A Scary Halloween Forever Changed Me

Some pets do well in costumes

The scariest Halloween in memory was not a haunted house, a horror movie marathon, or gruesome costumed figure popping up in the dark at my door. It was the ‘great escape’ that changed the way I feel about trick-or-treating forever.

It was the first Halloween in a little cottage in a new neighborhood surrounded by families with children. I was anxious to show my community spirit and joined my neighbors in decorating for Halloween and preparing for the parade of young costumed characters to come.

My sociable dog was also costumed on the big night and ready in a place where she could observe the excitement and stay safe; or so I thought. As I turned my back to help a youngster who had become entangled in the storm door handle, my darling dog made a run for it.

My so called “lap dog” took off like a Greyhound, soon shedding parts of her costume as she headed across lawns in the direction of a nearby four lane highway. I took off with some of my young neighbors in a race to head her off.

It took us more than thirty minutes to get my dog back home and safe. I emptied my candy cache and my wallet of all money to reward my costumed heroes. I was so grateful we all made it back home safe after darting in and out of traffic and tripping in the dark across lawns.

That was the last Halloween where I included my pets in the celebration. Our family now includes another dog that is shy, so both canines are kept far away from the festivities. Keep in mind, the dangers of the holiday begin long before the doorbell starts ringing. Many of the Halloween foods and decorations around before and after the big day are hazardous to pets.

• No tricks, no treats! Candy, raisins, chocolate, alcohol and many other seasonal Halloween favorites can be very dangerous for animals. Make sure all guests understand no sharing treats!

• Consider keeping all but the most social pets in a separate room away from the front door during trick-or-treating time. Too many strangers can be stressful for pets that may dart out the door

• Always make sure your pet has proper identification. If your pet escapes and becomes lost, a collar and tags and/or a microchip can be a lifesaver!

• Dress-up can be a big scare for some pets. Make sure the costume is not annoying or unsafe. It should not constrict the pet’s movement or hearing, or impede his ability to breathe, bark or meow.

• Care with candles! Pets can knock a lit pumpkin over and cause a fire. Curious cats especially run the risk of getting burned by dancing flames

• Cords from electric lights and other decorations should be kept out of reach of pets. If chewed, your pet might suffer cuts or burns, or receive a possibly life-threatening electrical shock!

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2 thoughts on “A Scary Halloween Forever Changed Me

  1. Great article, Danita.

    Jennifer Blome

    Director of Humane Education

    APA of Missouri

    1705 S. Hanley Rd.

    St. Louis, MO 63144

    314-645-4610 ext. 120

  2. Good information here. To this day, Max goes into fits at the sound of a door bell which we trace back to his first puppy time Halloween when we did not do a good job at guarding him from the sensory assault of so many strangers coming to the door, the costumes, noises and generally overwhelming activity. I still think he expects the door to open and someone to say “Trick or Treat…I am Batman.”

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