It’s that time of year again…it’s Rosee’s birthday! Specifically, it’s her 7th birthday.
While, technically, we celebrate her birthday on Halloween, I thought I would take a moment today to reminisce about everything that is Rosee.
She is loud, boisterous, playful, unapologetically herself, and very loyal to her people. Her enthusiasm for life is a good reminder to not take life too seriously sometimes, and enjoy the little things. Plus, her need for speed (walking, that is) has been good encouragement for all of us to maintain a healthy exercise routine.
She may have come to us as a shy, quiet puppy at 9 months old, from a cat rescue no less, but she blossomed into such a ball of energy. She keeps life interesting, and always makes us feel important when we arrive home and she’s so excited to see us. Although, of course, there are those times where she absolutely must have the exact spot on the couch where one of us just happens to be sitting, and it’s at these moments we may not be quite as special. 🙂
Not to mention, that she is a great Halloween dog costume model. From a being a bag of jelly beans, a lion, beauty queen, loofah, and a flower, she is always ready to bring the next costume to life.
Still, learning and growing with Rosee as she’s gotten older, and through her reactivity and fear issues, has taught us valuable life lessons. She’s taught us how to be confident, demand attention, be calm, and most importantly not worry so much about the judgments of other people. I mean, I get it, I have a big dog who is accompanied by a big bark…Seriously, it’s not news to us.
Rosee has definitely made us into better people, as cheesy as that may sound. She may not have always been the easiest dog, but she’s been the dog that we needed in our life.
So, here’s to Rosee, and to (at least) another 7 years!
Tonight we’re taking inspiration from Simon, or more specifically his collar, and dressing him up as a Ninja Turtle.
Overall, this costume was fairly simple to make, and really only involved creating two main pieces: a mask, and a turtle shell. The mask was relatively easy to create, and again could be made from any material that you may have laying around, as long as it’s the corresponding color to the Ninja Turtle you’re making the costume for. The turtle shell wasn’t too difficult to make either, it just took some time, and a bit more effort, to fit it to Simon so it was wearable and comfortable.
List of Supplies:
Cardboard, preferably the thinner the better – I chose cardboard because it held up well to the construction, paint, and glue, but the thin cardboard was still workable.
Green paint (and paintbrush)
Fabric – you’ll need enough to create a mask, and to use for a strap to help secure the turtle shell around your dog
To begin with a turtle shell: cut an oval shape out of cardboard to the desired size (for your dog). This will serve as the base of the shell. It is definitely helpful to look up reference pictures while you’re doing this part.
Out of some more cardboard cut out the individual pieces of the shell. Again, using a reference picture of a turtle shell is extremely helpful during this process. Attach these pieces (they should fit like a puzzle) to the larger cardboard piece.
Paint the turtle shell green. I did end up leaving some brown, as I thought this helped each section look more defined.
Cut a piece of fabric that is long enough to fit around the underside of your dog’s stomach. Then, on one side of the turtle shell create an opening. Thread the piece of fabric through the opening and secure, and with the other end of the fabric thread it through the other side of the shell. This will help hold the shell in place around your dog midsection.
Similar to the previous step, just attach another piece of fabric to fit on either side of the shell and fit on either side of your dog’s neck. This will ensure that the turtle shell doesn’t move down their back, and fall off.
For the mask: using a piece of fabric that’s the desired Ninja Turtle color (I chose blue, which is Simon’s favorite color), cut out two eye holes. It can also be helpful to cut out a small ridge between the holes, which helps the mask fit more comfortably on your dog’s nose and not ride up so much. (Despite the picture of Simon in the full costume below, I did end up making adjustments to Simon’s mask so it would fit more comfortable around his nose, had bigger eye holes, and wasn’t quite so large on his face.) I decided to attach thinner straps to the side of my mask, since this made it easier to tie behind Simon’s ears, but you can be more true to character and just use one long piece of fabric.
All that’s left to do is dress up your dog, and let the crime fighting and pizza eating begin! One of those things being one of Simon’s favorite things to do…p.s. it’s the one involving cheese, by the way.
We’re in the home stretch until Halloween! Only 4 more days to go….I don’t know about you, but Simon and Rosee can’t wait.
So far, in this 13 Days of Halloween series we’ve covered spooktacular decorations, met a new family member (which seems to be a Halloween tradition for us, apparently), remembered loved ones past, prepped for trick-or-treating, and even had a scary story. Now, the last major piece of the puzzle is to nail the costumes.
