Halloween and the Escape Artist

Halloween can be a day with more tricks than treats if you share your home with a four-legged escape artist.

Picture it: Halloween 2004. Moose, Lally, and I were living in New Jersey with my grandmother. My grandmother turned out the lights before I even got home from work, signaling trick-or-treaters that we were out of candy. Because we still had candy and I was bursting with Halloween cheer, I turned the lights back on.

As soon as I opened the door for the very first trick-or-treater, Moose snuck out and took off. I dropped my candy bowl by the door and ran after him — without stopping for his leash or my coat. I didn’t want to lose sight of him! About a block and a half down the street, he paused long enough that I could catch up to him. I pulled off my long-sleeved shirt and tied one sleeve to his collar so I could “walk” him home.

It’s an adventure I don’t care to repeat.

Halloween can be exciting or unsettling for pets. If you live in a busy neighborhood, your front door might be opened a hundred times on Halloween night! That’s a hundred checks of where the pets are, each time the doorbell rings. That’s a hundred times you have to open the door the barest crack, block the space with your body, and slip mini candy bars to the outside world.

Even the calmest homebody pet might get a little worked up. So what can you do to keep your four-legged family members safe on Halloween?

  • Corral all pets into a separate room and keep the door closed. (Make sure you provide water!) This is the best way to ensure that your pets stay safe, and nobody has to chase anybody down the street.
  • Don’t want to isolate your pets from the holiday fun? Find a way to secure them in a place where they can see what’s going on. Small dogs could hang out in a baby playpen. Larger dogs could be kept away from the door with gates, or you could have an assistant hold leashes when the doorbell rings.
  • Hand out your treats outside. Leave the pets safe indoors and meet trick-or-treaters on the porch or lawn. Make it fun for you and your family by decorating the yard and playing spooky music. Have games or activities planned for the times in-between trick-or-treaters.
  • Bring your pets to a boarding facility for the day or night. We get a lot of guests around holidays or when owners are having a big party — the pet gets a safe, quiet environment and the owners don’t have to spend time worrying.