Who Was Top Dog? Winners of Essex County ‘Strut Your Mutt’ Canine Halloween Costume Contest


Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. (center) congratulates Craig Rexford from South Orange, his friends and their pet Bonnie, who were dressed as characters from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, for winning first place in the most creative costume category at the Essex County Strut Your Mutt Canine Halloween Costume Contest in Essex County South Mountain Dog Park in Maplewood/Millburn on Saturday, October 20th. The County also hosted two other costume parades and contests at the Brookdale Dog Park in Essex County Brookdale Park in Bloomfield/Montclair on Saturday, October 20th and the Hilltop Dog Park in Essex County Hilltop Reservation in North Caldwell on Sunday, October 21st. (Photo by Glen Frieson)


From Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo:

Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. welcomed dog owners and their pets to the Annual Essex County Strut Your Mutt Canine Costume Parades and Contests at the Essex County Brookdale Dog Park Bloomfield/Montclair and the Essex County South Mountain Dog Park in Maplewood/Millburn on Saturday, October 20th and the Essex County Hilltop Dog Park in North Caldwell on Sunday, October 21st. It was the first parade held in the Hilltop Dog Park, which opened in June 2018.

“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,” he added.

Strut Your Mutt is the County’s annual Canine Halloween Costume Parade and Contest. Dog owners were invited to display their creativity and dress their canine pets in costumes. The parade was free and prizes were awarded to the winners in each category.

Award winners at the Essex County Brookdale Dog Park Contest are as follows:

Best in Show: Jasmine and Aiden Serrano from Wayne and their dog Sprinkles, who were dressed as an exterminator, mousetrap and piece of cheese.

Cutest Costume: First place: Jose Blanco from Belleville and their dog Olivia, who was dressed as a sailor. Second Place: Lisa Angelini from Belleville and her dog Leslie, who was dressed as a butterfly. Third Place: Debra Hanoka from Bloomfield and her dogs Bea and Ginger, who were dressed as a bee hive.

Most Creative Costume: First place: Vanessa Montesano from Clifton and her dog Lunchbox, who was dressed as the Bride of Frankenstein. Second Place: Regina Mahon from Bayonne and her pet Gizmo, who was dressed as a 1950’s road trip. Third Place: Lauren, Chris, Conner and Aiden Kowalski from Bloomfield and their pets Ernie and Gino, who were dressed as a rowboat, fisherman, fish, scuba diver and lobster.

Group Costume: First place: Jody and Joseph Sumner from Caldwell and their pet Reed, who were dressed as characters from Ghostbusters. Second Place: Maggy Tung from Bloomfield and her pet Remi, who were dressed as characters from Stephen King’s It. Third Place: Janine, Dan and Abigail Osborne from Montclair and their pet Willow, who were dressed as a farmer and farm animals.

Award winners at the Essex County South Mountain Dog Park Contest are as follows:

Best in Show: Kristen Graham and Vanessa Kavash from Hawthorne and their pets Sadie, Benji, Ollie, Rinny and Clancy who were dressed as characters from the Wizard of Oz.

Cutest Costume: First Place: Regina Mahon from Bayonne and her pet Gizmo, who was dressed as a 1950’s road trip. Second Place: Joy Scally from Essex Fells and her pet William, who was dressed as a Fiesta Dog. Third Place: Dorothy Guo from Millburn and her pet Toto, who was dressed as an ice cream sundae.

Most Creative Costume: First place: Craig Rexford from South Orange, his friends and their pet Bonnie, who were dressed as characters from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Second Place: Matt, Teddy, Sophia and Christel Greller from Millburn and their pets Angus and Clyde, who were dressed as s’mores. Third Place: Sydney and Grace Fradette from Verona and her pet Maple, who was dressed as a Starbucks “pupacino.”

Group Costume: First place: Grant and Kate Johnson from West Orange and their pet Olive, who were dressed as characters from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” Second Place: Amanda Scherer and Matthew Burton from Mount Arlington and their pet Bailey, who were dressed as the Justice League. Third Place: Leidy Valencia from Elmsford, N.Y., and her pet Cass, who were dressed as characters from the Pixar movie “Coco.”

Award winners at the Essex County Hilltop Dog Park Contest are as follows:

Best in Show: Rose, Peter and Rachel Russo from North Caldwell and their pet Max, who were dressed as a Super Hero Family.

Cutest Costume: First Place: Aryeh, Keren, Caleb and Mimi Legeau from South Orange and their pets Mookie and Penelope who were dressed as Aloha Pugs. Second Place: Eleanor Peter from Caldwell and her pet Bartholomew, who was dressed as a police dog. Third Place: Nancy Howla from West Caldwell and her pet Louie, who was dressed as a banana split.

Most Creative Costume: First place: Michael Brovo from Newton and his pet Candi, who was dressed as the Little Mermaid. Second Place: Claire and Abigail Ortman and Eva Mark from North Caldwell and their pets, who were dressed as prisoners.