This isn't a political diatribe. It's just our way of saying be original if you decide your dog needs to sport a Halloween costume. Sure, you can buy a pre-made outfit at Target (we loved the purple monkey and K9 officer costumes there). And in fact, at least 7 percent of dog owners in a 2007 survey said they had bought a Halloween costume for their dogs, according to a pet retailer trade group. But you don't want to be one of the pack, do you? Here are ideas to help you be top dog at any pet costume contest you enter. Anne Glover, Times staff writer
Doggie Bowser, M.D. Go retro this year with a nod to the '80s TV series that introduced us to Neil Patrick Harris. Get a play doctor's kit, then create a doggie scrub suit with baby or toddler T-shirts that allow you to stencil or hand-letter the name of your hospital and doctor on the chest and back. Suggested name: General Horsepital.
Amy Winehound. Create a nasty mop of hair with a piece of steel wool (or something similarly ludicrous), throw in a '60s-inspired scarf to create the chanteuse's throwback look, then add in a chain with a shot glass dangling from it and you've got yourself a doozy of a boozie.
Raymutt. Hop on the Tampa Bay Rays bus and dress your dog like the species-challenged mascot for the team. It helps if your dog is really furry and you can dye its beard or tail. Plop on a mop top and you won't even know the difference.
Pup Hogan. Let's face it, brother, this costume is going to be wayyy out of style next year, so milk it now. Get yourself a tiny tie-dyed bandanna, add a heavy metal rock band or Ed Hardy T-shirt look and garnish with a gnarly mustache made out of yellow yarn. Bonus points if you can figure out a way to have a constantly present entourage and camera crew for the reality series that never ends.
Tiger Woofs. The world's top golfer is easy to emulate. Think red and black and intimidating for the ensemble. Then create a doggie wallet that features a Nike swoosh on the outside and contains an American Express card, a set of Buick keys and a Gatorade paycheck. Extra credit for a splint on any leg.
Michael Yelps. Everyone's favorite Olympic swimmer should really be reserved for the swimming breeds like Labs, golden (ha!) retrievers and the occasional water spaniel. Create some faux gold medals, add some Doggles and finish it off with a rubber cap that you create from a large black balloon (don't forget the ear slits). Golden!