Linda Troy painted her face, wore a mask and a Cat in the Hat costume for the sixth annual Howl-O-Ween event at the Valley Stream Dog Park on Oct. 28.
“I come out here every year and dress them up,” Troy said about her dogs Mimi and Sasha, who were dressed as ‘Thing 1’ and ‘Thing 2’. “We go with themes. Everybody does it with their kids. I join my puppies.”
But Mimi and Sasha were not the only dogs in costume that day. Eleven other dogs strutted around the Valley Stream Dog Park parking lot wearing costumes ranging from a butterfly to a werewolf for a chance to win a $25 Pet Supply gift card, a $5 Red Mango gift card and a medal.
“Leo won it last year, and we’re going for it again,” Regina VanHandswyk, a Levittown resident, said of her dog who was dressed as the Bachelor with a rose lapel in his suit. “How could you not love the Bachelor? Everybody wants the Bachelor.”
Leo’s competition included Niko and Nova Wright, who were dressed as Dracula and a butterfly, respectively. Their owners, Courtney and Shannon, felt the costumes fit their dogs’ personality. “He’s like a terror, so it was just like this Dracula costume fit him, and she’s as pretty as a butterfly,” Courtney said.
For the two North Valley Stream women, it was their first time at the dog park. “We’ve had them for less than a year, so it’s their first time coming to the dog park and the Halloween event,” Courtney said. “We just wanted to dress them up and see how it was.”
The event offered 18 raffle baskets, including wine and dog treats, and sign-ups for a Valley Stream groomer. All of the proceeds raised from the raffles and from the $10 costume contest entrance fee benefitted the Valley Stream Dog Park. “We put it on for the dogs, so we can keep the dog park going and add different things,” said John Peritore, who ran the event as a member of the Friends of Valley Stream Dogs booster group.
According to Mayor Ed Fare, the Friends of Valley Stream Dogs was founded about six years ago when the dog park opened. Their mission is to maintain and support the dog park. “This is a volunteer group who’s vested in our community. What more could a mayor and an elected official ask for?” he asked at the event.
The mayor said he went to the fundraiser because he wanted to support the Friends of Valley Stream Dogs “This is a lot for them to do,” he said.
As the event coordinator, Peritore chose three guests to be judges for the costume contest. He, as well as other members of the booster group, then handed out medals and certificates to the winners and ran the raffle contest.
In the end, Mimi and Sasha won for best-duo Costume, Sofia Wiener won for the most original costume with her corn dog outfit, and Bella Scala won funniest costume for her handmade “teeny-weeny itsy-bitsy yellow polka-dot bikini” outfit.