The first costume for 2019 was inspired by Rosee: a flower collar.
Okay, so maybe this isn’t a full on costume, but it turned out pretty cute (if I do say so myself), is easy to wear, especially for dogs that don’t quite enjoy putting on full on costumes, and is fairly simple and inexpensive to make.
List of Supplies:
Fabric – Any type of fabric works. I used felt, but old pillowcases, sheets, shirts would work as well. In fact, I think it would be really neat to upcycle an old graphic shirt!
Glue – I prefer hot glue, which is what I used, but fabric glue could probably work too
Wire – I used 26 gauge since it was thin and easy to mold, but still held up the shape I was looking for.
Start by cutting out a strip of fabric about 3-4 inches wide, and long enough to fit around your dog’s neck. I did add a small strip of elastic between each end of my strip, because it wasn’t quite long enough, and it helped the collar fit more securely around Rosee’s neck.
Cut out petals from the fabric. I ended up cutting out larger petals from the light and dark purple felt, and smaller petals from the dark pink felt.
Cut pieces of wire to fit the length of each petal, and glue to the back of each petal.
Arrange the petals along the collar piece, and glue in place. Make sure to glue the petals with the wire side facing outward, so when the collar is on you can mold the petals to curl outward.
Fit the collar around your dog, and arrange to petals.
All that’s left to do is have the cutest dog on the block!
Halloween is only one week away. Did you hear that? One week away! And so, to make sure we’re all prepared for the big day, we thought we would do some trick-or-treating prep today with Simon and Rosee.
Their skills needed to be sharp. I mean, were they really ready? How was their sniffing ability (because they sniff out the treats of course)? Were their eyes on the prizes (or treats in this case)? Were they committed enough? In it to win it?
Their costumes needed to be on point. Were they easy to move in? Did they impede their vision and sniffing ability? Durable enough to withstand their movements? Were they cute enough to get all the treats?
These were all important points to consider, and so we decided to do a trick-or-treating test run in the backyard in order to prepare for the big day.
We laid down some tricks (obstacles), so Simon and Rosee would really have to work for their treats.
But in the end both pups proved their Halloween skills, and quickly found each and every treat hiding in the grass.
Halloween night better watch out because Simon and Rosee are ready and their mighty hungry for treats!
“Costumes are for the suckers”—Simon, Play Hard, Bark Often
I know that costumes aren’t for every dog. Some dogs don’t enjoy being dressed up, wearing silly things, or at least having something on for an extended period of time. Simon and Rosee tolerate us dressing them up because they know they’ll get a lot of treats during the process—;).
As a result, I came up with something that (I think) any dog could wear (or at least tolerate): A Cape. This is a quick and easy solution to help make your dog look festive and ready for Halloween.
All you need is some festive fabric, elastic, fabric adhesive (and an iron if you use iron on adhesive like I did), scissors, and a needle and thread.
Measure a piece of the elastic fabric that is just a bit shorter than the length of your dog’s neck. I measured the elastic against one of the pup’s chain collars. You want to measure the elastic a bit shorter, so when you fit it around your dog’s lower neck it will stretch to fit and stay in place better.
Cut a piece of fabric that is a bit longer than your elastic piece. This way the fabric will scrunch a bit when you thread the elastic through.
Take the fabric adhesive and lay it on the backside of the fabric about 2-3 inches below the top. You want to make a smallish opening at the top that will be big enough to thread the elastic fabric through. Then fold the top of the fabric over and iron in place. I did end up using a pencil as a guide while I ironed in order to ensure my opening remained the right size.
Once the fabric adhesive is set, thread the elastic fabric through your opening.
Using the needle and thread, sew the two end pieces of the elastic fabric together. I ended up leaving about 3-4 inches of the end of either side of the elastic free of fabric and sewed all of it together. It may not look the prettiest, but despite what my mother says, no one’s going to see it.
Fit the cape around your dog’s neck and you’re done!
The best part of this cape, besides the ease of making it, is its versatility. Of course, it could be worn by itself simply as a cape. However, it could also be accessorized with a festive hat if your dog is willing, or a black mask. This way your dog, like Simon, could pretend to be a superhero—the way he really feels inside, if he’s being honest.
Costumes may not be for every dog, but that doesn’t mean they can’t celebrate Halloween either!
