Why Fright Night is a Fraught Holiday at our House

The dogs most anxious night of the year.


Halloween produces a lot of anxiety and subsequent uncooperative behavior for Franklin and Rosie, with one or both of them usually threatened with being sent to bed without treats. First there were those years when John was younger and he worked to dress them in costumes. Okay, maybe that wasn’t a great idea. And admittedly, a cape was not Franklin’s best look. But he showed how he felt by running around the house with the thing half dragging behind him. Rosie the shiba inu, for her part, wouldn’t go anywhere near a homemade get-up, no matter how hard John tried. If she could have expressed herself with words, she would have demanded a different store-bought princess costume every single year. How many trips to ItzAParty up on route 53 was I supposed to make? She was only going to rip each one off right away, anyway.

Even now, when all three of them are older, October 31st is no piece of candy corn. First there’s the ceremonial carving of the jack-o-lanterns — one scary, the other scarier, just like every year. Like clockwork, Franklin’s inner art critic comes out as he hovers over me. “The teeth are too straight, Dad. The eyebrows aren’t menacing enough,” followed by “What — you’re just going to throw that raw orange stuff in the garbage?!!!”

The hardest part comes when the kids begin banging the knocker on the old wooden front door. Franklin screams at the top of his lungs, and Rosie runs around the loop of the downstairs — living room to family room to kitchen to dining room to front hall — with equal parts excitement and alarm. Franklin and Rosie generally love children, and children love them, but that night, it’s every grim reaper and fairy for him or herself. Neither dog gets so much as a single pet from anyone wielding a scythe or wand. They’re just there for the loot. The dogs are further unnerved by the weird get-ups — not to mention the lack of candy sharing.

The hardest part for me is making sure they don’t get out. Try holding two dogs back while your wife is dropping bags filled with chocolate bars and other goodies into pillowcases, shopping bags, and large plastic pumpkins with handles.

Finally, things die down, John comes back home with his own stash of collected candy, and okay, I’m not supposed to share this with you, but each dog gets a couple of m&ms. Who you gonna tell?

For more on how dogs feel about Halloween in general and wearing costumes in particular — and whether you should put your dog in one — check out this story http://www.tuftsyourdog.com/issues/21_10/features/Is-Your-Dog-Going-as-Anything-for-Halloween-443-1.html in this issue.

Happy tails to you,
Lawrence Lindner
Executive Editor


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