The only thing better than planning your own costume for Halloween is planning your pet’s. A dog dressed as Wonder Woman, Superman, or Batman? Heck yes. Celebrate your love of Star Wars via Yoda dog ears? Absolutely. Seeing your favorite goofball dressed as a minion? The cutest.
If you need a dog Halloween costume idea, we’ve got you covered. Be sure to go slowly and check your dog’s comfort level before, during, and after getting dressed. And for non-costume doggy dress-up ideas, check out Halloween bandanas and collars.
Tips for Dressing Your Dog Up
Whether you make a costume at home or buy one from a store, there are some things you can do to help your pet have a better time on the 31st.
- Get your pet’s costume early. It gives both of you a chance to get used to it before the big day.
- Let your pet sniff and show interest in the costume before putting them in it.
- Keep treats handy so they see the costume as a good thing. As much as you can, use the treats to guide your pet into the costume—for example, if you’ve got a lion’s mane that goes over their head, guide their head through the hole by enticing them with food, and let them take the treat a few times before fastening it on fully. You don’t want your dog to feel tricked.
- Once the costume is on, take frequent breaks. Try not to keep the costume on for more than a few minutes—say 10 or 15—at a time. And keep the treats coming while they’ve got their costume on. (This is also a good time to take a million cute photos and send them our way, please and thank you.)
- After you’ve taken the costume on and off over a series of days, try taking your pet on a walk while wearing it. Be ready for them to be slower or distracted while they get used to the sounds and feelings of their costume, and of course, treat, treat, treat.
Hopefully, by the time Halloween rolls around, they’ll be comfortable enough in the costume to last the whole night as the witch to your cauldron, the candle to your pumpkin, the pea to your pod.
Dog Halloween Costume Safety
Here a few things to consider when choosing a costume for your pet.
- If you’re going to be walking around with your dog, make sure you choose some element of the costume that is highly visible so that your pet can be seen from a distance—you want to make sure they don’t get lost, and also that cars know they’re there. A luminescent collar or a reflective material can be great for this.
- Breathable material, and making sure the costume isn’t too tight, will help your pet feel more comfortable and avoid restricting blood flow. Consider how heavy the costume is, as well, since the added weight means your pet has to exert more effort to move and can tire your pet out or possibly overheat them.
- Avoid small, dangling costume pieces that your pet might chew or choke on. The last thing you want is an emergency Hallow’s Eve vet visit.
- Keep your pet’s tags on. It’s not uncommon for pets to get separated from their owners on chaotic days like Halloween, so if your pet bolts, you want to make sure their tags and microchip will help them get home.
All preparation aside, if you realize that your pet hates their costume, they don’t have to wear it! Stress and anxiety aren’t good for pets, and the last thing you want is a grumpy dog zombie on your hands. Happy pets are better than costumed ones any day.
Some costumes just look better on big dogs, like this lion’s mane. See our handy article on the best big-dog approved Halloween costumes. When shopping for a large dog costume, or designing one, keep in mind that a head/ears adornment or shirt-style outfit is often easier to pull off than a full suit.
Popular big dog costumes include:
- UPS Driver
- Business suit (just add tie!)
Find the lion costume for big dogs on Amazon.
If you’ve got a petite pet, we put together a variety of costumes for small dogs here that range from no-fuss to total showstopper. Many costumes are designed with small dogs in mind, from the Ewoks and the tacos to the lattes and the pup-cakes. Like any dog costume, when selecting one for your small pupper, make sure to double-check the measurements! Scanning customer reviews is also helpful to get a sense of true size.
Popular small dog costumes include:
- Daisy / another flower
Find the Bantha costume for small dogs on Amazon.
If you’re looking for breed-specific dog Halloween costumes, we’ve got you covered here. And yes, they’re all as cute as this literal “bull dog” bulldog costume. Consider your breed’s best-known qualities and go from there. Some ideas we love:
- Labrador retriever: Olympic swimmer
- Border collie: Einstein
- Pug: potato
- Yorkie: princess
- Boxer: Well, a boxer (pro tip: get child-sized gloves)
- Pit bull: superhero
- Goldendoodle or Labradoodle: teddy bear
- Pomeranian: Ewok
- Husky: rock star (they love to sing!)
- Any puppy: cup of coffee
Picture this: Your dog goes as a raptor, and you go as Jeff Goldblum (or Chris Pratt if you like the reboot.) That and even more ideas are featured in our matching human/pet costume article.
Popular dog and human couples’ costumes include:
- Bee and flower
- Donut and coffee
- Chip and salsa
- Beauty and the Beast
- Luke and Yoda (or Leia, or Darth Vader)
- Batman and Robin
- Minnie and Mickey
- Cat and … dog
Find the raptor costume on Amazon.
If you don’t think your pet will go for a full-on costume, or if you want to celebrate for, like, the entire month of October, these Halloween-themed dog collars are your best bet, and we found the internet’s biggest variety.
Find this pumpkin collar on Amazon.
If you’re crafty, DIY costumes offer endless possibilities. As detailed at that link, you can turn your dog into a pineapple, a pool float, a lion, a cupcake—the list goes on. Popular DIY dog costumes include:
- Fruits or veggies
- Other animals
- Teddy bear
- Martini glass (just add the cone of shame)
- Winged creatures
Get yourself some felt, scissors, and a glue gun, and the sky’s the limit. Giant soy sauce meets sushi, anyone?
And for fun, here are some downright terrible dog costumes …
The Final Word: Halloween and Dog Anxiety
Halloween can be scary for dogs, and not for the same reasons it is for us humans. Costumes, strangers at the door, unusual noises: there’s a lot going on that will seem suspicious to your dog.
If your dog is prone to anxiety even a little, consider keeping your dog indoors in a cozy, dog-safe zone for the evening, or tap a trusted pet sitter to keep them company. Halloween night could also be a good time to employ anti-anxiety tools for your dog—and there are many available, from CBD oil to pressure wraps. Talk to your vet about these options.
For more tips on how to help your dog navigate Halloween, check out this post from an experienced trainer.