Its day two of costumes and these two ideas are extra special because they are group costumes. While not as simple and inexpensive as yesterday’s ideas, these two group costumes are definitely worth the extra effort. To begin with let’s start with the group costume that takes at least four participants.
Costume #1: S’mores
What’s even better than a dog costume, you ask? Well, it’s a group costume that dogs and their humans can wear together!
All you need is two large pieces of cardboard, two small/medium pieces of cardboard, some yarn/string, a brown marker, white fabric/cloth (this can be the same cloth from the ghost costume), and scissors.
Now, in my imagination of this costume two humans represent the graham crackers while one dog is a marshmallow and another dog is the chocolate.
First, measure the cardboard to each person and cut appropriately. Cut two holes at the top and thread a piece of yarn through and tie off the ends. This way each piece of cardboard can hang around each person’s neck comfortably. Then, take the brown marker and draw on the cardboard so that it resembles the markings of a graham cracker.
Next, to make the chocolate take the two smaller pieces of cardboard and fit them long ways on your dog, cutting appropriately so that they cover your dog, but aren’t too long. At the top of each piece make two small holes—one at the front of the cardboard and one at the end. String some yarn through the front hole of one piece of cardboard and connect the other end of the yarn through the other piece of cardboard, and then do the same with the holes at the other end. The idea is that the cardboard pieces will hang on either side of your dog. Then, using the brown marker, draw on the cardboard so that it looks like a piece of chocolate.
Thirdly, take the white cloth/fabric and simply wrap it around the middle of your other dog and secure it—I found a couple of safety pins worked well.
Finally, dress each person and dog in their respective costume and there you have it: a s’more!
Costume #4: Soap and Loofah
This is idea is another group costume, but I’m going to leave it to just the dogs for this one.
All you need is some tulle (I got a couple of rolls at the Dollar Tree), a piece of cardboard or two, some string/yarn, a marker, glue, and scissors.
First, to make a loofah costume, take some tulle and cut it into pieces. Take the pieces and twist them, and then wrap in a circle. Then, take these circles and glue them onto a piece of cardboard that is fit to the curve around the back of your dog. Cut holes in the front and back of the cardboard and string some yarn through so that when you fit the cardboard on your dog you can tie the ends of the yarn together. This way the cardboard will be more fitted to your dog and stay on.
Next, to make a bar of soap cut the cardboard in a similar way to fit your dog as was described in the previous costume when creating the chocolate costume (from the previous s’mores costume explanation). Except this time we are going to draw on the cardboard so that it looks like soap.
Finally, put both dogs next each other and the desired effect of soap and loofah will be achieved!
If you missed last year’s costume ideas make sure to check that post out here.
One of my favorite parts of Halloween is all the costumes. Specifically, I love the dog costumes. From Weiner dog costumes, taco costumes, or the dogs dressed up as cats I enjoy seeing all the different characters and things dogs can be transformed into.
So, this year I have gathered four costume ideas that can easily be put together. I’m going to share the first two costumes today because they are individual, standalone costumes and couldn’t be simpler (cheaper) to put together. They are more DIY rather than store-bought because I have two big dogs. Simon and Rosee weigh about 70-75 lbs each and with wide necks and more muscular builds, courtesy of their pit bullish natures, it can be difficult to find store-bought costumes that fit, ones that don’t have to be ordered online or ones that don’t cost a small fortune. I mean really, it’s only going to be for one night. No matter the size of the dog though, I think these costume ideas can be made to work for any size dog and will only take a few minutes to put together.
Before we start I have to say that as much as I love dressing Simon and Rosee up, costumes are not for every dog. If your dog is not into being dressed up, then just don’t make them. You can try to encourage their acquiescence by the use of treats (preferably high value treats) so they learn to associate dressing up in costumes with a positive association. However, don’t force your dog to do something they really don’t want to do. Otherwise, maybe they’ll allow you a few minutes in costume at least to take cute picture!
Costume #1: Ghost Dog
This costume idea is pretty simple. All you need is a white sheet/cloth(I used a pillowcase I bought at the local Dollar Tree), a pair of scissors, and a marker.
First take the white cloth and using the marker mark where the eye holes as well as a nose/mouth hole will be. Next, carefully cut the three holes out (you can also cut out ear holes if you want). If the cloth you use is a little too long, now is the time to figure out where to cut it so it fits your dog the way you want it to. Also, I did end up cutting slits in each side of the pillowcase as it allowed Simon more ease of movement.
