Attention, fellow dogs: You may not know it, because reading calendars does not come easily to most of us, but I know that Halloween is just around the corner. You can run, you can hide, but in the end, you will become a ladybug or a frankfurter or a bumble bee or something equally humiliating.

How do I know Halloween is almost here? Because just yesterday, my “faithful” friend Maria came to me with a dog treat and a big smile and a soft bit of multicolored material with Velcro straps. “Jakey! Want a treat? C’mere, boy! Now just stand still while I put on a nice little ‘blanket.'”

I refused the treat. After so many years of this, I knew the “blanket” trick. I love a good blanket as much as the next guy, but blankets don’t have beaks and ear holes and Velcro. But being a “gooooood boy,” I stood still while she fastened this “cute” penguin costume around me.

I tried to make a break for it when she reached for her camera. Being dressed in this stuff is embarrassing enough. Having to pose for posterity is beyond humilliating.

I lay down, partly on the rug, and wouldn’t get up. For some reason, she put our penguin metronome beside me. I could almost hear the thing trying to convince me to be a proud penguin and that penguins totally rock — or at least keep time well. But I felt more like a dog who had been swallowed by a penguin and had managed to stick my head out of its mouth in a valiant attempt to save myself.

Then Maria brought out the big guns: chicken. I’m only human. I stood up to claim my bribe. At least I tried to. But the Velcro band around my stomach had somehow attached to the rug, and after a herculean struggle I managed to rip myself away. She took the photo (below). Then she kindly removed the costume. “Great! It fits! You looked sooooo cute, Jake! You’ll be a hit on Halloween.”

And that’s how I know it will be Halloween soon. By the way, because people always ask where I get my costume, this one is fresh from Petsmart. They actually had it in XL. Oh, joy.

Maria is actually pretty cool about the holiday. She usually just has me pose with some kids who come over, and they ooh and ahh and giggle at me and hug me. Then she has mercy and takes it off after fewer than 15 minutes. There were a couple of years, though, that I had to go trick-or-treating around the neighborhood with my human child and her friends.

One year, these kids brought me to a pet store for a costume contest. They were all dressed as fancy ladies for the holiday. You can see from the photo below that I did not escape this cruel fate. My best friend, Moses, happened to be going past as I came out of the house. I still haven’t heard the end of it from him. “Hi, Jakey. Where is your lacy dress?” Yada yada. Well, I got first place, which included a gift certificate and a very nice blue ribbon. I think Moses is jealous.

The following year, I implored my people to keep it natural. I didn’t want something all colorful and weird. Just something that matched my personality. I did this all through eye contact, and as you can see from the below photo, they got the hint. I make a good blonde, if I do say so. Still, it was not my favorite evening of the year.

Thankfully, Halloween comes around just once a year. In between, I just wear my good old birthday suit. Well, at least that’s how it used to be. Then a friend from back East started sending the family Christmas gifts for everyone. She said mine would have the same theme every year. Treats? Kongs? Steak-of-the-Month?

Nope. Christmas costumes! So far, a reindeer, an elf, and Santa. The fun never ends around here.

Fellow canines, what do you think of wearing costumes? Do you love that special “new clothes” smell and all the attention the costumes inevitably bring? Or do you want to hide in a closet until Halloween is history?

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