I'm not much of a Hallowe'en fan - between greedy kids with pillowcases (PILLOWCASES!!!) full of teeth-rotting, mood-changing, sugar-loaded candy, inconsiderate teens tossing firecrackers and defacing property, and ignorant adults ignoring fireworks bans and not protecting their critters....well, it just simply is NOT my favourite time of year. The real origins of the day have been lost, consumerism has once again reared its ugly head (have you checked out the price of costumes lately, let alone the price of treats???), and in its wake are streets full of candy wrappers (so much for waiting until the kids get home for parents to check their goodies) and other crap.
But, to me, the most distressing part of Hallowe'en is the number of lost dogs and cats posted in the week to follow. Dogs and cats do NOT belong outside on Hallowe'en night - not even for an instant. Yet every year, people whose dogs "always come when called", "stay right by my side", or "have never done this before" become startled by the firecracker that goes off nearby, or the plethora of noisy costumed kids crowding the open doorway, or simply the out-of-the-ordinary night sounds and smells. And so that dog or that cat that has never taken off before bolts, ignores calls, and is soon lost and confused and terrified if they don't first run into the path of an oncoming vehicle.
An animal can slip through an open door faster than you can say "Stay!". Dogs that never jump fences or bust through gates suddenly do so. And that flat collar that seemed snug is no match for an elongated neck of a frightened dog who backs out of it and leaves you holding collar (with id tags, of course) and leash in your hand.
So - keep your critters inside. If your dog needs a potty break use a martingale collar, or a combination of two collars (or harnesses) with two leashes and two walkers holding those leashes, to give you those critical extra seconds to grab him or her. Make sure all cats and dogs are confined in an area where they do NOT have access to the door from which you will be giving out treats. And keep them there until well past the witching hour because those firecrackers and late night revellers can be out creating havoc after all the wee ones are home driving parents crazy with their sugar highs.
It will be a busy day for me - I'm volunteering at Chemainus Theatre for much of the day, arrive home just about the time the Olympic Torch arrives at the ferry dock near my home (which may mean I can't get home right away due to road closures), then I'll check out the party in the park, quickly walk the dogs on their Martigales, put the cat in the bedroom and the dogs behind the baby gate in my office, and start with the endless stream of trick-n-treaters. After many years of living in the country with few or no kids to contend with (not a single one for the past three years), I've been told to expect anywhere up to 150-200 tonight. Ugh!
And tomorrow, no doubt, I'll be reading all the "Help! our dog ran off last night!" ads and signs and figuring out which searches I can help with.
Please keep your critters safe.