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Normally, I would never be talking to you about putting your dog in clothes. It’s not that I don’t agree with the idea; in fact, I’ve seen some terribly cute little pups running around with bandanas and vests that have stolen my heart. It’s just that Janice and Leroy would probably look at me like I was crazy if I suggested they wear a Halloween costume. But your dog may be more agreeable than mine, and if that’s the case, then I beg you: come trick-or-treating at my house! I will hand out Milk Bones if it lets me see more cuties in costumes.
I don’t know if you’ve searched for dog costumes lately, but they are a lot more expensive than I thought they would be. Luckily it’s not that hard to DIY a doggie costume for Halloween, and I’ve found a ton of really cute ideas that would be fun. Here are 19 of my favorites, plus a few tips on getting your dog comfortable with wearing clothes.
Okay let’s start with an easy one. Even my limited DIY skills could handle this. Do you have a small dog? Especially a Chihuahua, a Chinese Crested, or some other short-haired small dog? Do you also have a bike with a basket? (I highly recommend a pet-specific basket if you don’t have one and want to commit to this costume. They are much safer, even if they aren’t fully authentic.) All you need is a white blanket or towel. Wrap your pup up so that their face is showing, just like E.T., and pop them in the basket. If you go all out and dress up with them, you’ll definitely win cutest costume.
Giving your dog wings is an easy DIY project that kids can help with. Get a dog vest or shirt and cut out some wings from card stock or a big sheet of craft foam. Get the kids to decorate the wings, or do it yourself. Then hot glue the wings to the shirt or vest. If you don’t like the way they are sitting, you could also hot glue half a foam sphere onto the back of the shirt, and then insert the wings into that – that may help them stand up better. You can get even fancier with unbent wire clothes hangers and panty hose or sheer fabric, but keep in mind that the wire could poke your dog!
3. Business Dog
Cut the collar off a business shirt (thrift stores are a good place to find a spare) and hot glue to your dog’s collar (use a cheap spare if you prefer). Then you can tie on a tie and let it dangle down your dog’s chest. They’ll look perfectly professional.
4. Sports Fan
Do you know how to sew? Making a basic dog bandana with a sports fabric for your favorite team could be a really easy way to get your dog into some kind of costume.
If your dog is fluffy and bearded, you have a very easy option: Ewok! All you need is a bit of brown felt and a brown shoelace. Cut the brown felt into a rough square, but don’t be perfect about it. The rougher the better. Fold the felt in half like a hotdog, and cut up the fold to about the halfway mark. Then unfold. Just above this cut, make a face hole and two holes for your dog’s ears. Then poke some holes along the long cut you made, to lace the shoelace in. Put this shawl contraption on your dog with their face and ears in the holes, and the long cut hanging down their chest. Lace the shoelace through the holes and tie. Instant Ewok.
6. Count Dogula
Turning your dog into a spooky vampire only takes a cape. You can pretty much use a child’s cape from a Halloween store for this, but if you want to DIY it, you just need some black fabric cut into a cape shape. Hot glue shoelaces to the neck to tie it in place, or just hot glue the cape to your dog’s collar.
This idea made me chuckle. Get some white faux fur fabric and a black dog t-shirt. Either sew or hot glue a strip of the white fabric down the middle of the shirt. Presto, a skunk! You could also just paint a white strip down a black t-shirt if you want to get even easier.
This may be the easiest costume here, but it requires two things first: that your dog is black, and that your dog won’t roll around and ruin his costume. All you have to do is grab a can of pet-safe paint in white and search for an image of dog bones. Then just do a little bit of copying and spray on the outline of your dog’s bones right on his fur. Spooky skeleton dog!
Want your dog to be a flower for Halloween? This is a really easy costume. Get a green collar, or cover their collar in green felt. Cut out flower petals from more felt, and hot glue to the collar.
10. Hot Dog
Any dog can be a hot dog. First, get a pink dog t-shirt. Either use craft paint to make ketchup and mustard swirls on the back, or cut out wavy mustard and ketchup from foam and hot glue to the back of the shirt. Then cut out two bun shapes out of brown foam. When the shirt is dry, put it on your dog and attach the buns with safety pins.
Is your girl a princess? All you need to dress her up is a child’s tutu and a tiara. Or you can make a tutu. Grab some pink tulle and a bit of pink elastic. Cut the elastic to the size of your dog’s waist, and sew the ends together. You can either sew or hot glue the tulle to the elastic.
