Dog Halloween Costumes: Should I Dress My Dog Up For Halloween?

Dog Halloween Costumes: Should I Dress My Dog Up For Halloween?

Hey Mighty Paw fam, Barbara here to talk about dog Halloween costumes and whether or not we should dress our pups up for the spooky occasion! 

After all, our dogs are part of our families and as such, it only comes naturally to want to include them in our festivities. And Halloween is SUCH a fun holiday, right?!

I mean besides original costumes and trick or treating, people get REALLY creative with their front yard decorations and lights in their windows!

So much so that during the entire month of October, dog walks turn into a little decoration adventure hunt!

Looking at front yard Halloween decorations on a dog walk with Mighty Paw's reflective waterproof leash

Gear featured in the picture above is our reflective waterproof dog collar & waterproof dog leash.

However, the question remains of whether or not we should dress our dogs up on October 31st!

In our opinion, it depends on the respective dog.

Of course some dogs don't mind wearing clothes and accessories at all.

But some will only tolerate a few items and others hate the feeling of anything other than their collar on them.

So with that in mind, we should always ensure that dogs who wear any type of outfit are comfortable and that they're having as much fun as we are.

That's why in this blog post, I'll cover:

  • When to dress your pup up
  • Signs that your dog is uncomfortable in their outfit
  • Dog Halloween costume ideas
  • Alternatives for dogs who don't love to dress up

Dog Halloween Costumes: Should I Dress My Dog Up For Halloween?

 On the Mighty Paw Blog: Dog Halloween Costumes or Should I Dress My Dog Up For Halloween?

When to dress your pups up for Halloween

It really depends on the dog!

I already briefly mentioned that some dogs don't mind wearing costumes at all. As you might be able to tell, that's the case with the pup in our title picture! 

Dogs who are used to wearing clothes & harnesses

Dogs who are used to wearing clothes like sweaters and rain jackets typically fall into that category.

Dogs who are used to wearing harnesses on a regular basis will also mind less than those dogs who never experience the feeling of anything other than their collars on them. 

It also depends on the individual levels of socialization

Dogs who are well socialized to all sorts of paraphernalia will have an easier time seeing, smelling, feeling and accepting unusual clothing or things on their body.

By the way, the best time to start socializing dogs to the world around them is when they are still puppies.

Check out our Ultimate Puppy Guide blog post for more in-depth information on the topic of socialization for puppies.

But socialization doesn't stop at puppy age! It's equally important to continue exposing dogs to the world around them once they've grown into their adult bodies. 

Plan your dog's Halloween costume ahead of time

If you can, plan your pup's Halloween costume ahead of time. That way you'll be able to introduce them to it before October 31st.

Unless your pup's a pro at changing outfits, let them see and sniff it first before you put it on them. Your dog's natural curiosity should definitely help you out here!

Once they're done checking it out, reward their curiosity with something positive like their favorite treat, snack or toy along with verbal praise. For example, good girl/boy!

Next, gently rub the costume against their body and see how they react.

If they don't seem to mind, you can try putting it on them now. Don't forget to reward their willingness to play along!

Signs that your dogs are uncomfortable in their Halloween costumes

However, if they display any of the signs below, you should probably skip the costume:

  • Excessive panting and drooling
  • Reluctance to walk
  • Stiff body
  • Shaking
  • Growling 

You know your dog best, so if they're acting vastly differently from their normal behavior while they're wearing the costume, it's better to take it back off.

It's also going to depend a little on how long you expect your dog to wear their outfit. 

If you only want them to pose for cute Halloween photos, your pup's only going to have to be OK with the costume for a little while.

If, however, you plan on taking them out for a trick-or-treating walk with your kiddos, you'll really want to make sure that they're comfortable in whatever they're wearing.

That's why I suggest that you take your pup on a few practice walks wearing their costumes. Don't forget to bring some tasty treats to reward your pup with during the walk!

Also, make sure that your dog can comfortably walk in their outfit and that it's not too tight or restricts their movements.

You could also dress to impress your pup for Halloween photos and then only have them wear a cute Halloween doggie accessory for the trick-or-treat walk.

I mention a few different options towards the end of this blog post, so keep on reading!

Pro Tip:

If you're taking your dog along for trick-or-treating, you may want to keep them on a shorter leash. It'll be easier to keep them close by and from investigating your kids' candy baskets. Speaking of those, remember to remind your kids not to share their goodies with your pup!



Ideas for Dog Halloween Costumes

Now as far as actual Dog Halloween Costumes go, the only limits are those of your creativity!

You can dress your pup up with any of the following ideas - either by themselves or combined:

  • Hats: witch, pirate, cowboy, baseball
  • Balloons tied to a harness
  • (Clip on) bow ties
  • Lion manes
  • Bunny ears
  • Scarves
  • Onesies 
  • T-shirts
  • Capes
  • Beads

Cute Assistant Brewer Dog Halloween Costume

Rhodesian Ridgeback Dog in a Halloween Costume

 Ninja turtle dog halloween costume

Dog dressed up in a Dog Halloween Costume

Alternatives for Dogs Who Don't Love to Dress Up

The good news is that Halloween doesn't have to be scary or uncomfortable for your pup!

You can still add a spooky-cute Halloween touch to your pup's appearance on the 31st without having to make them feel uncomfortable.

We have a few very low impact accessories you could "dress" your pup up with!

For example:

Mighty Paw's Safety LED Dog Collar and LED Dog Necklace make a great low key dog halloween costume

Dogs wearing the Mighty Paw Halloween Dog Collar

Other low impact accessory ideas are bandanas. You can either buy them or make your own.

Just head into any store that sells fun fabrics and buy a yard of it, then cut out a triangle shaped bandana and either tie it around your dog's neck or attach it to their collar.

Vets and groomers also like to send their patients/customers home with a bandana tied around their neck, so you could also repurpose any of those if your pup recently came home with one.

The ones featured below are my pup Wally's!

Bandanas make great Halloween accessories for dogs

Walking with a low key dog halloween costume

This week only! If your pup likes to dress up, we invite you to participate in our Dog Halloween Costume Contest for the chance to win a treat bag filled with our Yak Cheese Dog Chews, Bully Sticks & Pig Ears!

There will be 3 winners!

Selection of Mighty Paw's Yak Cheese Dog Chews, Bully Sticks and Pig Ears

How to Enter Our Dog Halloween Costume Contest

To enter our contest, post your dog's costume photo on Instagram and tag us @mightypaw! You'll get bonus entries for posting your pup's Halloween outfit from last year too! 

We'll accept entries posted through Sunday, October 31st, at midnight EST. Winners will be notified via DM on Instagram on Monday, November 1!

Open to all US and Canada based readers :)

Good luck and Happy Halloween to you and your pups!

Barbara Rivers writes regularly for Mighty Paw. She is a blogger, raw feeder, former dog walker and maintains the blog K9s Over Coffee.

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