There’s a lot of love about Halloween – spooky decorations, costumes, pumpkin carving and of course, candy. But why should humans have all the fun? Making a homemade costume for your pet is a great project the whole family can do at home this Halloween. And it’s a great way to participate in this year’s DogWatch Halloween Photo Contest, and potentially win $500 for your favorite pet charity!

Want to join the fun, but can’t come up with any ideas? We’ve found 10 great do-it-yourself options, including previous #DogWatchHalloween Contest winners and runners up from the past nine years!

1. Oreo Cookie

Our office dog Lucy the pug mix loves to dress up for Halloween, and one of her most popular costumes is her Oreo® cookie costume. Lucy’s mom made this costume in a few hours using an old t-shirt and supplies purchased at a craft store for about $15. The instructions are shown below.

Oreo® Cookie Dog Costume

Oreo cookie dog costumeYou’ll Need:

  • One large or two small cans of black spray paint
  • Two circles of equal size – preferably foam but cardboard works too. The diameter of the circle should be no longer than the length between your dog’s front and back legs.
  • Two strips of adhesive Velcro®
  • An old white t-shirt (one that fits snugly or that you can cut to fit)
  • Measuring tape or a ruler


  1. With your dog standing up, measure the distance between your dog’s front and back legs. This will be the maximum diameter of your circles.
  2. Purchase foam circles at a craft store or cut out circles from a heavy cardboard box.
  3. Go outside to use the spray paint, and paint the two circles on both sides. Make sure you are wearing old clothes and set down paper towels or plastic to protect your lawn or sidewalk.
  4. Let the paint dry for a least 24 hours.
  5. Print out or draw the Oreo pattern on a piece of paper. Cut the paper into a circle just slightly smaller than the ones you just painted.
  6. Tape or glue the Oreo pattern to your (dry) foam or cardboard circles.
  7. As needed, cut the t-shirt to fit your dog.
  8. Place adhesive Velcro on the back of the circles and on the t-shirt, so that the circles rest comfortably at the dog’s sides in between her legs. (The Velcro will allow you to attach and remove the cookie circles so that the dog can walk freely and more comfortably in between photo-ops.)
  9. Put the t-shirt on your dog and attach the Oreo cookies to the cream filling (the t-shirt), and you’re done!

Photo Credit: Jaclyn Mosher-Bruss

2. Spider

Spooky spiders are always a popular costume idea for pets on Halloween. Look no further than our 2017 DogWatch Halloween Photo Contest winners Maizie and Riley!

Maizie and Riley Woof Spiders Samantha Lynn

Maizie and Riley’s parents went all out for their winning entry, but a simpler design might work better if you’re not an experienced sewer. For a step-by-step guide to making your own Black Widow spider costume, check out this tutorial from Martha Stewart, featuring her French Bulldog Francesca.

Photo Credit: Samantha Lynn

3. Bunch of Grapes

Here’s an eye-catching costume that you can make at home without spending all weekend at the sewing machine. All you need is a purple t-shirt, purple balloons and something to attach the balloons to the shirt (tape, glue, zip ties, etc.). Bonus points for leaves on the collar or a headband stem, as shown on Mr. Pork Chops the French bulldog. Remember, keep the real grapes away, as they are toxic to dogs if ingested.

Grapes Dog Costume

Photo Credit: Jeremy C. Fox,

4. E.T. and Elliott

1980s nostaglia is all the rage these days, so why not try a costume inspired by one of the decade’s most beloved films, Steven Spielberg’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial? Dog siblings Ryder and Taylor won the 2019 DogWatch Halloween Photo Contest with this tribute to E.T. and his friend Elliott’s famous flying bicycle trip. All you need is a bike with a basket, a red hoodie and treats to reward your pup for the perfect alien pose!

Dogs as ET

Photo Credit: Jessica Bumbera (@gsp_ryder_and_ripp and @taylor_aka_taytay)

5. Business Dog

Is your dog more of a gentle giant? Here’s a costume idea for big dogs families that won’t get in the way of their dog’s active nature. Check out this tutorial for a simple “Business Dog” costume recycles an old dress shirt and tie into a dapper new look for your canine boss!

Yeti the Newdle in a suit and red tie

Photo Credit: @yetithenewdle

6. Beanie Baby

This one is super simple and works for dogs (and cats, and other pets) of all sizes! Simply create the signature red heart “TY” logo out of cardboard or paper, and attach it to your pet’s collar. Voila, you’ve created your own giant Beanie Baby! And it’s value – PRICELESS.

Bailey Mae, a 7 month old Cavapoo puppy with a "Beanie Baby" costume

Photo Credit: Krista Wertman Reist

7. Ewok

How about the always popular Star Wars films? Lhasa apsos, shih tzus, Brussels griffons, pugs and Pomeranians make excellent Ewoks, the small, teddy bear-like creatures that appeared in The Return of the Jedi. To make an Ewok to walk alongside your Princess Leia or Han Solo costume, all you need is a brown fabric hood and your dog’s natural good looks! (See Houston’s outfit below.) Or maybe your dog has the cute face (and ears) of Baby Yoda?

Houston the Shih Tzu dressed as an Ewok

Photo Credit: Korby Patzner

8. Hostess Cupcake

Great for dogs of all sizes, this project is quick, inexpensive and easy for your dog to wear. All you need is a brown or black t-shirt (infant size for small dogs, youth or adult for larger breeds), and some white fabric paint (available at most craft stores) to create the signature white frosting swirl. For a more fitted version of the cupcake costume, check out this tutorial (it does require sewing).

9. Teddy Bear

This one is always a big hit, and a perfect fit for your dog’s cuddly, loving personality. It does require cutting open a teddy bear, so make sure it’s one you can spare.

To pick the right size bear for your pup, the height of the stuffed animal should be similar to the distance between your dog’s head and front legs. Then, grab a good pair of scissors and get to work! Cut out the back of the bear and remove the stuffing from everywhere except the bear’s arms. Then cut out the face, leaving the ears in place. The dog’s head goes here, and his front legs go into the now-empty feet. (Note: as with all of these costumes, make sure that the costume is not too tight and does not restrict the pet’s ability to move freely. )

English Bulldog dressed as a Teddy Bear

Photo Credit: @bulldawgkevin

10. Bob Ross

One of the most creative costume ideas we saw last year was Bob Ross, the late star of PBS’ “The Joy of Painting”. We love Divot’s take (left), complete with a paintbrush and his own completed canvas. And we giggled when we saw Roscoe and Storm’s tribute (right), featuring “Dog Ross” and his signature “happy clouds.”

Bob Ross dogs

Photo Credits: @jkstingray and @weimarascals


All of us at DogWatch wish you a very happy, safe and fun Howl-o-Ween!