Every Halloween adults and children alike are plagued with the same question: What to dress up as for Halloween?
In the past several years, the question has spread to how should we dress up the dog and, even more recently, what should the guinea pig wear?
Dogs are no longer the only pets that get to wear cute Halloween costumes. Now, smaller critters are joining the pet costume trend.
Geared toward the young and young-at-heart, said PetSmart manager Lindsay Brower, these costumes are sold in local pet supply stores and online.
“The people who can’t have dogs or cats still want to dress up their small animals this time of year,” she said.
And it’s no surprise since pet parents spent $370 million on pet costumes in 2012, according to the National Retail Federation.
Stores still have a large selection of dog and cat costumes, but the addition of small animal costumes has come a trend in more recent years. Now, rabbits and guinea pigs can be bumblebees, witches and pumpkins, among other choices.
The only animals Brower doesn’t recommend dressing are chinchillas because they overheat easier than most. Also because of overheating, she advised that all small animals shouldn’t wear costumes longer than 15 minutes, or the time it takes to snap a few pictures.
“It gets hot and they aren’t used to having heavy material on them,” she said.
Dogs, on the other side, can wear costumes for up to an hour.
For crafty small-animal owners, there are several do-it-yourself costume options that can be made to fit any size in case costumes for hamsters and other smaller sizes can't be found.
Take a piece of felt and cut out a cape. Cut out shapes from different pieces of felt and glue onto the cape to make a superhero cape. Stitch a piece of elastic to each side of the top of the cape to hold it onto the small animal. Allow for plenty of space; it should not be tight on the animal.
For the ultimate in simplicity, place a brown small animal on a piece of foil and put a fake pat of butter on its back for a baked potato costume.
Whether buying or making a costume, it’s not a good idea to bring the small animal trick or treating as they can’t wear the costume for longer than a few minutes. Stick with taking along dogs, Brower noted.
Treat small animals with snacks made especially for them, she added. Anything else, especially candy, might cause death.
“Safety should always be at the forefront on Halloween, whether you are dealing with dogs, cats or small animals and their costumes,” Brower said.