by Dorri Olds
Lousy weather didn’t stop the fun at Tompkins Square Park in the East Village on Saturday. Costumed canines and their people celebrated the 26th annual Halloween Dog Parade. The event was free this year. An estimated 6,000 spectators, mostly aged 30 and under, and 400 dogs of all breeds attended.
A Pug wearing a yellow bandana and surrounded by yellow balloons came as popcorn, seated in a cart on wheels disguised as a bag.
A French Bulldog was Yoda from Star Wars.
A dog named Potato came as a baked potato topped with butter and chives.
There was a “dog in sheep’s clothing” and plenty of Pokémon characters, including a magnificent, black Great Dane dressed as Mega Houndoom.
Plenty of television references strutted the pavement, including a Bulldog seated on a throne for “Game of Bones.” A Pomeranian was dressed as Eleven from the Netflix sci-fi series, Stranger Things. In reference to theater were the star of Sweeney Todd, the demon barker of London’s Fleet Street, and a large group of dogs and their people dressed as the cast of Hamilton. One Chihuahua drew lots of attention as the human-eating plant Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors.
Chi Yum Yum (the trademarked name of four Chihuahuas) rocked out as metal band Kiss. There were only a few political costumes, to onlookers’ relief. There was the “Basket of Adorables” and a few Trumps. One pooch donned a button-down shirt with tie and a bright red cap that read, “Make America Drumpf Again.” A woman dressed as a queen was accompanied by three Corgis. Well, one was a dog fur-real, but the other two Corgis were made of papier-mâché.
A curly-haired, brown Mini-Goldendoodle (Instagram’s teddygramnyc) was costumed as Andy Warhol. He was seated atop a Campbell’s soup can with a cardboard camera slung around his neck. There were dinosaurs, dragons, and werewolves, oh my!
One touching tail—er—tale came from Lorna Li (dressed as a chef holding chopsticks) about her Pekingese, Iggi (Instagram’s everyonesiggi), whose homemade costume took seven hours to make. The pup was a bowl of ramen with yarn noodles, felt eggs, and scallions cut from Starbuck’s straws. “Iggi had been scheduled for euthanasia,” said Li. “He’d been devocalized, was partially blind, and had dislocated kneecaps.” Determined to rescue him, Li said it took three tries to bring him to New York from Korea. “First Iggi was abandoned at the airport, the second time he was suspected as a drug mule. Finally, he was shipped in cargo.” She credited rescue Empathy For Life for footing the bill for Iggi’s transport.
Dog advocate Ada Nieves was back as the parade’s co-host alongside Emmy Award-winner Guiliana Rancic. On the day after the parade, Nieves told me, “We were thrilled to see so many pet lovers despite the bad weather. I’m especially grateful to those who stopped at the Best Friends of Animals and Animal Care Center tents to fill out applications to adopt and make donations. Sponsors Purina Beggin’ and PetSmart joined forces so there were no fees this year. Thousands of dollars’ worth of prizes were given out, including tickets to Broadway’s Cats and an Apple watch. And thanks to the support for Friends of First Run we can maintain the dog run at the park.”
This year’s judges were New York Times reporter Andrew Newman, Heart Magazine’s Marisa Fox-Bevilacqua, Scholastic’s Audrey Carrangelo, The Bark’s Lee Harrington, and Celia Kutcher of Heritage Radio.
“Best in Show,” the top prize, went to dog owners Diana Lucchi and Lynn Consovoy, dolled up as a Pepsi soda machine and a Double Bubble dispenser.
Their dogs, Baxter, Giana, and Giupetto, sat atop an intricately constructed sweet shop displaying ice cream cones and jars of Tootsie Rolls, lollipops, and jelly beans. Their three doggies were dressed as cotton candy, a Hershey’s kiss, and dots on paper. This was the third win for this team. In 2014 they were grand prize winners as the Titanic, and in 2015 they were awarded second place as a circus. We can’t wait to see what they come up with in 2017!