Extra tip: To help keep the cloth from moving around too much it can be helpful to cut small slits around the part that will sit at your dog’s neck. Then, take some decorative yarn/ribbon and weave it through the holes and tie a small bow at the front of the costume. This will help the costume stay on your dog and not move around too much.
Finally, fit the cloth over your dog. Arrange the eye, ears, and neck areas appropriately. Voila, you have yourself a Ghostly dog!
Costume #2: Beauty Queen
As the only female of the house (at least of the pet variety), Rosee is definitely the ruling Queen Bee. Therefore, it’s only natural that for Halloween she should be a Beauty Queen. All you need is a crown (I chose a Halloween-inspired spider crown), a long strip of white fabric (or even paper could work), a marker, a piece of string, and some fake flowers.
First take the long strip of white fabric and make sure that it can fit your dog appropriately. Ensure that it can wrap around your dog like a sash without being too long. After fitting the sash, take a marker and write “Queen Bee” (or whatever you choose) on the sash. Next, fit the sash around your dog and tie the two ends together with the piece of string. Then, place your desired crown on your dog’s head.
Extra tip: If you want to help ensure that the crown stays on your dog’s head, take apiece of string and cut it in half. Tie one end of one of the pieces of string to one side of the crown and do the same thing with the other piece of the string to the other side of the crown. Then, when you place it on your dog’s head you can take both pieces of string to tie it underneath your dog’s head. This way the crown is more likely to stay on your dog’s head…at least for a little while.
Finally, give your dog a bouquet of beautiful (fake) flowers, and they are definitely ready for their close ups!
Make sure to check back tomorrow for two more DIY costume ideas that everyone can take part in.
The weather is cooling down, the leaves are starting to change colors, festive holiday decorations start to make an appearance, and pumpkin spice seems to permeate the air everywhere you go. It’s the start of the holiday season, and it all starts with Halloween.
That’s right: It’s the start of 13 Days of Halloween here at Play Hard, Bark Often!
It’s our annual countdown to Halloween, which means for the next 13 days until October 31st we’ll be posting every day to share tricks, treats, and other Halloween-related and inspired content.
We’re kicking things off this year by dressing up our favorite blocky-headed dogs into our favorite “blockhead.” We may still have quite a few days until the Great Pumpkin makes an appearance, but what better way to start off the 13 Days of Halloween than dress up as the original character himself.
All you need to pull off this punny costume yourself is an old yellow shirt (I found one at the local thrift store), some black material (it could be another old shirt, scrap material, felt, or pillowcase), and some fabric adhesive.
Next, simply cut out the wavy pattern from the black material. Then, adhere the black material to the bottom of the yellow shirt. Finally, put the shirt on your dog.
I really like this costume because it’s a great way to usher in the season of the Great Pumpkin, and doubles as a fun, creative way to celebrate the “blocky-headediness” that defines pit bulls.
Thanks for being here for Day 1 of 13 Days of Halloween and make sure to check back tomorrow to see what’s in store for Day 2.
In the meantime, the annual search for the Great Pumpkin is on!
Let’s face it…costumes are not for every dog, or even every human.
Sometimes we just want something that’s easy to put on our pets, no hassle, quick, and is fashionably festive without being over the top. As fun and silly as dog costumes can be, they can also be expensive, difficult or tricky to put on, or an unnecessary expense for just one day of the year. Then there are those dogs that just don’t enjoy playing dress up. Believe it or not, Rosee is not a fan of wearing a costume for too long. She’ll usually tolerate it for 15 minutes, but beyond that she’ll start rolling around on the ground until she gets off any and all clothing, or she’ll incite Simon into playing that ends with him pulling off the offending garment. She really can be scarily smart sometimes.
Never fear though, I have come up with a solution: festive holiday bandannas!
For most dogs, wearing a bandana is tolerable since they’re used to wearing a collar anyways, and they can be easy to make yourself. Now, while I do know that bandanas can be purchased, I have personally found it nearly impossible to find ones that actually fit around Rosee and Simon’s necks. Plus, the best part is that I have a way to make your dog a bandana that requires no sewing!
