Winners announced for Essex County canine Halloween costume contests

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ESSEX COUNTY, NJ — Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo Jr. welcomed dog owners and their pets to the annual Essex County Strut Your Mutt canine costume parades and contests at Brookdale Dog Park in Bloomfield/Montclair and Branch Brook Dog Park in Newark on Saturday, Oct, 24, and at Grover Cleveland Park in Caldwell/Essex Fells on Sunday, Oct. 25.

“Our dog parks have become popular places for dog owners to bring their pets, and our canine Halloween costume parades are another opportunity for the public to enjoy our historic park system,” DiVincenzo said. “I am always amazed and impressed with the creativity of the costumes. Congratulations to the winners.”

Dog owners were invited to display their creativity by dressing their canine pets in costumes. The parade was free, and prizes were awarded to the winners in each category.

Award winners at the Brookdale Dog Park contest are as follows:

  • Best in Show: Vanessa Montesano from Clifton and her dog, Lunchbox, who was dressed as a “glamper,” a glamorous camper.
  • Cutest Costume: First place: Carlos Garzon from Clifton and his dog, who was dressed as a prisoner. Second place: Veronica Guzman from Bloomfield and her dog, who was dressed as Tom Cruise from “Top Gun.” Third place: Bianca Lubanski from Clifton and her dog, Teddy, who was dressed as a “pupkin” spice latte and “Starpups” barista.
  • Most Creative Costume: First place: Lauren Zodel from Montclair and her dog, who was dressed as a llama. Second place: Tracy Hann from Bloomfield and her dogs, Baxter, Bella, Cooper and Maggie, who were dressed as “Everybody Vote!” Third place: Janine Liss from Fair Lawn and her dogs, who were dressed as s’mores and a box of animal crackers.
  • Best Dressed Group Costume: First place: Janine Osborne from Montclair and her dogs, Willow, Maple and Hazel, who were dressed as characters from “Toy Story.” Second place: Diana Francisco from Somerset and her dog, Rocket, who was dressed as a Build a Bear workshop. Third place: Jason Cevallos from Belleville and his dogs, Orson, Benny and Petunia, who were dressed as Batman, Robin and the Joker.

Award winners at the Branch Brook Dog Park contest are as follows: 

  • Best in Show: Edmundo Chacon from Newark and his dogs, Benji and Soya, who were dressed as characters from “Harry Pawder.”
  • Cutest Costume: First place: Ashley Wright from Newark and her dog, Oreo, who was dressed as Snow White. Second place: Carmen Rodriguez from Newark and her dog, Gracie Jane, who were dressed in poodle skirts. Third place: Britney D’Oleo from Newark and her dog, Jax, who was dressed as a vampire.
  • Most Creative Costume: First place: Mikaela Rigo from Newark and her dog, Zoe, who was dressed as a pinata. Second place: Jackie Apicella from Belleville and her dog, who was dressed as late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Third place: Nancy Jimenez from Newark and her dog, Mia, who was dressed as a spider.
  • Best Dressed Group Costume: First place: Katherine Guerrero from Ossining, N.Y., and her dog, who was dressed as characters from The Muppet Show. Second place: Adriana Zguro from Belleville and her dog, Otto, who were dressed as Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf. Third place: Nicole Wallace from Montclair and her dog, Rainbow, who were dressed as unicorns.

Award winners at the Grover Cleveland Park contest are as follows:

  • Best in Show: Rose Russo from North Caldwell and her dog, Max, who was dressed as two men carrying a box.
  • Cutest Costume: First place: Nancy Howley from West Caldwell and her dog, Louie, who was dressed as a pirate. Second place: Shirley Chin from Caldwell and her dog, Pip, who was dressed as a senorita. Third place: Michele Colacino from West Caldwell and her dog, Ollie, who was dressed as a baby sheep.
  • Most Creative Costume: First place: Michael Bravata from Newton and his dog, Candie, who was dressed as a Phoenix. Second place: Jessah Hogue from Roseland and her dog, Humphrey, who were dressed as a shark and victim. Third place: Jean Cowan from Montclair and her dog, Sally, who was dressed as a cowboy.
  • Best Dressed Group Costume: First place: Joanna Sepe from West Caldwell and her dog, Greta, who were dressed as hot dogs with ketchup and mustard. Second place: Joanne Rim from West Orange and her dogs, Poppy and Redd, who were dressed as Santa Claus and one of his reindeer. Third place: Lori Ileya from Livingston and her dog, Milo, who were dressed as Little Red Riding Hood and the wolf. 

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