Perhaps your pet is participating in a Halloween parade. Or maybe she’s strutting her fluff at a mutt masquerade. Whether it’s for an event or just a fun family photo in the living room, sometimes pets allow you to dress them up.
Stores and online retailers are stocked with adorable and elaborate costumes for our furry best friends. Our suggestion is use those as a library for ideas. Then adapt something yourself. Plenty of wallet-friendly, no-sew and very simple ideas are available for pet-appropriate makeovers.
Along with being FREE and frugal, the homemade approach offers other bonuses. The outfits are adaptable to individual animals’ personalities and preferences–and also what is handy and cheap from around the house or local thrift store.
When incorporating pets in Halloween festivities, please keep in mind that safety should always rule. The American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) offers great safety tips for pets and suggests avoiding situations, decorations and costume pieces that may potentially frighten or harm animals.
Avoid accessorizing animals with masks and other paraphernalia that interfere with senses and mobility. Most cats and plenty of dogs are happier without any sort of costume, so allow those animals to be themselves on the holiday, suggests Kirsten Theisen of the Humane Society of the United States. (Our friend Lorenzo the Cat, who likes to wear clothes, is an exception.)
For those animals that are in costume, be sure they are always supervised to prevent them from becoming entangled or gnawing on inappropriate items, Theisen says.
One easy and simple solution is to build a costume from items the pet already wears, such as harnesses, bandanas and collars. Here are 10 easy and cheap ideas for pet costumes:
Wings and things. Sophie, an animal lover from Florida, suggests recycling pet-safe pieces from old costumes kids previously wore. For example, Sophie dressed up her pooch Sprinkles with the wings from a store-bought lady bug outfit she wore several years ago. Fairy wings and insect wings are perfect add-ons for a harness. Check out this adorable butterfly costume on Instructables.
Superhero. Attach a swatch of draping fabric to a dog’s harness or collar. Embellish the cape with a bold “S” or the words “Super Dog” with fabric paint, markers or letters cut from felt or paper.
Dapper dog. Cut a piece of cardboard or rigid paper into the shape of a tie or bowtie. Decorate it with polka dots or other snazzy design. Attach with tape or velcro to the front of pet’s collar or onto the tag. Suave. Super simple. And basically free.
T-shirts and tank tops. Comfortable old T-shirts and tank tops offer all sorts of potential. Some are perfect, as is. If the shirt already features a sports team logo and a favorite player’s number, the pet is good to go. Or adapt a plain shirt with markers, paint or felt embellishments. T-shirts can be painted or embellished to look like uniforms, other animals, dragons or favorite foods. Instructions for adapting a person’s T-shirt to fit a dog are featured here. A pal suggests using an old T-shirt to make a bikini or swim trunks.
Suave pet. Use a leftover piece of fabric to make a fancy bandana. Instructions on are on the eHow website.
Horse with rider. Instructables features an idea for transforming a dog into a horse, simply by adding a jockey or a rider to the harness. The rider is actually a doll or stuffed animal toy, strategically poised atop a saddle–er, harness.
Restaurant waiter. Gina Newman of Daisy’s Delights, a pet bakery and boutique in Pennsylvania, suggested a fancy restaurant waiter for a dog costume. Glue plastic wine glasses, which are lightweight and inexpensive, to a flat round piece of cardboard. That becomes a serving tray that’s attached to the dog’s harness. A bandanna that looks like a tuxedo shirt and tie adds extra pizzazz.
Pimp the ride. For dogs, and some cats, who enjoy being out and about in a wagon or stroller, accessorize the pet’s vehicle to resemble something a pirate ship, jet or a political float. For the political float, embellish a wagon with red, white and blue streamers, flags and signs that say something like “Tuffy For President. ” A stars-and-stripes bandanna would be a nice touch.
If your dog reacts to the costume by biting at it, hiding, or showing any sign of stress – remove the costume. Your pet’s well-being should be priority. Enjoy the holiday, with or without the dress-up.
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Ninja dog. Luli’s family whipped up a striking and adorable accessory with white fabric and a Ninja decal.
Decorate the cat? For kitties who are way too cool to wear anything but their fur, snap a photo with a Halloween-themed pet toy or a pumpkin. Bear the cat poses to provide a perfect example.