I tugged a black shirt over her head. Then, I added the pointed black witch's hat over her velvety brown ears and secured the chin strap. She looked up at me in resolute horror and resignation. A gold buckle attached to her collar secured the hat around her head. I pulled the black shirt over her red life jacket and secured it to the end.
“There, you’ll make the perfect pet to accompany my witchiness.” With her on a leash, I carried my paddleboard to the beach. The sun edged away the cold as I met my coven of friends for our annual witches’ paddle along the south shore of Lake Tahoe.
I placed the board on the water. “Up”, I commanded. My dog hopped up onto the paddleboard, almost stumbling on the loose ends of her costume. She stood, looking up at me in absolute stillness as I climbed on, paddle in hand. The other witches launched from shore. Some on paddleboards, some in kayaks.
I stood, dipping my paddle in the water. My dog stood stalk still, not a waver on the board as we glided across the calm water. On shore, children pointed, and parents took photos. We formed a long procession as we paddled our way along the waterfront, delighting locals and tourists in our Halloween wickedness. More than one pointed at the witch dog standing on my board. She was always a hit as my wicked companion.
It was the afternoon before Halloween, and we were practicing for what would become our airborne venture later that night to terrorize the children, now waving happily at our less threatening procession.
Little did they know that the happy witch dog would later become a snarling demon hound with hungry jaws dripping with drool. We’d bare down on them from the sky, chasing their costumed bodies down the frigid State streets. We’d cackle and howl, swoop and swirl around the towering pines, only to emerge from behind inflatable Halloween toys to knock children off their feet. If we were lucky, we’d steal their hard-earned stashes of sweets gathered from the front doors of our more grounded friends.
I looked down at my dog, and we exchanged knowing glances. For now, we were cute, innocent, and entertaining, but later, we’d be downright terrifying.