DIY Pet Halloween Costumes

5 Easy-to-Make Ensembles

Ghosts and goblins, spooks galore, scary witches at your door… As Halloween approaches, families across the nation are preparing for a festive night — and including their pets.

According to the National Retail Federation, the most popular pet costumes this year include a pumpkin, hot dog, pirate, bumble bee, devil, a Batman character, ghost, cat, witch and a Star Wars character.

For pet owners who choose to forgo buying a costume, there are plenty of easy DIY pet costume options — and a chance to customize a costume for your pet.

DIY Big Bird Halloween Pet Costume

Pet Owner Gets Dogs Into Halloween Spirit

Tina Matvia has been making Halloween costumes for her three dogs for years. The Boliva, NC, resident tries to keep the costumes simple for Finnegan, her two-year old Labrador, Fishy, her 12-year-old Labrador and her four-year-old Jack Russell terrier known as Little Girl.

“It’s so much fun,” says Matvia, “and it requires no time at all. For the most part, I think up my own costumes, but looking on Pinterest always helps.”

Matvia buys supplies for her pet costumes at local stores and tries to keep it simple. “I don’t use a pattern, I basically wing it,” she says. “It usually takes me 10 minutes, tops, to put together a costume.”

This year, Little Girl’s Halloween costume is inspired by Sesame Street’s Big Bird.

Ghost costume for dogs

“Her costume is a headband, a yellow boa, store-bought Styrofoam eyeballs and the tip of a party hat for the beak. So simple!” says Matvia. The boa was glued to the headband and then loosely wrapped around Little Girl’s body. Matvia says the tip of the party hat stayed put without any assistance and was only worn when taking photos.

Finnegan’s ghost costume was made from a sheet with holes cut out for his eyes and snout. This year, Fishy will sport a headband with blue fuzzy fabric and glued-on eyeballs reminiscent of Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster.

Matvia’s three dogs enjoy a Halloween party thrown just for them, with special pet-friendly treats.

“You’d be surprised just how much fun they have,” says Matvia, “like a bunch of kids.”

Pet owners can make howling good pet costumes with some imagination and a few basic materials. We’ve researched five easy pet Halloween costumes that require few materials and little time to create.

Cat Halloween Costume for Dogs

Materials: a black t-shirt, a headband with cat ears (easily found at costume stores and Target or Walmart) and black fabric tape. Pet-friendly fur paint optional.

How to: Fit the t-shirt to your dog; you may have to cut the collar so it doesn’t put any pressure on our dog’s throat. Using the fabric tape, pull up the hanging ends of the t-shirt near your dog’s belly and secure by taping each side upward so it no longer hangs open. If you want to match your dog’s tail to the color of the t-shirt, use the pet-safe paint to color it.

Ballerina Halloween Costume for Pets

Dog wearing a ballerina outfitMaterials: Children’s leggings or white, or pink soft gauze wrap, or children's white or pink socks, a youth-sized tutu and a tiara or hair bows. Optional: elastic stretch band for tiara.

How to: You have options for a leg warmer look: find children's leg warmers, use pink or white soft gauze that can be comfortably wrapped around your pet's legs, or use old children's pink or white socks to mimick leggings. Cut off the foot portion of the sock so you're left with the ankle fabric. Using the leggings, gauze or socks, pull one up on each leg. Next, pull on the tutu up to your pet’s waist. Use either a tiara or hair bows to top off the look. If the tiara won’t stay on your pet’s head, consider using an elastic band. Before cutting, size the band comfortably around your pet’s head and under the chin to make sure it isn’t too loose or too tight. Tie one end of the band to one end of the tiara and then affix the other end of the band to the other end of the tiara.

Pirate Halloween Costume for Pets

Materials: Child’s striped t-shirt, child’s pirate hat. Optional: elastic stretch band for hat.

How to: Pull on the t-shirt and check collar to make sure it isn’t too tight around your pet’s neck. If so, loosen it by cutting a “v” line with your scissors in the front-center neckline. A pirate hat, found at arts and crafts stores like Michaels, may already come with a stretchy band attached. If not, glue stretch band to each side of the hat under the right and left sides.

Chia Pet Halloween Pet CostumeChia-Pet Halloween Costume for Pets

Materials: Orange felt, fake bushy-looking plants or plastic aquarium plants, t-shirt or dog sweater, and fabric glue or another adhesive.

How to: Use the orange felt and fabric glue or adhesive and wrap (not too tightly) around each leg to create a terracotta plant look. Using an old dog sweater or a t-shirt that has been fitted around your pet’s body, glue the plastic plants over the fabric, making sure to cover the entire fabric to create a bushy look. Make sure you’re not gluing on the plants while the dog is wearing the garment as this could cause harm to your pet’s body. Make sure the costume has completely cooled down before putting it on your pet.

Beanie Baby Pet Halloween Costume

TY Beanie Baby Dog Halloween CostumeMaterials: A printer, two pieces of 8.5 x 11 card stock printer paper, one piece of 8.5 x 11 printer paper, glue, red ribbon, hole punch.

How to: Print this Beanie Baby template full size so the Ty logo and safety instructions fill the page. This will serve as the front and back side of the Beanie Baby tag.

Next, on your computer, type out your pet’s name, adoption date, and a small paragraph describing your pet’s favorite things to do and/or eat. The type size should be large enough to read and nearly fill the page. Print this on the piece of printer paper.

Cut the two pieces of paper into heart shapes per the template. Glue the page with your pet’s info on the opposite side of the safety instructions so when you open the heart-shaped tag the info is on the inside.  

Using the hole punch, punch a hole in the upper inside left corner of the heart tag, on the same page as your pet’s info. Thread the red ribbon through the punched hole and tie loosely around your pet’s neck. Make sure the ribbon is not tight; avoid accidental choking or restrictions to your pet’s breathing.