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Best Dog Halloween Costumes for the 2020 Spooky Season

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Halloween’s the best, am I right? For an entire night, you don a costume that lets you be anyone you want. (Oh, yeah, and there’s candy involved) Why shouldn’t your dog accompany you on this annual masquerade? After all, they’re a member of the family. With so many dog Halloween costumes available (more and more every year), everyone can hit the pavement as a coordinated group. You’ll be sure to delight your friends and neighbors.

Dog Halloween Costumes 101

If your dog wears clothing regularly, switching over to a costume is no big deal. However, if Halloween is their first time donning clothing, you could be in for a rough night. Not every dog tolerates clothes, and while they may look adorable in their costume, you don’t want them miserable. If you have grand plans for Halloween, start planning weeks in advance.

Desensitization Training

Teaching your dog to accept a Halloween costume works along the same principles as other training. You’ll need your costume of choice, treats, and patience.

  1. Make sure your dog is in a positive mood. Maybe that means going for a walk or playing a game first. They won’t be excited; they’ll be relaxed but not exhausted.
  2. Start with the simplest piece of the costume first. You know your dog and what they’ll tolerate. Is it the shirt? The cap? The collar? Go slow, one leg at a time, and use a lot of positive reinforcement. Reward with treats along the way.
  3. Move to the more complicated parts of the costume. Again, go slow and give treats with each step.
  4. Once the entire costume is on, give your dog a chance to get used to it. Take a walk in the costume. You’ll distract your dog from biting at the costume or trying to roll in it. More treats and praise.
  5. You can extend the time they wear the costume but NEVER leave them unsupervised. Always reward with treats.

Safety Planning

If you can dream of a dog Halloween costume, it exists. That doesn’t mean the costume is a good idea. You want to keep your dog’s health and safety in mind when you start looking. It might mean leaving the dream costume on the shelf. But which is worse: skipping that Halloween costume or landing in an emergency vet?

  • Avoid potentially dangerous materials. Accidents happen. Plastics can lodge in the intestines and cause foreign bodies. String, in particular, causes linear foreign bodies. Try to avoid costumes with either.
  • Beware of choking hazards. Again, consider the pieces that make up your dog’s costume. You don’t want your dog to swallow anything inadvertently.
  • Watch the forecast. Are they calling for a heatwave or snow? Cute or not, if that fleece costume is going to put your dog at risk for heatstroke, choose something else. By the same token, if the temps are dropping, a thin polyester costume won’t protect your short-haired dog against the chill.
  • Exercise restraint. A lot of us (guilty) tend to go overboard on Halloween. We tend to get carried away once we see the dog costumes available, but we need to remember their safety and comfort, first and foremost.
  • Keep the leash in mind. Make sure you can still attach your dog’s leash. This might mean putting their collar or harness on first. Look at the costume carefully and make sure you have a plan.

You want your dog to join in the fun but do it safely. No one wants to end up at the hospital on Halloween (that ISN’T fun).

Choosing a Dog Halloween Costume

Everyone has their aesthetic when it comes to dog Halloween costumes. The possibilities are endless. Before you deck your dog out in your family’s movie cast recreation, though, there are some things to consider.

  • Size/Fit: Every costume comes with a description for fit. Read the individual measurement instructions. Don’t follow the breeds or weights listed – they’re usually not accurate. (If you have deep-chested dogs, this is particularly true.) Your costume choice will tell you where you need to measure (i.e., around the neck, the length of the body, etc.).
  • Fasteners: Look at how your dog costume choice stays on. If there’s just one Velcro strap and your dog’s active, it’s probably coming off within minutes. You might opt for a T-shirt style or something with snaps.
  • Comfort: Your dog NEEDS to be comfortable in their Halloween costume. If you know, they hate things on their head, skip hoods or headpieces. If they have short (or no) hair, costumes with frills could rub the skin and prove irritating.

Best Dog Halloween Costumes

With such an abundance of Halloween costumes, how to choose? (Besides looking at ratings) It came down to safety, ease of use, and variety of sizing. All of these dog Halloween costumes checked those boxes.

Super-Dog Halloween Costumes

Let’s face it – superheroes are always popular Halloween costume choices. Whether you want the family to form their own Avengers or Justice League (unhappily, Marvel costumes didn’t have high ratings – boo), or you choose to pair heroes and villains, these costumes score big with everyone’s inner comic book geek.

Yes, the Caped Crusader himself! This costume is loose and comfortable, consisting of a chest piece, headpiece, belt, and cape. With sizes small to large, it fits most dogs. Best of all, if your dog doesn’t like one of the pieces, you can always skip it and wear the rest. After all, everyone knows Batman’s iconic look. Why wouldn’t they – this costume is officially licensed by DC Comics!

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Maybe your family is fans of the Man of Steel. You’re in luck because DC Comics licensed a Superman costume! This costume attaches with drawstrings, allowing for a more comfortable fit. You get a chest piece with Superman’s iconic Kryptonian symbol for “hope,” a belt, and a cape. While the cape might be too long for dogs with shorter legs, you can cut it for a proper fit. The costume is available in sizes small up to XL.

