Have a Pet-Tacular Halloween: What’s Safe and What’s Not for Your Pet During the Season

Have a Pet-Tacular Halloween: What’s Safe and What’s Not for Your Pet During the Season

With more pet parents deciding dressing up their pet can be part of the spirit of Halloween, we asked some readers to send us their favorite costumes and provide some advice for the season.

Marissa Rapsik has been dressing up Ziggy since he was a puppy.


“I love making his costumes and we’ve gone to many dog costume contests over the years,” she says. “Ziggy’s been a “corn dog” and dressed as an ear of corn, the Up house, a brain, and Mr. Potato Head. Ziggy is a good sport about it and we love seeing him in the costumes.”

Kristen Hass said it’s something she looks forward to as a pet owner, who dresses up her dog Roxy.


“My advice for pet owners is to find a costume your pet likes and one they’re comfortable in,” Hass says.

Pet parent, Shauna Grimm of Howard, an English Bulldog, said he’s enjoyed the extra attention (when he puts on the costumes).

“We have done a prisoner with the name Horrible Howard and a boy scout,” she says about others he’s worn.


The 12-year-old bulldog is a rescue, which is important to the family.

“Our rescue pups both have been through a lot and we really got to see them blossom into the great dogs they are,” Grimm says. “Always helping a helpless pet is the best feeling.”

While some pets love the dress-up, some others are a little harder to please.


Nubs, the cat, named after her short tail, joined the Szwec family on Christmas in 2021 from a shelter, according to pet parent, Andrea Szwec.

“My daughter was a bee for Halloween a few years ago and wanted Nubs to follow suit with her mostly black coat,” Szwec says. “ As you can imagine, Nubs was not a fan of wearing a costume. Thankfully, she complied for a short while on Halloween and we were fortunate to capture the moment with a few photos. Most likely Nubs will reprise her bee role for Hallow- een again.”

With so many trick-or-treaters going in and out, make sure your cats — and dogs — are away from the excitement.

“Our tip for keeping indoor cats safe on Halloween is to keep a close eye on them while passing out candy, or even keeping them in a safe area where they cannot escape,” Szwec says. “Another cat of ours did jump outside once on Halloween. She was the definition of a ‘scaredy cat’ with trick-or-treaters and came right back in.”


Here are some ways from the American Veterinary Medical Association to have a safe and pet-friendly Halloween.



  • Don’t feed pets Halloween treats. Raisins and candy may contain substances toxic to pets,suchas chocolateorxylitol(acommon sugar substitute found in sugar-free candies and gum). Often, you won’t be able to tell what a treat or piece of candy contains just by looking at it.
  • Make sure your pets have identification (micro chip, collar, and ID tag)
  • Keep lit candles, jack-o-lanterns, and other Halloween decorations out of reach of pets
  • Keep all human costume pieces away from pets, along with glow sticks, decorations, batteries, and other holiday items. When chewed, glow stick items can release liquid that tastes really bad and can make pets drool excessively or act strangely (though it isn’t likely to be harmful). Other costume parts and decorations might cause choking, internal injury, or illness.
  • If you plan to put a costume on your pet, make sure it follows these guidelines: Fits properly and is comfortable,  Doesn’t have any pieces that easily can be chewed off or cause choking, Doesn’t block your pet’s sight, hearing, breathing, mouth, or movement
  • Take time before Halloween to get your pet accustomed to the costume, and never leave a costumed pet unsupervised.
  • If your pet is wary of strangers or has a tendency to bite, put them in a room away from the front door during trick-or-treating hours, or provide them with a safe hiding place.
  • Keep your pet indoors

We want to see your pet costumes all month long!

Send us your furry or scaly friends having a fun, safe fall season! We will feature them on our social media platforms throughout October!  Fill out the form and find more pet-friendly resources.

About the author

Angela Gartner has been the editor at Northeast Ohio Parent Magazine since 2014. She has won local and national awards for her features, columns and photography over the years. Previously, her work appeared in publications including The News-Herald, Sun Newspapers and The Chicago Tribune. She grew up in Northeast Ohio and is a mom of two boys. The whole family is busy every weekend with sports and finding new happenings around the region. She is also a board member and past president at the Cleveland Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. She loves reading, writing poetry and taking the family's Scottish Terrier on walks.

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