The Pecksniffs go after—get this—dog Halloween costumes

Halloween is here, and that means that the Pecksniffs (also known as Leisure Fascists) will be out policing or criticizing kid’s costumes. No sombreros, Native American costumes, any costume that bespeaks “cultural appropriation” and so on.  Now these critics have some point: you don’t want blatant racial stereotypes, like someone in blackface, which has a history of racist tropes. (But again, those should not be forbidden, simply criticized). Sombreros seem okay to me, and I’m not even sure that Native American costumes are out of bounds. Yes, we have a sad history of exterminating those groups, but a costume doesn’t mean you favor genocide (unless it’s a Nazi outfit). Maybe you really like the colorful clothes worn by many Native Americans. (The critics would respond that unless those kids are deeply educated in the history of Native Americans, they can’t wear them.)

Anyway, there’s an argument to be had there, and I won’t engage in it now. What I want to point out is that the Pecksniffs have started policing ANIMAL COSTUMES. Why? Because pet stores, which sell animal costumes, are selling “male” costumes, like policemen, for male animals, and “female costumes”, like the French Maid Dog Costume, for female animals. And that is gender bias. As the Washington Post reports in the article below (click screenshot for link):


Pet costumes have been gaining popularity in recent years, with 16 percent of Americans saying they’ll dress up their dogs, cats and bunnies for Halloween this year, according to the National Retail Federation. The most popular costumes for pets were gender-neutral pumpkins [OMG! PUMPKINS!], hot dogs and bumblebees.

The glass ceiling appears to be firmly in place at PetSmart, where career costumes labeled “male” include firefighter and police officer, while female dogs can choose between a pink cowgirl costume and pink loofah.

On the site, options for your female pooch include “sweet heart nurse” or French maid. “Any tidy girl dog will look adorable wearing this French Maid Dog Costume,” the site’s description reads. “Whether your pup is a clean freak or a messy mutt, she will enjoy playing ‘dress up’ in this fun costume.”

The choices for male dogs, meanwhile, include fireman, mob boss and doctor (suggested pairing: “match up with a girl friend with the Sweet Heart Nurse Dog Costume.”)

“It seems silly on the surface, but this is part of a larger message we’re sending, that there are certain jobs for men, and certain jobs for women,” said Scott Lawrie, 36, who co-hosts a podcast, ‘She will not be ignored,’ about gender issues. “The career options for women — and dogs — need to go beyond pink loofahs and pink cowgirls.”

Again, there’s some point here, but not one that’s so trenchant that I feel it needs to be underscored.

Lawrie, who plans to dress his two dogs as the cop duo Cagney and Lacey, says he did a double-take when he saw PetSmart’s police officer costumes marked for “males.” He clicked around and noticed a pattern: Career-related costumes were often explicitly marked “male” and “female.” (A number of other costumes, however, ranging from lobsters to pumpkins and dinosaurs, bear the “male/female” label.)

“I thought surely there was some reason behind this: maybe the pets needed to relieve themselves a certain way, or something like that,” said Lawrie, who lives in San Francisco. “But all of the costumes are identical.”

Representatives for PetSmart and Baxter Boo did not respond to requests for comment.

Now you can, I suppose, make Lawrie’s argument that gender segregation for animals might bleed over into gender segregated-costumes for kids, but, as the Post article notes, most retailers have already stopped labeling toys or costumes as appropriate for one sex or another. I approve of that. There’s still a difference, though: as with dry cleaning, items marketed to girls cost on average 7% more than those marketed to boys.

That’s discrimination, and needs to be scrutinized. But seriously: do you think a female dog wearing a tutu is going to be jealous of a male dog dressed as a fireman? I suspect the vast majority of these pets are neutered, anyway.


Sixteen percent of Americans plan to dress their pets in Halloween costumes this year. (Rebecca Blackwell/AP)

None of this, of course, applies to cats, who won’t wear costumes and thus are immune to cultural appropriation.

And Grania wanted to add this:

I would point out that people who dress their dogs up in costumes , even gender neutral womyn-affirming culturally sensitive ones, deserve to have said dog throw up on their carpets.

h/t: Cindy


  1. Posted October 3, 2016 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    I agree with Grania.

    • Kevin
      Posted October 3, 2016 at 9:57 am | Permalink

      Plus soupy poopies on the coach.

