Molly screwed her eyes tightly and looked at Jessie. She was holding a cape and a black hat that perfectly matched the dog’s coat. She measured the length of Jessie’s torso and held the cape over the dog’s body. The fabric gently grazed Jessie and the dog woke abruptly. Jessie yawned, stretched and looked up at Molly. Her tail pounded the floor as she sat up on her haunches.
“I’ve just finished your costume for the Halloween parade tonight, Jessie. I made you a witch costume. I think the color will be adorable with your coat.”
Molly hummed to herself and snapped the cape sharply smoothing out some wrinkles. She gently kneeled down and snapped the clasp closed around the dog’s neck. She took some Velcro out of her sewing kit and attached a witch hat to Jessie’s head.
Jessie sighed and put her head down but obediently wore the costume. She was getting used to Molly dressing her up. First, Molly had sewn her a plaid coat. Then, for the family Christmas picture, Molly had knitted matching sweaters for everyone. Now, it looked like she would have to wear the witch’s cloak. Jessie sighed again and put one paw over her nose. She didn’t like clothes but if it made Molly happy she would wear the outfit.
Molly had said something about a parade. Jessie’s ears perked up. Jessie liked parades. She always got to meet nice people and see other animals. It had been rather quiet in the Claus residence for the past week and Jessie was happy for the diversion. she hopped up and made her way to the door where she sat wagging her tail. Jessie waited until Molly put the lead on her collar and then almost pulled Molly through the door and down the sidewalk.
“Jessie, slow down. We have plenty of time.” Molly almost tripped on her pink and green fairy costume that trailed behind her. Jessie pulled her towards the gate and headed into the centre of town. She moved towards the Christmas tree at its centre where the street was full with elves milling about. Everyone was dressed in brightly colored costumes.
Jessie looked around but didn’t recognize any of her friends. The costumes were so elaborate that the masks covered the elves faces and hid their features from view. Jessie whined. She looked all around but she couldn’t find her best friend, Santa Claus. Santa always walked her in the parades and she didn’t want to miss out today. She pulled forward dragging Molly with her towards the edge of the street. As she moved around a small elf dressed as a zombie, Jessie recognized Santa’s tummy resting on a bench in front of her. Jessie wagged her tail so quickly that her legs jiggled. She pulled Molly toward Santa and then stopped and looked curiously at her friend.
Santa was dressed as an astronaut. He had a huge helmet over his head that muffled his chuckling when he saw the dog. “Well, hello. I’ve been waiting for you, Jessie. Are you ready to start the parade? Jessie jumped up and yipped and tried to lick her friend on the face but instead knocked her jaw on the plastic. “Careful, girl. This is a real helmet. I got it from a friend in the Canadian space agency.”
Santa stood up and led Jessie to the front of the parade. As they reached the line some unspoken signal went through the group. Scary music blared from the town speakers and the elves began to dance down the street.
Jessie was confused. She’d been in a lot of parades but she’d never danced in one. And the elves were hunched over, rocking and grunting as they moved. Jessie moved her ears in confusion and cried when she knocked into a pair of elves dressed as vampires. They had fake teeth in there mouths that was surrounded by what Jessie smelt to be ketchup. Jessie shook her head and pulled closer to Santa not wanting to be lost in the strange crowd.
The parade moved forward with the elves dancing in a circle around the Christmas tree until a large bang, smoke and lights filled the air. Then three elves dressed as witches stood in front of the Christmas tree and began to speak. The crowd fell silent as the three witches cackled.
“Welcome to our week celebration of Halloween monsters , witches and others. The next week shall be full of creepy surprises and ghostly conjurings. Come forward and join our celebration if you dare!” The tallest elf witch threw a flask on the ground and a greenish vapour filled the air around her. Then the witches disappeared into the night.
Jessie shook and moved backwards against Santa’s legs. Feet were closing in on her and the strange dancing had started again. She began to whine as she trembled at Santa’s feet.
Santa bent down and hugged the dog. “It’s just pretend, Jessie. The elves like to dress up in costumes and pretend they are monsters and such for the week before Halloween. They have a good time and it increases morale. Just remember that I wouldn’t let anyone hurt you. Now, I think I’ve had enough parades for one evening. Let’s go home and have a nap on the couch.”
The tip of Jessie’s tail began to wag. She wasn’t sure about this Halloween celebration thing. But she did like to sleep on the couch and Santa had said he would protect her. She decided that if she got more naps than Halloween might not be so bad after all. Especially, if she got to spend more time with Santa.
Jessie pulled at the lead as she hurried towards the Claus house. Santa chuckled as he followed behind her. The pair disappeared away from the crowd as cackles filled the North Pole night.