Halloween is just around the corner and pet owners are already planning for the big event. Regardless of whether your pet is a trick-or-treater or prefers to stay home and be part of the welcoming committee, many pets love to join their families by wearing a costume! Before we take a look at some of the best and safest pet Halloween costumes for 2016, let’s take a look at a few pet costume trends and review some important safety information.
Pets in Halloween Costumes Are On the Rise!
According to a survey by Pet360, nearly 50% of all pet owners dress their pets up for Halloween. The number of pet owners who dress up their pets is even higher in some states like Virginia, where a study by Big Heart Pet Brands found that 64% of residents dress their pets up for Halloween. One of the many similarities between human costumes and pet costumes is the tendency for certain costumes to maintain the test of time. According to the National Retail Federation, for instance, five pet costumes that have occupied top 10 spots over the past few years. They are as follows:
- Hot dog
- Bumble bee
- Bowties or bandanas
Annual pet costume trends are also common, and typically reflect movies that were popular in that calendar year. For instance, there was an increase in pets dressed up as Chewbacca, Ewoks, Yoda and other Star Wars characters in 2015 as pet owners anticipated the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
The Top 10 Safety Features To Consider When Choosing Your Pet’s Halloween Costume
With Americans expected to spend over $350 million on Halloween costumes for their pets, the market for pet Halloween costumes is exploding. Pet owners have a wider array of costume options than ever for their pets. As you consider costume options for your pet, here are some key factors to keep in mind to ensure that your pet is safe and comfortable:
1) Lightweight. The costume should be as lightweight as possible to facilitate movement.
2) Promotes visibility. Your pet should be able to see clearly when wearing the costume.
3) Allows mobility. Choose a costume that allows your pet to move about freely.
4) Properly sized. Never try to squeeze your pet into a costume that is too small or into one that is too large which could cause them to stumble.
5) Climate-friendly. Refrain from choosing a costume that is too heavy, especially in warmer climates.
6) No small parts. Avoid costumes with small pieces that can come detached and cause choking if eaten.
7) Breathability. Choose a porous fabric to help your dog or cat from overheating. Watch for signs of overheating.
8) Use caution with capes. If capes are too large, they can drag the floor or result in injury.
9) Avoid noisy costumes. Some costumes have moving parts that can be noisy and frighten your pet.
10) Compatibility with a collar and leash. This is especially important if you plan to take your pet trick-or-treating.
One final point: even if you have followed all of these tips, you should always make sure that your pet is supervised on Halloween. Proper supervision will help ensure that your pet remains safe and comfortable during the festivities.
Unmasking the Top Pet Costumes of 2016
Now that you know the key safety features to seek as you consider costume ideas, it is time to reveal the top pet costumes of 2016. Each of the costumes below is available for purchase in online stores and most of them can also be made by hand.
- KING OF THE JUNGLE: When adorned with a beautiful mane, your dog or cat will exude a regal, sophisticated look. A plush but lightweight mane is the cornerstone of a lion costume. In fact, less is more with a lion costume. The mane is your pet’s “main” accessory! You can purchase a lion mane costume online through Amazon.com or you can craft a beautiful mane for your dog or cat at home with scissors, an elastic band, an old collar, the hair from a wolf man mask, and a little bit of Velcro. TIP: Trim the hair on the front of the mane if you find that it is obstructing your pet’s visibility.
- PIñATA COSTUME: Like the lion costume, a piñata costume can be purchased online or easily crafted from the comfort of your home with minimal effort and supplies. With just an old dog t-shirt, some colorful felt fabric, some hot glue and some elastic, you are on your way to crafting a bright, lightweight costume for your dog or cat. Your dog or cat will be the center of attention in this two-piece costume! TIP: If you make this costume, you can customize it with the fabric colors of your choice!
- BATMAN and ROBIN: Are you searching for costume ideas for both of your dogs? Your online search will end when you see the great Batman and Robin costumes offered by Amazon.com. Both costumes are available in larger sizes (M-XL) and include a colorful lightweight shirt featuring a superhero logo and detachable cape. The Robin costume includes a Robinesque eye mask and the Batman costume includes a headpiece.TIPS: Make sure that the costume capes do not drag the floor and make sure that the eye mask does not obstruct your dog’s visibility.
- DOG AT-AT COSTUME: Your dog will look like he came from a galaxy far, far away in this fantastic costume. Star Wars fans will marvel at the way that this costume transforms a dog into a member of the Galactic Empire. The two-piece AT-AT costume is available online through Amazon.com. The costume includes a polyester bodysuit and headpiece. TIP: The AT-AT costume is especially effective with taller, thinner dog breeds.
- THE BLACK BAT: The Black Bat is another costume idea that is gender-neutral and a good choice for both dogs and cats. Best of all, you can create this costume quickly at home with just some felt, pipe cleaners and spray adhesive. If you are searching for a lightweight, cost-effective, yet spooky costume, the Black Bat is a great bet! TIP: The Black Bat costume looks especially great on black cats!
- WONDER WOMAN DRESS: Are you searching for a costume for your strong-willed female dog? A Wonder Woman costume is a choice that will emphasize your dog’s super powers while showing off her feminine side with a fluttery star-spangled skirt. PetSmart carries a lightweight polyester Wonder Woman dog costume in six different sizes. TIP: Take careful note of special instructions provided. Make sure that two of your fingers can fit between the costume and your pet’s neck.
- UPS PET PAL COSTUME: The UPS Pet Pal costume will transform your dog into the cutest UPS delivery dog in town. Made of polyester and offered online by Spirit Halloween and Amazon.com, the UPS Pet Pal costume is available in four sizes (S-XL) and includes three pieces: A brown UPS shirt with pants that slide over your dog’s front legs; a visor with UPS logo, and a small box with UPS logo that is positioned between the two “arms”. Your neighbors will be delighted when they open the door to see an official UPS delivery dog presenting them with a small package! TIP: The UPS Pet Pal costume is best suited for dogs that can resist the urge to chew up the props (faux package and arms) for this costume.
One Final Step Before Your Pet’s Official Costume Debut
Do not wait until Halloween night to put your pet into his or her costume. If possible, have your pet’s costume ready several days before Halloween and schedule a couple of “dress rehearsals” to make sure that your pet can move comfortably about in the new costume. You can also run a well-needed safety check to ensure that your pet’s costume is not too confining and does not drag the floor. With just a bit of advance planning, you can ensure that your pets look great and feel great in their new Halloween costumes!