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Pet Halloween Costumes: Cute or Scary?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 12:00pm

With Halloween just around the corner, you might be tempted to make your cat or dog a star by dressing him up in the cutest mini-sized costume you can find. But wait—is trick-or-treat apparel really safe for your furry friends?

Our experts suggest putting your pet in a costume only if you’re sure he will enjoy it. Some pets love the limelight: wearing a costume and posing for pictures is a blast! Others prefer to stick to their birthday suits for all occasions, and being dressed like a pumpkin for their pet parents’ amusement can cause unnecessary stress.

If you decide to have your pet wear a costume, here are some helpful safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Your pet’s Halloween garb should not constrict his movement or hearing, or impede his ability to breathe, bark or meow. Be sure to try on costumes in advance—and if your furry friend seems distressed, you’ll want to ditch the mini-pirate hat and vest.

  • Examine your pet’s costume and make sure it doesn’t have any small, dangling or easily chewed-off pieces that he could choke on. Also, ill-fitting outfits can get caught on external objects or your pet, leading to injury.

  • IDs, please! Make sure your dog or cat has proper identification on underneath that cute costume. If for any reason your pet escapes and becomes lost during Halloween festivities, a collar and tags and/or a microchip can be a lifesaver.

For a complete list of animal safety guidelines for this spooky holiday, check out our expert Halloween Safety Tips for pet parents.

Tell us: Are you planning to dress up your pet for Halloween?

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Kate

I live in the country and have no grandchildren near, so Halloween is just another day. I do enjoy getting dressed up for New Year's Eve, and my service dog always goes with me. Since she always wears her service dog gear, a costume is no big deal to her. She wears a fancy garter over her buckle collar, and is always given a tiara when we get to the party. She happily prances around showing it off all night and drinks her bowl of apple juice at midnight. This is the one night of the year that casino staff is allowed to fuss over her, and she eats up all the attention, not to mention the boneless chicken wings. Her eyes are shining and her tail is up and wagging so hard it could break legs, so I seriously doubt that she is annoyed.

She also wears a sun hat and Doggles whenever she rides in my convertible with the top down. Instead of laying down and going to sleep as she normally does, she sits at attention the entire time she is in the car so her admiring fans (the whole world, in her opinion) can admire her finery.

Alyssa

Costumes is for the human. if your pet likes it, it's because you tried it in the first place. they have fur, they don't need to wear clothes or costumes. i don't even find it cute. my kittens and dog look better without some silly human thing. i don't een have my pets dressed up in the sims and don't understand why people use their pets. yes, they are part of the family, but they are not your playthings. As it is, too many kids hurt their pets and see them as inferior.

Betty Cordoza

I think Halloween costumes for animals is an irrational idea. My black Lab's concession to the holiday, as it is to any holiday, is to wear an appropriately printed bandana. For Halloween, it is orange Halloween print fabric. "Dressing" animals to me indicates the owners are "making children" out of their critters. And yes, I have a good friend who dresses her Chihuahua for every occasion. I feel sorry for her dog.

Sarah

Every dog I see dressed up looks embarrassed. I feel bad for them, especially when people look at them and comment and laugh. People think it's cute, but it looks like the dogs are mortified.

Mary

I was thinking about making my short-haired dachshund his own fleece coat since even in Georgia there have been some winter mornings that have quite the bite to them. Anyway I was thinking about making it themed like Sparky from Frankenweenie but it wouldn't just be for Halloween since we don't really trick or treat anyway. If my Basil gets anything it's going to be something practical that he could also use on cold winter days.

That and I had gotten one of the commercial Frankenweenie costumes and Basil got all excited when he saw it, but I had to take it back because the costume would've touched the ground since he's a dachshund and so low to the ground. Making a coat for him will be better in the long run since I can make it specifically to his body measurements.

Kristen

I have to disagree with some of the comments on here. My little Yorkie loves to be dressed up. She'll even help me try to put the clothes on her! Though if it is too ridiculous looking she just gives me a face like "do I have to?"
She's actually tried to put the clothes on that were on the bottom shelf in the petstore!
Needless to say she will be dressing up this year, in a costume of her choice of course! :)

angie

My boxer mix loves to dress up. She prances around proud as can be and looks sad when I make her take her "dress" off. On the other hand my rat terrier hates any type of clothing. I sometimes dye our maltese with beet juice but thats color not clothes lol.

esther

i use to but now i dont having 3 dogs who wont hold still and 5 cats who dont get dressed up cause i cant take them anywhere with me so why dress ur pet up and then take it trick or treating with you maybe think some people might get bitten from ur animal thats how i see it besides there safer at home then anywhere

mary

I have a 70 lb standard poodle that loves to get dressed up, so every year we match him in a costume with my 6 yr old daughter. This year we're going to shave some patch lines and make him a frankenstein poodle. We just shave where the stitches go, get some colored hair spray and he's good to go. HE loves dressing up and getting a good bath when he gets home!

Deb

My cat wears a t-shirt 24/7, not to make him look cute, but to keep him from ripping his skin off from his dermatitis. He doesn't really like it but it's better than the open gaping wounds he gets without it. Holidays he just gets a different shirt. (He's been to numerous vets to no avail. This has been the best solution.)

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