Dog lovers and cruel cackling people who like to dress their pets in degrading outfits and drag them around town gathered in Long Beach yesterday for the Haute Dogs 7th Annual Howl’oween Parade. Livingston Park and 2nd Street were overtaken by more than 600 costumed creatures and countless spectators, many armed with cameras to document the somewhat head-scratching spectacle.
The day’s events started at 11 a.m. with a dog adoption fair that also featured specialized dog clothing, dog treats, dog toys and even a bulldog kissing booth.
After hoisting a 60 lb pumpkin high up into one of Livingston’s Parks many trees, the anxious crowd waiting below started counting down to the pumpkin’s smashing demise. Justin Rudd, the Executive Director of the Haute Dogs organization (which is under the nonprofit Community Action Team) related the dropping of the pumpkin to the dropping of the ball on New Year’s Eve in New York City - symbolic of a new start (or a great waste...think of all the pie we could've made...).
Just a few minutes after 2:30 p.m., the parade got underway as the first of the hundreds of assembled pooches started to march from Livingston Park, down Park Avenue and onto 2nd Street. They came as superheroes, bugs, ghosts, fairies, historic persons (think Elvis) and then some.
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How the judges were able to choose a winner, I have no idea. Nevertheless, the Best Costume on a Dog went to Michael, a dog dressed as a 3-headed dog. Refer to Cerberus (Hades’ monster of a dog from Greek mythology) or Fluffy (Hagrid’s not-so cuddly pet dog from Harry Potter). The Best Float winner went to “Grilled Chris,” a barbeque with Chihuahuas cooking on the grill. As for the Best Group, the blue ribbon went to a troop of canines dressed as Cinderella and a few pumpkins.
Being a spectator to Sunday’s events was free of charge. However, the cost to enter a dog into the parade competition set dog owners back a mere $10, not much of registration fee considering the prizes up for grab: gift certificates, a year’s supply of dog food, etc.
It was definitely an event for dog lovers. Not a cat in sight.
Be sure to check out our photos.