    • darrelle
      Posted October 3, 2016 at 10:10 am | Permalink

      If the picture at the bottom of Jerry’s post is what we are talking about, I have to disagree with Grania. Whoever did that deserves to have that poor dog throw up in their shoe, or maybe their lap. Their carpet is letting them off too lightly.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted October 3, 2016 at 10:26 am | Permalink

      My first response too – I’m with Grania.

      I will admit to dressing a kitten in a doll’s dress when I was six though (before I grew out of such behaviour). I had to do it to the kitten of one of my siblings though – my own kitten (the four of us served a kitten each) was not interested.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted October 3, 2016 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

        You actually got a dress onto a kitteh with your skin intact? How d’ya do it – chloroform?


        • Heather Hastie
          Posted October 3, 2016 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

          That particular kitten loved it. Her name was Josephine and the dress was pink and made of velvet, so it was nice and soft.

        • Merilee
          Posted October 3, 2016 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

          The cat we had when I was little would allow me to dress her up and wheel her around in a doll baby buggy. Even put up with bonnets!

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted October 4, 2016 at 12:13 am | Permalink

            Obviously not a True Kitteh (TM) then


    • Posted October 4, 2016 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

      Sorry, this costume alone redeems the enterprise of canine costumery:

      • Merilee
        Posted October 4, 2016 at 1:22 pm | Permalink


  2. abram
    Posted October 3, 2016 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    I have no problem with Nazi costumes, KKK sheets, feathered warbonnets, blackface, fatsuits, nudity, you name it. Isn’t the whole point of dressing up to become something you aren’t? If people choose to take offense, that’s their problem (or as Stephen Fry put it: so fucking what?).

    Dressing up your dog is a bit odd, however. Maybe the dog has a different opinion.

  3. Posted October 3, 2016 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    There’s an excellent and informative article at The Atlantic regarding the relationship between ‘concept creep’ and micro-aggression mania:

    “Concept creep can be necessary or needless. It can align concepts more or less closely with underlying realities. It can change society for better or worse. Yet many who push for more sensitivy [sic] to harm seem unaware of how oversensitivty[sic] can do harm. The insight that concept creep spurs progress and problems alike is important, especially for those averse to doing harm in the name of sensitivity to harm.”

  4. Sastra
    Posted October 3, 2016 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    I actually think this complaint has a point. Boys are doctors, girls are nurses? Dividing careers according to gender? Sheesh.

    And then — to double it down — they impose these stereotypes on dogs? Who lack even the concept of masculine/feminine behavior, but let’s appeal to the prejudices of the owners? Double sheesh.

    I don’t so much mind the French maid outfit, but what’s the point for labeling the costumes “male” and “female” in the first place? So you don’t accidentally dress your girl doggy up as a police officer?

    Whew, that was close — good thing I saw that only boy doggies can be policemen. She’s a German Shepherd — wait, aren’t shepherds male??? It’s so confusing.

    I think the people selling the dog costumes have managed to be much sillier than the people complaining. Peck;sniff. I’ll stay away from commenting on whether they’re silly in the first place, though.

  5. Posted October 3, 2016 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    I actually find myself mildly offended that the pet store labels the costumes as male and female. Perhaps I’ll visit the local PetSmart this month and, if the costumes are labeled by gender here, politely point out that I find this annoying (and that it’s a minor annoyance).

    This also reminds me that my dogs are best gender-labeled as formerly male and formerly female!

    The only Halloween costume I’ve ever put on a dog was a hot dog bun on a dachshund. The costume came with that rescue dog. She didn’t seem to like it particularly, but she’ll do anything for food.

  6. eric
    Posted October 3, 2016 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    “It seems silly on the surface, but this is part of a larger message we’re sending, that there are certain jobs for men, and certain jobs for women,”

    Costume advertising aside, it is interesting that we (well, uh, mostly men) are generally far less sexist towards d*gs than we are towards other humans. We might select police d*gs, bomb-sniffing d*gs, or guide d*gs based on breed, but we don’t select them based on gender.

    What a nice world it would be if we imposed sexist stereotypes on our d*gs one day of the year, in exchange for not imposing them on people the other 364.

