Ever imagine the kind of person your pet would be if it was magically transform into a human? Well Halloween is the time to match your pet's personality to the perfect costume. Use their quirks and habits as inspiration for picking a great costume.
A wrinkly shar-pei can easily become a cuddly teddy bear; devil horns can take the place of that rambunctious French bulldog's ears; and that little Chihuahua can become the fixings of a taco when surrounded by a yellow felt shell.
If you're looking for an intricate store-bought outfit, expect to shell out lots of cash. But if you're a budget-savvy pet owner looking to save a little money, scour the house and get creative. Ask your pet sitter to weigh in. Try these cheap costume ideas and find one that is a perfect match for your pet. Most of these costumes can be adapted depending on whether your best friend is a dog, cat, rabbit or kangaroo!
Does your dog seem like he'd be one macho Harley rider if only he had opposable thumbs? If your pooch has a tough side, grab an old cheap jean or leather jacket for a quick biker getup. Create a loose dog collar with the remaining fabric from the jacket. Just take small pieces of tin foil, shape them into spikes and glue them to the leather strap for a one-of-a-kind spiked dog collar. Add a red bandana with ear holes cut out to top off the look.
The Vampire or Bat
This costume requires some stretchy black fabric, craft foam, a cat harness and a sketch pad. Depending on the size of your cat, sketch a bat wing on some paper (only one is needed), cut out the sketch and then trace the outline onto two pieces of foam to create two symmetrical wings. Do the same with your fabric by folding it in half, then outlining the shape of the wing, leaving yourself an inch of extra room around the edge so it can be stretched over the foam. Repeat this so you have two pieces of bat wing-shaped fabric. Repeat the whole process with a rectangle shape, big enough to fit between your kitty's shoulder blades. Cover the foam with the fabric pieces, then attach both wings to either side of the rectangle. Finally, secure the rectangle to the harness, and your cat is ready to trick-or-treat.
Dig into the kids' dress-up box or hit a cheap craft store for a neckerchief and small cowboy hat to send that furry fella back to the old West. A lot of pet owners adorn their furry children in neckerchiefs anyway, so all you need to do is grab a kid-size cowboy hat and your ankle biter is ready to heard some cattle. If you want to go a step further, pick up some brown suede fabric from a craft store to fashion into a little vest for your pup.
Do you always find Fluffy scratching at house plants or yard flowers? Use old green clothes and pipe cleaners to make leaves and vines to turn your kitty into foliage. Grab a clearance cat shirt and some fake leaves, flowers and vines from your local hobby store to make it even easier. If you get crafty enough, you can even make the costume resemble a Chia Pet!
Michael Phelps may get the gold, but your pooch could steal the show by acting as his stunt double. Dig out the kids' swim lesson goggles, toss a hand towel across your pup's shoulders and head out. If you're really feeling it, cut out holes in a swim cap for your dog's ears, or make your pup a little Speedo.
Does your four-legged feline already act like he owns the place? Let him really be the king of the jungle then with a wild costume. If you wanted to invest a bit, lions manes are easy to come by around Halloween, but the cheaper solution is to cut long strips of tan fabric and knot them around your cat's collar until they're nice and bushy. Or if you have an orange-colored or strawberry blonde wig from Halloweens past, cut out a circle in the center, make a couple slits on both sides for ear holes and place it over your cat's head.
Your furry friend loves to beg under the table when you serve your family dinner. Now it's her chance to be the cook. Create a chef's hat for your pooch with a white paper bag, some foam and a few pieces of white elastic or string. Measure the foam to fit around the top of your dog's head for the right circumference. The height can be as tall or short as you like, just don't make it too tall or it will flop around when she moves. Cut the bottom out of a white paper shopping bag, then accordion fold what's left it to create pleats. Glue the pleated bag to the foam, leaving a few inches of foam exposed at the bottom. Using the discarded bottom of the paper bag, cut a two inch wide strip of un-pleated paper, and glue it to the exposed foam at the base of the hat. Finally, attach the edges of the foam to one another with glue or a threaded needle to create the top hat shape of a chef's hat. Simply create small holes in either side of the hat in which to thread the string so it can be secured to your pup's head. Now you're cookin'!
Find some old black clothes you don't want and start wrapping. Tailor a black shirt, pants and head wrap, then strap it in place with a colored belt to create your own ninja. No one will see Princess coming! Conversely, if you are looking for a ying to the yang, fashion a white karate shirt and pants with a black belt for extra measure. No one will mess with your board-breaking cat.
The Hot Dog
What dog lover wouldn't melt at the sight of a Dachshund dressed up as a hot dog? Grab a dark red sweater (such as that ugly Christmas sweater turned inside out) that you can wrap around your dog. Take an old pair of khakis (for buns) and cut the tops of them off so only the legs remain. Stuff the legs of the pants with batting, then sew the ends closed before attaching them to the sides of the sweater. Using puffy paints, add some mustard, relish and ketchup along the back of the sweater. And just like that, your wiener dog is dressed like, well, a wiener.
If you and your pet have an affinity for the open road and working up a good sweat with a nice 5K, give that pup a little gym-gear action. Find some old headbands and wristbands (don't deny that you have some tucked away) and put them on Lassie. Add some sunglasses for that extra touch of protection and you're ready for another five miles, or at least for that costume party. If you have one, consider putting your water bottle belt around the torso for an extra touch.
But most importantly, always remember to keep an eye on your pet when placing anything other than a collar on it. Items around the neck can be a choking hazard, considering some animals will eat almost anything. And avoid costumes that can hamper a pet's movement, hearing or breathing.
Ryan Falkenrath is a swimmer, biker, runner, dad, husband, pet lover, blogger, tweeter and a freelance writer in Kansas City. From endurance sports to Kansas Jayhawk basketball, Ryan writes about it all. His work can be found here.