They braved the cold and rain, but the thousands that turned out for the annual Tompkins Square Park Dog Parade participated in one of the most original Halloween pet events in the country. Now in its 26th year, the parade has become the must-see-and-be-seen Halloween showcases, where dog parents go all out to create some of the most creative costumes ever.
This year, inspiration came from all over. I thought I’d see more politically-themed costumes. Perhaps eschewing what has bombarded the senses week in and out of late, was the much-needed escape parade goers needed to celebrate in style.
Color and sparkle ruled, with everything from satisfying our sweet tooth to channeling the aliens; from the fantasy of Harry’s Hogwarts to Hamilton, and the head banging of heavy metal’s KISS. Zombies, Star Wars and whimsical were all represented. Even a neon pink chicken named Lady Gaga, who some might remember from my story on the New York Pet Fashion Show earlier this year, made an appearance as a mermaid. Chicken of the Sea, owner Sharon Folkes called her. And, I thought I’d seen it all…
Live From The Red Carpet host/Fashion Police fashionista, Guiliana Rancic, co-hosted the event for the first time this year and did a great job. I caught up with her as she held two of the tiniest and cutest Chihuahuas – Tansy and Cora of @thelilgremlins. We had to tawk! “You know, I love a good red carpet, I love fashion and I love dogs, so it’s the perfect combination of all those things,” she quipped when I asked what she was bringing to the role. Rancic and her husband, Bill, are big animal lovers, and Guiliana grew up with Poodles and Pomeranians. And, she and Bill are planning on getting their four-year-old son, Duke, a dog. “He’s been asking for one, but we want to find the right time, when we’re not traveling a lot and the schedule looks good,” she explained. “We want to be able to make sure it’s the right time to add another member to our family.”
Ada Nieves, the other co-host of the parade, is a force of nature. She explained to me how hundreds of dogs were going to strut that stage, each wanting to take home the title of Best in Show. What’s the most fun for Ada, who is a gifted and prolific pet fashion designer herself and is the Creative Director of the New York Pet Fashion Show? The dogs, of course! “Seeing the people and their dogs – I’m such an animal lover, it’s just so great I get to see and pet all of them, and I don’t have to take them home!,” she laughed. Ada has six dogs and one cat. “Well, I should say, they have me!,” she exclaimed.
Top honors went to two ladies and their precious pups. Diana Lucci and Lynn Consovoy created The Sweet Shop, a brightly-colored, old-fashioned candy store on wheels. But instead of the kind of candy that gives you the sugar blues, these delicious nibbles make people happy. Little Guippetto was dressed as a Cotton Candy puff, Giana sparkled in foil as the chocolate kiss and Baxter (@baxtersbuddies), who with mom, Lynn, won Best in Show at this year’s New York Pet Fashion Show, was dressed as candy dots. “We just wanted something colorful and fun,” Lucci exclaimed, when I asked what inspired them to create such an elaborate costume.
One of my faves was Queen Elizabeth and her Corgi’s, but creator Sylvia Lim didn’t round up a bunch of real Corgi’s. Paying tribute to the Queen and her own dogs (she’d lost one of her Corgi’s a couple of weeks ago), Sylvia’s own Harry (@harrycorgi) was flanked by paper mache likenesses of the Queen’s Monte and Willow, both secured on doggy wheels. Her eight-year-old son, Ben, played a very convincing Royal Guard, taking the cue to stay focused on his job and not speak to anyone (I know, I tried! :-)).
Another favorite and a ribbon winner of the competition came from annual crowd-pleasers Amy and Danny Cox, all the way from Texas. The big winner last year, this year Amy beamed down a complete alien encounter, including a spaceship and a pod, where her four cutie pie Chihuahuas resided. Amy and the pups’ costumes were very colorful and creative, and Danny and even Amy’s mom, all joined in the fun. Knowing her the way I do, Amy spent months preparing for this show and does it all herself. She is an extraordinary person who has devoted her life to animal rescue, along with Danny, who is a veterinarian. Good people.
Super heroes made the showing we knew they would, as did villains; I saw several supermen, batmen and batgirls, vampire bats like our friend, Mitsu (@mitsuthemiki) and even a young Harley Quinn with her Joker pup, Frieda.
And, celebupups like Chloe Kardoggian (@chloekardoggian), Chloe the Mini Frenchie (@chloetheminifrenchie), Brussels Sprout (@brussels.sprout) and more were out in force, with adorable senior Chihuahua, Chloe Kardoggian, offering sweet kisses from her own Kissing Booth. “I love seeing how creative New Yorkers are this time of year,” Chloe’s mom, Dorie Herman, shared. “People might remember we did a Kissing Booth to raise money for Fospice Dogs when we reached 100,000 followers. We decided to re-use that just because she loves being in this little box so much, and its a perfect way for her to keep warm. She’s happy to give and receive kisses and just enjoy everybody out here this year.” Chloe was asked to partner with Purina Beggin’ treats this year.
Summer Strand (@angel_song_chihuahua), as Cora Steele brought some serious Chi Power today, sending a message of fitness with a bit of sparkle to the masses with her Chihuahua, Amazing Grace. As a fitness instructor, Strand created the Cora Steele persona (read the play on words), with a client and thought it would be fun to recreate for the parade. And, when I told her I was sorry she was freezing her tush off but that she looked amazing, she laughed, and said, “Hashtag, worth it!” Love her!
My friend Nina Rappaport and her Havanese, Holly Go Lightly (@hollyhappyhavanese), made an appearance with Holly dressed as her namesake – sophisticated and very chic. Wearing a classic black tee, chunky pearls and a shopping bag from Tiffany’s, she was the perfect, classy New York dog (who had her eye on those Beggin’ treats. Ha!).
Hannah Stampleman brought her pups, Simba and Pippin (@mightylittlelion), and Lady Marmalade (@lady.marmalade.nyc) rolled in on the Dogwarts Express as Hairy Potter, Ron Woofsly and Hermione Grawrger. So cute! I’m told our furiend, Elly, of @EloiseCloset, showed up and jumped into the wagon, but we missed the little cutie.
It took Theresa three months to make the tiny, intricate costumes for her four Chihuahuas, known as Chi Yum Yum (@chiyumyum), to dress as the members of KISS. From the little platform boots to the head gear, replicating the face paint of Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss, she nailed it and was a standout at the parade.
I met up with Joe Serpico (@joeserpico), the 17-year-old animal advocate and rescuer, and his adorable 5-year-old Morkie rescue, Jasmine. Joe’s mission, through his Instagram account and rescue work, is to change people mind’s about breeds that are misunderstood and to encourage animal adoption. “Pitbulls are great dogs; they make great companions. They were known as Nanny Dogs, and when I was younger, I had a Pitbull and completely loved her. When I saw the news portraying them as bad when I got older, I was like, no, they’re not. Ever since then, I’ve been advocating for them and using my social media platform to do it.” What a wonderful, cool kid.
The toughest job was had by judges Marisa Fox-Bevilacqua of Hearst Magazines, Andrew Newman of the New York Times, Audrey Carrangelo of Scholastic, Celia Kutcher of Heritage Radio and Lee Harrington of The Bark.
But, a fun time was had at the Tompkins Square Dog Parade this year and it was a testament to how creative dog parents can be. Looking forward to doing it all again, next year. Over and out.
What is your pup wearing for Halloween?