  7. tubby
    Posted October 3, 2016 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    Wait, I’m fairly certain guys can wear a French maid outfit too. Either way, I should go see if Petsmart really does have tiny doggy French maid outfits.

    • Posted October 3, 2016 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

      Besides, how do you now it’s a French maid and not a German or Swiss one?

  8. barn owl
    Posted October 3, 2016 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    I’ll confess that I’m one of those horrible people who has put costumes on their dogs. Two of my dogs are brother and sister Pomweenies, who run throughout the house and around the yard, playing at chase, ambush, and wrestle. I have velociraptor costumes for them, and a stegosaurus costume for the mellow Chihuahua. My idea was that I’d make videos of the “velociraptors” chasing each other, leaping off the bed, and ambushing the “stegosaurus.”

    Well, the velociraptor heads would not stay on, and both Pomweenies tried to remove the rest of the costumes. The female chewed on the little velociraptor arms. The Chihuahua? She wouldn’t even walk in the stegosaurus costume. I had to carry her out in the yard to take photos, and then she just fell over sideways.

    I’ve seen a few cat costumes on Ravelry and elsewhere. I sent the pattern for a crocheted lion’s mane to some of my friends at work, with a note that a pattern for an absorbent bandage should be included as well. One of the friends had her mom make the lion’s mane for her cat, who’s apparently extremely mellow and tolerant.

    • Jeff Lewis
      Posted October 3, 2016 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

      I’m also one of those horrible people, but even worse, because we’ve also done it to our late cats. I’m going to blame it on indulging our daughter, though she’s grown out of it by now.

      Our female cat responded almost exactly the same as your chihuahua. It was a Christmas costume (not Halloween), and she just refused to move, even when she lost her balance and fell over face first. She didn’t even try to get up or roll over onto her side. We had to take the costume off of her before she’d move again. Our male cat didn’t respond quite so dramatically, but he wasn’t happy about it. We didn’t try it on either of them again.

      For Halloween one year, we tried putting our dogs into costumes. Our bigger dog, a rescued stray mut, tolerated the costume well enough while we were there petting her, but as soon as we quit paying attention, she worked her way out of it. Our mini dachshund (adopted from owners who no longer wanted him) is just so eager to please that I think he’d let you do just about anything to him so long as it meant you were giving him attention. So, he’s been the victim of a few costumes – a hot dog (obviously), a cowboy, and maybe one other one. He’ll last about 15 minutes before he works his way out of them.

      • barn owl
        Posted October 3, 2016 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

        Costume-induced cataplexy in companion carnivores. Or cat-aplexy, in the case of your felid. Maybe we should write a paper?? ;-D

  9. BobTerrace
    Posted October 3, 2016 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    Between the regressive left, the alt-right and the leisure Fascists, can’t we just declare the current generation the Idiocracy generation and just point and laugh at them every chance we get?

  10. Posted October 3, 2016 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    “I would point out that people who dress their dogs up in costumes , even gender neutral womyn-affirming culturally sensitive ones, deserve to have said dog throw up on their carpets.”

    In my wife’s defense Grania, she’s only dressing them up so she can keep the chocolate when she takes them trick-or-treating.

  11. Flemur
    Posted October 3, 2016 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    I’m offended by misusing the term “gender” to mean “sex”.

    The glass ceiling appears to be firmly in place at PetSmart, where career costumes labeled “male” …

    Apparently not on the PetSmart website.

    On the site, options for your female pooch include “sweet heart nurse” …
    The choices for male dogs, meanwhile, include fireman,

    True, but most of the costumes refer to male or female characters, like “Iron Man”, or “Frankenstein” and “Bride of Frankenstein”.

  12. Christopher Bonds
    Posted October 3, 2016 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    This is true: I was once trick-or-treated by two “nuns” (these women were both adults whom I knew, and who knew each other). The thing that made it unusual is that one of them (at that time) was a real nun in a habit, and the other was wearing a costume. The three of us got a big laugh out of it.

    I’m not sure why I’m telling y’all the story, except that one might make a parallel with a similar hypothetical situation where, say, I am a friend of a member of a Mariachi band, and we decide to go out trick-or-treating as norteño musicians in concert dress. Only he is the real norteño, I’m just wearing a costume.

