Halloween has a rich history, and its association with dogs has evolved over the years. Here’s a brief overview of All Hallows Eve’s canine connection from the last century to present day.
- In the early 1900s, Halloween was primarily celebrated in the United States and Canada as a holiday focused on community events such as parades and neighbourhood gatherings –– with various traditions and activities, including play parties. Play parties which have their roots in European and early American traditions, were social gatherings that included games, music, dancing, and various forms of entertainment.
- Dogs were often included in Halloween festivities, with children dressing up their pets in costumes or bringing them along for trick-or-treating.
- Halloween was more about community and neighbourly interactions, and the commercialization of the holiday was relatively modest.
- During the mid-20th century, Halloween became increasingly commercialized, with a focus on costumes, decorations, and candy.
- The role of dogs in Halloween festivities continued to involve them in costume parties and parades.
- As Halloween gained popularity, more people started keeping their dogs indoors during trick-or- treating hours to ensure their safety, as there were concerned about pranks and potential harm to pets, especially to black cats.
Late 20th Century:
- The late 20th century saw a rise in safety concerns regarding Halloween for both children and pets. Pet owners were advised to keep their dogs indoors during the evening due to potential dangers.
- Presently, Halloween continues to evolve as a major cultural event in many countries, celebrating with parties, haunted houses, and elaborate decorations.
- Pet costume sales have become a significant part of the Halloween industry, with many pet parents dressing up their four-legged companions in store-bought or creative D.I.Y.
- The emphasis on pet safety during Halloween became more prominent, with recommendations for secure pet containment (proper fencing, gates, etc.), proper identification, and caution about potentially dangerous decorations.
- The rise in large-scale dog-friendly Halloween events, contests and parades emerged, allowing pet parents to celebrate the holiday with their dogs in a safe and controlled environment.
One of the largest and longest running is the New York City-based annual Tompkins Square Dog Parade and costume contest – in its 33rd year.
Overall, Halloween has evolved from a simple community-focused celebration to a widespread and commercialized holiday with an increased awareness of companion animal safety.