See photos of more dogs dressed for Halloween
By Deborah S. Hartz-Seeley
Pumpkins, ghosts, witches, devils. This Halloween, these are not only popular costumes for people but also for their pets.
“Buying a costume for your pet is a feel-good sort of thing,” says Kimberly Curler, owner of Waggs to Riches in Delray Beach. “Many people get more fun and satisfaction from outfitting their dogs than they do from dressing themselves.”
Even in our down economy, people are decking out their dogs for trick or treat. “It gets bigger and bigger every year,” says Caroline Clore, owner of Paws on the Avenue in Lake Worth.
And it’s not just the pet owners who seem to enjoy getting into the holiday spirit.
“When the dogs are in costume, they prance around. I think they know how cute they look,” says Debbie Broyles, owner of Fins Furs ’n’ Feathers in Boca Raton.
One of this year’s hot costumes is a mermaid outfit that features purple sequins and an aqua tail, Broyles says. It’s only been on sale for a week at Fins Furs ’n’ Feathers but needs to be reordered. At Paws on the Avenue, a pirate’s costume fitted with golden buttons and red satin trim on the coat and pantaloons shows great promise, Clore says.
But the fun doesn’t stop there.
Bumble bees, pink and blue butterflies and polka-dot lady bugs are also popular attire. Animal options include a lamb, a pink pig, a gray elephant complete with trunk and a black-and-white spotted panda — all to dress your dog.
“When dressing up their pets, people like little cutesy things,” says Clore. “They look for something unique.”
For the furry friends of foodies, there’s a taco costume complete with pepper strips and shredded cheese, two peas in a pod and a plump hot dog on a bun with a tempting zigzag of mustard and ketchup. Your dog will look good enough to eat.
The costumes are easy to put on and take off because they are made with Velcro. “You can get them on the most unruly dog,” Clore says.
And they are designed to fit just about any breed including the two mutts, Junior, 11, and Winky, 13, that Clore rescued.
“They are hysterical on pets from a Chihuahua to a golden retriever to a Rottweiler. They come in all sizes,” Curler adds.
Most costumes provide something to cover the body plus headgear. Take the Mickey Mouse costume that includes brown, yellow and red pants and mouse ears for your pooch’s pate.
Instead of purchasing Halloween dress, some pet owners like to make costumes for their pups.
Clore recalls a past Halloween when she saw a dog dressed up like a lint trap. Socks and a T-shirt were attached like static-filled clothing from the dryer.
She also had a customer who set up a Chiquita Banana theme by dressing five Chihuahuas as bananas and letting them run around in a bunch.
Another put a caped terrier into a model airplane, turning him into Snoopy and the Red Baron.
If you don’t want an outfit that’s quite so elaborate, you can purchase a T-shirt or fanciful collar instead.
Collars come embroidered with skull, crossbones and yellow cutlass. Or get one that resembles a colorful jester’s collar complete with pompoms.
“That way, you can make a small investment and still be part of the party,” Clore says.
Of course, a big part of Halloween fun is the treats made specifically to tempt your furry friends.
“They sell like crazy,” says Curler, who is “mom” to two Chihuahuas, Lilly, 4, and Rosie, 6.
Aunt JoAnn’s Gourmet Dog Biscuits supplies treats to local shops that are located in Boca Raton. The company offers a line of organic baked goods for dogs.
At Halloween, company owners Linda Barie and Donna Bowers shape and bake 3-D spider cookies from biscuit dough. They decorate them with orange candied yogurt.
“Dogs get ahold of them and really like them,” Barie says. The women also make dog-friendly cookies cut into shapes such as pumpkins, candy corn, black cats and ghosts.
And just for fun, you also can find plush squeaky toys with a holiday theme. Think a fuzzy pumpkin your dog can open up to find smaller pumpkin plush toys inside. There also are witches that cackle when squeezed, as well as spiders, snakes and ghosts.
Some costumes come with a plush toy as part of its gear. If you dress your pup in the Hugh Hefner costume from Waggs to Riches, he’ll not only get a red satin smoking jacket but also a squeaky toy pipe. Then there’s the furry brown monkey costume that comes with a plush toy banana.
Now that your dog is in disguise, you’ll want to show him off.
This is the 12th year Paws on the Avenue is hosting a Halloween party. It will run noon to 6 p.m. on Oct. 29 on L Street next to the shop in Lake Worth. There will be a costume contest, of course, as well as other games and treats.
At Fins Furs ’n’ Feathers, pet owners who bring in a dog wearing a costume on Halloween will receive extra dog treats plus a 15 percent discount on anything in the store besides dog or cat food.
And, at Waggs to Riches, they’ll be welcoming those costumed kids and their pets who participate in Trick or Treat Along the Avenue in Delray Beach on Oct. 29.
The storeowners enjoy hosting their customers and their dogs who take Halloween seriously.
“I love how people get creative about costumes for their pets,” says Clore. “Every year they try to create something even better than the year before.”