This bat pet costume is as comfortable as it is cute: Extra felt layers help the wings stay upright while a rectangle of felt fastens the wings to a harness.

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Dogs and cats can get into character on Halloween, too, as long as we don't bother them with itchy, fussy ensembles. Take our tips from Katherine Miller, director of applied science and research for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. "A pet's ability to bear wearing a costume depends on the pet and its past experiences with clothes, collars, and harnesses," Miller says. Pet costumes—like our bat wings—made using a harness should not impede a pet's ability to breathe, move, see, or hear. Miller recommends having your four-legged friend try on the costume a week before Halloween. Have your pet wear the piece during positive times such as meals, walks, or play. A relaxed posture and tail is a sign that your dog or cat is comfortable. But if your pet is restless or depressed, tries to bite or pull the clothes off, or hides, it's unhappy. Before you take your dog to a parade or out trick-or-treating, consider how at ease it will be in a loud, strange-looking crowd. "Your pet is likely to be overwhelmed, so you must watch out for its safety and personal space," Miller says. If you see signs that your dog has had enough, go on home.

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What you need

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How to do it

Part 1

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Step 1

Print out wing templates. Cut out three layers from felt; layer together, and sew around the edges to create a three-ply piece. Then stitch lines, as shown on template, for "veins" in the wings.

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Step 2

Cut a 1 1/4-by-5-inch rectangle of felt.

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Step 3

Place it over the middle of the wings, wrap it around your pet's harness to secure, and glue the ends together.

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