Pet owners are often treated as second-class parents. Halloween is one of the few holidays when those who are "only parents of four-legged children," as Becky McCray puts it, get to join in the fun.McCray owns the Black Dog Coffeehouse (12815 West 87th Street Parkway in Lenexa), where a weeklong Howl-o-Ween Dog Costume Contest continues through Friday. It works like this: You dress up your pooch, then take him or her to the coffeehouse, where employees take a picture for judging. McCray, who's looking for originality, says she's dressing her own dogs as a devil and a cowboy.
If the kids you're costuming have two legs and are not furry, they might be entertained by Bananas the Clown, who shows up in the coffeehouse from noon to 5 p.m. Friday to paint kids' faces. For $10, kids going out as lions can get a professionally applied lion's face and maybe see a dog dressed as a lion walk by. For information, call 913-495-5515.-- Gina Kaufmann
As if children didn't enjoy animals or trick-or-treating enough on their own, the Kansas City Zoo has combined the two kiddie favorites for a Halloween to remember. Boo at the Zoo fuses the usual sorta-spooky children's activities with the animal park's unique resources (its arklike stock of wildlife) -- most notably for the Haunted Ape House, where devil monkeys fling spooky poo at the haunted Plexiglas. We're joking about the spooky poo, but we're dead serious about the Haunted Ape House -- it's real. Bring the little ones to the zoo (6700 Zoo Drive in Swope Park) Thursday or Friday between 6 and 8:30 p.m. to pick up food and see the Haunted Ape House along with the Boo Express Train Ride, Trick-or-Treat Village, the StoneLion Puppet Theatre, storytellers, a costume parade and the Spooky Journey Walkway. Admittance is $5 for kids in costume; adults get in free. For details, call 816-513-5700.-- Michael Vennard
The razor-blade-in-the-candy-bar may be an urban myth, but that's no excuse to be careless on Halloween night. On that note, Rockhurst University's Community Center (5401 Troost Avenue) hosts a Safe Trick-or-Treat for everyone under seventeen who is accompanied by an adult. From 6 to 8 p.m., partygoers can hang out with Rockhurst students dressed as Dracula, Frankenstein, witches and werewolves. They can also explore a haunted house, play games and feast on candy and refreshments. And it's all free. Aren't college kids great? For details, call 816-501-4818.-- Vennard