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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ONLY if the animal is OK with it and it is comfortable, not too hot, and safe as per the guidelines ASPCA just posted, then go ahead and dress the pet. They like being included in family activities, and if the rest of the family is having a blast dressing up, the pet may want to be included in the fun. Might not know what the fun is, but when its human puts a costume on and everyone fusses over it, the pet will love the attention. Some pets really do love clothes, especially really small or thin-furred breeds. No matter how cute the costume is, let the pet make the final decision on whether to dress up or not.


I work at a hospital and there is a group of ladies that have permission to bring dogs in to the hospital for pt's healing therapy but for Halloween they dress the dogs in costume that i feel is unsafe and cruel to the dogs. They have them in masks, body costume as well as around their legs.

Is this unsafe and cruel or am i just being to sensative?

If unsafe whom may i call in my community to report this to?


Some of you who think dressing your dog up is cruel must have bigger dogs and/or live in warmer climents. I have a maltese and live in PA, my dog would freeze if I didn't put something on her. It's the same as you wearing a hat in the winter since all no shed breeds have hair not fur which means no warm undercoat. You people are probably the same people that think it's wrong to put a leash on a kid which I also used to do as a safty precaution with my son. As with the kid leash I also belive the dog clothes need to be on a case by case basis, but people shouldn't judge what others feel is the right thing for their family and pets.

J.B. Lahey

I dress my dog up every year. Usually a t-shirt with a halloween design. My dog Likes clothes. He gets excited when i'm about to dress him up. I only put it on for his walk in the afternoon and for photos.

Some people enjoy halloween and want to celebrate it with their pet, just like you would a child BTW.

Anyone who thinks that is abuse, hasn't actually seen an abused dog. Save your outrage for actual abusers.


If God wanted pets/animals in costumes, He would dressed them Himself!! All I put on my dog is a harness/leash and maybe a bandana. And don't forget the reflectors!!


If God wanted pet/animals dressed in Halloween costumes, He would have dressed them Himself!! All I put on my dog is a harness/leash and/or a bandana. Happy Halloween to you all!!

Lori D. Haage

I have 6 cats and 2 dogs. I am going to make each one of them a stretchy Halloween collar so that all of my kiddos will be wearing matching outfits. My ll year old Hannah will wear her usual Halloween sweater and greet the children as she does every year (and just loves it)! Since 3 of my cats are black, they will be carefully tucked away in my bedroom, but I will take a picture of them all before the evening is over. My chihuahua, Matilda, is not a happy camper when people are at the door, so no other costume for her (other than her stretchy Halloween collar) and no helping to answer the door. The safety and comfort of each of my individual pets is paramount!


I think what "The Experts" wrote regarding pet costumes is dead-on. The owner ought to make sure to be completely in tune with their pet's comfort level in a costume, as well as being well aware of any safety hazards. Pets are living creatures with feelings, not props or dolls for our amusement, even though they're pretty good at being hilariously amusing a lot of the time!

It is always fun to see a little dog or cat dressed up in a 3-piece power suit with eyeglasses perched on their snouts, but the priority should always be the animal's comfort, not our fun. If the pet likes it, then go for it. Otherwise, their being stressed out is not worth the laughs or that first-place prize for cutest costume.

Guy that looks

I think, in my own personal opinion that dressing up dogs is wrong, but some dogs may be cold and that is the only way to keep them warm
(by the way i am 12 and that is as much as i could take in)

bellas mom

i have a 6mos old mix cat this halloween i plan to put her in a witches skirt. Its not like im keeping her all day in that skirt. I like to dress up my cat for a few mins and take pics of her then take off the outfits bc i would not want her to be miserable. I see nothing wrong in dressing up your pet just as long as its safe and their comfy. I dont have any kids and to me my cat is like my baby. Of course im not mad enough to take her outside in a stroller, i would never cross that line. I plan to get her a hareness and take her outside when weather is nice and it would be a nice lil work out for both of us. (although people will think im crazy that im walking a cat! Lol )