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A bark of joy greets our trick-or-treaters

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. The costumes. The candy and the kids.

I love it all.

Each trick-or-treater gets at least two pieces of candy. That’s our family rule.

I’m looking forward to passing out candy this year. Ed, my husband … not so much.

While I’m passing out treats, Ed is relegated to the family room with his “boy,” Teddy. Ed’s sole job is to prevent the dog from answering the door.

When our doorbell rings, Teddy sprints to the front door. He sits to the side and waits for the signal to greet our guests.

The only problem with the pooch’s behavior is his barking. It is loud, boisterous and ear-splitting.

His barks aren’t warnings to those waiting on the other side of the door.

They’re more of a greeting.

“Hi, glad to see you. I’m excited you came over. Want to play?”

“Want to give me a belly rub? Don’t talk to my people parents, talk to me.”

We’re use to it. Our friends are use to it. Trick-or-treaters are not.

So Ed and Teddy are banished to the family room for the duration of trick-or-treat night. Usually, about two hours.

We’ve been following this ritual for years.

When our daughter, Jordan, was in grade school, Ed, and our since-passed dog, Lucy, would escort the trick-or-treater around the neighborhood.

When Jordan was too old to trick-or-treat, Lucy, another boisterous greeter, and Ed were sent to the family room .

It’s a mixed bag of trick-or-treater reactions when they hear Teddy bark.

Some kids flinch.

Other kids slap their hands over their ears.

“Boy, does he bark loud.”

“We’ve got three dogs and a cat, too. Mom says we live in the zoo.”

“My dog barks louder.”

Still other kids will start barking, laughing or both.

When I tell them that the pooch is downstairs with my husband they relax.

Parents either thank me or tell me that they have a dog just like that at home.

Most of the trick-or-treaters want to meet Teddy.

“Where is it?”

“Boy or girl?”

“What’s it name?

“Can I pet it?”

“I have a dog, too. Mine’s big. Is Teddy big?”

“Do you need someone to walk him? I walk my dog every day. I’m good at it.”

“I love dogs. Teddy would love me.”

“Is he dressed up for Halloween?”

“I put my doll’s tutu on my dog.”

“Can Teddy have candy? He can have my peanut butter cups. I hate them.”

The questions are endless. The statements are endearing and funny.

I usually tell the kids that Teddy would like to meet them, too. But he would really like to check out their treat bags.

Some laugh and tell me their dogs do the same thing. Others grip their bags a little tighter.

A few have told me it’s not their dogs who sniff out their candy but their dads.

One trick-or-treater whispered to me in the strictness of confidence that he was glad I wasn’t passing out Milkyway candy bars. The candy was his dad’s favorite. His mom helps him hide the candy bars so his dad won’t steal them.

It’s amazing what I learn when I answer trick-or-treaters’ questions about Teddy.

Karin Spicer, a magazine writer, has been entertaining families for more than 20 years. She lives in Bellbrook with her family and two furry animals all who provide inspiration for her work. She can be reached at

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