DIY Dog Costumes for Halloween

October 27, 2011 | By | Comments (1)

Whether man is dressing himself or his best friend, I never tire of seeing creative costumes and clever minds at work. This year’s Halloween Howl, in my neighborhood park, did not disappoint. Event attendees were also treated to healthy hounds info as well as a stand for the Best Friends Animal Society.

For your last-minute inspiration and information, I share with you my judging categories and picks:

Take Your Dog to Work Day

This distinguished dog adopted the persona of a Lab Tech at the ASPCA. I assume the ensemble belonged to his handler, but as Tim Gunn would say on Project Runway, he made it work!

Dog Halloween Costume Lab Tech photo by Jennifer MIrsky

Dog Costume: Lab Tech

Speaking of work, the Occupy Wall Street movement has apparently expanded to include members of the animal kingdom! Some of the sandwich boards were less ladylike than others and won’t be featured here, but others managed to keep it clean and still make their point. This overworked dog and his sandwich board got my vote for Political Statement:

Occupy Wall Street Dog Halloween Costume Photograph by Jennifer Mirsky

Dog Costume: Occupy Wall Street

And then there is the other kind of Jobs — Steve Jobs. This man and woman wore simple white and black sandwich boards, earning them my Apple of Your Eye Award.

Dog in Apple-Themed Halloween Costume Photo by Jennifer Mirsky

Dog Costume: Apple-Themed Homage to Steve Jobs?

If sandwich boards aren’t your thing, my former colleague Brooke, proud pet parent of Simon the bulldog, recommends using a t-shirt as the base of your pet costume and then embellishing it or trying the children’s department for options. In past years Simon has gone as a lobster, a bee, and a prima ballerina. A bulldog as a ballerina?  I always did appreciate Brooke’s sense of humor. This year, Simon is going to be a great white shark. Brooke purchased an outfit from Old Navy for toddlers, which is too small, though she is repurposing the pants — cutting them and adding them to the back to broaden the outfit to fit around him.

And last but certainly not least is the trio who entered this year’s Halloween Howl as “Hurricane Maddie.” I created a special judging category for them, in recognition of their gargantuan effort, and as Steve Jobs would say, “and we’re calling it…” Meteoric Marvel. He would probably have called it iWeather, but that is neither here nor there.

dog costume hurricane maddie photograph by jennifer mirsky

Dog Costume: “Hurricane Maddie”

I am still shaking my head back and forth, in amazement with a light drizzle of dismay, as to the lengths these gents went to on behalf of their dame. If you want to get started on next year’s costume, you can keep reading below. Or you can just cherry-pick an element from their elaborate experiment or learn from their creative process, and still earn a good grade in my book! For example:

1) They hatched a concept where they were being affected by whatever the dog’s costume was. (In a prior year, they went as victims of a shark attack and their dog went as the shark. This year’s concept paid homage to Hurricane Irene, which recently hit the east coast.)

2) They created 3 characters: a weatherman, someone stocking up on supplies during a storm, and the hurricane itself (naturally, the dog).

3) They used instantly recognizable props to help people make the connection. (The Weather Channel microphone; common storm supplies of water, a flashlight, toilet paper).

4) They added a self-described “wow” factor (the storm cloud).

5) They allowed plenty of time for trial and error, made sure that their costume wouldn’t spook their dog, and that the technology would come off without a hitch.

“Necessity is the mother of invention” and their storm cloud was no exception. When they discovered that helium balloons couldn’t sustain much weight in terms of a fabric covering, they decided to use a blown-out umbrella attached to a dowel rod to camouflage the support system. Tissue paper, plastic, and “spider web” cotton were all scrapped in favor of the winning solution of tulle. They then hot glued blue tinsel cut from a decorative party curtain to the tulle and made it rain!

This is not the first year these entrants outdid themselves. Last year, I blogged about how they all rocked the runway dressed as Beyonce.

If all of this costume creation talk makes your head spin, you can instead go the store-bought route. Check out 12 Silly Halloween Costumes for Pets.

And be sure to read these Halloween safety tips from the ASPCA.

Happy Halloween!

What are you and your pet going as?