Costumed canines converge on Creasy Bicentennial Park for 11th annual Howl-oween contest



Sandi Talerico and Gizmo dressed up at Thing 1 and Thing 2 from Dr. Seuss’ ‘The Cat in the Hat’ book. Photos by Lania Rocha

Sandi Talerico and Gizmo dressed up at Thing 1 and Thing 2 from Dr. Seuss’ ‘The Cat in the Hat’ book. Photos by Lania Rocha

GRAND BLANC TWP. — Gizmo the goldendoodle and his person, Sandi Talerico, made the perfect pair dressed as Dr. Seuss’ Thing 1 and Thing 2 at the 11th annual Howl- Oween Spectacular pet costume contest Sunday afternoon.

“It’s a lot of fun,” said Talerico. “I get to dress him up, and they do a great job with the contest.”

The Friends of the Grand Blanc Dog Park and PACE (Pet and Animal Cremation Endearment) sponsor the contest every year at Creasy Bicentennial Park.

“It started when we were raising funds to build the dog park, and it was so popular, we just continued,” said Vanessa Ferguson, Friends member. “It’s a great opportunity for people and pets to come out and enjoy Halloween and give back to some great animal organizations in the area.”

The contest raises money for area rescues and dog park improvements, Ferguson said.

The number of furry friends who participate varies from about 20 to 35. This year, the event drew 20 contestants in all sorts of costumes.

Stefanie Ronan dressed as a cowgirl to go along with her dog, Finnegan, who wore a saddle, compete with a rider. Andrea Villarreal chose a pumpkin theme for the costumes she and Alfie wore in the contest.

Stefanie Ronan dressed as a cowgirl to go along with her dog, Finnegan, who wore a saddle, compete with a rider. Andrea Villarreal chose a pumpkin theme for the costumes she and Alfie wore in the contest.

After hosting the contest virtually last year, the sponsors were thrilled to bring it back live and in person in 2021, with the largest number of costume categories.

Awards were given to the best costumes in a number of categories.

Winners included puppies Bronco and Bruno, Aggie and Pee Wee in the best Kid/Dog Combo category; Finnegan in the best Adult/ Dog Combo category; Bristol in the Best Homemade costume category; Gizmo in the Puppy category; and Dallas in the Senior Dog category. Finnegan won the Best Overall, and Gizmo the Most Creative.

“It’s always neat to see what kinds of ideas people come up with, not only for the dogs, but for the whole family,” said Ferguson.

Winners received custom ribbons and certificates.

The event was made possible through sponsorships from PACE, Pet Supplies Plus, County Commissioner Mark Young, Grand Blanc Township Supervisor Scott Bennett and Grand Blanc City Councilman Chris Douglas.

In addition to participating in the festivities, participants were encouraged to bring food donations for local animal rescues. Donations for both dogs and cats were accepted.