Tag Archives: 13 Days of Halloween

Day 13 of 13 Days of Halloween 2018

Happy Howl-oween!

We finally made it! It’s Day 13 of our 13 Days of Halloween celebration.

We’ve had some treats, performed some tricks, shared costume as well as non-costume costume ideas, introduced new pack members (even if they both “meow”), celebrated Rosee’s 6th birthday, and remembered a beloved pet in honor of Dia de los Muertos.

All that’s left to do is to wish everyone and their pets a very Happy Howl-oween!

Happy Howloween
From everyone here at Play Hard, Bark Often–Happy Howl-oween

I think everyone needs a nap after this…

Day 9 of 13 Days of Halloween 2018

Trick-or-Treat, Give me something good to eat!

Halloween is practically upon us and in order to prepare for the big day I thought we would do a little Trick-or-Treating… for the dogs, of course.

I decorated the backyard with some spooky Halloween decorations. I set up a small cemetery (complete with a giant spider web), a pumpkin patch, and a patio of undead dogs and cats. Then, I took some treats and left them around the backyard, so the pups would have to “find” the treats by sniffing them out.

Trick or Treat 1

In no time at all Simon and Rosee were off trying to locate their treats.

Trick or Treat 2

They had to fend off some undead animals, navigate the headstones, and sniff under the pumpkins, but it was all worth it for that treat.

Trick or Treat 3

Trick-or-Treating definitely went to the dogs this year!

Day 8 of 13 Days of Halloween

“To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.” Thomas Campbell

Halloween is not the only holiday to celebrate this October.

Dia de los Muertos is also set to begin on October 31st, and it’s a holiday that holds special meaning. Even if you don’t really celebrate or observe this time period, I like to think that this holiday can at least serve as a reminder to remember our loved ones that have passed on.

This year I’d like to dedicate this post, in honor of Dia de los Muertos, to Artemis.

Artemis 2

Artmeis is a very special cat who we lost earlier this year. We may have only had a short time with him, since we adopted him last year around this time, but he was a special cat that made quite an impact on all of us—yes, even Simon and Rosee.

Artemis started to come around last Fall when we first began to leave a bowl of cat food and a bowl of water on our porch for George (our other cat, and you can read about him here). He looked terrible when he first showed up. He was practically skin and bones with scraggly, matted fur, watery eyes, and a runny nose. We thought all he needed was some food, water, and TLC. It wasn’t long before we took him inside, because it was just too cold for him to be outside without barely any body fat, and he became an official part of our family.

Artemis 4

He proved enthusiastically helpful when it came to making our annual batch of tamales for the holidays.

Artemis 3
The best tamale maker.

He loved sitting on the couch with us, and cuddling with George.

Artemis 1
Master cuddler here.

However, we quickly figured out that food wasn’t necessarily Artmeis’s main problem, or even his only one. After a trip to the vet, we found that he was pretty old, probably late teens, had no teeth at all, and despite his love of food, he just wasn’t able to absorb anything he ate, rather his food just ran right through his system. He was able to gain a bit of weight, but he always seemed to fluctuate and no matter what we tried, he only improved marginally.

We knew Artemis’s days were numbered, but we were determined to make his last days his best. He got extra special treats, extra cuddles, and even some cream here and there—our vet said it was okay and told us since he was old he should get anything he wanted.

While, Artemis may be gone, he is definitely not forgotten. He is remembered in all of our hearts. His perseverance and zest for life reminds us all to enjoy the moment, never give up, and to always be kind.

Day 7 of 13 Days of Halloween 2018

The jack-o-lanterns are going to the dogs (and cats)!

I absolutely love carving pumpkins for Halloween. It’s always a lot of work, takes too much time, and is incredibly messy, but the finished jack-o-lantern(s) prove themselves worth the effort every year. I especially enjoy showcasing my love of dogs and pit bulls in my pumpkin carvings.

This year was no different and when it came time to carve some pumpkins I knew exactly what I wanted to do. Except this year I decided to change things up a bit. Instead of using real pumpkins to carve and turn into jack-o-lanterns to show off my love of all things dogs, pit bulls, and yes, even cats, I decided to use craft/synthetic pumpkins. That’s right I’m using pumpkins that can’t go bad, decompose, and most importantly, won’t attract bugs. As much as I love carving pumpkins each year, I’m always so disappointed how quickly my freshly carved jack-o-lanterns go bad and become infested with bugs—literally it’s in a day’s time—and how short of a time I can actually display my pumpkins on my front porch. So, rather than using fresh pumpkins to carve that only lasts a couple days, I used synthetic pumpkins that can last as long as I want. In fact, I can even save the pumpkins and use them again next year!

