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10 DIY Halloween Dog Costumes that Won’t Drive Them Crazy

Getting Our Furry Friends into the Halloween Spirit

It’s almost that time of year again! Soon the houses on your street will be decked out in an odd assortment of steaming caldrons, rattling skeletons, flickering candles, spooky spider webs, and of course, cackling jack-o-lanterns. In the weeks leading up to the big day (or night I should say), it will be perfectly normal to see men, women, and children on their way to Halloween get-togethers dressed as funny, spooky, or just plain terrifying things, from bloody masked clowns to Disney princesses.

To be sure, most of us humans love to dress up for Halloween. We get to wear something whacky for a night and perhaps even pretend to be someone else; all of which can be fun and thrilling! However, our furry friends are not always as enthusiastic as we are about the season and the costumes that come with it. Dogs, especially those who are not used to wearing clothing, often find costumes stifling and uncomfortable. Without a doubt, they will try to wiggle, worm, and bite their way out of them before the night is through. When all the children have gone home to sort and trade their candy, your dog's costume will be strewn sideways on their bodies or entirely ripped to shreds on the floor.

How can we include our furry friends in the festivities without driving them mad with elaborate and uncomfortable costumes? The answer is to keep it simple. Try not to load down your furry friend with a confining costume that they won’t like and that won’t stay on them anyway. Try to keep the accessories minimal. The most ideal costume for your dog, if you want to make sure it won’t bother them, is one that utilizes things the dog is already used to wearing, such as their collar or a vest (if they are used to wearing one). Luckily, there are plenty of great minimal costume ideas across the web to get the ideas flowing! Here is a list of 10 of the best and simplest dog-friendly costume ideas that you and your pupper will love! Not only will your dog appreciate the freedom of a minimal costume, but you will save money, time, and effort on the costume itself. So let’s get started!

1. Beanie Baby

This DIY costume is one of the simplest and cutest options on this list. With one simple accessory you can transform your dog into one of those adorable and sometimes highly collectable beanie babies.

What You Need:

  • Paper (preferably card-stock or some thicker paper)
  • Markers or a color printer
  • Scissors
  • Hole puncher
  • String, fishing line, or ribbon
  • Glue (only for the Printer method)

Instructions:

  1. There are two ways to approach this project… The first is to use your markers and your killer drawing skills to draw out the Beanie Baby logo and cut it out yourself before attaching it to your dog’s collar.
  2. The second way is to find a tag template like the one I have included below and print that out on a color printer before attaching it to your dog’s collar.
  3. If you opt for the print out, you may want to glue the design onto a thicker pieces of cardstock for added support.
  4. Lastly, when attaching the tag to your dog’s collar, try not to make the tag hang too low as this might give your dog enough leeway to tear it off.

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2. Watch Dogs

In recent years, Rebus-style costumes have become extremely popular among Halloween goers. Though it’s hard to ever top the classic “cereal killer” costume, this clever “watch dog” costume comes pretty darn close.

What You Need:

  • Paper (preferably card stock)
  • Markers or a Printer
  • Brown Fabric long enough to wrap around your dog
  • Scissors
  • Fabric glue or duct tape
  • Dinner plate (or something else large and round to trace if you decide to draw the clock by hand)
  • Dog Harness or collar (optional)
  • Hole Puncher (Optional)
  • Fishing line (Optional)

Instructions:

  1. As with the Beanie Baby costume, there are two ways to go about creating this costume. For the first method, use a large round object such as a dinner plate to trace a circle onto your piece of paper. Next, draw on handles like in the template I have made below. Then cut out your template, and cut out the small section inside the handles.
  2. If you opt to print out the clock face, then you may want to glue it to some heavier cardstock for extra support. If you would like to color your handles, then feel free to do so.
  3. Now take your piece of brown fabric and cut it to the around the width of the holes in the clock handles. Measure around your dog’s body or neck and make sure you leave enough fabric to be able to tie it. Thread the fabric through the two handle holes so that the clock face is above.
  4. Use your fabric glue or duct tape to affix the clock face to the fabric to prevent it from shifting when your dog is wearing it. Be sure to give it plenty of time to dry before using it.
  5. If you opt to tie the watch around your dog’s body rather than around their neck, you may want to make a small hole in the top of the clock face to be able to tie fishing line from that hole to your dog’s collar.

