Halloween Goes to the Dogs: NYC Dog Costume Parades & Contests

There's nothing cuter than seeing little kids decked out in cool costumes...except, perhaps, dogs done up in fancy duds. Before I became a mom, I always looked forward to dressing up my pup, Hamlet, during the Halloween season. Now my son and I both enjoy this annual tradition. Over the years, our dog has been a skunk, Dracula and a grape, but frankly, these get-ups are pretty tame compared to some of the wild and creative outfits we've seen at NYC's many Halloween pet parades and costume contests.

Of course, you don't need to have a dog to enjoy these costumed canine extravaganzas, everyone is invited to gawk and "awwww." We found a handful of Halloween happenings for hounds in all five boroughs, so hit these parades to see who's really top dog.

You can find lots more season fun in our jam-packed Halloween Guide.

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Click through to our listings for all the info, including location and time.

Luna Park's Halloween Harvest Dog Parade – Coney Island
Sunday, October 11
FREE
Part of the Coney Island amusement park's ongoing fall festivities, this canine costume parade and contest promises a six-month subscription to Barkbox for the top dog.

Halloween Howl & Healthy Hound Fair – Upper East Side
Sunday, October 18
FREE
Dress up Fido in his absolute best for this annual contest in Carl Schurz Park where the judges are fiercer than the competition. More than 200 dogs participate annually. You can also check out canine-themed vendors including pet photography and local vets.

Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade – East Village
Saturday, October 24
FREE to watch; $5 raffle ticket to enter
NYC's largest pet parade celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2015. A store-bought costume won't cut it here. Expect hundreds of super-creative, homemade costumes like Evita, Natalie Portman from Black Swan and other over-the-top get-ups. After parading around, the dogs compete on the Beggin' main stage for a bevy of prizes and, more important, glory.

Halloween Harvest Festival – Long Island City
Saturday, October 24
FREE
While not a dedicated dog event, Socrates Sculpture Park's jam-packed Halloween fete includes a Canine Costume Contest sponsored by local doggy haven Pooches Sport & Spa at 2pm. Crafts, harvest-themed foods, face painting and interactive performances are also on tap for human revelers.

Howl-o-ween – Bronx
Sunday, October 25
FREE to watch; $10 to compete
See costumed hounds ham it up in Van Cortlandt Park's Canine Court. Owners must register in advance by calling 718-796-4541 and pay a $10 fee, which benefits the popular dog run.

Sean Casey Animal Rescue Howl-O-Ween Block Bark Party – Prospect Park South
Sunday, October 25
Fees vary depending on activity; all proceeds benefit SCAR
Pets take center stage at this annual Brooklyn favorite. There will be a costume contest for four-legged friends, booths full of doggie games, an opportunity to adopt a pet and live music. The kids can get in on the action, too, with a costume contest and games.

Great PUPkin Dog Costume Contest – Fort Greene
Saturday, October 31
FREE
Another big Halloween bash for people, the Fort Greene Park Halloween Festival includes this 17th annual canine competition, reportedly the largest in Brooklyn. (Check out these adorable dog pics from years past.) Afterward, enjoy the rest of the fest, including hayrides, face painting and free pumpkins while supplies last.

Find even more seasonal fun in our Halloween Guide.

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Photo credit: Flikr, Istolethetv .

This post originally published in October 2010.