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Snazzy pups on the catwalk!

Judging a Canine Costume Contest

Granny of Little Red Riding Hood. Waldo. Superman. An Ewok. Yes, it was Halloween. But there weren’t kids in these costumes… or even adults. It was a Doggie Halloween Party and Costume Contest!

Perky puppies, spirited dogs, and even a few gerbils gathered with their festive owners at historic City Market in Downtown Raleigh the Friday night before Halloween to strut their stuff and prance around in costumed glory for what seemed to be the doggie event of the year.

This delightful evening was sponsored by Unleashed, a local pet store that was celebrating their grand opening in City Market. There couldn’t have been a more appropriate place for the pups. Plenty of room to roam in the historic 1914 building, along the sidewalks, and even wandering the cobblestone streets. It was a glorious night of treats for both doggies and owners alike: ice cream desserts and bones for the canines, craft beers and pizza for the adults.

After a couple of hours of games and goodies, over 60 dogs lined up to participate in the costume contest. There was a runway… that led straight to a table… where 3 judges sat… and I was one of them.

Judging the Doggie Costume Contest
With my fellow judges at the end of the runway…

With my two fellow judges, we laughed, we gasped, we oooh’d, we awww’d, and we encouraged these absolutely adorable dogs in their fun and creative costumes. And then came the moment of truth: selecting three winning dogs for each of the three categories including cutest, most creative, and cutest/creative partners.

Oh geez. The pressure was enormous. We knew the dogs were hot and tired; their owners undoubtedly getting impatient. It was a long show: over an hour to get all of the dogs (and two gerbils) up on stage.

We quickly compared notes, analyzed ratings, shuffled through papers, added one, eliminated another, and added two more. Holy cow! The organizers came over twice to see how we were coming along… only adding to the tension. We debated, defended, conceded, compromised, and finally determined the winners.

Out of 64 dogs we chose 9 winners. Among them were an Irish Wolfhound dressed as Granny from Little Red Riding Hood, an all-black German Shepherd painted like a skeleton to match his owners, and two jumpy little dogs dressed as Maverick and Goose with an accompanying F-14 cardboard carrier. We also selected a Shi-tzu Ewok, a Poodle sailor, and a Chihuahua lobster among others.

Other irresistible entries included a crocodile with owners as Crocodile Hunters, a Hershey’s S’more, 3 miniature dachshunds as Crayola Crayons, Thing 1 and Thing 2, a couple of bumblebees, a clown, a turtle, a prisoner, and lots of superheros. Even the owners of Unleashed were dressed as giant squirrels!

More Doggie Costumes
More Doggie Costumes

It was an evening of outrageous creativity and delightful fun. I can’t wait for next year!

View them all on my Flickr Photo Album