
Teach your dog to love wearing their costume
It may take your dog some time to get used to the costume, especially if they don’t wear clothes on a regular basis so here’s how to do it.
Get your costume early and make plenty of time to train them before going to Halloween event. Patience and tasty treats are all you need with this positive reinforcement method. It might also help if you are wearing part of your costume as you train them so that they make the association between the two costumes too. Check out our Halloween clothing for humans on Ruffle Snuffle Wear for some spooky stuff for you.
Step 1: Introduce the costume
Sit on the floor with your dog and the costume. Let your dog sniff the costume, praise them (or click if using a clicker) and give them a treat. Repeat this a few times.
Step 2: Putting on the costume
Use the same click and treat technique to start putting the costume on your dog. Gently put a leg through one of the holes, click ( praise) and treat. Take the costume off, praise them but don’t give them a treat. Then put the costume back on the leg, click (praise) and give them a treat. You are teaching them that the costume equals praise and treats. Gradually introduce the rest of the costume using the same method.
Step 3: Praise for a job well done
When your dog is able to put the whole costume on you can give them lots of praise. Expect lots of waggy tails, licks and a full body wiggle to signal they are happy. But don’t leave it on too long as you want to make the experience a pleasant one so always take it off before they get fed up and try and remove it themselves. Dolly does a manoeuvre where she will rub herself along the furniture to try and catch a corner of it then wiggle to get out of it. Definitely time to take it off!
Don’t have a Halloween party to go to? Throw one!
Halloween parties for dog owners and their pets can be a fun twist on the traditional holiday celebration. Consider these ideas:
- Hold the party in a pet-friendly environment such as a large fenced-in garden or park.
- Create a guest list of dogs known to get along – if there’s any question, have dogs meet before the event to ensure compatibility.
- Send themed invitations – address them to the dog rather than the owner for fun!
- Decide on refreshments – make sure you have plenty for dogs and their human companions.
- Consider entertainment options – how about a playlist with dog-themed songs or a dog trainer? How about a parade or costume contest?
- Keep clean-up supplies on hand – plastic baggies, paper towels, and water to rinse will be appreciated.
- Take pictures of the bash – all guests will enjoy seeing party images.
Of course you can do all this virtually with a Zoom call! Let’s see your Halloween pooches!
Treat yourself …
…to an organic cotton hoodie, sweatshirt or long sleeved shirt from our spooky Halloween collection….