Dogs and owners display fur-ocious costumes at Spooky Pooch Parade

By Mari Devereaux, Staff Reporter

From Starbucks coffee pups, to medical “paws”pitals, to elaborate headless horsemen, hundreds of canines and their owners spared no expense in their quest for the most creative and elaborate costume.

In an early celebration for Halloween, people marched through the rose garden among a flurry of wagging tails at Chicago Botanic Garden’s annual Spooky Pooch Parade, Oct. 13 at 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, Illinois.

Kathryn Deery, coordinator of visitor events and programs at the Chicago Botanic Garden, said the parade usually attracts between 300 and 400 pups.

“[The goal is] to get families out with their canine companions and to get [them] into a festive, fall spirit,” Deery said.

All registration fees for the event fund the Chicago Botanic Garden’s operational costs, and, in addition to the parade, dogs and their owners also took part in a costume contest judged by media celebrities LeeAnn Trotter, an entertainment reporter for NBC5; Dennis Rodkin, a writer for Crain’s Chicago Business; Neil Steinberg, Chicago-Sun Times columnist and author; Jerome McDonnell, the longtime host of Worldview on WBEZ; and Mike Caplan, Fox 32 meteorologist.

Joan Griffin, a Glencoe, Illinois, resident who won the Best Puppy category with her four-month-old dog Woody, said it took four days to construct their highly-detailed “pup-bee” and honey pot costumes.

She said her whole family took part in constructing the costume, and she trained her dog to not eat it.

Lindsay Schubel Nagle, who won Best Costume Overall for the third year in a row alongside her husband, parents, infant son and five dogs, said her family is known for their group costumes.

This year’s “chaotic” household tradition included the main characters of Shrek. Her dog, Rose, a lumbering Great Pyrenees, stood out in her role of Shrek’s Dragon, with pink and purple-sprayed fur.

“We’re goofy Halloween people and always love dressing the dogs up in little, extravagant outfits,” Schubel Nagle said. “Now we have the little four-month-old here, and we needed to introduce him into also being [a] Halloween fanatic.”

Local pooch-centered businesses and nonprofit organizations were stationed at booths throughout the gardens, offering free dog massages, food, information and pet supplies for sale.