Each fall, as October approaches, horse show barns often host equestrian Halloween fun shows, Halloween horse parades, Halloween fall festivals, Halloween barn parties or other autumn horsey events.
Many horse lovers enjoy dressing up in Halloween and themed costumes for such happenings, and some even decorate or costuming their horses. The secret is to keep things simple and safe. Any Halloween horse costume must be designed with caution and common sense.
As fright-or-flight creatures, horses are easily startled. Nothing can ruin a Halloween horsey event like a panicked horse. When horses become frightened, the hooves fly, equines may bolt, and people tend to get hurt.
Streamers, crinkly materials, sequins and shiny objects, tin foil, flashing lights, fluttering feathers, clinking beads and jingling bells can terrify a horse. All of these tend to be extremely unpractical and poor choices for a Halloween horse costume. In addition, many horses object to wearing items on their faces or about their ears. Masks, hats and facial adornments are generally rejected by horses. Because of these equine concerns, a Halloween horse costume must be creatively designed, with an aim towards simplicity and utility.
Halloween and theme costumes for humans with horses should also be simple.
Horse-loving humans are best advised to choose their own Halloween and themed costumes carefully as well. Not long ago, a seasoned Midwestern horsewoman suffered a serious injury when her favorite long-time equine companion sent her directly from a Halloween party at the barn to the emergency room with a sturdy kick. Apparently, the usually quiet bay gelding did not like her pointy witch’s hat and crinkly black cape.
Here’s another safety note: It’s usually a bad idea to take a Halloween horse trick-or-treating.
Even the most docile, well-trained horses may surprise their owners, if they are placed in unexpected situations and circumstances. Although a horse may seem like the ideal accessory for a human’s Halloween or themed costume, the equine is really better off remaining back on the farm. Leading or riding a horse through a youngster-filled neighborhood and negotiating busy streets is a recipe for a full-scale equine spook. This sort of surprise is completely inappropriate for Halloween, as a frightened horse can be downright dangerous. Besides, except for peppermints, candy is generally unhealthy and unappealing for horses. Chocolate, for example, can actually prove poisonous to horses. Save the Halloween treats for the humans. Keep the candied apples, but set aside a couple of plain ones for those equine friends.