Q:I have a new dog, and I can’t wait to dress him up for Halloween. Is it wrong to want to take my dog trick-or-treating with the kids and show him off to the neighborhood?
The last few years have upended so many of the cultural traditions we hold dear, it’s no wonder countless pet parents are eagerly anticipating a holiday where they and their dogs can dimension-hop and be someone else for a day. And how cute would your pup look dressed up in a Halloween dog costume? But should you take your dog trick-or-treating?
Well, the answer is, “it depends.” We all like to think our dogs are the most adorable creatures on the planet (and they are), but not everyone you encounter may think the same as you do. If you plan on taking your dog trick-or-treating with you this year, know that venturing out with ghouls, ghosts, Goldens and Greyhounds (or any other breed for that matter) will require particular attention to good manners and keeping safety top of mind.
Is Your Dog Well-Suited for Halloween Crowds?
You need to be honest with yourself about whether your pup is a prime candidate for All Hallows’ Eve activities. Will your Labradoodle or Peke be mightily tugging at their leashes the whole time? Will they ignore your pleas to heel? Will they tucker out and expect to be carried? Will they bark ferociously at every Baby Yoda and Mulan they see? If the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” for your sake and that of others, you may want to reconsider.
Does Your Dog Like to Wear Costumes?
Should you decide to take your dog along trick-or-treating, you might want to reconsider the costume part of the equation. Yes, I know you have dreams of you and your Schipperke outfitted as Daemon Targaryen and his dragon Caraxes while you saunter proudly through your cul de sac. But if your dog detests the encumbrance of clothing, don’t force the issue. The less physically comfortable dogs are, the more uneasy they are.
Can’t part with the idea of a doggy costume photo opp? Do an Insta-worthy photo shoot before heading out, or even well before October 31. This is the strategy employed by actress and budding pet photographer Maureen Chandler Reid, who dresses up her Bichon Frise, Harvee. She keeps photo sessions to no more than 15 minutes at a pop and spreads them out over the course of a few weeks leading up to the holiday. The very self-aware pup “doesn’t care much for costumes but he tolerates them,” the Yonkers, New York-based thespian says. By Halloween, however, he’s been there, done that with the multiple ensembles. Instead, Chandler Reid puts the 3-year-old in a Halloween shirt or sweater so he remains cozy while keeping in the spirit. Check out these options for pets who don't do costumes.
What to Do Instead of Trick-or-Treating
If you decide trick-or-treating is not a good idea for your dog, that doesn’t mean you and your pooch can’t still enjoy the spooky season. Take a page out of New Yorker dog mom Cecilia Moreno’s book. She’s thinking of arranging a small outdoor gathering for her two King Charles Cavalier Spaniels, Annie and Jessie, and their friends, with plenty of treats on hand, of course.
This may in fact be the best solution of all. By convening the pets in a secure outdoor area such as a dog run, the dogs can cavort with their BFFs and best of all, if anyone says “boo,” it won’t be because of your manners.
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