To carve some completely adora-bull, and long lasting jack-o-lanterns this is what you’ll need:

Pumpkin Supplies

  • Synthetic/craft pumpkin(s)
  • carving tools such as a small knife, and shaving tool
  • stencil(s)
  • tape
  • scissors

Ultimately, I chose three different pumpkins in which I could carve. I chose two small sized pumpkins (one orange, and one black), and a larger orange pumpkin. Then, I found three stencil designs to carve into each pumpkin. I did recycle the pit bull stencil I used last year and found it was perfect for my smaller orange pumpkin, went with a paw print stencil for my larger orange pumpkin, and thought a cat sitting on a moon design was just right for the small black pumpkin. Also, I chose the synthetic pumpkins that have open backs because this made the backside of the pumpkin flat. Therefore, carving was much easier since the pumpkin could lay flat on its back and not move around like a traditionally round pumpkin would.

Pumpkin Stencils

First, take the stencil and tape it to the front of the pumpkin. Using a small knife, carefully poke holes along the stencil outline. Remove the stencil, but keep it for reference as you carve.

Pumpkin Carvings

 

Next, begin to cut along the outline of holes that has been previously poked into the pumpkin.

Then, shave any parts of the pumpkin that are meant to be shaved for more definition and dimension.

Finally, clean up the mess of shavings, put a LED candle light in your pumpkin and light up the jack-o-lantern.

Jack-o-Lanterns

We’re officially surpassing the halfway point in our 13 Days of Halloween journey…keep checking back until October 31st for all things Halloween!

Day 6 of 13 Days of Halloween 2018

What are treats without tricks?

Tricks and treats just go together when it comes to Halloween.

In particular, treats are even sweeter when they’re earned after performing a trick.

Tricks aren’t always easy to teach your dogs, but simple ones like “shake” or “high-five” are fairly quick, and easy to teach your dogs. Plus, many general commands such as “sit,” “lay down,” and “stay” are also considered good tricks that dogs perform each and every day—ones that come in handy when trying to take pictures, let me tell you.

Here I’m going to provide easy steps to teach your dog the simple tricks of: shake, high-five, and beg.

Dog Tricks

What you’ll need: treats (lots of little treats, and preferably something that is of high value), and patience (probably even more patience than treats, to be honest).

Shake

To teach your dog how to “shake” simply put them in a “sit” position and offer your hand. When they give you their paw then give them a treat. If you’re a fan of using a clicker, you can click when their paw makes contact with your hand and then immediately give them a treat. After you are able to accomplish this a few times, then you can start saying the command “shake” when offering your hand. This way your dog can start to associate the action with the word.

High-five

To teach your dog to “high-five” the procedure is pretty similar to “shake” except this time instead of offering your hand, simply hold your palm upright. You may need to tap on the center of your palm so your dog better understands to target your palm, but after learning “shake” it is typically fairly easy to then move on to “high-five.”

Beg

To teach your dog to “beg” can take a bit more time and patience. Also, it is best if your dog is able to balance on their back legs—Rosee is great at this, but Simon not so much. To start, have your dog in a “sit,” but make sure that it is a full sit meaning that their back end is leaning to the side since it is easier for them to sit back and balance in an upright position. Then, hold one of your arms parallel to the floor and ask your dog to place their two front paws over your arm. Treat (and click) when they do what your ask. Practice this a few times until your dog can easy sit and balance their front paws over your arm. Finally, you can begin to take your arm away while still asking your dog to sit and balance on their back end while holding their front paws up.

Now, while dog tricks are definitely a treat, I can’t end this post without mentioning the biggest Trickster of the pack.

I present to you…Shadow!

Shadow Tricks

Shadow is one of our cats who we rescued about four months ago. He’s a former neighborhood cat that, once again, adopted us as his family. He is curious, mischievous, and absolutely fearless. Despite his small stature he is unafraid of Simon and Rosee, and will do anything for food (he’s kind of like a dog in that sense). His best tricks so far include: “beg,” and stealing food off of the kitchen counters.

That’s all of the tricks I have to offer for this Halloween 2018 and make sure to let us know in the comments any tricks your dogs (or cats) are known for!

Day 5 of 13 Days of Halloween 2018

Treats are always appreciated

I think the absolute greatest part of Halloween for everyone (human and animal alike), or at least the sweetest part, is the Treats. For us humans this season of treats inspires images of various candies, pies, cupcakes, and other types of desserts. For the dogs, it inspires only one thing: pumpkin-flavored treats.

Even more exciting is a whole box of pumpkin-inspired treats for Simon and Rosee!