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3. Skeleton Dog

Unfortunately for long-haired or light-haired dogs, this costume might not work out too well, but if you have a darker short-haired breed, then this costume could be the winner! It is an especially great option because the dog doesn’t have to wear a cloth costume at all.

What You Need:

  • Nontoxic kid friendly white glow-in-the-dark paint
  • A leash
  • Water for cleanup

Instructions:

  1. The hardest part of this costume will be getting your pupper to sit still long enough to draw the skeleton design on in the first place; so you'll want to leash your dog to a sturdy structure before you begin.
  2. Make sure that the paint that you buy is nontoxic and safe around pets and children. A good rule of thumb to remember is that if something is safe for kids, it is probably also safe for pets.
  3. Simply paint the design onto your dog, make sure to keep them away from dirt or anything else before the paint dries so that they don’t smudge it.
  4. For cleanup, simply give your dog a bath. Soap shouldn’t be necessary, but you may use it if you would like.

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4. Rocket Dog

It’s time to blast off! This great little costume easily attaches to a dog harness to ensure your fury friend is comfortable and happy.

What You Need:

  • Dog Harness
  • Two, one liter bottles (if you have a small breed try to find two smaller bottles)
  • Silver spray paint
  • Silver duct tape
  • Red, orange and yellow tissue paper (or regular paper)
  • Regular printer paper
  • Markers or a color printer

Instructions:

  1. Peel off the labels of your bottles before emptying and rinsing them out. Be sure to let them dry completely before continuing.
  2. Go outside to spray paint the bottles silver. Pay attention to the wind and make sure that you are spraying with the wind so that it does not come back and spray you.
  3. Once the bottles have dried, use the silver duct tape to not only tape the two bottles together; also tape it to the dog harness so that it is secure. Make sure to orient the mouths of the bottles toward the back of the harness.
  4. Next, cut the tissue paper into flame shaped triangles before using the duct tape to affix it to the end of the bottles. Try not to make the flames too long, so that your dog won’t be tempted to rip them off.
  5. Lastly print out or draw the NASA logo on a sheet of paper before taping that to the bottles.

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5. Ready for the Office: Tie

You may not be allowed to bring your dog to the office with you, but this Halloween your dog can look ready for the office with this simple and elegant costume. Plus, this could be a great look for your fury best friend to sport at a wedding or other event.

What You Need:

  • Old Tie (Bonus points if it’s Halloween themed!)
  • Sewing kit
  • Dog collar

Instructions:

  1. First, cut the old tie to about 8 inches. You may want to adjust this length according to the size of your breed, but don’t forget that you need extra length for the loop.
  2. Fold over the cut end of the tie and pin it to the other part of the tie before sewing it together. Make sure that you have left enough room for your dog’s collar to fit through.
  3. Cut a small piece off the skinny end of the tie. Wrap it over the area you just sewed. Next, pinch the sides with the extra piece of fabric together so that the back folds in on itself before pinning and sewing it together. This creates a nice false knot for an authentic look.
  4. Now simply slip the tie onto the collar and put it on your dog.

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6. Dressy Shirt Collar

Similarly to the last costume, this great costume both upcycles old cloths and dresses your pupper up for the occasion. However, unlike the last costume, you do not need to attach it to their collar. They will simply wear it in place of their regular collar.

What You Need:

  • Measuring tape
  • Scissors
  • Old dress shirts

Instructions:

  1. The first thing you need to know before you start your project is to know what size your dog’s neck is. Use your measuring tape or a piece of string to record the measurement.
  2. Rifle through your closet or local thrift shop for collared dress shirts. When looking for a shirt, make sure that you find a shirt that is the right circumference around the neck. Also make sure that the shirt has a top button and a collar interlining to avoid sewing.
  3. Cut the collar and interlining away from the rest of the shirt.
  4. Button together and you’re done!
  5. If you want to get really fancy, you could combine the tie and collar to really dress your pupper up!

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7. Martini

While the “cones of shame” are usually only used when you need to make sure your dog doesn’t rip open their own stiches, they can also be great for making costumes! This is a particularly clever costume which ingeniously takes advantage of the Martini shape of the cone.

