These happy dogs in costumes have a word of advice for their humans this Halloween.

Halloween is awesome, and we would know. We're dogs in costumes.

Pocky, a pug, is dressed in a military costume. Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images.

Adults, kids, and even pets like us get to dress up and make believe however we want on Halloween.

(There's even candy involved, which is a nice bonus.)


Superdog catches a frisbee. Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images.

But sometimes people want to divide our imaginations by gender, and we're not into it.

Take a walk through any costume party or Halloween aisle and you'll see what we mean.

Boys and men get to be traditional police officers. Girls and women? Not so much.

Golden retrievers Champ (L) and Jordan (R), dressed as SWAT team members. Photo by Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images.

Girls and women get to be butterfly princesses. Boys and men? Well, you get the idea.

Daisy, a bulldog, is dressed as a princess. Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images.

The whole thing is pretty gross. (And we know gross. We eat cat poop.)

A dog dressed as a spider takes part in Halloween dog parade. Photo by Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images.

Why? Because men don't own masculinity, just like women don't own femininity.

Hanging a gender on a costume doesn't make much sense at all, especially for kids who are still sorting out their identities.

Dachshund-terrier mix Robin, dressed as a mail carrier. Photo by Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images.

As young people sort out their identities, who are we to keep them from expressing themselves?

Bon the dog poses as an iPhone. Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images.

This Halloween, take a cue from us, the pets in your life (and our pet-parents), and dress how you want.

Bambi, a Dachshund mix, is dressed as Superman. Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images.

We're dogs in costumes, and unless you look really closely (why would you, though?), you can't even tell whether we're male or female.

We're just playing dress up.

Rudy (L) poses as Michael Jackson and Parker poses as his girlfriend in the "Thriller" video. Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images.

We're walking, barking furry reminders that setting aside gendered costumes and outdated expectations matters.

Why? Because being who you want to be in this world matters.

A dog dresses as the wolf masquerading as Grandma from "Little Red Riding Hood." Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images.

This year on Halloween, do us pets a solid: Encourage the kids in your life to choose whatever costume they want.

After all, when children dress up, it's more than play — they're learning too.

Bella Luna, a Pomeranian, is dressed as a chef. Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images.

If that means shopping in a different section or skipping the party store entirely this year, so be it.

Terrier-pitbull mix Parker dressed as a unicorn. Photo by Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images.

Short of appropriating someone's culture or heritage, everyone deserves to play as they please.

A Chihuahua is dressed as an aviator at a Halloween dog costume parade. Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images.

That's what Halloween is all about.

Just when you've seen everything, a dog cowgirl. Photo by Timothy Clary/AFP/Getty Images.

So have fun. Be safe. And, most importantly, be yourself.

(Or, better yet,  the costumed version of yourself you want to share with the world.)

Tommy attends the 3rd Annual Bow-Wow-Ween. Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images.

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
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This story was originally shared on Capital One.

Inside the walls of her kitchen at her childhood home in Guatemala, Evelyn Klohr, the founder of a Washington, D.C.-area bakery called Kakeshionista, was taught a lesson that remains central to her business operations today.

"Baking cakes gave me the confidence to believe in my own brand and now I put my heart into giving my customers something they'll enjoy eating," Klohr said.

While driven to launch her own baking business, pursuing a dream in the culinary arts was economically challenging for Klohr. In the United States, culinary schools can open doors to future careers, but the cost of entry can be upwards of $36,000 a year.

Through a friend, Klohr learned about La Cocina VA, a nonprofit dedicated to providing job training and entrepreneurship development services at a training facility in the Washington, D.C-area.

La Cocina VA's, which translates to "the kitchen" in Spanish, offers its Bilingual Culinary Training program to prepare low-and moderate-income individuals from diverse backgrounds to launch careers in the food industry.

That program gave Klohr the ability to fully immerse herself in the baking industry within a professional kitchen facility and receive training in an array of subjects including culinary skills, food safety, career development and English language classes.

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The Schmidt family's Halloween photoshoot has become an annual tradition.

Two of Patti Schmidt's three sons were already well into adulthood when her daughter Avery was born, and the third wasn't far behind them. Avery, now 5, has never had the pleasure of close-in-age sibling squabbles or gigglefests, since Larry, Patrick, and Gavin are 28, 26, and 22, respectively—but that doesn't mean they don't bond as a family.

According to People.com, Patti calls her sons home to Point Pleasant, New Jersey, every fall for a special Halloween photoshoot with Avery. And the results are nothing short of epic.

The Schmidt family started the tradition in 2017 with the boys dressing as the tinman, the scarecrow, and the cowardly lion from "The Wizard of Oz." Avery, just a toddler at the time, was dressed as Dorothy, complete with adorable little ruby slippers.

The following year, the boys were Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Chewbacca, and Avery was (of course) Princess Leia.

In 2019, they did a "Game of Thrones" theme. ("My husband and I were binge-watching (Game of Thrones), and I thought the boys as dragons would be so funny," Schmidt told TODAY.)

In 2020, they went as Princess Buttercup, Westley, Inigo Montoya, and Fezzik from "The Princess Bride."

Patti shared a video montage of each year's costume shoot—with accompanying soundtracks—on Instagram and TikTok. Watch:

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."