When we plan our own costumes for Halloween, we find inspiration from history, art, TV, movies, ads—even politics. Why not scour the same sources to come up with clever ways to dress up our Halloween dogs?
Halloween Costume Ideas for Dogs: History and Heroes
Breed History: Researching the history of specific breeds of dogs could fuel your imagination for Halloween.
- The dogs of emperors, Chow Chows date back to ancient China, so you may need to whip up a commanding costume for yourself and your pet.
- Parent to a Pug? Josephine Bonaparte, Prince William II and the artist Hogarth have been, too.
- War hero dogs go back—way back; the Cane Corso is believed to be the descendant of Roman war dogs who were used to strike fear into boars and mountain lions as well as help in fighting off enemies.
- While you may think your Poodle’s origins are from France, they actually come to us by way of Germany, and the hairdo? Learn about that history, and much more, in our breed guides.
- Did you know that George Washington bred the very first American Foxhounds?
- Teddy Roosevelt, a fan of mixed breed dogs, has the Teddy Roosevelt Terrier named for him.
- Warren G. Harding’s Airedale Terrier had a seat at cabinet meetings and official White House birthday parties.
- Herbert Hoover’s Belgian police dog may have helped him win an election and served as a patrol dog at the White House.
- FDR’s Scottish Terrier Fala inspired two movies.
- George H. W. Bush’s Millie (a Springer Spaniel) and the Clintons’ Buddy (a chocolate Labrador Retriever) each have their own books.
- The newest presidential dogs, Barney (George W. Bush’s Scottie) and Bo and Sunny (Portuguese Water Dogs) have spawned digital media followings.
- For more trivia, and inspiration for your costumes, read the White House Historical Association’s “Top Dogs at the White House.”
- The legend of Balto, the Siberian Husky who became a national sensation in 1925 when he led a dog sled expedition through the treacherous Iditarod Trail in Alaska to save a remote community from an outbreak of diphtheria, is immortalized in the 1995 cartoon (and subsequent sequels), an iconic bronze sculpture in Central Park, and in several books, giving plenty of fodder for costume ideas for dogs.
- Laika, a terrier mix, was the first dog up in space, which should inspire some fun Halloween attire (her end is a tear-jerker, however, as she died in space).
- For the Yorkshire Terrier lovers, there’s Yorkie Doodle Dandy, a war dog who served in World War II who has several monuments in her honor.
For more dogs to pay tribute to this Halloween, check out Mother Nature Network’s “11 of the Bravest Dogs in History” and the United States War Dogs Association’s “History of War Dogs.”
Art History: Ever drawn doodles of dogs? So did cave-dwellers way back when, and artists throughout time have paid tribute to beloved pets in their works. To get ideas for cultured dog costume this Halloween, view the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s online exhibit “Animals in Medieval Art” and Dog Channel’s Art History lesson.
Halloween Costume Ideas for Dogs: Pop Culture and Hollywood
- Rin Tin Tin: Like any true celebrity, this German Shepherd—one of the first furry stars of the big screen—has an IMDB profile, an official biography, an Oscar nomination, a TV show spinoff named for him that reimagined his life story, and a line of products (dog food) named after him. His starring roles in films like Where the North Begins and the Lone Defender series, his personal history of triumph (after being discovered among a litter of puppies on a battlefield in France during World War I, he was brought to California and made into a star), and his legacy may inspire a costume idea or two.
- Snoopy: Could your dog pull off the look of what is perhaps the world’s most famous Beagle, the best pal of Charlie Brown? Take a cue from this parade-going pup dressed up as one of the Peanuts character’s many alter-egos, a World War I flying ace. Your dog could also channel Snoopy by rocking the “Joe Cool” look, black sunglasses and a sweatshirt that says “Joe Cool.” For a traditional Snoopy look, if your pooch is white with black ears, a simple black collar and a yellow bird sidekick (a Woodstock stuffed animal or a Woodstock from construction paper) should do the trick.
- Underdog: Another popular Beagle, albeit one with extraordinary powers, Underdog’s costume is pretty simple and straightforward—all you’ll need for Halloween is a red shirt marked with a white “U” and a blue cape.
- Scooby Doo: This famous Great Dane is just as well known for his big appetite as he is for his uncanny ability to stumble on clues for solving mysteries, so to pull off the costume, craft your pet a life-sized sandwich prop and aim for a collar that matches Scooby’s trademark turquoise accessory (with the signature initials SD, of course). It’ll help if you dress up as one of the gang on Halloween, too.
- Spuds Mackenzie/Honey Tree Evil Eye, the mascot for Anheuser-Busch: This English Bull Terrier made her debut (or, as a he, to her public) with a 1987 Super Bowl ad and stayed in the beer-soaked spotlight for two years. Check out Google images, YouTube clips, and eBay listings for inspiration for this potential dog Halloween costume.
- Gidget, the “Taco Bell Dog”: Another she who played a he in commercials, this top Chihuahua made a name for herself schilling tacos—which earned her limo rides, first-class flights, a private jet ride to open up the New York Stock Exchange, toys in her likeness, and roles in Legally Blonde 2 and Beverly Hills Chihuahua.
- Lassie: Generations of Collies have been typecast playing various iterations of the beloved Lassie on the big and small screens. If you have a Collie, having your dog also adopt the role, even just for the day of Halloween, may be inevitable.
- Toto: One of the most famous Terriers, this Cairn made a name in The Wizard of Oz. Will you be dressing up as one of the other characters from the musical to coordinate with your dog’s costume?
More on Halloween
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Make Halloween Mascot Costumes for Your Pets
Homemade and Fun Pet Halloween Costumes
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