It’s the most delightfully frightful time of year, but the looming threat of COVID-19 has taken over much of the talk about trick-or-treating and Halloween this year. While every family will make their own choices based on the best available public health information, there are likely to be decorations and trick-or-treaters out and about on October 31. And that means the impact these actions have an animals, both domestic and wild, remains very real.
At The Fur-Bearers, we love Halloween, but we want to make sure that everyone – including the animals – have a good time at parties when the ghosts come calling, so please check out and share these five simple tips:
- Littering. While we don’t want to think any of our lovely supporters litter, it’s possible that their little ones, in their excitement to chow down on their treats, will drop wrappers or other bits of candy while out and about. Please remind children (and some adults) that some items like chocolate are toxic to dogs, chewy candies can cause a lot of damage to the sensitive digestive systems of birds and mammals, and that wrappers look better in a trash can than they do on the sidewalk.
- Fireworks. This is localized mostly to British Columbia, where fireworks have become a Halloween tradition. Fireworks can be very traumatizing to all animals, including humans who may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (particularly former soldiers). If you intend to use fireworks, please use them safely and responsibly, be aware of your local municipalities’ by-laws, and be considerate of your neighbours – wild ones, too.
- Pumpkins and decorations. We love Jack O’Lanterns. Of course, a hungry bear will, too. Just like any other attractants, being aware of wildlife in your community is important. If you do have bears, coyotes, raccoons, or other mammals that can come into conflict with your neighbours, please bring organic decorations inside for the evening, or consider putting them in a window temporarily.
- Changes in routine. If every morning when you got your newspaper from the front porch you were alone, and then one morning, there were two bears, a coyote, and a penguin sitting there, it would probably surprise you, wouldn’t it? The same is true for wildlife on Halloween – their regular routines at dusk and the evening are going to be interrupted by our ghoulish festivities, and that can cause conflict. Be aware of your surroundings and how you may be impacting wildlife.
- Keep your eyes on the road. In addition to the changes in behaviour for wildlife, there are two other significant changes that should be kept top of mind when driving during Halloween: children and pets. Kids will be out and about later than usual, and sometimes in dark colours/costumes, as part of the festivities. And pets, who may be spooked by the aforementioned costumes, fireworks, or constant door knocking, are more likely to be running scared. Please drive safely.
We love Halloween, and hope you do, too. Just remember that we share our homes and neighbourhoods with a lot of little beings who may not fully understand why we love it so much.