Who doesn’t love Halloween? It’s a great time to be a kid — or to be a kid again. Raleigh Pawz wants you and your pet to enjoy the holiday fun and silliness — all while avoiding the kind of holiday that will haunt you for years to come.

Hide the Halloween loot

Fido just can’t wait to nose through your stash, looking for a nice, fat candy bar. But chocolate is toxic to dogs — and what might seem like a tasty snack could send you and Fido on a late-night trip to the emergency animal clinic. Not the kind of scary thrills you want to experience on Halloween! Especially beware of plastic Halloween buckets, which can get hopelessly stuck on Fido’s head and lead to suffocation in some cases.

Condemn the cornstalks

While you are busy with Halloween haunting, Fido is looking for a way to entertain himself.

What’s this strange, tall, crackly thing? he wonders while sniffing it with interest. Mmm…kinda tasty, he thinks as he begins to munch on it.

Pretty soon, you have a big problem on your hands. And since you are handing out Halloween treats, you may not notice until it’s too late. Ingested cornstalks can cause intestinal blockage, which requires emergency surgery. But sometimes, sadly, you just can’t save your pet in time. So if you have pets, avoid these holiday decorations altogether.

Pooh-pooh the pumpkins, particularly jack-o-lanterns

What’s Halloween without a jack-o-lantern? you may wonder. But one swift thump of an excited tail can send your jack-o-lantern tumbling — including the flame inside. And in all the hullabaloo, you might not notice your drapes have caught fire until the entire wall is ablaze. Boo! Not exactly the kind of Halloween excitement you were looking for.

While electric candles are technically safer, Fido may decide it looks like an excellent chew toy — which, again, might send you and Fido on a late-night trip to the emergency animal clinic (Are we noticing a pattern here?). And pumpkin has copious amounts of Vitamin A, which is healthy in small doses but toxic if Fido decides to eat, say, an entire pumpkin for a snack.

Secure pets, keeping them away from the front door

There’s likely to be a huge parade of ghosts and goblins coming to your door on the scariest of nights. And while you’re busy handing out treats, Fido may decide to play a trick — and bolt out into the night.

Make sure your pet is microchipped or has up-to-date tag information

In the event that Fido does escape, if he’s microchipped and/or wearing up-to-date tags,  his chances of being found improve exponentially. So do it today — you’ll be happy you did!

Be extra protective of your pets — particularly black cats

It’s better to keep any animal inside on Halloween, to prevent them from getting hurt or being the victim of a mean Halloween prank. But if you have a black cat, unfortunately, it is particularly vulnerable. There are all too many stories of black cats being stolen, tortured, or even killed on or around Halloween. And while you know your furry little black panther is nothing but one big purring softy, fear and superstition surround these felines — and there are some mighty cruel people out there. Keep your animals safe — keep them home.

Comfortable costumes are a must

Mister McNugget is going as a big chicken for Halloween. Poor Pugsy must suffer through the evening as a piggie in a pink tutu. And while they are terribly humiliated and will never, ever be able to look their friends in the eye again, they’re still doing better than Captain Crunch, whose restrictive namesake costume is chaffing him and making it hard to move — or even breathe. And while it might bruise his already-flagging ego, he’d gladly trade Pugsy for that pink tutu any day.

Don’t make your animals hate you on Halloween. They’re nice to you all year — greeting you when you come home, providing free entertainment, and of course, their undying love — so if you really must dress Fido up (and believe us, he’d really prefer you didn’t), at the very least, make sure his costume is comfortable, allowing ease of movement and doesn’t restrict his breathing or vision. But keep his fragile ego in mind too. Would you really enjoy facing your friends dressed as a giant hot dog? A big taco? A Jigglypuff? And good luck getting your cat, Fluffy, to don her Princess Leia costume. Raleigh Pawz does not recommend it — for your own Halloween safety.