October is just around the corner, which means it's time to start thinking about Halloween festivities. But why should humans have all the fun? This year, let's get our four-legged family members in on the action with a Halloween party designed just for dogs. You have so many options to choose from for a fun, creative howl-oween for your pooch.
Where to Hold Your Dog Halloween Party
You'll need a venue that's comfortable for both dogs and humans. Your backyard is probably the most convenient and dog-friendly space. Just make sure it's securely fenced and free of any hazards, like pesticides or sharp objects. If you don't have a backyard, consider these options.
- The local park: The local park probably has a lot of room for dogs to play, but it could be difficult to decorate the way you'd like. And some parks have restrictions on dogs, so check with the parks and recreation department before you plan.
- Dog park: The dog park can be a fun place to host a party, and it may not be as crowded on Halloween night. Just remember that there may be some strangers coming through from time to time.
- Pet-friendly cafe: If you know of a cafe that's dog-friendly, this could be your main go to or your secondary location, just in case the weather isn't the best outside. The only downside to this is if you have a lot of noise or a large party, it could be difficult to accommodate your guests. Call ahead and see if there's a room you can reserve for your event.
- Beach: If you live near the beach and it's not snowing on Halloween, it could be a good place to host your event. There's plenty of space for dogs to roam, and you don't have to worry as much about the noise level.
Remember to check if you need any special permits and ensure you're following all regulations and laws, especially if you're in a public space.
Make the Invitations
Get creative with your dog-friendly Halloween party invites with these ideas.
- Digital invitation: In the age of social media, digital invitations are the fastest way to reach everyone. Create an adorable Halloween-themed e-vite featuring a photo of your dog dressed in costume.
- QR code: Send out traditional paper invites that include a QR code (you can use this QR code generator). When scanned, the code can lead your guests to a private Facebook event page or a fun video invitation featuring your dog inviting their buddies to the event.
- Bone-shaped cards: Make your own bone-shaped invitation cards out of orange and black paper (you can use a bone template to help or do it freehand). On the inside, write the event details and maybe include a cute pun, like "Happy Howl-oween" or "Come raise the woof with us."
- Adopt a monster: Send a small Halloween-themed toy to each doggy guest with a written invitation.
Don't forget to include the important details like the date, time, and location of the party.
If you have specific activities planned, like a costume contest, make sure to mention that too so your guests can come prepared.
Perfect Paw-ty Themes & Decor
Orange and black are the obvious color choices for decorating on Halloween, but there's even more you can do than adding a color scheme. Get the paw-ty started with fun themes and decor ideas.
Halloween Dog Themes
Themes can be fun for any party and, if you haven't thrown a pup pawty before, the experience can be super fun.
- The Monster Mash: If you love Frankenstein or have a favorite monster movie, consider a monster theme. Grab some monsters from the Halloween store and be ready to get the party started. Have all the pups come monstrously dressed.
- The Canine Carnival: If you're thinking carnival vibes, a Canine Carnival could be super fun, with dog-friendly games and maybe even a pet psychic.
- The Zombie Apocalypse: I love The Walking Dead. It was a show I definitely binge watched. If you're like me and find zombies fascinating, a zombie apocalypse theme could be just what you need. Plus, what's cuter than a zombie dog? And you can even make fake zombies the same way you'd make a scarecrow for added effects.
- Haunted Hound House: Transform your space into a haunted setting where dogs can explore and play games like bobbing for tennis balls. It doesn't have to be frightening with jump scares. Make it simple and cute with some fake ghosts, eerie sounds on the speaker, and creepy music.
- Werewolves in the Night: A werewolf-themed Halloween party sounds like an absolute howl! Think dark, moody lighting and some fog machines to create that mysterious forest vibe. You could even have "wolf tracks" leading up to your front door made of washable paint or chalk.
Finding decor to go with your theme isn't overly difficult. Think of activities that dogs enjoy and go from there. We made a list to get you started. Add your own creative touch to each activity.
- Bring out the claws: Some fake "claw marks" on your furniture or walls can add that werewolf or monster touch to your howl-oween party.
- Full moon: A full moon centerpiece, either as a hanging decoration or a projection on the side of the house or the wall, can bring an eerie scene to life.
- Haunted house for pups: Create a haunted house using cardboard boxes and pet-friendly paint. Make it more inviting by hanging dog toys like rubber ghosts or soft, chewable witches at the entrance.
