Because dogs can smell Halloween excitement, some pups particularly appreciate owners who involve them by creating homemade dog costumes. Since few of us have time to create complex Halloween pet costumes, we've come up with 15 easy dog outfits you can make at the last minute with a minimum of effort and creative skills.
You'll find the ingredients for many lying around your home, with occasional supplements from your local arts and crafts store.
Not interested in going the DIY route? Use coupons for great deals on prefab outfits that will knock the socks off your friends. Just looking at pictures of some of these outfits will make you grin like a jack-o-lantern.
1. Gangsta Pup
Is your dog a street-wise cat? Pick up a PetRageous Hoodie from Kohl's that will both serve as a costume and keep your best friend warm as winter closes in. Be sure to grab a Kohl's coupon code for extra savings, like 20% off. Add a bit of pseudo bling bling at the collar and you've got a dog that's 'fo shizzle.
This popular human costume translates particularly well to animals with a low center of gravity. Stuff pantyhose with newspaper or other light material and sew or safety pin eight of the legs together together, then pin them to your dog's harness. Match the nylons as close as possible to your pet's natural coloring. The bobbing effect as your dog trots about will greatly add to the humor factor of this simple costume.
Dogs already have the canine teeth to be this popular character, so why not play up this advantage? White-faced dogs are particularly suited to the role. Turn a swath of black silk into a cape. If you have the sewing skills, you might add a red, stand-up collar.
4. Thing 1 and Thing 2
This costume requires a pair of light-haired, highly mischievous dogs. Recreate the blue-haired nimbus of Dr. Seuss' famous characters from "The Cat in the Hat" with a can of washable blue hair spray. Pick up a couple kid-sized Thing 1 and Thing 2 t-shirts and cut them to size for your dog's appendages.
In a pinch, buy your own red t-shirts and cut out a couple pieces of white felt. Circle it with black magic marker and write the appropriate numerals in the center then paste or pin to the shirts.
5. Fruit of the Loom Grapes
Here's a costume for wine-y dogs. Turn them into the pre-pressed product with either green or purple balloons taped together and pinned by their stems to a cloth coat. Cut large grape leaves out of green felt and attach them to the dog collar. Ét voila!
6. Puppy Princess
Has your little girl grown out of her pink princess period? Raid her costume box to create puppy royalty. A pink boa around the neck would really complete the outfit, even if you have to shell out extra for this humorous accessory.
7. Teacup Fairy
Many DIY doggy costumes focus on medium- to larger-sized dogs, but here's an idea for the truly diminutive puppy. Make an adorable costume with wee fairy wings out of wire hanger, chiffon or net fabric, glitter and a hot glue gun. You can dress the wings up or down, according to your abilities and taste, and fasten them on with a felt harness that slips on over the shoulders and under the belly. Visit Instructables for complete directions.
8. Headless Horseman
Cringe once again at the Tale of Sleepy Hollow with this costume for large dogs. The horseman sits atop your dog, who wears a simple horse harness made of fake leather fabric and held loosely in the body's single hand. For the headless character, stuff a child's button-up shirt and pants with straw, batting or newspaper to give it a human form. Attach gloves and a black cape with a red scarf at the neck hole to represent blood. The key to keeping the body upright is a vinyl breastplate attached to the "horse's" harness. The entire contraption should weigh no more than five pounds and sit easily.
If you have outstanding construction skills, use PVC piping as a frame for the body and have an outstretched arm hold a plastic pumpkin head, representing the horseman's own absent head.
9. Rescue Dog
St. Bernards long served as the ultimate rescue dog, bringing brandy to those stranded on frigid mountains. Allow your large shaggy dog to enjoy a bit of that reflected glory by strapping an empty keg-shaped can onto its collar with a wide waistband painted with a red cross. For a humorous twist, substitute canned coffee.
10. Eat Mor Chikin'
Does your dog already look something like a cow? Recreate one of the Chik-fil-A cow commercials with your Dalmatian, white spotted dog, black spotted dog or any dog willing to stand still for a bit of washable spray paint. Add a headband with fake cow ears and a hand-lettered sandwich sign scrawled with "EAT MOR CHIKIN." Avoid real chickens.
11. Pillow Camel
Turn your dachshund into a camel by attaching an old pillow covered in camel-colored material. Wrap a small belt through the middle of the pillow and around your hot dog's waist to create two humps.
12. Chippendales Dancer
Remove the collar and cuffs from an old white shirt and secure to a large dog's neck and front paws for a risque dancer look. Add a black bow tie, if you have one. Tuck fake money into his collar and cuffs and encourage others to add real bills as the evening progresses.
13. Hula Dancer
Dogs with all the moves and a little wiggle in their tails make for adorable Hawaiian hula dancers. Use raffia to create the hula skirt, tying each piece onto a single cord belt and attaching around your dog's waist with a sturdy knot. Make sure the skirt isn't too long and won't trip your dog when they walk.
Crown them with a lei and wreath by gluing small flowers onto additional cords. This YouTube video provides more detailed instructions on creating a harness for the costume that will ensure the pieces stay on all night.
14. Little Red Riding Hood
This costume is easy as pie for the sewing impaired and Joann Fabrics make materials readily affordable. Buy silky red cloth, a bit of red ribbon and -- if you want to add a touch of class -- enough lace to cover the edges.
Measure and cut the material into a cape and hood shape. Baste the ribbons onto the neck of the hood. Glue gun the lace to the edges. Aaaaaaand...you're done.
If you really want and easy costume, buy a red dog hoodie and spend the evening explaining the costume to your friends.
15. Crochet Bumble Bee
My one creative skill (other than writing) is crocheting straight lines. If you share my sole ability, try your hand at this bumble bee costume for dark-haired dogs. Crochet four yellow strips of thick yarn and baste onto two central spines of yellow felt that hold the circlets in shape. The yarn should be stretchy enough so you can slip the costume over your puppy's midriff.
If you're feeling particularly creative, cut wings out of yellow felt and baste onto the back spine. If you'd like the wings to stand upright, insert a wire hanger bent into wing shapes. (See instructions in #7 above for more details on creating the wings.)
Check out this Humane Society article for tips on keeping your canine healthy and safe while wearing a costume (and on Halloween in general).