Halloween Parade for Humans Who Enjoy Dressing Up Dogs

New York's East Village tradition
By Anna Jane Grossman, October 2011, Updated February 2020

On October 22, New York’s best-dressed dogs came to the 21st Annual Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade, held in the park’s dog run.

Ubaldo came wearing the neon green “mankini” thong made famous in the movie Borat. He debuted this outfit earlier in the year at the New York City Dachshund Meetup Group pageant. That event requires each dog have three changes of costume. This was his swimwear entry. “His coloring is just so perfect for Borat,” said Alyson Nehran, the international flight attendant who sewed the outfit herself. “Last year, he was a Coney Island bather. This year, I wanted to do something really design intensive so that I could play with the concept.”


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Amazing Grace, a Chihuahua, won a prize for her hat—a dog-sized replica of the one warn by Princess Beatrice at the Royal Wedding. It was designed by Anthony Rubio, a school teacher in the Bronx who moonlights as a costume designer. Said Grace’s owner, physical trainer Summer Strand: “He’s the Alexander McQueen of dog fashion.”

Bailey is a five-year-old Puggle-cum-panda. He wasn’t sure how he felt about this fact—his jacket-costume looked a little like the bear was eating him. “But I think he likes it—I mean, all his friends are doing it,” said his owner, Jon Zanoff. In previous years, Zanoff has dressed his dog as a hot dog and as a piglet. His friend said the panda was appropriate because it is the logo of an app Zanoff developed that lets people review bars. “You can rate how hot people are,” she said. Dogs don’t get rated.

Rosie, a 9-month-old Pit Bull, wore a pink child’s dress and a belt of spikes around her middle. Her 6-year-old owner, Isa, said she was supposed to be a punk rock princess. “It’s because she is a princess. She sleeps on the couch!” she said. Isa’s mom, Masha Schmidt, said that Rosie indeed has a punk side, too: “She likes to eat my makeup.”

Liz Mulgrew's Bella, a Cairn Terrier, also came as a punk rocker. She wore a pale blue shirt emblazoned with a skull and crossbones. It’s part of Martha Stewart’s dog clothing line. Her face hair was spiked all around, like a starfruit. Mulgrew didn't use any product. "Her hair is pretty moldable,” she said. “It's easy to get it to go like that. But she usually wears it down.”

Holly, a Pomeranian, was the Hamburglar, a McDonaldland character. “She has this little mask around her eyes naturally, so she just needed the striped suit,” said Holly’s companion, Stephanie Radvan. Radvan got the convict dog outfit online. "But I wanted her to be a prisoner with some kind of flair,” so she pinned McDonald’s burger wrappers on Holly’s sides. “I went out and bought four burgers this morning. They're still at home.”

“It’s his name, so he always wears this costume,” said Kendra Shea, of her dog Yoda, who was Yoda. His sister, also a Pug, came as Leia. She wore an impressive homemade headband glued with yarn to look like two buns. She sat in a stroller that was decorated with cardboard to look like Princess Leia’s Speeder Bike. The whole project was conceived and executed in under 48 hours, said Shea.

“It was on sale,” said Anna DePalma's of the costume worn by her Havanese, Louis. Louis was a ram.

“He’s an Occupy Wall Street dog, and I’m a cop,” said Christine Chiu, there with her Bichon, Oscar. She wore a blue police cap and had handcuffs clipped to her belt. Chiu was dismayed to learn hers was not the only dog to arrive with protester placards on both sides. “I always like to do something current,” she said. Last year, she is rather sure she had the only dog that came as an iPad. “I thought of turning that costume into an iPhone 4S. But Occupy Wall Street is more what people are talking about.”

Anna Jane Grossman is a writer, dog trainer and The Bark contributor. It is reposted here with permission.