Three Tips for Dressing Up Your Pet for Halloween

Thursday, October 24, 2013 - 11:15am
Dog Wearing a Halloween Costume

Are you ready? Halloween is just a week away. As most pet parents scramble to put the finishing touches on their own costumes, some are scrounging for the cutest or scariest attire they can find for their pets, too. But hold on—are Halloween costumes really okay for our furry friends?

It depends, say experts. Our vets and behaviorists weighed in and said putting your pet in costume is okay as long as you’re certain he’s comfortable in his holiday gear.

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

Your pet’s Halloween garb shouldn’t constrict his movement or hearing, or impede his ability to breathe, bark or meow. Be sure to try on costumes well in advance—and if your furry friend seems distressed, try switching to his birthday suit.

Dog Wearing a Halloween CostumeExamine 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.

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, tags or a microchip can be a lifesaver.

Are you planning to dress up your pet for Halloween? Let us know in the comment—and be sure to tag us @ASPCA if you upload any pics of your festive friend to Twitter or Instagram.

For more holiday advice, check out our expert Halloween Safety Tips.

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Mark Watts

NO, Animals should not be put in costumes, it could restrict movement and possible get hurt while try to move quickly if need be


Did you even read the article. It already said no customes that restrict movement. There are lots of customes that are perfectly safe.


I agree 100% animals do not want to be dressed up. I say No, NO, NO to dressing up your pet.


You obviously don't know 100% of the animals in the world. You can't possibly know what they all do and do not want. You are wrong.


I have dressed my 3 med-lg dogs up many times and they've won many costume contest. Although there are challenges at times as to how to keep something on in a stable manner, especially with items such as hats because their natural tendency is to shake it off when they feel something on their head, my dogs have always been so good about it all and, if photos can tell, they always look (and seem) to be having a great time, with very big smiles on their faces. So, if they were miserable, it certainly didn't show and they aren't usually big on hiding their true feelings! One just needs to use good judgement as mentioned in this article about comfort and safety. They don't usually wear them for long anyway... just long enough for the contest. It seems to me (and others too) that they certainly enjoy going to the events and the attention they get in relation to it, and also the other festivities that may surround the event while there, especially when designed for their enjoyment and pleasure too... such as short dog walks (with or without costumes), bobbing for weiners, treats, etc. It is also a bonding thing for them and their humans as well as with other dogs. So, if you prefer not to dress up your dog(s) for a special event, it is your business, but don't be such a grouch about others who enjoy doing it occasionally... as long as they are being reasonable and safe. What I think is far worse are the people who get a pet, then just stick it in the back yard, or worse yet... a small cage, by itself and ignore it most of the time! Now that is neglectful and possibly even cruel. Dogs generally love attention, even if they have to wear a costume every now and then to get it.


My dog has a Big Bird coat which he wears as a costume and he LOVES it. It is warm and comfortable. He can jump, run and play in it and stay warm while tick-or-treating with his human brothers.


No costumes! I will admit to putting a Halloween themed sweater on my little guy, with all tags, harness, and leash attached of course. Let's face it, he's 7 lbs and we live in the Northeast. I try taking him out without anything, he shivers and looks at me like I'm crazy.


Absolutely not. It is immature for people to remove the dignity of our pets by making them into little people for their own satisfaction.


My German Shepherd is a therapy dog. I put him in a Santa suit (which he tolerates) for Christmas because the nursing home residents love it. Other than that, I put a green bandana on him for St. Patrick's Day and that's all. I agree that dressing up your dog as a person is wrong unless there is a very compelling reason to do so and it doesn't get out of hand.


Depends on the animal not fair for most "purse" dogs who are already accessories themselves.But I 've known more than a few "tough" dogs who really enjoyed the extra attention that a ribbon or a strand of pearls incurred. Recently met a dog who had to wear an Elizabethan collar to stop gnawing at hotspots but when she wears a ribbon it has the same effect.