SOUTH ABINGTON TWP. — A crowd of furry-faced villains, minions, and other mysterious creatures and their owners gathered on the grounds of Griffin Pond Animal Shelter before 1 p.m. on Oct. 18.
As the clouds rolled in and snowflakes fell over the shelter located at 967 Griffin Pond Road, handlers made final adjustments to costumes before the opening lines of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” signaled the Annual Griffin Pond Halloween Pet Costume Pageant was about to begin. The sun drifted behind the clouds and a spine-chilling breeze kicked up as contestants paraded in front of guest judges, Laurie Mielo, shelter volunteer, and Sandy Scala, humane officer.
Prizes were awarded to participants in three categories: Most Creative, which went to Meredith Callahan as a flower pot with her rabbit Tony; Best Pet and Owner Character Team, which was awarded to The Stickem Stallions dressed as characters from “Toy Story;” and the title of “Best Group Costume” was given to Kathleen Coy and her Minions, Damien and Shammy, both Newfoundlands.
“This year (we had) over 125 attendees and 56 registered for the pageant,” said Anastasia Daniels, Griffin Pond development-fundraising manager.
Canines weren’t the only four-legged mammals in this year’s pageant.
“There are always so many imaginative people and pets for our event, but this year we were pleased to have a bunny and cat join the party. The bunny in fact was my favorite costume dressed as a bumble bee with his owner as a flower pot,” Daniels said.
Daniels said the event is an opportunity for those who have adopted furry friends from the shelter to come back and celebrate with the Griffin Pond community.
“The Halloween pageant is a shelter favorite, allowing previous adopters and the public alike to enjoy an afternoon with their companion and share their stories, while expressing their fun side through costume design,” said Daniels. “Our community is always so supportive of any shelter event and we are extremely grateful. I think they find Halloween exciting because they can be so creative with their pet’s costume.”
Daniels also noted the parade and other shelter events also provide an opportunity for dogs to socialize.
“Being able to socialize the dogs is a big perk for any of our events. Just like humans, some are more receptive and really strut their stuff while in costume. You can almost see them smile,” she said.
Scala said there were so many good costumes and it was difficult to make a final decision.
“All the animals and people looked so adorable. The homemade costumes had so much detail and time put in to them. I would like to have more categories and prizes next year because it’s so hard to choose. Honorable mentions to the wiener dog with the hot dog leash, the Dalmatians, stroller with flowers and the dogs dressed as bees and Little Bo Peep. It’s just so nice to see people and their pets braving the cold wind and first snow flurries to support Griffin Pond,” Scala commented.
What the Fork food truck, craft vendors, refreshments and music by DJ, Edward Kloniecke were among the activities held in conjunction with the fall festival.
All proceeds from the event will be used to provide food, vaccines and veterinary care for shelter residents.
“Every penny counts here,” Daniels said.