    In the view of the “pecksniffs,” which of us is being politically incorrect? Neither of us, me, him, or both?

    • eric
      Posted October 3, 2016 at 11:10 am | Permalink

      In the view of the “pecksniffs,” which of us is being politically incorrect?

      That’s an easy question to answer, once you remember that in far-left world offense is determined solely by the ‘victim’. So the answer is: whichever one or ones the viewer finds offensive, consistency be damned.

      • Christopher Bonds
        Posted October 3, 2016 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

        Good analysis!

  13. Merilee
    Posted October 3, 2016 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    The Lesbian couple who runs our favorite pet store in Moab, Utah, say, some-what tongue in cheek, that even though thry sell hot-dog bun costumes, complete with a zigzag of mustard, that their two wiener dogs ( of indeterminate gender) do not deign to wear them for fear of being eaten.

    • Posted October 3, 2016 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      Which seems like a perfect time to bring in Hank.

      Make sure you watch through the hot dog discussion! 🙂

      • Merilee
        Posted October 3, 2016 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

        Lol – gotta watch out for them evil condamints😁

  14. alexandra moffat
    Posted October 3, 2016 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    Dressing up dogs is only popular with the Pet Shop Industry. Well, maybe there is the rare dog that likes the attention. But mostly it is unkind and silly and exploitive. Get a collar with pumpkins on it – that’s all any dog needs or should be required to submit to.

  15. sabre422
    Posted October 3, 2016 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    My mother had homemade hot dog outfits for her pet dachshunds that she put on dear old Schultz and Frieda every year. The kids in the neighborhood loved it. She did this more than 30 years ago. Recently I have seen a TV commercial with dozens of dachshunds romping through a field fitted in “hot dog” costumes. My mother was also a vegetarian in her later years. I don’t believe she would have been concerned about hurting the feelings of sensitive vegans by her parading her dogs around as “processed animal parts” on Halloween.

  16. jay
    Posted October 3, 2016 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    This is incredible BS.

    Firstly, NO ONE is forced to dress their dog according to gender. The dog doesn’t care. So the SJWs should just bug off.

    But deeper, he left seems to confuse equal legal rights and opportunity with an ideological ‘equal outcome’. NO ONE (otherwise qualified ) should be denied opportunity simply because of gender.

    But that said, we are mammals, we are primates, and all primates exhibit differences in behavior by gender (and yes maternal instincts are essential for survival of any mammal species). There are good evolutionary reasons for this, but universally certain jobs requiring extreme physical exertion or risk are largely done by males (by choice, applicants for these jobs are almost exclusively male). Male aggression seems to attract to these jobs.

    For each feminist who insists there is no difference between males and females, I suggest that they be the one to go out in the farmer’s field and bring in the bull. I’ll go round up the cows.

  17. cherrybombsim
    Posted October 3, 2016 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    People dress their pets up as loofahs? I always thought a loofah was a sponge-like thing, but does it have some other meaning I am unaware of?

  18. Gabrielle
    Posted October 3, 2016 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

    Here’s a video of two rabbits dressed up, one as a jailbird and one a hot dog. It’s called Bunny Costume Gone WILD! and it becomes apparent soon enough which one is the male and which the female. There’s even some Barry White background music to set the mood.
    Something about the costumes really riles these two up.

  19. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted October 3, 2016 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

    It’s one of those daft ‘Murican things, I guess. I would have thought nothing could top the silliness of dressing pooches in clothes, but someone seems to have managed it.


    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted October 3, 2016 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

      But then I see Grania said it already –

      “people who dress their dogs up in costumes, even gender neutral womyn-affirming culturally sensitive ones, deserve to have said dog throw up on their carpets.”

      Nice one!


  20. somer
    Posted October 3, 2016 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    I just agree with the quote of Grania’s comment – any costume on dogs is canine abuse

  21. jeremy pereira
    Posted October 4, 2016 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    None of this, of course, applies to cats, who won’t wear costumes

    Alas, that appears not to be true.
    There is no record of how long those costumes remained on the cats.

  22. Mike
    Posted October 5, 2016 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    I,m pretty sure I have fallen through the Looking Glass

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