Pet-centric Halloween events gaining popularity

In a few days the streets will be crawling with them — scads of little feet marching from house to house begging for goodies.

But don’t be surprised if, among the squeals of glee and pattering of carefully selected footwear, there can be heard the clacking of claws on pavement and the occasional yap, howl or bark of over stimulation.

Sharna Johnson

Sharna Johnson

At one time, Halloween was pretty much a kid’s day, all about the candy and the costumes — that one holiday the little ones get to share with their peers by showing off their imaginations and getting to wear those superhero capes and tights outside of the house without being laughed at.

These days, however, they are sharing the day of make-believe, not just with the occasional kid-at-heart parent, but with the family pets as well.

Nearly $7 billion hard earned American dollars will go into candy, costumes and spooky décor with the average person dropping around $75, according to estimates from the National Retail Federation.

With more than $1 billion going to grown-up costumes and $330 million being used to add wings, bunny ears and fireman hats to unsuspecting dogs, it is clearly no longer just a day for the kids.

Not only do they get to be fancy for a night, pet-centric Halloween events are all the rage, from the hundreds of New Yorkers expected to show off their decorated pooches in parades to businesses across the country which welcome four-legged trick or treating.

Halloween with the dog might be more rewarding anyway.

  • They stand patiently while paint is applied to their fur
  • They can be shaved, fluffed, and dyed without a visit from officials
  • Have no sticky little hands with which to tug and pull at costly outfits
  • Are less likely to slip away in the crowd thanks to the leash
  • Adapt like good pirates and don’t trip over curbs just because they have an eye patch covering one eye
  • Can walk miles without bursting into tears that ruin painted on whiskers
  • Warm up rather than shiver in gossamer princess gowns
  • Aren’t up to speed on the critical differences between Belle, Jasmine, Ariel and Snow White — nor do they care
  • See clowns as walking squeaky toys, mummies as toilet paper confetti waiting to happen, and skeletons as the stuff of dreams, meaning they won’t have nightmares for weeks to come
  • Make it through the revelries without sticking gum in their hair, tummy aches or a sugar buzz
  • Don’t trip over or impale siblings and innocent bystanders with plastic swords
  • And best of all, don’t throw tantrums, complain or use words like “itchy”

Of course pooches have it in them to bring their own unique spin to the holiday and it should be noted that the typical kid doesn’t :

  • Chase masked marauders
  • Roll around on the ground and crumple their wings
  • Sling drool strings on their shirt-front
  • Relieve themselves on carefully decorated lawns
  • Make ghosts and ghouls sneeze when they walk by
  • Lose all sense and intelligence when a bull dog in a tutu walks by
  • Eat their custom fitted hats and along with just about anything that causes itching or discomfort
  • Growl from behind a bunny mask
  • Or, knock down toddlers to lick their gooey faces

All things considered, distinguishing between the two and four-legged varieties of firefighters, superheroes, monsters, princesses, pirates, witches and wizards ought to be easy enough.

Just remember, when the big night rolls around, if nothing else — since they do share a tendency to plow through treats with careless wild abandon — at least keep the Milk Bones and Milk Duds separated.

Sharna Johnson is a writer who is always searching for ponies. You can reach her at: or on the web at:

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