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24 Utterly Adorable Pet Halloween Costumes

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Whether or not you would ever dress up your own pet, it’s hard to deny that critters look cute in Halloween costumes, no matter what species they happen to be. Here are some of the best animal Halloween costumes from around the web for your holiday ogling pleasure.

Dogs

1. The Incredible Hulk

Who would have guessed that bulldogs look so good in jean shorts, even when covered in green paint? Flickr user istolethetv spotted this pup during the 19th Annual Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade.

2. Hannibal Lecter

“Can you hear the lambs Clarice?” Of course you can’t, they’ve been silenced silly. This might just be the only muzzled dog spotted at the Tompkins Square Parade. Fortunately, istolethetv was still brave enough to approach this man-killer.

3. Scarlet O’Hara

It’s practically impossible to look Gracie in her delightful hoop skirt and not think to yourself, “Frankly my doggie, I don’t give a damn!” With such a delightfully intricate costume, it’s no wonder she won Best in Show at the 20th Annual Dog Run Halloween contest at Tompkins Square Park in New York City. The design was actually based around the fact that Gracie’s older age makes it difficult for her to stand and walk for long periods of time. That’s why her owner designed a costume that allowed her to sit in place all day on top of a mobile scooter, accentuated by a cat litter dome turned into a hoop skirt.

A special thanks to AnimalTourism.com for the great image and back story.

4. Zardoz

You’d be forgiven if you’ve forgotten about (or never even heard of) the 1974 Sean Connery movie Zardoz. But even if you aren’t aware of the origins of this Boston terrier’s ensemble, it’s still easy to appreciate Flickr user daveshumka’s dog Zed’s interpretation of the original.

5. Thanksgiving Turkey

It might not be quite the right holiday for a pilgrim costume, but Thanksgiving is just around the corner and Martha Stewart user newfy certainly has a hard decision to make about that loveable but delicious turkey that keeps following her around.

6. Teen Wolf

It was hard for Shelby’s owner, Flickr user gopugyourself01, to notice that her pup was turning into a werewolf. After all, her body was already covered in hair her whole life. Really, it wasn’t until the jacket suddenly appeared out of thin air that it became obvious that Shelby was a Teen Wolf.

7. Carol from Where the Wild Things Are

If you always knew your dog was a monster deep down inside, then you’d better contact Etsy seller FairlyEnchanted and order this delightful Where the Wild Things Are costume.

8. Chia Pet

Echo here was the very lucky winner of ClickerTraining.com’s pet Halloween costume contest last year. What did she get for sacrificing her dignity by posing as a plant disguised as a dog? A box of yummy treats, of course.

9. AT-AT

Perhaps the best thing about this Star Wars AT-AT costume is that Bone, the greyhound inside, looks utterly unintimidating despite wearing some of the galaxy’s best armor. Costume, image and pet courtesy of Katie Mello.

10. Sarah Palin

If you'd like your pup to come out looking like the famous former Governor of Alaska, be sure to check out Wiggles Dog Wigs by Ruth Regina.

Other Animals

Of course, dogs aren’t the only ones who get to wear costumes during Halloween. Here are a few other critters in adorably cute clothing.

11-14. Cats

Gothamist photographer Katie Sokoler attended the 2010 Cat Fashion Show at the Algonquin Hotel and her images of the geisha, Edward Cullen, Raggedy Anne and Carmen Miranda were simply delightful.

15-16. Guinea Pigs

If you’ve seen South Park episodes Pandemic and Pandemic 2: The Startling, then you know just how terrifyingly cute guinea pigs in costumes can be. If you have your own guinea pig and want to reenact these episodes, you can buy your own cavie costumes at CuddlyCavies.com, the same shop that supplied South Park with their “monsters.” The shop also provides bunny and dog costumes, so don’t feel left out if you don’t happen to have a guinea pig of your own.

17-19. Horses

There are plenty of costumes out there for smaller animals, and even for bigger-sized dogs, but horses generally get left out when it comes time to get dressed up. Fortunately, TheHorseTailor.com offers all varieties of costumes for your favorite equine friends. A few notable horse costumes available at the site include Batman, the Cowardly Lion, and Harry Potter.

20-22. Squirrels

Sugar Bush Squirrel is undoubtedly the world’s most famous squirrel model, so it’s really no wonder that he has so many delightful costumes. While his homepage is loaded with delightful images of the star in costume, some of the best pictures feature him dressed as Alex Trebek, Michael Jackson and Snow White.

23. Caimans

Caiman owner YouTube user MorRokko loves her pet, Hadies, enough to let him celebrate in style with this awesome Iron Man suit. It’s not often you see a caiman dressed up in costume, but let’s face it, it’s not often you see a tiny relative of the crocodile being kept as a pet either. Hadies makes a pretty cute superhero.

