There’s a lot of love about Halloween – spooky decorations, costumes, pumpkin carving and of course, candy. But why should humans have all the fun? Dog costumes are bigger than ever! For proof, just check out the growing selection at your local pet store. And they are not just for Halloween night – pet costume contests are everywhere this Halloween, both in person and online. Want to join the fun, but can’t come up with any ideas? We’ve found 10 great do-it-yourself options.
Quick and Easy
So you want to make your own costume this year, but you don’t have the time (or talent) to build an elaborate getup. Why not try an easy Charlie Brown costume? Great for dogs of all sizes, this project is quick, inexpensive and easy for your dog to wear. All you need is a yellow t-shirt (infant size for small dogs, youth or adult for larger breeds) and a black marker. Draw an outline of Charlie’s famous zig-zag design around the width of the shirt, about a third of the way up from the bottom hem. Then fill it in with the marker, place your dog’s head and arms into the t-shirt and you’re done! You might try using a pipe cleaner (or yarn?) to make Charlie Brown’s signature forehead curl, for the added touch.
Another fun design that is easy to make is the Hostess Cupcake. The quick version is similar to the Charlie Brown costume – replace the yellow t-shirt with a brown one, trace the white frosting swirl along the front lengthwise and fill it in with white t-shirt paint (available at most craft stores). For a more fitted version of the cupcake costume, check out this tutorial (it does require sewing).
If you want to be the talk of neighborhood without spending all weekend at the sewing machine, you can make your dog into an adorable bunch of grapes. All you need is a purple t-shirt, purple balloons and something to attach the balloons to the shirt (tape, glue, zip ties, etc.). Bonus points for leaves on the collar or a headband stem, as shown on Mr. Pork Chops the French bulldog. Remember, keep the real grapes away, as they are toxic to dogs if ingested.
Man’s Best Friend
If you’re going to go homemade this year, why not join in the fun yourself? There are plenty of creative costume ideas that bring together dogs and their people.
Ever been told your dog is a big as a horse? Make it literal by turning your dog into a horse this Halloween. This costume can be as simple as attaching a cowboy toy to a dog harness, or as elaborate as creating your own saddle, mane and tiny jockey out of fabric. Little ones can join in too – perhaps your little cowgirl needs a horse to walk alongside her while she trick-or-treats? Just make sure the “horse” stays away from all that Halloween candy!
Movie fans will love recreating the famous bicycle scene from E.T. this Halloween. This eye-catching costume (click and scroll down to #30) involves a bike with a basket, a blanket, a red hoodie and (crucially) a dog willing to sit still long enough to take the picture!
How about the always popular Star Wars films? Lhasa apsos, shih tzus, Brussels griffons, pugs and Pomeranians make excellent Ewoks, the small, teddy bear-like creatures that appeared in The Return of the Jedi. To make an Ewok to walk alongside your Princess Leia or Han Solo costume, all you need is a brown fabric hood and your dog’s natural good looks! (See two adorable examples at right.) Or maybe your dog has the wise face (and ears) of Yoda?
Little Dogs, Big Personalities
Smaller dogs make excellent costume models, as many are already used to wearing sweaters, bows and harnesses. (No offense to the proudly un-clothed small dogs out there!) Martha Stewart, herself a proud parent to two French bulldogs Francesca and Sharkey, shares a detailed tutorial for sewing your own Doggie Dinosaur costume. This fearsomely cute outfit is perfect a small dog with a big attitude!
DogWatch dog Lucy, a Chihuahua-pug mix, is one such pup. This year, she’s going as an Oreo® cookie, which was made in a few hours using an old t-shirt and supplies purchased at a craft store for about $15. The instructions are shown below.
Oreo® Cookie Dog Costume
- One large or two small cans of black spray paint
- Two circles of equal size – preferably foam but cardboard might work. The diameter of the circle should be no longer than the length between your dog’s front and back legs.
- Two strips of adhesive Velcro®
- An old white t-shirt (one that fits snugly or that you can cut to fit)
- Measuring tape or a ruler
- With your dog standing up, measure the distance between your dog’s front and back legs. This will be the maximum diameter of your circles.
- Purchase foam circles at a craft store or cut out circles from a heavy cardboard box.
- Go outside to use the spray paint, and paint the two circles on both sides. Make sure you are wearing old clothes and set down paper towels or plastic to protect your lawn or sidewalk.
- Let the paint dry for a least 24 hours.
- Print out or draw the Oreo pattern on a piece of paper. Cut the paper into a circle just slightly smaller than the ones you just painted.
- Tape or glue the Oreo pattern to your (dry) foam or cardboard circles.
- As needed, cut the t-shirt to fit your dog.
- Place adhesive Velcro on the back of the circles and on the t-shirt, so that the circles rest comfortably at the dog’s sides in between her legs. (The Velcro will allow you to attach and remove the cookie circles so that the dog can walk freely and more comfortably in between photo-ops.)
- Put the t-shirt on your dog and attach the Oreo cookies to the cream filling (the t-shirt), and you’re done!
Big Dog D-I-Y
Lest they feel left out, big dog owners can also make costumes for their dogs so that they can join the fun without getting in the way of their dog’s active nature. This Business Dog costume recycles an old dress shirt into a dapper new look for this handsome boxer.
Perhaps the most memorable dog costume of the year so far is this fantastically terrifying Giant Spider costume. Watch this hilarious video and get into the spooky spirit! Expert crafters can try to recreate this costume at home for their own dog, or follow Martha Stewart’s steps to create a cuddlier version.
Check your local pet stores or online listings for local events, and if you try these ideas or any other dog costumes this Halloween, we’d love to see them! Share your dog’s costume on our Facebook page, or via Twitter or Instagram (@dogwatchfence). Don’t forget to have fun and have a very happy Howl-o-ween!