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Maybe it’s not the golden armor from Wonder Woman 1984 (not really practical for a dog). Still, this Wonder Woman costume pays homage to the original DC Comics image beautifully (and, you got it, officially licensed). Consisting of a single-piece dress and headpiece, your dog couldn’t represent a more beautiful heroine. The dress bears Wonder Woman’s logo on shiny red and blue, with a shimmering gold belt. The costume is available in sizes small all the way up to 3X.

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Food-Themed Dog Halloween Costumes

Dressing our dogs up as our favorite food items never gets old. The buffet of Halloween costumes is endless. However, finding well-reviewed food costumes dropped the list quite a bit. It turns out a lot of our favorite nibbles produce costumes that aren’t dog-friendly. (Food for thought)

It’s a joke that has to be done: the dog dressed as a Hot Dog. This costume fits over your dog’s back and secures with Velcro. The useful thing about this particular costume is that while the sizes are only small to large, they have two different lengths available. That’s right, you can dress your Weiner dog as a hot dog (you know you’ve always wanted to).

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Are you a caffeine junkie? Does your coffee shop of choice know your order by heart? Maybe consider poking some fun at yourself by dressing your dog as a Puppy Latte. Made from fleece, the costume consists of a jacket and headpiece, held closed with Velcro. People have personalized this costume for their coffee preferences – something to consider. Sizes range from small to XL.

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Ride ‘Em Dog Halloween Costumes

If you have a dog that won’t tolerate wearing clothes but wouldn’t mind something on their back, the “riding” costumes might be a better choice. These costumes always get a chuckle from people, with a variety of “riders” available. Just keep a wary eye on your dog, as the riders come stuffed. You don’t want a foreign body on your hand if your dog decides they’ve had enough.

Does your dog have bucking bronco aspirations? Then this Cowboy Rider is the costume for them. The stuffed cowboy doll secures around their chest on his saddle via Velcro straps. If your dog is used to wearing a harness, this is a comfortable costume for them. They can run through the house, the cowboy will stay in place, and everyone will enjoy the sight. The costume is available in sizes XS to large.

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Dog racing doesn’t have a good reputation (as a parent of a “failed” racer, I don’t support it), but why not poke a little fun? With the Jockey Racer, you can take dog racing literally. The stuffed jockey attaches via harness-style clips, and there’s even a D-ring for easy leash access (can’t beat that!). You’re sure to get a big laugh from your friends and neighbors. This costume is available in small to XL.

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T-Shirt Dog Halloween Costumes

Not every dog tolerates a lot of bells and whistles going on around them. It doesn’t mean they can’t celebrate Halloween. There are plenty of T-shirt dog costumes out there. The simple style is comfortable for your dog to wear, and they’ll still get to show off a fun costume. It’s the best of both worlds!

Want to make the neighbors look twice? The Glow Bones is a cute two-piece costume with a T-shirt and headpiece, and both are decked out with a glow-in-the-dark skeleton. The belly is high-cut to keep things dry, but (just in case), the entire costume is machine washable. Your dog will stay comfortable as they stroll the neighborhood. This costume is available in sizes XS to large.

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Obviously, you’d never send your dog to jail. However, the Prison Pooch makes a cute joke – especially if the entire family joins in. This T-shirt is high-cut on the belly for both male and female dogs, and there’s a matching cap with an elastic band. With available sizes ranging from XS to 2XL, you’re sure to find one to fit your dog.

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Animal Dog Halloween Costumes

Why not dress your dog as another animal for Halloween? After all, we frequently don animal costumes for the occasion. These animal costumes frequently top the charts as favorites – with fans and owners alike.

Apparently, scaring your neighbors into thinking you got a pet Lion never gets old. Available in brown and black-brown, this costume features a mane hood and tail poof. Unhappily, this costume only comes in one size (large). It’s intended for medium to large dogs (I guess they decided small lions weren’t convincing).

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I would throttle any person that brought this costume into my house. However, the Spider ranks high on a lot of people’s lists. Whether you’re looking to scare someone (or everyone), or you just think your dog would make a great arachnid, this faux fur costume will keep your dog warm. You get the jacket and headpiece, complete with googly eyes (as if that makes it better). With sizes available from XS to large, just about any dog can give your neighbors a heart attack.

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Do you have dinosaur fanatics in the house? Then this Triceratops headpiece is the costume for you. Held in place with Velcro under the chin, this costume is gentle and comfortable for your dog to wear. Even better, this is an option for dogs that don’t tolerate wearing other clothes. This costume is available in sizes small to large.

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Pop Culture Dog Halloween Costumes

Every year, we make our bets about what Halloween costumes we’re going to see the most. The most popular movies, books, and television tend to dictate the costumes kids favor. Why should your dog be any different? Let them join in on the action!

