By Ann Wesley
It was only August, but Maggie Marton was already planning Halloween costumes for her three dogs and cat. When the October holiday rolls around, the pets will be decked out nose to tail and ready to show off.
When Jennifer Tucker puts a Halloween costume on her terrier/Chihuahua mix dogs, they prance and pose. They strut around and bask in the attention and compliments they get.
Both Bloomington women say their best buddies have been dressing up for years and as long as the costumes fit well, the pets seem happy to indulge their human’s desire to make them into something fun or funny for a day.
Tucker’s dog Plum used to "work" at a pet store as a model and a greeter and so was very accustomed to wearing dog clothes. “I put something on her - hat, dress, costume, anything, she would trot up to the customers and do her ‘sit pretty’ and they would fuss over her and she loved it! So for her, she really likes the attention she gets when she has something like that on. Moon also seems to feel quite sassy when he has something on, especially if I take his picture.”
Marton, author of the Oh My Dog! National blog, dressed her American Staffordshire Terrier Emmett up the first year she had him and has kept it up ever since. As her canine family grew to include Lucas, a shepherd mix and Cooper, a pit bull mix, Marton included them in the tradition – either purchasing store costumes for them or making something. Last year, when Newt the cat moved into the Marton household, she too got a costume.
“They don't seem to mind it, but I think what they enjoy is all the extra attention. Whenever they have on a cute or silly costume, they receive a ton of attention. I think they know that when they get dressed up, they're about to get lots of treats and pats,” Marton said.
Both pet owners said the key to a cooperative pet is to start slow with other forms of pet clothing and to choose costumes that fit well.
“Sizing is important, of course, but make sure they don't feel awkward. For example, Emmett hates having anything on his head, so I never put him in something that has a hood or a hat. Because Lucas is so big, some store-bought costumes are way too tight around his shoulders, which makes him very uncomfortable. If I can't find one that's appropriately sized, I modify the costumes to fit properly.” Marton said.
Tucker likes to start her dogs with jackets or sweaters, then switch to pieces of a costume, adding elements leading up to Halloween. But, she advised, never force your pet to wear a costume. “If the dog seems really stressed by it, forget it. Just put a cute bandanna on them and call it a day. It's not worth stressing them out if they really don't like it.
Halloween Costumes Can Be Fun for Cooperative Pets