From Whippets dressed up in cardboard At-At Walker armor to Golden Retrievers in cone-of-shame martini glasses, there are few things cuter than dogs in Halloween costumes. And thanks to Canine Journal, we now know the states where you're most likely to see them IRL—plus the dog costumes projected to be the most popular for 2018, and tips for making sure your pupper is having as much fun as you are.
According to Canine Journal, nearly half a billion dollars of the $9B we Americans spend on Halloween each year is spent on costumes for our pets, and 18 percent of people plan to dress their pets in costumes in 2018—to the tune of 31 million Americans. As both the foster coordinator for a dog rescue and proud "mom" to two rescue dogs with their own Instagram account, I am definitely one of those Americans who has invested in oooh- and awwwww- and LOLZ-provoking costumes, for adoption advocacy and to participate in the growing number of Halloween pet parades and costume contests.
If you live in New Jersey, Massachusetts, Virginia, Wisconsin, Indiana, or New York, there's a very good chance you'll be running into at least one pug dressed as a Pumpkin or Dachshund dressed as a hot dog this Halloween, since those are the top six states most likely to dress their dogs in costumes, in order. Canine Journal found that the New England area has the highest propensity for subjecting our pets to the humiliation of Halloween, while the West Coast and Midwest "aren't exactly wagging their tails at the idea".
To determine the rankings for most popular states for dressing up dogs, Canine Journal used Google Trends to search "halloween costumes for dogs" and determine the states that had the most interest in this topic over the past 90 days. Google Trends analyzes the popularity of search queries performed over time via Google Search, and that analysis provides directional data for what people in a specific geographic region are searching for the most.
The top dog Halloween costumes according to the National Retail Federation (NRF) for 2018 include Pumpkin, Hot Dog, Bumblebee, Devil, Cat (for dogs), Dog (for cats), Lion, Star Wars characters, Super Heroes, and Ghosts.
Not all pets like being dressed up, though—while some think it's their absolute calling to pose for the cameras and get snuggles from their adoring public.
Here are some expert Halloween safety tips from Canine Journal to ensure that you and your pupper are both enjoying the holiday:
Top 3 Halloween Safety Tips for Pets
￼1. Desensitize your dog to clothing
Make sure your dog is comfortable with wearing a costume–any time of year. To see if your pup is well-suited and won't mind getting into a costume, try out some dog clothing beforehand. Once you (and your pet) feel comfortable playing dress up, go ahead and try out a costume. Use treats to reward your pup while putting on the clothes to keep them calm.
2. Practice costume & door safety
If you decide to take your dog trick-or-treating, make sure the costume is comfortable and safe. You don't want anything to cause your dog to choke, block its vision, or distract it. If you don't plan on taking your dog out, and would rather just show it off to trick-or-treaters, make sure your pupper is comfortable with strangers coming to the door and won't become frightened and escape from your house. Keep them on leash, just in case, and it may also be helpful to warn trick-or-treaters that you have a dog before they ring the doorbell. Sadly, not everyone is as comfortable around dogs as you are, especially if your pup is a jumping greeter. Consider posting a sign at the end of your walkway to alert visitors. Canine Journal has a whole article on Halloween safety tips for more like these.
3. Tricks but no (human) treats
Last but not least, make sure your dog doesn't get ahold of any of the Halloween candy! Wrappers can become choking hazards or cause intestinal blockages, fake sugars like Xylitol and both chocolate and some types of nuts (like Macadamia nuts) are not only poisonous for dogs but actually can be fatal in even small doses. Even healthy Halloween snacks, like boxes of raisins, can be extremely dangerous for our furry friends. The ASPCA has full list of human foods and plants that could send your pup to the ER vet, which is handy to have tacked to the fridge any time of year.