No Star Wars fan should ever go without a Jedi costume in the family (at least once). Your dog will assure everyone of their ability to wield the Force with this shirt, cloak, and attached belt. You even get ear holes to allow the hood to fit comfortably. The costume is officially licensed by Star Wars (and, hence, Lucasfilm and Disney), so you know it’s authentic. Ranging in size from small to XL, this costume fits Jedi of just about every size.

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Pirates never go out of style. If your family’s decided to hoist the Jolly Roger, let your dog join the crew. This costume gets worn on the front legs and head (every pirate needs a good hat). Such costumes are popular as they make it look like your dog is waving their hook around. Even if your dog refuses to wear the hat, there’ll be no question that they’re a pirate, through and through. This costume is available in sizes XS to large.

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Does your dog have a love-hate relationship with your UPS Delivery Person? (Ours does) Well, now you can show them there are no hard feelings. Your dog can wear this cute costume, featuring two “arms” supporting a package. The visor has an elastic chin strap. You have to assemble the box yourself, but it attaches to the “hands” via Velcro dots. With the official UPS logo, your dog is sure to impress. This costume is available in sizes XS to large.

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Happy Haunting!

Whether you plan to coordinate your entire family with group costumes, or you just want your dog to look great while they accompany the kids, dog Halloween costumes provide a lot of fun and laughter. Remember to keep your dog’s comfort in mind when shopping, and consider a trial run before the big night. And get those pictures first thing.

Happy Halloween!

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Andria Kennedy

Andria Kennedy

Andria grew up in a pet-friendly household. On weekends, the family made trips to zoos and aquariums in the area. So it wasn't a surprise when she gravitated toward a career with animals. After six years working among the background operations at the Philadelphia Zoo, she gained a unique insight into the veterinary world. The vet staff provided her first lessons in terminology, the identification of medical equipment, and glimpses of radiographs (x-rays). She also enjoyed plenty of opportunities to talk with everyone, including the veterinary technicians. And they offered an alternative for someone NOT interested in surgical pathways: Namely, their course of study. Andria enrolled at Harcum College. Philadelphia boasts two programs for vet techs, but only Harcum works with the Ryan Veterinary Hospital and New Bolton Center (University of Pennsylvania's small and large animal facilities, respectively). Harcum's vet tech students receive six months of hands-on teaching and experience alongside Penn's vet students. With the opportunities and connections available with one of the top veterinary schools, the decision was easy for her to make. New Bolton Center: Large Animal Medicine Andria ended up trudging through snow up to the knee and shivering in subzero temperatures during her winter semester, but she wasn't disappointed with her choice. New Bolton provided a thorough grounding in large animal medicine. A horse-lover as a child, the experience renewed those old emotions. And a few memories stood out and remained to this day: • Standing alongside a Clydesdale and feeling TINY • Holding the reins of a horse galloping at top speed on a treadmill • Nursing tiny foals through the first days of their life Ryan Veterinary Hospital: Small Animal Medicine Veterinary students can legally work at a practice while studying. Andria took advantage of the opportunity, gaining "real life" experience while attending class. It provided a slight advantage when she entered her three months at the small animal hospital. However, as Ryan Veterinary Hospital offers treatments unique to the veterinary community, she continued to gain valuable experience. For instance, she spent a day working alongside their Chemo Team. The positivity of everyone she encountered - staff, clients, and patients alike - left a lasting impression. Additional standout moments included: • An afternoon spent with the head of the feline kidney transplant program • A day serving as the anesthesia technician in their new radiation unit • Recognizing a radiograph of a giant elephant shrew (applying her previous zoo knowledge) Emergency/ICU Veterinary Technician Accompanying her Associate of Science in Veterinary Technology, Andria received a passing score on the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE). The two led to her certification/license as a veterinary technician - first in Pennsylvania (CVT) and later in Virginia (LVT). Emergency medicine appealed to her from the beginning. The flux of ailments, injuries, and even species kept her mind sharp at all times. The knowledge required to handle cats, dogs, exotics, and even wildlife is highest in an ICU setting. When a vet tech never knows the patient's stability coming back to the treatment area, skills and the ability to respond in an instant always stay in peak shape. With treatments evolving at a constant basis, Andria sought out the best Continuing Education opportunities. She attended the International Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society (IVECCS) Conference whenever possible. This allowed her to discuss the latest wound treatments, medications, and advancements in diet formulations. Cardiology Veterinary Technician With the increased knowledge and experience, Andria noticed gaps in her abilities. Her grasp of cardiology remained at the basic level. She wanted to boost her skills and understanding as much as possible, improving her patient care. When an opportunity within the practice arose to move into the cardiology department, she accepted. She sharpened her ability to read ECGs, recognizing arrhythmias of every type. Speaking with the cardiologist, she learned to read echocardiograms, picking out the most common disease processes. And, courtesy of her position in the department, she took in everything she could regarding the grain-free diet concern. And throughout her ten-year career, she built her store of client interactions. She learned stories of heartbreak and hope. In the middle of the night, she shared touching and humorous conversations. Every moment taught her to engage with people. And the skill blended into her writing ability, capturing the interest of pet-lovers everywhere.

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