The Costumed Canines of the Tompkins Square Park Halloween Dog Parade

Tim Schreier and Dana Varinsky

The champions of the 22nd annual Tompkins Square Park Halloween Dog Parade were no strangers to the winner’s circle. The pup that ranked Best in Show has won a similar contest on the Upper East Side the last three years, dressed as a hurricane and as Beyonce. Gracie, winner of the second round, took Best in Show two years ago as Scarlett O’Hara. That year, Benny the boxer also got a prize as Internet sensation Antoine Dodson.

IMG_0093Dana Varinsky Benny the Boxer as Butthead

This year it was Benny’s behind that got all the attention: glasses and a wig were perched atop his tiny tail to make it look like a wiggling nose.

The Butthead costume was spontaneous. “I wasn’t sure I was going to dress him up,” said Benny’s owner, Michael Godere. But the dog’s godfather, Grover Guinta, came over that morning with a bag of wigs and glasses. “We just improvised,” Mr. Godere said, laughing when another dog sniffed Benny’s rear-end. “It’s great when the other dogs try to kiss his butt.”

IMG_0081Dana Varinsky

The other two winning costumes took more preparation. “We’ve never done so much papier-mâché in our lives, but it was worth it,” said Best-in-Show winner Bennett Leak of the enormous moon costume Brett England wore. Their dog, Mattie, was wrapped up in Mr. Leak’s bike basket a la E.T., with Mr. England standing behind them inside a giant moon with twinkling battery-powered lights.

Dewey Moss gave his dog Gracie the royal treatment. He had built a balcony-like platform, complete with microphones for addressing a crowd, for Gracie, who wore a gold Eva Peron dress. Mr. Moss carried a small boom box playing the “Evita” soundtrack.

IMG_0152Dana Varinsky Bennett Leak, Brett England and Mattie as E.T.

“She always looks kind of drunk and she sleeps a lot, so it’s easy to put her into a costume,” Mr. Moss said of Gracie, whose tongue was hanging out of her mouth, her eyes partly closed.

Though none of the first-place winners this year were political, a costume called Seamus’s Revenge took a close second in Gracie’s round. The dog, Laika, was inside a cardboard station wagon, with a Mitt Romney figure strapped to the top, as he is known to have once done to his family dog, Seamus.

Also sniffing around were a fire truck, a turkey, a sight-seeing bus, astronauts, Pac-Man, Rapunzel, the dog from Pixar’s “Up,” and two chihuahuas in matching Our Lady of Guadalupe dresses who later changed into sparkling tuxedos.

For more photos from the parade, see The Local’s Flickr pool, and add some of your own.