- Glow-in-the-dark dog bowls: Replace the regular water and food bowls with glow-in-the-dark versions. Not only do they add to the spooky vibe, but they're also practical for a night-time party.
- LED dog collars: Not only will the collars help you keep track of all the four-legged guests, but they'll also add to the eerie atmosphere.
- Photo booth: Create a Halloween-themed photo booth with props and a backdrop.
Serve Spooky Dog-Friendly Foods
A party isn't a real party without food. Am I right? I'm not only talking about human Halloween party food — you probably have that covered. Don't forget who your main guests are — the doggos. On a different table, set up a dog-friendly buffet for their pet parent to grab them a plate, too. Here are some ideas of what you can offer your canine guests.
- Pumpkin puree: Unseasoned, pure pumpkin is great for a dog's digestive system and a festive choice for Halloween. Add some to a small cup, like the kind you use in the bathroom to rinse after you brush your teeth, and add a few at a time to the doggy buffet table.
- Carrot sticks: Some dogs absolutely love carrot sticks. Plus, they're a healthy and crunchy snack that's great for their teeth.
- Plain rice cakes: These can serve as a nice crunchy snack that's easy on the tummy.
- Sweet potato chips: Dehydrated or baked sweet potato is a nutritious alternative to commercial dog treats. If you whip up a batch, you can put a handful in a baggie for your guests of honor. Try this easy recipe for sweet potato dog chews from It Doesn't Taste Like Chicken.
- Halloween cookies: One of my favorite sweets at any party is the homemade cookies, so of course it's a must to include for the dogs, too. Try Spoiled Hounds' cookie recipe, with icing to boot. It's sure to make any dog's mouth water.
- Pumpkin dog treats: Try our pumpkin dog treats your pooch will love.
Play Dog-Friendly Halloween Party Games
Planning some games can make your dog-friendly Halloween party a lot more fun. Here are some game ideas that are safe and engaging for your canine guests.
- Trick and treat: Set up a stage or area where dogs can show off their best tricks like sit, paw, or roll over. Every trick earns them a Halloween-themed dog treat.
- Halloween fetch: Use glow-in-the-dark balls or Halloween-themed plush toys like bats or pumpkins.
- Obstacle course: Set up a mini obstacle course using hurdles, tunnels, and cones. Time each dog as they run the course.
- Hay maze: A hay maze can be a lot of fun for both your human and canine guests. If you have enough room, add in some dead ends and get ready to see which dog-human team figures out the maze first.
Pawfect Party Favors for Your Canine Guests
As the party winds down, send your guests home with bags filled with goodies.
- Bandanas: Hand out bandanas that share the spirit of Halloween. Look for ghost-themed or pumpkin-themed bandanas to act as each dog's Halloween costume.
- Chew toys: Find a variety of chew toys in the shapes of ghosts, pumpkins, or bones. Wrap them individually and tie them off with orange and black ribbons.
- Squeaky toys: Search for rubber bats, spiders, or skeletons to add to the goodie bag.
- Water bottles: Include small water bottles labeled with a cute Halloween-themed sticker. These can be handy for dog parents when they're on the go with their pups.
- Homemade soap: If you're feeling crafty, you can make small bars of dog-friendly soap. Use natural ingredients like oatmeal and lavender for a soothing bath experience for the pooches. Try this dog shampoo bar from The Inspiration Edit.
Always double check that the items you include in your party favors are safe for dogs.
Keep Dogs Safe During the Halloween Bash
Keeping your dog and their puppy guests safe during a Halloween party is important for both their well-being and your peace of mind. You can't exactly have Halloween spirit if you're worried about your pooch and their friends all night. Here are a few tips to keep your dog, and their friends, happy and safe through the extravaganza.
- A safe place: Find an area that dogs can have a special chill zone away from all the noise and commotion. Deck it out with toys, a bed, and some fresh water.
- Watch their costume: Make sure your dog's costume isn't too tight and doesn't have any parts they could easily chew off.
- Keep an eye on the food: Be super mindful about what treats and decorations are within snout's reach. Remember, stuff like chocolate and certain sweeteners are big no-nos for dogs.
Give Your Pooch a Happy Howl-oween
A Halloween party for dogs is not only possible, but it can also be incredibly fun for you and your pup. It's a great way to socialize with other dog owners and let your furry family member make some new friends. This Halloween, treat your dog to a celebration they'll never forget.