By Mel Lee-Smith
Published: 09/27/2021, edited: 09/27/2021
Spooky Season is well and truly upon us, and there’s no better way to celebrate than with a pup-friendly “pawty”. Whether you’re planning a night of dancing, drinking, and dressing up, or a wholesome family get-together, we’ve got you covered with some how-tos! Read on for a step-by-step guide on how to host a dog-friendly Halloween party, including what to do before, during, and after your bash.
Time to start prepping for the big day! Add these 5 tasks to your list for an "fangtastic" Halloween.
Before you even start thinking about food and decor, create a guest list and check it twice. If you're throwing a huge Halloween bash and you tell all your guests their dogs are welcome, you might end up biting off more than you can chew.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when creating a guest list for your dog-friendly Halloween party:
Know "ruffly" how many dogs your space can accommodate. Unless you have a sprawling yard, you'll likely need to limit the number of four-legged attendees.
Consider the dogs' temperaments. The last thing you want is a dog fight breaking out and ruining everyone's night.
Meet the pups and their parents beforehand. Set up a meet-and-greet with the pet parents to see how the dogs interact with each other.
Is it even a party without food? The "pawssibilities" are endless — you could hit up Etsy for some Halloween dog treats, whip up your own, or go all out with a 3-course meal of punny dishes. (Bonus points for making a keepsake Halloween menu that pet parents can take home!)
Need some inspo for homemade Halloween dog treats? Bookmark the links below for easy access!
Pro tip: Ask your guests if their dogs have any food allergies or sensitivities.
Guest list? Check. Menu? Check. Now comes the fun part: crafting the invites!
Sure, you could do things the easy way and print off some generic Halloween party invitations. But where's the fun in that? Grab your supplies and get creative! Here are a few fun ideas to inspire you:
Use non-toxic finger paint to add your dog's paw prints to the invites. (When you're done, simply wash the paint off your dog's paw with water.)
Customize each invite with a doodle of the guest's dog. (Or commission a local artist to help you.)
Record a cute video invite featuring you and your pup wearing your costumes. (Extra brownie points for matching outfits!)
If you're planning a house party that resembles something straight out of a teen movie, it's a good idea to set up a separate space for the four-legged guests. This can be a fenced-in yard or playpen. Whatever you choose, make sure the fur-children are supervised at all times, and set out "pawlenty" of toys and bowls of fresh water.
The two-legged guests might want to party until the sun comes up, but your woofer might call it a night well before then. Set up a cozy space where your dog can rest or sleep when they're all tuckered out. This might be as simple as adding a plush blanket to their crate or gating off your bedroom.
Let your guests know not to disturb your dog. Don't leave small toys or other choking hazards in the crate.
If you and a bunch of strangers suddenly come home one day wearing masks and costumes, your dog won't be able to make head or tail of what's happening. Dogs can be scared of Halloween masks, so plan some practice runs before the big day. You might want to try on your mask in front of your pup in a familiar environment, like your living room, to see how they react.
Time to eat, drink, and be scary! Start your Halloween party on the right paw with these frighteningly fun activities.
No Halloween party is complete without a costume contest. Why not host one especially for the pup party-goers? For an extra memorable night, set up a “dog walk” and photo booth where Scoob can strut their stuff and pose for pics.
Encourage your pet-lovin’ party guests to choose matching costumes. Need some inspiration? Scooby Doo and the Mystery Inc. gang is an obvious choice, but here are a few more ideas:
Han Solo and Chewbacca — "pawfect" for a long-haired breed!
Elle and Bruiser Woods — What better Halloween costume idea for the proud pet parent of a Chihuahua?
Turner and Hooch — A laid-back, low-effort choice.
Jack Skellington and Zero — A costume that’s double the Halloween fun.
Still not sure what to choose? We've got dozens of Halloween costume ideas for dogs!
Pro tip: If you already know your dog doesn’t like wearing clothes, skip the costume and opt for a spooky collar or a similarly unintrusive accessory.
Entertainment is a "mutts" for two- and four-legged children alike. If kids will be attending your party, plan games they can play separately as well as with dogs for even more fun.
Here are 3 Halloween-themed game ideas for dogs:
Haunted ball pit
Bobbing for treats
Spooky agility course
To learn how to set up these games (plus 2 more!), check out our guide to 5 dog-friendly Halloween games.
Halloween is a terrific time to let your fur down, but safety is also key to a fun and festive night.
Keep candy and alcohol out of reach of four-legged "pawty" guests. Sure, this one goes without saying. But all it takes is a split second for a curious pup to plunge their snout into a bowl of candy or boozy punch!
If young kids are attending your party, set some ground rules beforehand. Let them know that candy can make dogs seriously sick, and show them how to interact with dogs safely.
Finally, mind the music volume. Your neighbors will thank you, and so will your dogs. Remember, your dog can hear sounds that you can't, so putting the Halloween playlist on full blast might be a bit much for their sensitive ears.
It's November 1st, and you've got a big mess to clean. Once your house is back in order, don't start thinking about Thanksgiving just yet! Cross these tasks off your list so your guests will come back again next year.
What better way to show your appreciation for your party guests than with a cute thank-you card? Sending a handwritten card is super thoughtful, but if you're all DIYed out, a message in the group chat works too!
Did you even have a party if you don't post the pics on Facebook and Insta the next day? Add a unique hashtag so other attendees can share their snaps too.
We recommend doing this after the party and not during. Make the effort to fully enjoy the festivities with your family and friends instead of being glued to your phone all night. After the year we've all had, we need some quality time with our favorite folks!
From all of us here at Wag!, happy "Howloween"!
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