What you Need:

  • Plastic dog cone
  • One wooden skewer
  • Three splash balls (the soft kind you would bring to a pool) *Other sites featuring this costume have suggested foam balls, however styrofoam can be very dangerous if swallowed by dogs so I have opted for these instead
  • Red felt
  • Fabric glue
  • Clear packing tape
  • Green spray paint

Instructions:

  1. Go outside and Spray paint the splash balls green. Make sure to spray with the wind to avoid fumes and stray paint particles.
  2. Take your red felt or paper and cut three circles about half the size of the splash balls. If you are having trouble cutting a neat circle trace a cup onto the felt before cutting.
  3. Glue the felt circle onto the splash balls. Wait for them to dry before proceeding.
  4. Push the skewer through the center of your newly made olives. Be sure to orient the red circles away from the skewer so that they are visible. You may want to glue the skewer to the balls so that they do not shift.
  5. Tape the skewer to your dog’s cone.

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8. Flower Cone

Like the costume above, this idea also utilizes your doggy cone, but perhaps in a more family friendly manner. Your dog is sure to be the star of the party with this bright and flowery costume!

What You Need:

  • Plastic dog cone
  • Two large yellow posters (or any other color you would like)
  • Scissors
  • Clear packing tape

Instructions:

  1. Take the dog cone off of your dog and trace the outline onto the posters.
  2. Next, draw out petals in the arc of the flattened cone pattern as seen in the template below.
  3. Repeat with the second poster.
  4. Cut out the two posters out before staggering them to create a layered effect. Tape the two layers of flowers to the cone before putting it back onto your dog.

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9. Mufasa's Lion's Mane

For the lovers of the lion king out there, this may be the perfect costume to transform your dog into Mufasa this Halloween season. While other DIY projects of this kind use fur fabrics which require a lot of time and sewing skill, the one below attempts to simplify the project by creating a tutu that can approximate a lion’s mane without all of the hassle.

What You Need:

  • Three yards of tan and brown tulle (or black/dark brown if you want to create a scar costume)
  • Elastic ribbon
  • Scissors

Instructions:

  1. Measure out the elastic ribbon for your dog’s neck; be sure it isn’t too tight or too loose. In addition, remember that before cutting you will need enough extra length to tie the ends together.
  2. Once the elastic ribbon is cut, go ahead and tie the ends together to form your loop.
  3. Fold the tulle and cut it into 1 inch strips. Remember that when you tie the strips, they will be folded in half so don’t cut them too short.
  4. Begin tying the tulle around the elastic until you have the desired volume.

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10. Dobby the Dog?

For those Chihuahua owners out there, you must recognize that when your adorable four-legged friend pulls their puppy dog eyes they look an awful lot like Dobby the Elf from Harry Potter. So it won’t take much to create a convincing Dobby costume that will blow everyone away this Halloween.

What You Need:

  • Old pillow case
  • Black tea
  • Cooking pot
  • Old white tube sock
  • Sewing kit or Glue
  • Scissors

Instructions:

  1. Fill the cooking pot with enough water to make sure the entire pillow case is covered. Put the pot on the stove to bring to a boil. Once it is boiling put a generous amount of tea into the water and wait until the water becomes dark.
  2. Take the tea off of the heat and gently put the pillow case into the water. You may need to push down the fabric to ensure that it is evenly dyed.
  3. Once the fabric reaches the desired color, remove it from the tea and hang to dry. Be sure to let it dry completely before moving on
  4. Once dry cut holes for your dog’s head and front legs. Next, cut the hem off of the original opening to give it a frayed look.
  5. Once you have cut the holes out, try the pillow case on your dog to see where you would like to attach the sock. Once you have picked a spot, mark it before removing the pillow case.
  6. Then simply sew or glue the sock into the desired place.
  7. For a finishing touch, tie the right a knot of the right shoulder.

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Which Costume Idea Is Your Favorite? Vote Below!

Which of these adorable pet costumes do you find most inspiring for this Halloween?

  • Beanie Baby
  • Watch Dogs
  • Skeleton Dog
  • Rocket Dog
  • Ready for the Office: Tie
  • Dressy Shirt Collar
  • Martini
  • Flower Cone
  • Mufasa's Lion's Mane
  • Dobby the Dog?
See results without voting

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