Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Trick Or Treat

By Catya
Catya is a judge with the California Hamster Association. She shares her experiences in hamster ownership from a high school student's perspective.

Stapletop the hamster dons his kilt for Halloween.

Photos Courtesy of Catya
Frosty the hamster enjoys some pumpkin.

Trick or Treat! Halloween is just around the corner, and everyone’s getting excited about dressing up, going trick-or-treating and consuming vast quantities of candy. Some people’s pets even get into the Halloween spirit by dressing up. As a hamster owner, however, I’ve had very limited success with costuming my furry friends. I do have a trick that can give your hamsters a real treat! If you’re like me, then you’ll probably be making a jack-o-lantern this year. Carving pumpkins is one of my favorite parts of Halloween (candy aside). But it’s also my hamsters’ favorite part of Halloween. Why?

Because while my hamsters certainly can’t share the fruits of my trick-or-treating labors, they can share my pumpkin! When I carve up my pumpkin for Halloween, I always save the best parts for my hamsters. They love the pumpkin flesh from the inside of the skin, and they go nuts (no pun intended) for the pumpkin seeds.

I collect the pieces of pumpkin that come off when I’m carving my design, and I scrape off the skin so all that’s left are the yellowy soft parts. My hamsters absolutely love this part of the pumpkin. I dice it up into little cubes and give them each a piece. It keeps for a couple of days in the fridge.

When I scoop the gooey stuff out of the inside of the pumpkin, I hang onto the seeds. It takes a bit of sorting if the inside of the pumpkin is really stringy, but it’s well worth it to see how happy my hammies are when they get fresh pumpkin seeds. I wash the seeds off as they’re usually quite sticky and messy, and let them dry. Once they’ve dried, I spread them out on cookie sheets with paper towels under them and pop them in the oven for 30 minutes at 300 degrees. My family usually makes a batch for us humans too. We put salt or other yummy seasoning on ours. The hamsters love the smell that fills the house as the pumpkin seeds are baking, and so do I! Once they’ve baked and cooled, I give them to my hamsters. It’s fun to watch how clever they are about peeling the seeds and how happy they are to gobble them up.

What about you? Do you have any other ways that your hamsters get in on the Halloween fun? I’d love to hear!

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