Horror Writers Association Blog

Halloween Haunts: Halloween Dog by David B. Riley


Halloween was always a wonderful time when I was growing up. Though, as an adult, it really stopped being much of a holiday. As time went by, I sometimes was in Arizona, where my dad lives, and sometimes not around Halloween.

One year I remember my dad wanted me to walk his dog because he wanted to stay home and hand out candy. That was fine. I decided, since it was Halloween, to put Zero (named thusly because he really liked cold weather) in a Bart Simpson T shirt. One thing about golden retrievers is they’ll pretty much go along with anything. You want me to wear a Bart Simpson shirt on our walk? Okay. So, off we went. I don’t really remember why there was a Bart Simpson T shirt at the house. Though I’d intended just to walk him, I thought what the heck and started going up to houses. I wasn’t really sure how people would react to the notion of a dog trick or treating. Of course, Zero knew everyone in the neighborhood. And people were thrilled to see him. One of the neighbors gave me a plastic bag for his treats and we were off. I was simply amazed at how well he took to the notion of wearing some Bart Simpson shirt and visiting the neighbors. And he’d soon acquired a decent bounty. He was even picking up treats from houses where they didn’t have dogs.

A year went by. This time I was better prepared. I’d found him a pirate hat at a party supply place. Its elastic band held the hat on quite nicely. And I’d even found him a blue and yellow striped shirt that looked piratey. So, we suited him up, I had a bigger bag for treats and we were off. This time we hit way more houses and his haul of treats was huge—and not only Milk Bones, but Pupperoni and even some Snausages—his favorite. I was amazed. If we were doing so well, how come he was the only dog out trick or treating, I wondered? He seemed to really like this getting dressed up and going around to people’s houses. And people were thrilled to see him. I was simply his servant to lug his bounty around for him. He was the star of the show.

The next year I was carving a jack-o’-lantern. I looked down and there he was. He was locked intently on my every move. I honestly didn’t think he’d ever paid much attention to the jack-o’-lanterns that popped up in the window every year. But he sure was captivated by it. “Yep, it’s Halloween,” I told him. I placed it in the living room window. All afternoon he came by and checked on it to make sure it was still there. I’d bought some black material and made him a Zorro costume. I’m no seamstress, but I was amazed at how well the darn thing fit and how good he looked. [Note: If making a cowl or mask for a dog, make really large eye holes. Dogs are uneasy if their vision is obstructed].

Our first stop was down the street. Another dog was in the yard with her family and was wearing a Superman costume.
She was strutting around thinking she was hot stuff until she saw Zero. Then her family all ignored her as they came over to admire Zero’s outfit. “That dog’s dressed like Zorro” quickly became the mantra for the evening. He literally was stopping traffic. Kids wanted their pictures taken with him. He was a total sensation. We went way farther than I’d planned. And his haul of loot was enormous. Finally, we got back to the house. One further observation was that, after I got his costume off, there were a few kids who came up to the house. As my dad gave out candy, he never barked at them. They were fellow trick or treaters. He’d really gotten the concept.

Unfortunately, that was the last year we went trick or treating. Zero died the next year. But he restored my interest in Halloween. You never really know what dogs are thinking, but I was amazed at how much fun we had and how he took to the holiday. And I still don’t think I’ve ever seen another dog doing door-to-door trick or treating.

DAVID B. RILEY is a Colorado author who lives in the Vail area. He’s written five novels, over 100 stories and edited 6 anthologies. He is also publisher of Science Fiction Trails magazine. For latest info about David or his available fiction, visit his blog: www.sftrails.blogspot.com. He is also the editor of the forthcoming anthology, Gunslingers & Ghost Stories, a collection of western theme ghost stories. Scheduled for release December 2012 through Amazon or your favorite bookstore. For latest info go to www.sciencefictiontrails.com

TODAY’S GIVEAWAY: David B. Riley is giving away a paperback copy of The Brotherhood.To enter post a comment in the section below or e-mail memoutreach@horror.org and put HH CONTEST ENTRY in the header. Winners will be chosen at random and notified by e-mail.

About The Brotherhood: At a small Oregon monastery the monks there have a dark secret: they’re vampires.


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