MY SON
Graphic: Sam Woolley

On Wednesday, it was widely reported that the CDC issued a strict warning to chicken owners across this great nation of ours that they should NOT dress their chickens in costume this Halloween, for fear of contracting salmonella. As a woman afraid of most birds but somehow NOT afraid of chickens, this news struck me to my core. What a difference a day makes: the CDC has corrected the record, stating that it’s fine to dress your chickens up for Halloween, so go wild!!

It’s okay to dress your chickens up for Halloween if you want because dressing up your chickens for Halloween will not give you salmonella. Your chickens, however, might. Here are some rules you can follow if you own chickens and want to dress them up on Halloween or really any other day. Nothing too crazy, just common sense, really—though I suppose if you are of the sort to kiss your chickens on the beak (mouth?) and snuggle them as if they were a stuffed animal and not a dinosaur-adjacent monster with razors for nails and a tendency to peck, common sense might not be your strong suit. Whatever! That doesn’t matter! What does matter the most is this beautiful piece of advice from People, my favorite source of animal welfare news:

It is important to keep the chicken’s well-being in mind, as well. Make sure your chicken is comfortable in his costume before leaving him in it for the night.

A few questions: Is a chicken ever really comfortable? If I did own a chicken, would I put it in its costume and then leave it in its outfit all night? That seems like a long time for a chicken to be dressed as say, Lady Gaga from the second half of A Star is Born or swole Ben Affleck. I can’t imagine the scenario that would arise that would require a chicken to be in costume for longer than the fifteen minutes it took to wrangle their delicate bird bones into an alligator costume meant for puppies purchased at Party City under duress, but I don’t know your life or that of your chickens.