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Feature Article: October 2002

A Halloween to Howl About

It's that time of year again. Time for a visit to a pumpkin patch, dressing up the kids in costumes, attending Halloween or fall festivals, and even dressing your pets in costumes. Halloween is not just for children and adults. It can be a fun time for your dog too, just make sure the event or activity you attend will not be uncomfortable for your dog. If your pooch is comfortable at events, then there are many Halloween and fall activities to enjoy.

Most events, including fall or pumpkin festivals, pet parades, and Halloween trick or treating, can be very crowded, noisy, and often times chaotic. If you do plan on taking your dog out to one of the many events, plan ahead and know whether your dog will be comfortable or not in crowds, and especially around children. If you have a dog that does not mind noise, children or even a costume on him or her, then feel free to explore the many Halloween activities that await both you and your well-behaved pooch.

Not all events allow dogs, but there many fall festivals, as well as pet parades and costume contests throughout the country that allow pets. Most of the pet parades charge a minimal entry fee. Some of the Six Flags Amusement Parks throughout the country host annual pet parades. They are usually part of their October Fright Fests. On a special predetermined day, pets and their owners can come in costume and parade through the amusement park. Many nationwide pumpkin or fall festivals also allow dogs and many even have pet parades or pet costume contests. For example, the popular Fantasy Fest in Key West, Florida holds an annual Pet Masquerade and Parade. People and their pets of all kinds come in costume to wow spectators in a tropical setting.

In addition, there are traditional pumpkin and Halloween festivals that allow dogs. The Great Pumpkin Festival in Milford, New Hampshire offers activities that include scarecrow making, children games, pumpkin sales, a variety show, a bake sale, pumpkin painting, face painting, fire station open house, raffles, pumpkin boutique and an arts and crafts show. Well-behaved, leashed dogs are allowed. Another interesting place which allows dogs is the Enchanted Maize Maze in Blowing Springs, Georgia. You can walk your well-behaved, leashed dog through a cornfield labyrinth of trails. They also offer hayrides, a kiddie hay maze, a hay pyramid, pumpkin patch, food, drinks, and more. If there is an event or activity in your area that you want to attend with your pooch, then please call ahead and make sure they allow pets. Below is a list of places that allow well-behaved, leashed dogs.

Pet Parades and/or Pet Costume Contests for 2002

California: Sutter Creek: Howl-o-ween Costume Contest & Parade: Oct 27
Mark your calendars for the 4th annual Howl-o-ween costume contest and parade on Sunday, October 27th. Come check out their costumes and hats. Event to be held at the Three Dog Bakery, 16 Eureka St., Sutter Creek, CA, 209-267-1500. All dogs need to be leashed.

Colorado: Denver: Six Flags: Fright Fest Pet Parade: October 12
Dress up your pet and yourself for great prizes and a great cause! It has become an annual tradition at Six Flags Elitch Gardens...the Pet Parade through the amusement park to kick off Fright Fest. Pets and their owners dress up in their most unique, funny, and creative costumes to compete for some great prizes and to benefit the Dumb Friends League of Denver. Download information and registration forms HERE. (PDF Format) You can print the form out and either mail in or fax in to 303-629-0740 to receive the early-registration discount. All dogs need to be leashed.

Florida: Key West: Pet Masquerade and Parade: October 23
The pet parade is Wednesday, October 23. The ultimate party animals (and their humans) turn out in swarms, droves, gaggles, prides and packs for a flight of fancy or a crawl across the stage as they seek fame and fortune at the WKEY Pet Masquerade. Long a highlight of Fantasy Fest, and always a favorite with locals, this warm and fuzzy event is for animal lovers of all ages. The parade takes place at the Wyndham Casa Marina Resort.  The folks at the local radio station WKEY are your hosts for this pet event.  Call 305-296-7511 for entry information. Registration is 4:30 pm; contest starts at 5:30 pm. All dogs need to be leashed.

Texas: Dallas: Six Flags: Fright Fest Pet Parade: Early October
Dogs, cats and other pets are welcome to participate in this pet parade that takes place in the amusement park. There will also be a pet costume contest. 817-265-3356. All dogs need to be leashed.

Texas: Houston: Six Flags: Fright Fest Pooch Parade: October 5
Creepy canines and their haunting humans will join the Houston Humane Society and Six Flags AstroWorld staff for a fur-raising HOWL-oween celebration in the 3rd Annual Fright Fest Pooch Parade on Sat. Oct. 5 at 2pm.  Each canine/humane combo will parade through Six Flags AstroWorld and then compete in the Costume Contests (Scariest, Funniest, Most Creative, Best Canine/Human Combo) and/or Smartest Dog Contest.   Each individual contest requires a separate registration fee of $10.  Each canine must show proof of current rabies vaccination to enter the park and participate.  For more information, please call (713) 794-3295. All dogs need to be leashed.

Some of the events listed below also have pet parades and pet costume contests.

Pumpkin Festivals or Harvest/Fall Festivals in 2002
(many have pet parades or pet costume contests)

Alabama: Atmore: Williams Station Day: October 26
On this day, residents turn back their clocks to 1866 when their community was named Williams Station - a supply stop along the Mobile & Great Northern railroad. They invite you to come to the country for an old fashioned sampling of southern heritage seasoned with demonstrating folk artisans, railroad memorabilia. Fore more information call 251-368-3305. All dogs must be leashed and well-behaved.

