Senior pug in faux hoop skirt win’s country’s biggest dog Halloween contest

Gracie, Gone with the Wind

Gracie, Gone with the Wind

More than 250 dogs turned out for the 20th Annual Dog Run Halloween at Tompkins Square Park, the East Village dog park that got New York City started on dressing up its dogs. The contest is arguably the biggest and silliest in the country. It’s all about the elaborate costumes, which locals spend weeks making, some even turned into floats.

The Best of Show winner this year was a senior pug named Grace dressed as Scarlet O’Hara from Gone with the Wind. The owner, a incredibly gracious guy whose name I didn’t get, tailored the costume perfectly to Grace’s strengths and weaknesses. Grace is exceptional at sitting still, but apparently no longer so mobile. So he had Grace sit on a portable throne—a cat litter dome turned into a hoop skirt dress on top of a scooter, that he pushed with a broom handle. He made sure to point out, as he was accepting his iPod, that poised Gracie was a rescue he originally found on

There were several other dog parents who accommodated their less mobile dogs with strollers or walkers. My favorite was the three-legged-dog, commonly known as a tripod, who went as a shark attack victim on a bloodied and bitten surfboard. What a way to re-imagine a dog’s disability into something dramatic. One couple played with their dog’s eyebrows to make a perfect Fantastic Mr. Fox. Plus, there was a swarm of of lady bugs and bees, a dance troupe of ballerina/fairy princess and enough superheroes to make a fantastic 44.

The most best unscripted moment for me was seeing a huge greyhound dressed as a devil leap up and hug a human dressed as a dog. Despite the disguise she recognized dog run manager Garrett Rosso (who also trains dogs at Village Dogworks and really knows his dogs).

I used to run the parade and now just sit with the judges, which is way more fun. Patrick (Shadow and Sampson) Rogers was an excellent chief justice, with fine attire. We had help with the weighty decisions with performers from the Upright Citizens Brigade (including  D’Arcy Carden and Timothy Dunn from Pet-O-Rama and Jason Carden) and author Arthur Nersesian, who wrote dogrun, set at our very own First Run, and Mesopotamia. It gets more chaotic each year as more and more dogs turn up in increasingly elaborate costumes. I’m sure there were people who thought they deserved better prizes for their efforts (and I’m not just being empathic; they told us. As someone does each year). We could’ve easily given out twice as many prizes and still gotten into arguments because there were that many that were that good.

Where to Go to See More Goofy Dog Events

Help get a chance to cover polar bears and orangutans in person. Vote here, please.

See More Pictures on this Flickr Set or in the Tompkins Dog Run Flickr Group.

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