October Box

A few months ago we started to subscribe to the Dapper Dog monthly subscription box. Despite the availability of so many subscription box options, we ultimately decided to go with the Dapper Dog box because along with including various new treats and toys to try, they also include a very cute accessory for your dog in each box. So far, we’ve received incredibly cute (and well made) bow ties, and bandanas that are not only seasonally appropriate, but most importantly fit around both Simon and Rosee’s necks. I have to be honest, while I love getting cute accessories for the pups, I love having accessories that fit them even more. I remember about a year ago when we went to a rather large event for pets and even though there were upwards of 50 vendors and 90% of them sold bandanas we were unable to find 1 (that’s right 1) that was big enough to fit Simon’s neck. Now, we have several accessories from which to choose from.

In addition, we’ve received some really great and durable toys from our various boxes. Of course, we do pay to get the Heavy Chewers box, which includes a tougher toy rather than a plush toy, but these toys seem to be really well made. For instance, at our local pet store we typically buy Simon (he’s our toughest chewer by far) a chew toy that is supposed to be for heavy chewers and even comes with a lifetime warranty from the company if your dog rips the toy because they believe in their product’s durability that much. Unfortunately, even with these toys Simon is able to chew through them in a few rounds of play and chew. Yet, they are the best toys we’ve found…until now. The toys we’ve received from the Dapper Dog box have really been great so far. In particular, he has this one orange squeaky toy that has stood up to a lot of chewing and numerous rounds of fetch. I am incredibly impressed with the fact that this toy doesn’t even look like he’s ever chewed it!

DD Toys

Finally, the Dapper Dog box was the best choice for us because they were one of the only ones (at least that we found) that we could request to receive non-peanut butter treats. Sadly, Simon and Rosee are allergic to peanut butter and typically break out in hives if they consume any peanut butter treats. Luckily though, the Dapper Dog let us request no peanut butter treats, which is something that many other subscription boxes available do not accommodate. (P.S. Their customer service is amazing!)

Overall, I really can’t say enough great things about the Dapper Dog box. Our experience with the service has been amazing so far and the box for October was especially awesome because it was all about pumpkin. From the treats, to the toys, and even the bandana dog accessory—each items was a Treat for the Halloween season!

Now, I know a subscription box isn’t for everyone or dog, but at the very least make sure to check out their Instagram because it is adorable.

Day 4 of 13 Days of Halloween 2018

Its day two of costumes and these two ideas are extra special because they are group costumes. While not as simple and inexpensive as yesterday’s ideas, these two group costumes are definitely worth the extra effort. To begin with let’s start with the group costume that takes at least four participants.

Costume #1: S’mores

What’s even better than a dog costume, you ask? Well, it’s a group costume that dogs and their humans can wear together!

All you need is two large pieces of cardboard, two small/medium pieces of cardboard, some yarn/string, a brown marker, white fabric/cloth (this can be the same cloth from the ghost costume), and scissors.

Smore Materials

Now, in my imagination of this costume two humans represent the graham crackers while one dog is a marshmallow and another dog is the chocolate.

First, measure the cardboard to each person and cut appropriately. Cut two holes at the top and thread a piece of yarn through and tie off the ends. This way each piece of cardboard can hang around each person’s neck comfortably. Then, take the brown marker and draw on the cardboard so that it resembles the markings of a graham cracker.

Smore Parts

Next, to make the chocolate take the two smaller pieces of cardboard and fit them long ways on your dog, cutting appropriately so that they cover your dog, but aren’t too long. At the top of each piece make two small holes—one at the front of the cardboard and one at the end. String some yarn through the front hole of one piece of cardboard and connect the other end of the yarn through the other piece of cardboard, and then do the same with the holes at the other end. The idea is that the cardboard pieces will hang on either side of your dog. Then, using the brown marker, draw on the cardboard so that it looks like a piece of chocolate.

Thirdly, take the white cloth/fabric and simply wrap it around the middle of your other dog and secure it—I found a couple of safety pins worked well.

Finally, dress each person and dog in their respective costume and there you have it: a s’more!

Smore Costume

Costume #4: Soap and Loofah

This is idea is another group costume, but I’m going to leave it to just the dogs for this one.

All you need is some tulle (I got a couple of rolls at the Dollar Tree), a piece of cardboard or two, some string/yarn, a marker, glue, and scissors.

Loofah and Soap

First, to make a loofah costume, take some tulle and cut it into pieces. Take the pieces and twist them, and then wrap in a circle. Then, take these circles and glue them onto a piece of cardboard  that is fit to the curve around the back of your dog. Cut holes in the front and back of the cardboard and string some yarn through so that when you fit the cardboard on your dog you can tie the ends of the yarn together. This way the cardboard will be more fitted to your dog and stay on.

Next, to make a bar of soap cut the cardboard in a similar way to fit your dog as was described in the previous costume when creating the chocolate costume (from the previous s’mores costume explanation). Except this time we are going to draw on the cardboard so that it looks like soap.

Finally, put both dogs next each other and the desired effect of soap and loofah will be achieved!

Soap and Loofah

If you missed last year’s costume ideas make sure to check that post out here.