“What in the heck are you dressed as?” Ned stared at Bernie. He was surprised he could get those words out.
“Isn’t it obvious?” Bernie posed, did a little runway walk and pivoted. He popped his head around and gave a growl.
“That is the most frightening thing I have ever seen.”
“Oh come on it’s not that bad is it?” He looked down and examined himself. There was white powder layered on him, he had painted his claws black and he had a replica of the tie Sarge wore every day to work. “I’m Sarge.”
“Yes, yes. I see what you were going for, but it begs the question. Why?”
“It’s Halloween Ned!”
“Bears don’t celebrate halloween, do they? Koalas sure don’t.”
“Well, not every bear, but it’s starting to catch on some.”
“Hmm.” Ned pondered this. “Are you going out like that?”
“I walked here didn’t I. Come on Ned it will be fun. There’s a carnival in the neighborhood just by the stream. Games and treats.”
Ned continued to stare at Bernie.
“Do you have a costume?”
“Of course not!”
Bernie held up his satchel, also dusted with white. “It’s your lucky day my little friend!”
Now Ned was really scared.
“Come on Ned, you’re being ridiculous. You won’t be the only one dressed up you know.”
“I will no doubt be the only Koala dressed like this, what if-” Ned cut himself off, there was no use in arguing. Bernie could simply pick him up again and carry him to the carnival.
Ned stomped past Bernie, sending up little puffs of white powder as he walked. Ned saw little cubs dressed as humans, they were wearing clothes and hats. Some had costumes on top of costumes, they were dressed as superheroes. Ned, in his research, had read about their odd customs. He didn’t get the superhero thing, but whatever.
“This is ridiculous Bernie.” Ned growled at him.
“You look adorable Ned, I mean little Sarge.” Bernie chuckled. He had brought a lot of extra powder in case it came off while bobbing for salmon, so he dusted Ned and pinned his ears down a little, a lot actually. His claws were fine luckily because Ned may have caused him bodily harm in the process.
“Let’s go check out the booths. You hungry?”
Ned stomped down the lane towards the smell of food. He doubted they’d have anything he could eat, but what the heck.
Ned had found a vendor selling toasted eucalyptus leaves. He sat on a bale of hay and watched the festivities. Maybe this wasn’t so bad after all.
Bernie ran up to him. “It’s time, it’s time!”
“Time for wh-” Ned started to say, but Bernie had pulled him to the stage where everyone was gathering.
“Grizzlies, black bears, polars and koalas, welcome to the 5th annual Bear Creek Halloween costume contest! If I can have you all line up who would like to enter and we will start the judging.” The announcer bellowed.
“Let’s go little cub!” Bernie pulled Ned up to the stage.
“You’re not serious are you?”
“You betcha! I came so close last year.”
“You entered this last year? As what? How did I not see this?”
“I dressed up as a koala.”
Ned burst out laughing and puffs of white surrounded him.
“Take is easy or all your coloring will come off.”
“Please tell me someone took a picture?”
“You two, you’re next.” The stage director ordered.
Bernie with Ned in tow walked onto the stage. Ned scurried after him, so embarrassed he half hid behind Bernie’s bulk. The audience was ‘oohing and awwing’. Bernie picked Ned up and cradled him like a baby. The crowd went wild.
“You’ll pay for this Bern!” Ned said through gritted teeth.
“I think we have our winner bears!” The announcer said.
“Totally worth it!” Bernie beamed.