Halloween can be fun for the entire family, including the dog.
That is, of course, if your dog is well socialized and confident in unusual situations. If not, Hallowe terribly scary for dogs.
Think about Halloween from your dog’s point of view with the loud, screaming children, scary costumes, strangers at your house, people walking in your front yard, and the doorbell ringing non-stop.
This might be a good time for one of the adults in the household to hang out in the back bedroom with your dog and maybe put on some calming music and let him play with a few safe chew toys.
Unfortunately, for some families, the best way to have a dog-safe Halloween might be to turn off the front light or leave a bowl of treats on the porch and let the trick-or-treaters help themselves.
If you have a dog who enjoys fun and adventures, here are some fun ideas you may want to play this October so you can enjoy a dog-friendly Halloween.
Dog-friendly Halloween tips
Plan a party
Halloween is always fun with a handful of good friends to help you celebrate it. Invite your friends with social dogs, and let them know their dog is welcome.
Make sure you invite them in plenty of time, so they have time to either make or buy an excellent costume for their dog. Be sure the invitation is clear: this is a family-friendly event, and the whole family, including their pets, is welcome.
If they feel uncomfortable bringing their dog or their dog is not family-friendly, reassure them that they can still attend without their dog and join in on the festivities.
Provide prizes and party gifts
Everybody likes to go home with a party gift. This can be as simple as a few assorted fun dog treat recipes on index cards, a small goodie bag of healthy dog treats, or even fun dog toys.
Don’t forget to have a few different gifts available to give out as prizes to the game winners.
Prepare party food
We all love to eat, and anyone with a dog knows that food tends to get dropped or handed over, so our favorite canine can indulge.
Because this is bound to happen, especially if kids are involved, serve dog-friendly food items. If you have a copy of What’s For Dinner, Dexter? you will see a large list of safe and healthy foods for our dogs.
You can also cut up fresh fruits and vegetables like carrots, celery, cauliflower, pineapples, strawberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, and sweet potato fries.
Avoid foods like grapes, raisins, fat, chocolate, pits, seeds, rhubarb, and onions.
Use dog-safe Halloween decorations
Decorating your dog’s Halloween party is a must if you really want to set the theme. Luckily Halloween is known for bones, so keeping the party using the doggie theme is pretty easy.
If you use carved pumpkins, insert colored glow sticks, not candles. You may consider placing the jack-o-lanterns up high to discourage unwanted dog urination.
Select dog-safe costumes
Think of a theme that you, your dog, and maybe your family can all do together. Ensure your dog-friendly Halloween costume fits your dog properly and that he has the full range of motion.
Remember, you want this to be an enjoyable event, so don’t make wearing a costume torturous for your dog.
Make sure your dog can move freely and see clearly. Understand not all dogs enjoy costumes, so respect your dog’s wishes.
Dog-safe Halloween party fun
Taking your dressed-up dogs down your subdivision sidewalk can be a fun way to start your dog-friendly Halloween party.
The dogs will be able to get to know each other while getting some exercise which also offers an opportunity for them to relieve themselves.
Not to mention, a dog parade is a great way to break the ice with human guests.
Keep dogs leashed for their own safety.
Best trick contest
This is a great way to incorporate any guests who did not bring a dog, assign them to be the judges, and have them pick the dog with the best trick.
If you have a lot of dog guests, you can pick various categories to allow more than one winner and give out awards for first, second, and third-place prizes.
Bob for apples
Now that the dog-themed Halloween party is rolling, it’s time for some dog-friendly Halloween games. Bobbing for apple slices is a fun and healthy game for dogs.
Cut up approximately 4-5 apples removing their skins, cores, and seeds, then place them into a shallow bucket. Ensure the bucket is low enough for the smallest guest to easily dunk his head into the bucket to retrieve an apple piece.
Take turns so that you don’t have too many dogs in the bucket simultaneously.
If you have a teacup breed next to a Great Dane, you might want to consider two buckets to meet the different sizes.
Best costume contest
This category can really be endless and a lot of fun. Think of unique categories like best pair, most unusual theme, most colorful, most elaborate, etc.
You can have your guests ham it up by walking a red carpet during the competition and encouraging the other guests to cheer everyone on.
If you have a photographer, make sure there is a station at the end of the walkway for a photo opportunity.
Use a dedicated photographer to memorialize your dog-themed Halloween party. You can either hire a professional, an amateur, or just a friend, to take action shots at the event.
Photos can be uploaded to a free blog or even sent to your local newspaper. Most importantly, don’t forget to enclose a hard copy of the family’s picture when you send thank you notes.
Use your dog-friendly Halloween party to support a local charity. Maybe in your invitations, you can recommend a small cover charge that will be donated to your charity of choice.
Or invite a representative from a dog-focused charity to give a 10-minute introduction to their cause at the party. Giving always makes people feel good and can boost morale, so it’s a win-win for both people and pets.
Use Halloween safety tips to plan your celebration
Don’t delay! Start organizing the best dog-friendly Halloween party in town! I am sure you will have a spooktacular time.
Tonya Wilhelm has been voted one of the Top 10 Dog Trainers in the United States. You can find out more about Tonya at GlobalDogTraining.Com or by visiting her social media pages on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest or youtube.