Halloween has a rich and storied history that dates back to the Celtic festival of Samhain (SAH-win). The celebration ushered in the “dark half of the year,” and animals—goats, owls, ravens and wolves howling in eldritch dread on the gloaming. And cats. Of course, cats, and not necessarily black cats. Any malkin would be there, with their lunar gaze.

Through the centuries, Halloween experienced a cultural transformation from creed to cuteness, much as Grimm’s fairy tales did. Today, the cat, owl and bat join Frankenstein monsters, ghosties, vampires, werewolves and political figures in a horror hodgepodge.

At its most commercial, adults and kids throw costume parties, and children go door to door asking for candy. As for pets, they deserve good times, good outcomes and tasty goodies, too. Dogs get to have most of the fun, if getting dressed in a tutu and outfitted with a halo counts as fun. For the most part, they love parading, attention and especially treats. But cats and rabbits benefit, too, as long as you don’t put a costume on the cat. Here’s The Scratching Post’s listing of pup crawls for your furry little spirit animal and opportunities for your familiar to find you.

Long Beach Animal Care Services Howl-o-ween Event: Saturday, Oct. 29, 5–7 p.m., Long Beach Animal Care Services, 7700 E. Spring St. (at entrance to El Dorado Park), Long Beach, free event, parking free to shelter visitors

Long Beach Animal Care Services is throwing a Halloween party, and it’s all for the pets! RSVP here for LBACS’ very first Howl-o-ween event, and then put on a costume, grab an unopened bag of treats for the Bark or Treat, and come to our very own House of Howl for adoption specials (yes!), fun family activities, costume contests and raffles. There will even be a Best Cat Room contest! A Day of the Dead Pet Memorial will bring comfort to anyone left with memories of a forever best friend. Note: For safety’s sake, please do not bring your own pets to the shelter.

Haute Dog Howl’oween Parade, Sunday, Oct. 30, 12:30–4:30 p.m., Marina Vista Park, 5355 E Eliot St., Long Beach, $5 to reserve a chair, otherwise free to spectate; free for costumed humans in parade; $10 for dogs paid in advance of event; $20 for dogs that day

Halloween in Long Beach wouldn’t be Halloween in Long Beach so much without the Haute Dog Howl’oween Parade. Community organizer Justin Rudd has put on the event for 21 years and has continuously enhanced it. This year’s prizewinning categories include best costumes, best floats, best group, best dog/human combo and dog knows what else. Apply here to enter—you still can. If you’ve never been to a Howl’oween Parade—if you haven’t, where have you been keeping yourself?—check out last year’s photos for ideas. Over 400 people are expected. Event sponsors include Red Barn Premium Pet Products, bark! bark! Doggie Daycare, Council Member Suzie Price, Port of Long Beach and EDCO Recycling and Transfer. Culturally insensitive or appropriative costumes will not be permitted. See event page for details.

Zazzy Cats Cat Adoption Costume Party: see graphic for details

The Zazzy volunteers promise treats for human kids and adoptable cats in costumes, which may not be such a treat for the cats. Therefore, skitter on down to see them before they claw them off. Hopefully, you’ll find one or two kitties to pounce on and release from the spell. Then, you can take them home for a happily ever after. Zazzy Cats are so very … zazzy!

Trick or Treat on 2nd Street, Belmont Shore: Designated shops, 4–6 p.m.

The shops on Second Street have been providing a safer, happy choice for young trick-or-treaters—hey, did I say “treat”? Down, Ginger! Doggies deserve treats just as kids do, so if you bring your dog along, the Dog Bakery and the brand-spanking-new Pet Food Express will fill their goodie bag, too, if the treat makes it past the lolling, pink tongue. Make sure that your dog can behave well and is calm in a crowd of excited children and other dogs, and watch other people’s steps so they don’t land on a paw or a tail. Read more about Trick or Treat on Second Street on the Hi-lo.

Virtually pets

 Here are a few of the pets who will be waiting at our shelter for the ultimate treat: a forever home. To meet them, come to the Howl’oween event on Saturday (see article) or drop by Wednesday through Sunday to Long Beach Animal Care Services, 7700 E. Spring St., Long Beach . Adoption fees for big dogs are waived until Oct. 31, and you can speed the process to adopt or foster any pet by emailing [email protected] or [email protected]. You can also call 562-570-4925.

pit bull's white face pokes out of an Elvis Presley costume

Atlas (ID#A669744)is a lot more than just a houn’ dog. He came as a stray to the shelter in January, and he does not want to be in a situation where he has to say, “It’s now or never.” He’s 2 years old, has a tail that’s all shook up, and just wants to be your teddy bear with all that affection he has to give. He zooms around the play yard like the King himself. Please, can you love him tender? Costume by shelter volunteer Ricky Yim.

Kiki (ID#A679034) is only a year old and is already engrossed in her studies. Her foreboding expression is more than tortitude—she’s telling you only that she doesn’t want her reading interrupted until she’s good and ready. Then, she’ll be all purrs and rubs and good spells of love. Costume effects by LB Post creative designer Joon Alvarado because Kiki vowed to put the eye on us if we costumed her.
Pretty eyes, pirate’s smile—young Fanny (ID#A681499) covers up her considerable ears with a pirate toque—ain’t she cute? As for the treasure—take this brown tabby heart tugger home, and you’ll know instantly that she’s it! Effects by Joon Alvarado for reasons stated above.
A helping paw

Pet License Amnesty extended to Dec. 31

The city of Long Beach has extended the fee and penalty waivers for pet licenses to Dec. 31. Anyone living in the highlighted Community Development Block grant neighborhoods, as shown on the above map, may request a waiver by phone at 562-570-7387, by applying by mail at 7700 E. Spring St., or in person at the shelter. The waiver program is not available online. Visit this link for license requirements. Call 562-570-7387 for additional information.

 Foster for awhile—or furever!

National Adoption Week event, featuring Zazzy Cats: Saturday, Nov. 12 and Sunday, Nov. 13, 11 a.m.–4 p.m., see graphic for PetSmart locations

Zazzy Cats are, well—just zazzy! The Zazzy crew would be jazzed if you gave your home some pizazz with one of their fabulous felines!

woman with gray hair and wearing a light shirt and green apron cuddles a big pit bull as they sit on a bench.
Courtesy photo

Long Beach Animal Care Services has expanded adoption hours as follows: Wednesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Guests are welcome to browse until closing. To speed up any adoption process, email [email protected]. To foster, email [email protected].

If you’ve always wanted a pet but aren’t sure if you’re ready for a lifetime (the animal’s) commitment, or if you’re past the pet-roommate days for any reason, fostering might be a great way to go, especially with one or more of the kittens popping up during kitten season. Every one of the organizations listed below is in desperate need of fosters who’ll social them and help save their little lives. Who knows—maybe one of those lives will change your mind about the not-ready-for-roommate thing!

These nonprofits also regularly feature cat, dog and rabbit adoptions. As of now, adoptions are mainly by appointment. Click on the links for each rescue in case of updates or changes. These organizations operate through donations and grants, and anything you can give would be welcome. Please suggest any Long Beach-area rescues to add to the list. Keep in mind that the rescues are self-supporting and need donations and volunteer help. Most of them cannot accept found or unwanted pets. Contact Long Beach Animal Care Services for options.