Cliche Costumes

Fall is my favorite time of year.  And even though I hate scary movies, I love Halloween.  Since I am the mother of six fur babies, I also greatly enjoy dressing them up in costumes.

Every year, my husband and I attend Bark in the Park, Canine Carnival and Celebrate Spot.  Each of these events offers a costume contest.  We try to come up with unique concepts that have not been overdone.  One of our favorite creations was the infamous “rally squirrel” from the St. Louis Cardinals. 

We already owned a squirrel costume and we found a dog Cardinal’s jersey at the Cardinal’s Dug Out store.  So, we simply put the jersey over the squirrel costume and…voila!  Rally Squirrel!  My husband got so excited at Bark in the Park because people kept coming up to him and asking if they could take Theo’s (our long-haired Chihuahua/rally squirrel) picture.

Naturally, we thought we would be a shoe-in for first place.  As Matt walked Theo around the staging area, people went crazy.  “It’s the rally squirrel!” they cheered.  Imagine our extreme disappointment when we didn’t get first place…or second…or even third!

Guess what won first place?  Yep, the old Dachshund-dressed-as-a-hot dog routine.  We have seen this combination at every single dog event that we attend.  We get it!  It’s a wiener dog dressed like a wiener.  Clever.  Now, get over it!  There is no originality to this concept at all.

Second place was given to a very cute dog dressed as a pilot, complete with doggie goggles.  That was adorable.   But third place was a complete joke.  It was a dog in a purple t-shirt that had a picture of Minnie Mouse on it.  Seriously?  And this dog was already a co-mascot for the event!  I don’t think it should have been allowed to enter the costume contest.

As I was looking through the costumes at Petsmart the other day, I noticed something:  there is hardly any variety!  You see the same costumes year after year.  The cow, prisoner/”bad dog,” cheerleader, angel and “rufferee” always surface.  I was excited to see that Disney is stepping things up by offering complete Winnie-the-Pooh, Tigger and Eeyore costumes.  Great if you have as many dogs as I do!  Sesame Street has also come out with at least five different costumes of their most beloved characters, including Big Bird.  But, these costumes also come with a pretty price tag.

So, as I perused the less expensive costumes, I became very disappointed.  This year, some of the “costumes” are screen printed t-shirts.  Check out the police officer, doctor and French maid costumes in the store.  You will see what I mean.  I actually have a police offer costume and it is so much cuter.  There are actual felt handcuff attached to the felt belt along with a stuffed night stick.

Why are there not more creative options?  I remember dressing Adriel up as a Flapper from the 1920’s.  She was darling!  Everyone at the event agreed, yet, she didn’t even place in the contest.  What gives?  I am also beginning to question the judges’ judgment.  What does it take for a dog to win?

At the Canine Carnival in 2012, I saw the most creative costume.  There was a dog that was covered in Polaroid photos of him with his family.  A brown piece of cardboard hung from around his neck with a small tube sticking out of the front.  I had thought that he was a camera.  What I could not see (due to the shirt covering the dog’s body) was the fact that the dog had three legs.  He was a tripod!  I loved it!  Not only was it a super creative and outside-of-the-box idea, but, I loved how it embraced the fact that the dog had a disability.  I was very happy that he won first place.

Since I am a very proud dog mom, I will tell you that Adriel did manage to win the Best Dressed Golden Paw Trophy at the 2012 Celebrate Spot event.  She was an angel with this amazing little halo that actually was suspended above her head!  I think her tongue birth defect helped greatly.

Still, I would love to see more originality in the dog costume department.  As dog parents, we need to come up with concepts that truly showcase our dogs’ personality.  So, please, put the hot dog costume back on the rack and look to your pooch’s spirit for inspiration.

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