Cutest Pup-kin in the Patch


Ruchi Nawathe

Whitney Counts and Jared Rogers alongside their mini schnauzer Nora won the costume contest with their group costume based on the phrase “it’s raining cats and dogs”.

Humans and dogs alike dressed to the nines in a variety of Halloween costumes on Saturday, Oct. 29. From cartoon characters to farm animals to tacos, dogs of all ages and sizes were welcome to attend the 35th Annual Streetsville Doggy (and Kitty) Halloween Party.

Dog owners woke bright and early to dress themselves and their dogs in elaborate costumes, before heading over to the Sculpture Garden at the Museum of Contemporary Art. The event was free to the public, but attendees were urged to bring dog toys as prizes for the participating dogs. 

Whitney Counts and Jared Rogers loved putting their 13-year-old mini Schnauzer Nora in costumes since she was a puppy. This was Nora’s second year attending the event.

“A lot of these costume parties, it’s hard to not do something again because everybody’s done everything, so you really got to try and think out of the box,” Counts said. 

Counts, Rogers and Nora were dressed in a “raining cats and dogs” group costume, complete with matching yellow raincoats and an umbrella decorated to look like a storm cloud with faux raindrops shaped like dogs and cats.

“We love a good pun, that’s why,” Counts said. “We were thinking of something clever that someone maybe hadn’t done before.”

Counts was mainly excited to spend time with Nora and look at other dogs’ costumes. 

“We’re happy that Nora’s with us,” Counts said. “She’s 13, and we are just so happy that we get to spend this time with her.”

This year, more than 250 dogs showed up for the event, a record turnout. Among them was 3-year-old goldendoodle Lionel and his owner, Katie Nikolajuk, dressed as a lobster and a squid, respectively.

This was Lionel and Nikolajuk’s first time at a dog Halloween event. 

“It’s walking distance from where we live,” Nikolajuk said. ‘The museum is beautiful, and I thought it would be nice by the lake to check it out.”

Maria Gonzalez and Johnathon Hilden are no strangers to dog Halloween costume parties and contests.

“We go to as many as we can throughout the whole month,” Gonzalez said. 

Gonzalez, Hilden and their shiba-inu Sir Woofles Wigglebottoms were dressed as a construction crew. Gonzales was a traffic cone, Hilden was a “shiba crossing” sign and Sir Woofles Wigglebottoms was a construction worker. 

Hilden was pleasantly surprised with the other costumes he saw.

“The other events that we’ve gone to are not as challenging,” Hilden said. “It’s nice to see other people here step up and be a little more creative.”

Helena Shroyer moved to Chicago earlier this year with her mini Aussie Olyve, who was dressed in a pink sweater and fairy wings. 

“I think it’s good to have dog events for people who have dogs, cause we’re always trying to find stuff to do with her, so we found this, and it was free, too, which was nice,” Shroyer said. 

Cats did not attend the event in person but were welcome to submit their pictures to the Virtual Cat Costume Contest.

Cocker spaniels Leo and Ranger were dressed as Thing 1 and Thing 2 from Dr. Suess’s “The Cat in the Hat,” with their owners John Sheridan and Elizabeth Ortner, who were dressed as the Cat in the Hat and the goldfish, respectively.

Ortner, Sheridan and their cocker spaniels attended the Streeterville Doggy Halloween Party for the past couple years. 

“It was definitely missed during Covid,” Ortner said. 

Ortner and Sheridan appreciate being able to spend time with and celebrate Halloween with their pups.

“[The dog Halloween party] gives people who don’t have children an opportunity to trick or treat with their little ones,” Sheridan said. 

The majority of people at the event were there to spend time with their dogs and look at all the other dogs’ costumes.

“Nowadays, I’d rather party with the dogs than with the humans,” Counts said.