Halloween and trick or treating will soon be upon us. When we moved into our current neighborhood, which has lots of children and activity, I decided our collective sanity could not handle a Halloween night of constant doorbell ringing and Munchkin wrangling.
A few days before Halloween, I walk up and down our long street with a big basket of candy and dog treats. I knock on doors, dispense both people and dog treats, and chat a bit with my neighbors. I’ve been doing this since we moved here in 2004, so our neighbors are used to this routine. They see Ivan and Dasa energetically walking us down the street every day so they smile and nod understandingly when I explain that the Munchkins would go bananas if our doorbell rang all evening.
This reverse trick or treating is well received, and I actually get to talk to neighbors, which doesn’t happen when I'm accompanied on daily walks by Ivan and Dasa, who are too busy to slow down for much more than waves and smiles.
Having done our part to dispense Halloween cheer, Eric, Ivan, Dasa & I then spend the trick or treat evening watching a movie in the basement. And life is good.
Below are some Halloween safety tips from the ASPCA website:
1. No tricks, no treats: That bowl of candy is for trick-or-treaters, not for Scruffy and Fluffy. Chocolate in all forms—especially dark or baking chocolate—can be very dangerous for dogs and cats. Candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can also cause problems. If you do suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.
2. Popular Halloween plants such as pumpkins and decorative corn are considered to be relatively nontoxic, but they can produce stomach upset in pets who nibble on them.
3. Wires and cords from electric lights and other decorations should be kept out of reach of your pets. If chewed, your pet might suffer cuts or burns, or receive a possibly life-threatening electrical shock.
4. A carved pumpkin certainly is festive, but do exercise caution if you choose to add a candle. Pets can easily knock a lit pumpkin over and cause a fire. Curious kittens especially run the risk of getting burned or singed by candle flames.
5. Dress-up can be a big mess-up for some pets. Please don't put your dog or cat in a costume UNLESS you know he or she loves it (yup, a few pets are real hams!). For pets who prefer their “birthday suits,” however, wearing a costume may cause undue stress.
6. If you do dress up your pet, make sure the costume isn't annoying or unsafe. It should not constrict the animal's movement or hearing, or impede his ability to breathe, bark or meow. Also, be sure to try on costumes before the big night. If your pet seems distressed, allergic or shows abnormal behavior, consider letting him go au naturale or donning a festive bandana.
7. Take a closer look at your pet’s costume and make sure it does not have small, dangling or easily chewed-off pieces that he could choke on. Also, ill-fitting outfits can get twisted on external objects or your pet, leading to injury.
8. All but the most social dogs and cats should be kept in a separate room away from the front edoor during peak trick-or-treating hours. Too many strangers can be scary and stressful for pets. Also, your pet might be confused by costumes and feel threatened by people they normally like and feel comfortable with.
9. When opening the door for trick-or-treaters, take care that your cat or dog doesn't dart outside.
10. IDs, please! Always make sure your dog or cat has proper identification. If for any reason your pet escapes and becomes lost, a collar and tags and/or a microchip can be a lifesaver, increasing the chances that he or she will be returned to you.