Did you know Americans spent over $350 million to costume their pets in 2015? That number has been steadily rising for the last two years, which only means one thing: pet costumes are on trend. It’s no wonder; is there anything quite as amusing for us as humans than dressing up our furry friends for a costume party or an Instagram post?
Whether or not our pets find dressing up funny is another matter. However, if you’re planning to include your pup in this year’s Halloween festivities, we’ve got some great DIY ideas for you. You'll find the supplies for many of these options around your home, and you can easily supplement with items from your local arts and crafts store. Not interested in going the DIY route? We have plenty of Halloween and pet store coupons to save you time and money on pre-made costumes. But before you add to the Halloween pet-spending statistic, give these simple ideas a try. Tag us (@CouponSherpa) in your pet photos for a chance to be featured on our Instagram page or blog!
1. Gangsta’ Pup. Is your dog a “baller?” Pick up an inexpensive hoodie or sports jacket from Petsmart that will both serve as a costume and keep your best friend warm this winter. If your dog is tolerant enough to wear hats, complete the ensemble with a backwards or side-tilted cap. Add some dollar-sign bling to the collar and you've got a dog that'll stand out 'fo shizzle.
2. Taco. Since Halloween is on a Tuesday, have your dog celebrate Taco Tuesday by dressing like one! Make a shell out of cardboard and cover in yellow fabric or a blanket. Use colored socks and other materials to make the fillings, and attach the costume with a Velcro strap underneath! If you like the idea but don’t have the time to make your own, check your local pet store or Party City.
3. Vampire. 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. Beanie Babies. Everyone remembers these classic 90s collectibles! This costume is so easy and yet so clever. Make your own TY tag with painted cardboard or print out the logo and paste to sturdy paper. Adhere to your dog’s collar with ribbon or string, and you’ve got an instantly adorable costume they probably won’t even try to take off! Added bonus: put a bow on their head to pull the ensemble together, or costume your dog to turn them into a Halloween-edition beanie.
5. Sushi Dog. This one is easy: simply layer your dog in a white blanket or pillow for the rice, then add a green shirt or towel and top with something pink to be the fish! Keep the costume together with a Velcro “seaweed” belt, and top with tissue paper for wasabi and ginger! Add a couple of chopsticks for effect.
6. Puppy Princess. This one is good for families that might have old dress-up clothes lying around. Raid your kids’ costume box to create canine royalty. A pink boa around the neck would really complete the outfit, even if you have to shell out extra for this humorous accessory. Don’t forget the tiara!
7. A Cat. Simple, but funny! One of the scariest costumes known to dog-kind, a cat costume makes for an easy project. You can find cat ear headpieces at pet stores, or glue cardboard ears to a plain-colored pet hoodie. If your dog has a short tail, put on a wrap-around fake cat tail to complete the look.
8. Headless Horseman. This homage to Sleepy Hollow is great for large dogs. The horseman sits atop your dog, who wears a simple horse harness made of fake leather. For the headless character, stuff a child's button-up shirt and pants with straw or newspaper to give it a human form. Attach gloves and a black cape, and paint the neck hole red 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 pipe as a frame for the body and have an outstretched arm hold a plastic pumpkin head, representing the horseman's own absent head.
9. Puppy Costumes. Is it your puppy’s first Halloween? Puppy costumes should be simple and not something they can tear up. Shop Petsmart or Petco for adorable t-shirts, sweaters and simple accessories to help them stay festive and cozy. Depending on the size of your puppy, you can also get a plain t-shirt for dolls or infants and custom paint a design! Some simple ideas include candy corn, a spider or a bee.
10. A Shark. This is great for gray dogs like Weimaraners, but it’ll work with any color canine. Simply adhere a paper shark fin with an elastic band and Velcro! Funny social media idea: play the Jaws soundtrack while you film your pooch walking around the house or yard.
11. Crayola Crayon. Here’s a good one for dachshunds and other long dogs. Make your own Crayola crayon costume with fabric that you can wrap around their middle. Draw or paint on the iconic black swirls and logo, and for an added touch, add a color name to the side of the costume.
12. Chippendales Dancer. Remove the collar and cuffs from an old white shirt and secure to a 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 that 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 or attach a Hawaiian flower to their collar to complete.
14. Little Red Riding Hood. This costume is easy as pie for the sewing-impaired and Joann Fabrics makes 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 glue to the edges. Measure and cut the material into a cape and hood shape. (This costume is great for dogs that look like wolves!)
15. A mummy. You need a pretty tolerant dog for this one, but you can make an easy mummy costume by wrapping them in white cloth or gauze. Make it extra spooky with a few streaks of red paint for blood, or by attaching fake spiders to their back.
Bonus: Cat Costumes. While we don’t recommend dressing up your finicky feline, here are some great cat costume ideas for the brave!
Disclaimer: Check out this Humane Society article for tips on keeping your canine healthy and safe while wearing a costume (and on Halloween in general).
CiCi Sharstrom is an animal-loving contributor who follows way too many pet Instagrams. She has four cats and has yet to decide their Halloween costumes.