How to Have Fun at a Halloween Dog Parade

By Samantha Johnson on Oct. 21, 2016


Looking for something fun and different to do with your dog this season? Why not take him to a Halloween parade? Halloween-themed parades for dogs are quite popular—and why not? A fun time with your pet, a chance to show off your dog (and your own creativity) and a way to have a good time with other pet parents—all with a seasonal theme! But before the parade passes you by, here are a few quick tips to keep in mind.

Prep time
Give yourself plenty of time to get your dog ready for the parade—but at the same time, don’t arrive too early, as extra time spent waiting for the event to start is just more time for your dog to become tired or bored with the situation. Try to hit the sweet spot of being prepared on time (including travel), without having to stand around waiting.

Get ready for action
In the days leading up to the event, think about what your dog is likely to experience in a parade. There will be lots of people and dogs, new smells, new sights and lots and lots of noise. All of this means that your dog needs to be adequately prepared for the parade environment well before the event. Make sure that he’s responsive and able to walk calmly on a leash (no pulling!) in the midst of a crowd. Not only will proper leash manners make the event more enjoyable for you, it will also be safer for you dog and for others. Even if your dog is in costume, a collar with an ID tag is important in case you get separated.


Try out the costume
When it comes to your dog’s actual costume, be sure to plan ahead. You don’t want to be trying out your dog’s costume for the first time on the morning of the event, because if something doesn’t quite fit right, you’ll want to have plenty of time to fix it at leisure. Perform a “dress rehearsal” several days ahead of the parade to try on the outfit and to make sure that your dog is comfortable wearing it.

Clean up after your dog
As in any public place, you should arrive at the parade prepared to clean up after your dog if need be. This can be particularly important during the parade route, where it’s possible your dog may be going into areas where pets are not normally allowed. Be respectful of the property along the parade route.

Stay cool
Halloween is usually a cool-weather occasion in many locations, so you may be fortunate enough to avoid some of the heat-related issues that come along with taking your dog to a Fourth of July parade. Still, it’s possible you’ll have a sunny day and the weather could be warm, so you’ll definitely want to keep your dog safe from overheating. Consider studying a plan of the parade route prior to the day of the event so you can scout out shady areas along the way, as well as places to stop in case your dog starts to get too hot. Have plenty of bottled water on hand for both of you and offer it to him whenever he needs it. Remember to bring a travel bowl, too.

PJ-670-2.jpgExtra things to bring:

  • A little bit of cash, in case there’s an entry fee. If there is, it’s usually a small amount, and sometimes the money goes to a charity of some sort. If so, you might even want to donate more than the entry fee!
  • Treats! While you don’t want your dog to get too excited about the food, a quick treat here or there can help keep his attention and can be used as a reward for good behavior.
  • An umbrella. This is late October, so rain isn’t out of the question.
  • A camera, just in case the two of you win Best Costume! (Even if you don’t win a prize, you’ll still want photos to remember the day.)
  • An extra leash as a backup.

Have fun!

You can also share your photos on Instagram and tag us @petco or enter our Halloween Instagram Contest!
Shop our Halloween Bootique online for you pet's costume.
Learn more about how to keep your pet safe this Halloween.

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About the Author
  • Samantha writes about the happy things in life—pets, home, family, food, and gardening—and thinks Mondays are the most wonderful day of the week. She is the author of ten books and shares her home with Peaches, a Pembroke Welsh Corgi; Toppy, a Holland Lop rabbit; and Maureen O'Hare-a, a Mini Rex rabbit.
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