24. Turtles

This might not be the most elaborate costume on the list, but it’s not particularly easy to get a turtle into a costume and this guy does look great as a monster of the deep.
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How to Carve a Pumpkin—And Not Injure Yourself in the Process
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Wielding a sharp knife with slippery hands around open flames and nearby children doesn't sound like the best idea—but that's exactly what millions of Halloween celebrations entail. While pumpkin carving is a fun tradition, it can also bring the risk of serious hand injuries. According to the American Society for Surgery of the Hand (ASSH), some wounds sustained from pumpkin misadventure can result in surgery and months of rehabilitation.

Fortunately, there are easy ways to minimize trauma. Both ASSH and CTV News have compiled safety tips for pumpkin carvers intended to reduce the chances of a trip to the emergency room.

First, it's recommended that carvers tackle their design with knives made specifically for carving. Kitchen knives are sharp and provide a poor grip when trying to puncture tough pumpkin skin: Pumpkin carving knives have slip-resistant handles and aren't quite as sharp, while kitchen knives can get wedged in, requiring force to pull them out.

Carvers should also keep the pumpkin intact while carving, cleaning out the insides later. Why? Once a pumpkin has been gutted, you’re likely to stick your free hand inside to brace it, opening yourself up to an inadvertent stab from your knife hand. When you do open it up, it's better to cut from the bottom: That way, the pumpkin can be lowered over a light source rather than risk a burn dropping one in from the top.

Most importantly, parents would be wise to never let their kids assist in carving without supervision, and should always work in a brightly-lit area. Adults should handle the knife, while children can draw patterns and scoop out innards. According to Consumer Reports, kids ages 10 to 14 tend to suffer the most Halloween-related accidents, so keeping carving duties to ages 14 and above is a safe bet.

If all else fails and your carving has gone awry, have a first aid kit handy and apply pressure to any wound to staunch bleeding. With some common sense, however, it's unlikely your Halloween celebration will turn into a blood sacrifice.

[h/t CTV News]

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13 Secrets of Halloween Costume Designers
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For consumers, Halloween may be all about scares, but for businesses, it’s all about profits. According to the National Retail Federation, consumers will spend $9.1 billion this year on spooky goods, including a record $3.4 billion on costumes. “It’s an opportunity to be something you’re not the other 364 days of the year,” Jonathan Weeks, CEO of Costumeish.com, tells Mental Floss. “It feels like anything goes.”

To get a better sense of what goes into those lurid, funny, and occasionally outrageous disguises, we spoke to a number of designers who are constantly trying to react to an evolving seasonal market. Here’s what we learned about what sells, what doesn’t, and why adding a “sexy” adjective to a costume doesn’t always work.

1. SOME COSTUMES ARE JUST TOO OUTRAGEOUS FOR RETAIL

A woman models a scary nun costume for Halloween
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For kids, Halloween is a time to look adorable in exchange for candy. For adults, it’s a time to push the envelope. Sometimes that means provocative, revealing costumes; other times, it means going for shock value. “You get looks at a party dressed as an Ebola worker,” Weeks says. “We have pregnant nun costumes, baby cigarette costumes.” The catch: You won’t be finding these at Walmart. “They’re meant for online, not Spencer’s or Party City.”

2. … BUT THERE ARE SOME LINES THEY WON’T CROSS.

Homeowners are scared by trick-or-treaters on Halloween
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Although Halloween is the one day of the year people can deploy a dark sense of humor without inviting personal or professional disaster, some costume makers draw their own line when it comes to how far to exceed the boundaries of good taste. “We’ve never done a child pimp costume, but someone else has,” says Robert Berman, co-founder of Rasta Imposta, a business that broke into the industry on the strength of their fake dreadlock wig in 1992. Weeks says some questionable ideas that have been brought to the discussion table have stayed there. “There’s no toddler KKK costume or baby Nazi costume,” he says. “There is a line.”

3. THEY CAN DESIGN AND PRODUCE A COSTUME IN A MATTER OF DAYS.

A man models a costume in front of a mirror
Rob Stothard/Getty Images

A lot of costume interest comes from what’s been making headlines in the fall: Costumers have to be ready to meet that demand. “We’re pretty good at being able to react quickly,” says Pilar Quintana, vice-president of merchandising for Yandy.com. “Something happening in April may not be strong enough to stick around for Halloween.”

Because the mail-order site has in-house models and isn’t beholden to approval from big box vendors, Quintana can design and photograph a costume so it’s available within 72 hours. If it's more elaborate, it can take a little longer: Both Yandy and Weeks had costumes inspired by the Cecil the Lion story that broke in July 2015 (in which a trophy hunter from Minnesota killed an African lion) on their sites in a matter of weeks.

4. BEYONCE CAN HELP MOVE STALE INVENTORY.

A screen shot from Formation, a music video featuring Beyonce
beyonceVEVO, YouTube

Extravagant custom tailoring jobs aside, Halloween costumes are a business of instant demand and instant gratification—inventory needs to be plentiful in order to fill the deluge of orders that come in a short frame of time. If a business miscalculates the popularity of a given theme, they might be stuck with overstock until they can find a better idea to hang on it. “Last year, we had 400 or 500 Zorro costumes that we couldn’t sell for $10,” Weeks says. “It had a big black hat that came with it, and I thought, ‘That looks familiar.’ It turned out it looked a lot like the one Beyonce wore in her ‘Lemonade’ video.” Remarketed as a "Formation" hat for Beyonce cosplayers, Weeks moved his stock.