First what you’ll need is:
fabric adhesive tape
iron (if you use fabric adhesive that requires one)
What you need to do:
Measure the neck of your dog so you know exactly how wide to cut the top of the bandana
Sketch out a basic outline for the bandana on the backside of your material using a pencil/marker
the shape is simply a triangle with flaps of material left on each end
make sure you leave at least 1/2 inch extra to your outline for the hem
repeat this step, so you’ll now have two pieces of fabric in your basic bandana shape
Line your two pieces of fabric up so that the patterned side is on the inside
Starting with the outer edge of the triangle cut your fabric adhesive to size and place it on the inside or patterned side of your fabric of the bottom piece of fabric
I used fabric adhesive that is activated by an iron and found it worked great, but there is another kind that doesn’t require an iron and while it does work it can be tricky to peel the backing off
basically, the fabric adhesive will be sandwiched between the two pieces of fabric
Lay the top layer of fabric on top of the adhesive and bottom fabric and iron
let the hem cool for at least a few seconds so it sets before moving on
Repeat the previous two step on the other side of the triangle, the flaps on each end, and the top but make sure to leave about a 2-3 inch opening at the top
Through the opening pull through the fabric (so you turn it right side out) with the pattern on the outside
Cut some adhesive to the size of the opening and fit it along the inside and carefully iron closed
Attach some velcro to each flap on the end of the bandana
I did put fabric adhesive (the non-iron kind) behind the velcro to help it stick better
Put your creation on your dog and you’re done!
Ultimately, I love having holiday-themed bandanas for Simon and Rosee and they love wearing them because they are easy to put on and can be worn anytime or anywhere. It’s a great way to show off their love for Halloween all month long!
Halloween costumes, they’re not just for humans these days.
These days dogs can get it on the fun too, and there are so many options to choose from!
From hot dogs to Star Wars characters, to just about anything you could think of is available as a pet costume for Halloween.
So, in honor of Day 3 I thought I would share some Halloween pet costume ideas.
Now, if you’re going for ease when it comes to outfitting your pet a store bought costume is easy to find with numerous options to choose from. Simon and Rosee are partial to being a skeleton and lion, respectively.
Unfortunately, for bigger dogs, especially ones with larger necks it can be a bit more difficult to find a big enough size. The other downside to store bought costumes is the price. Like most things for your pets, costumes aren’t exactly cheap, and usually the bigger the size the more expensive it is.
Luckily, I’ve found some alternative costume ideas that are easy to put together and relatively inexpensive.
Simple costumes that require just a few accessories you might have in your home can also be good options. This way you save money and don’t have to buy anything extra.
Rosee here is sporting some groovy glasses and few flowered headbands I had lying around to turn into the grooviest flower child around.
Another idea for a simple costume is to visit your local dollar store for a few supplies to put together into a costume. This first costume requires a roll of white streamers or (what I found and thought would be perfect even if it was glittery) was decorative mesh. Then, all you have to do is wrap the streamers or mesh around your dog and you have created a monster! A monster! I’m just kidding, Simon was always a monster, but you have made your dog into a mummy.
I also like this one because it doesn’t require a lot of forethought or imagination, and always works, even if your dog wriggles around a lot.
However, if you are feeling truly ambitious about creating a costume for your dog all you need to buy is a bag of balloons, and a large plastic bag.
Actually from comments of other DIY costumers, because I adapted this idea from a costume idea for humans, a plastic shower curtain liner would work better because it wouldn’t break as easily as, say a gift-wrapping bag, which I would agree with. The plastic of the bag was too thin and broke too easily, but it worked for the moment.
And, what do you know, with just these two simple things you can turn your dog into… (imaginary drum roll)
A bag of jelly beans!
Whatever you choose to do with your dog for Halloween do try to keep in mind a few things:
Do get your dog used to wearing a costume if they’re new to it buy putting it on them for a few minutes everyday leading up to Halloween and make sure that the experience is a good one. Give them treats or lots of praise while wearing the costume.
Do make sure the costume is comfortable and easy to move around in for your dog.
Don’t force your dog to wear a costume if they really don’t want to. At the end of the day, dogs are dogs and not necessarily meant to wear clothes. Although, some dogs with less body fat benefit from wearing sweaters in the colder temperatures, some dogs may not tolerate it well. If wearing a costume makes your dog uncomfortable, anxious, and unhappy don’t make them wear it.
Do make sure you come back tomorrow to check out a holiday-inspired fashion alternative to pet costumes that any dog would love!