Arkansas: Heber Springs: Ozark Trail and Trout Festival: October 11-13
This year’s theme is Sugarloaf Days. The festival will include arts, crafts, and entertainment for three days. From clogging to bluegrass and from country to gospel it is sure to be a great weekend in Heber Springs. A terrific variety of food vendors will be present serving buffalo steak kabobs to gyros to BBQ and old fashioned peanuts, kettle corn and cold sarsaparilla just to name a few, all located in the Historic Spring Park. All dogs must be leashed and well-behaved. 501-362-2444.

California: St. Helena: Hometown Harvest Fest & Pet Parade: Oct 19
This harvest festival features a popular pet parade that begins at 10am. There will also be many arts and crafts vendors. All dogs must be leashed and well-behaved. 707-963-5706.

California: Temecula: Old Town Halloween (& Pet Costume Contest): Oct 26-27
Enjoy a pet costume contest, pumpkin decorating contest, and trick or treating in Old Town. All dogs must be leashed and well-behaved. 909-676-5090.

Canada: Port Elgin, Ontario: Pumpkinfest and Pet Parade: October 5 and 6
Come enjoy the fun of this International Pumpkin Weigh-off Competition. Get close and photograph yourself next to the giant pumpkins in the park. Carve or decorate your own pumpkin or visit numerous other free activities, crafts and events. They don't encourage bringing dogs because it can get very crowded at this event. But if your dog is okay in crowds, then you can bring him or her. All dogs must be leashed and well-behaved. Dogs are not permitted in any buildings and you must clean up after your pooch. 519-389-3714.

Georgia, Blowing Springs: Enchanted Maize Maze: Aug 30-Nov 2
This maze, located near Lookout Mountain, is a cornfield labyrinth of trails and questions that will challenge you and may even get you lost. Answer the questions correctly and you will find your way through the maze. It is fun, educational, and a new experience for anyone or any group. They also have hayrides, a kiddie hay maze, a hay pyramid, pumpkin patch, food and drinks. Dogs are welcome. All dogs must be leashed and well-behaved. 877-820-0759.

Indiana: Alexandria: Small Town USA Festival and Pet Parade: October 4, 5, and 6
The festival features crafts, food, free entertainment, displays, and contests. The festival's name is derived from an official designation given by the federal government during World War II. Alexandria was chosen as the "small town" to represent all small towns. Alexandria is proud of its small town status, and its festival reflects the friendliness and casualness found in small towns. Many local churches and clubs have booths, selling everything from caramel corn popped over an open fire to handmade crafts. The event will be held in Beulah Park, Alexandria. All dogs must be leashed and well-behaved. 765-724-3514.

Massachusetts: Salem: Sea Witch Halloween's Pet Parade: Oct 27
The line-up for the Best Costumed Pet Contest and Pet Parade will begin at the Henlopen Hotel. Line-up begins at 12:30pm. The pet parade will begin at 1pm on the Boardwalk, weather permitting. Also, take a photo of your pets or kids in costume at the First State Photo Service on Rehoboth Ave. from 1pm to 9pm. There are photo charges. Dogs might not be allowed at other non-pet events. Call ahead to confirm pets are allowed at the event you are interested in attending. All dogs must be leashed and well-behaved. 800-441-1329.

New Hampshire: Milford: Great Pumpkin Festival: October 11 through 13
Activities include scarecrow making, children games, pumpkin sales, a variety show, a bake sale, pumpkin painting, face painting, fire station open house, raffles, pumpkin boutique and an arts and crafts show. All dogs must be leashed and well-behaved. 603-672-4567.

Ohio: Circleville: Circleville Pumpkin Show's Pet Parade: October 18
The pet parade will begin at 3:30pm on Friday, October 18. Judging for the best costumes will be at South Pickaway and East Franklin Streets Platform immediately following the Parade. All dogs must be leashed and well-behaved. 740-474-7000.

South Carolina: St. Stephens: October Fest & Pet Costume Contest: Oct 19
Activities include pumpkin carving, a pet costume contest, arts and crafts vendors, carnival rides and more.  All dogs must be leashed and well-behaved. 843-567-3940.


To voice your opinion on this article or subject, please fill out our form. We will include some of the comments or letters in next month's Letters to the Editor section.


ASPCA Offers Halloween Safety Tips For Pets

Halloween can be a festive and fun time of year for children and families, but for family pets, it can be a stressful and even dangerous time of year. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) offers pet owners some common-sense tips to help them keep their pets safe.

* Don't leave your pet out in the yard on Halloween. There are plenty of stories of vicious pranksters who have teased, injured, stolen, even killed pets on this night.

* Trick-or-treat candies are not for pets. Chocolate is poisonous to many animals, and tin foil and cellophane candy wrappers can be hazardous if swallowed.

* Be careful of pets around a lit pumpkin. Pets may knock it over and cause a fire.

* Don't dress the dog or cat in costume unless you know he or she loves it. Otherwise, it puts too much stress on the animal.

* If you do dress up your pet, make sure the costume isn't annoying or unsafe.  It should not constrict the animal's movement, hearing or ability to breathe or bark. Also, there should not be small, dangling, or easily chewed-off pieces on the costume that your pet could choke on.

* Be careful not to obstruct your pet's vision.  Even the sweetest animal can get snappy when he or she can't see.

* All but the most social dogs and cats should be kept in a separate room during trick-or-treat visiting hours. Too many strangers can be scary for a dog or cat.

* When opening the door for trick-or-treaters, be very careful your cat or dog doesn't dart outside.

* Make sure your dog or cat is wearing proper identification. If for any reason they escape and become lost, you increase the chances that they will be returned to you.

Excerpt above is from the ASPCA

The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center hotline call 1-888-426-4435.




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