5. WOMEN DON’T USUALLY WEAR MASKS.

A man tries on a Joker mask at a retail store
Rhona Wise/Getty Images

Curiously, there’s a large gender gap when it comes to the sculpted latex monster masks offered by Halloween vendors: They’re sold almost exclusively to men. “There just aren’t a lot of masks with female characters,” Weeks says. “I don’t know why that is. Maybe it’s because men in general like gory, scary costumes.” One exception: Hillary Clinton masks, which were all the rage last year.

6. FOOD COSTUMES ARE ALWAYS A HIT.

A dog wears a hot dog costume for Halloween
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At Rasta Imposta, Berman says political and pop culture trends can shift their plans, but one theme is a constant: People love to dress up as food. “We’ve had big success with food items. Bananas, pickles. We did an avocado.” Demand for these faux-edible costumes can occasionally get ugly: Rasta is currently suing Sears and Kmart for selling a banana costume that they allege infringes on Rasta’s copyrighted version, which has blackened ends and a vertical stripe.

7. ADDING ”SEXY” TO EVERYTHING DOESN’T ALWAYS WORK.

A packaged Halloween costume hangs on a store rack
Saul Loeb/Getty Images

It’s a recurring joke that some costume makers only need to add a “sexy” adjective to a design concept in order to make it marketable. While there’s some truth to that—Quintana references Yandy’s “sexy poop emoji” costume—it’s no guarantee of success. “We had a concept for ‘sexy cheese’ that was a no-go,” she says. “'Sexy corn’ didn’t really work at all. ‘Sexy anti-fascist’ didn’t make the cut this year.”

8. PEOPLE ASK FOR SOME WEIRD STUFF.

A person appears in a skull costume with glowing eyes for Halloween
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

In addition to monitoring social media for memes and trends, designers can get an idea of what consumers are looking for by shadowing their online searches. Costumeish.com monitors what people are typing into their search bar to see if they’re missing out on a potential hit. “People search for odd things sometimes,” Weeks says. “People want to be a cactus, a palm tree, they’re looking for a priest and a boy costume. People can be weird.”

9. THEY HAVE WORKAROUNDS FOR BIG PROPERTIES.

Go out to a party this year and you’re almost guaranteed to run into the Queen of the North. But not every costume maker has the official license for Game of Thrones. What are other companies to do? Come up with a design that sparks recognition without sparking a lawsuit. “Our biggest seller right now is Sexy Northern Queen,” Quintana says. “It’s inspired by a TV show.” But she won’t say which one.

10. PEOPLE LOVE SHARKS.

Singer Katy Perry appears on stage with two dancing sharks
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

From the clunky Ben Cooper plastic costume from 1975’s Jaws to today, people can’t seem to get enough of shark-themed outfits. “We do a lot of sharks,” Berman says. “Maybe it’s because of Shark Week in the summertime, but sharks always tend to trend. People just like the idea of sharks.”

11. DEAD CELEBRITIES MEAN SALES.

A portrait of Hugh Hefner hangs in the Playboy Mansion
Hector Mata/Getty Images

It may be morbid, but it’s a reality: The high-profile passing of celebrities, especially close to Halloween, can trigger a surge in sales. “Before Robin Williams died, I couldn’t sell a Mork costume for a dollar,” Weeks says. “After he died, I couldn’t not sell it for less than $100.” This year, designers expect Hugh Hefner to fuel costume ideas—unless something else pops up suddenly to grab their attention. “Last year, when Prince died, that was almost trumped by [presidential debate audience member] Ken Bone,” Berman says. “He became almost more popular than Prince.”

12. THEY PROFIT FROM PEOPLE SHOPPING AT THE LAST MINUTE.

A man shops for Halloween costumes in a retail store
Frederic J. Brown/Getty Images

Ever wonder why food and other novelty costumes tend to outsell traditional garb like pirates and witches? Because costume shopping for adults is usually done frantically and they don’t have time to compare 25 different Redbeards. “People tend to do it at the very last minute, so we want something that pops out at them,” Berman says. “Like, ‘Oh, I want to be a crab.’”

Weeks agrees that procrastination is profitable. “We make a lot of money on shipping,” he says. “Some people get party invites on the 25th and so they’re paying for next-day air.”

13. IT’S NOT ACTUALLY A SEASONAL BUSINESS.

A woman shops for costumes in a retail store
Rhona Wise/Getty Images

Everyone we spoke to agreed that the most surprising thing about the Halloween business is that it’s not really seasonal on their end. Costumes are designed year-round, and planning can take between 12 and 18 months. “It’s 365 days a year,” Quintana says. “We’ll start thinking about next Halloween in December.” Weeks says he'll begin planning in May 2018—for Halloween 2019.

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