You can make any masked hero using this same formula, I just really like Zorro. Sue me. All you have to do is make a cape the same way you did for the Count Dogula costume, and then make a mask. Use black craft foam and cut out a mask shape. Cut out the eye holes. Then hot glue on some elastic thread or some shoelaces to tie the mask on.
13. Chia Pet
Okay this is hands-down the most hilarious pet costume I have ever seen. There are two parts to this costume. First, get a green dog shirt and hot glue on lots and lots of fake greenery from a craft store. Cover the shirt entirely, just be sure that your pet’s head won’t be bothered by the greenery. Then you need to make four “leggings” out of orange felt to mimic the look of plant pots. Just cut out rectangles, measure around your dog’s legs, and either sew or hot glue the felt into long tubes that will fit over the dog’s legs.
14. Escapee Pup
Has your dog been bad this year? Get a white or black dog t-shirt, and the opposite color felt. Cut out strips and hot glue to the shirt to look like a prisoner getup. If you are good at sewing, you could also make a little hat to go with the shirt. Another idea is to get an orange dog shirt and black craft paint. Write “Prisoner” or “Property of D.O.C.” or their prisoner number on the back.
15. Roll of the Dice
Does your dog have a gambling problem? Probably not, but this costume is cute anyway. Take a cardboard box that is about the same size as your dog, and cut off one of the six sides. Cut in a head hole and a tail hole if needed, with the removed side facing down. Then cover the entire thing in white felt with black felt dots. Put the dice on your dog, with their legs peeping out the removed side, and their head and tail through the respective holes.
16. Beanie Baby
This costume is creative and clever, and is perfect for dogs that won’t wear clothing. Get a red dog collar, or cover their collar with red felt. Using construction paper or craft foam, cut out a giant red heart card. Use white paper or foam to cut out the classic “ty” logo and attach to the heart. Use yellow to make the star on the tag. Then cut a hole in the corner and attach to the collar with a red ribbon.
17. Toga Party
To make your dog look like a Greek god or goddess, cut white fabric to the right size for your dog, as if you were going to make a cape. Use a yellow braided rope to tie the cape into place around their waist. Some golden fake leaves tied or hot glued around a headband for your pup’s head seals the deal.
18. Candy Dog
Here’s another super easy costume. Get a dog t-shirt in yellow, green, orange, red, blue, or brown. Then use white fabric or craft foam and cut out the M&M “m” logo. Hot glue to the back of the shirt.
19. Lady Bug
Seeing dogs dressed up as other animals is always cute. Make a tutu just like you did for the princess costume, only use red tulle and elastic, and hot glue some black foam dots to the red tulle (put the glue on the foam, not the tulle). Then make a pair of antennae by hot gluing some red pipe cleaners to a headband. You can add black pompoms to the top.
Getting Your Dog to Wear Clothes
With those 19 ideas in mind for some fun DIY costumes, what do you do if your dog has never worn clothes? That’s why I’m sharing these tips now. Here’s a few hints for introducing your dog to clothes before the big day. Always be sure that your clothing options for a dog are easy to get on and off to reduce stress.
First, show your dog the clothes, and when he checks them out with sniffing, be sure to offer him praise. You want him to associate the clothes with pleasing you. Next, slowly drape the clothes over your dog. Don’t try to put them on, just let him feel their texture and weight. Be sure to praise your dog as long as he sits still and allows this.
Next, begin slowly fastening the straps – again, you aren’t trying to put the clothes on necessarily. Just get them use to any straps that may be involved. Finally, give your dog a treat or a toy and while they are distracted, carefully slide the clothing on them, giving lots of praise. Take them directly back off as soon as they are in place. The next time you try this, leave them on for just a few minutes. Then the next time, a few minutes more, until you have worked up to them wearing the clothes for several hours.
The more practice you do, the less praise you should give, until they’ve begun to think of wearing clothes as a normal part of their every day. This helps make clothes a non-issue, so that seeing them doesn’t stress a dog out or get them too excited.
While I won’t be having Janice and Leroy dress up any time soon, because I suspect they’d think I was finally off my rocker, I do really love seeing some of the cool ideas people come up with. That Milk Bone offer is always open if you dress your dog up like E.T., a Chia Pet, or any of these other adorable ideas. If you have any other cute ideas for dog DIY costumes, be sure to let us know!