For a few moments, 30 dogs got to experience the celebrity life Saturday at a costumed pet parade contest at Randhurst Village in Mount Prospect.
As the dogs walked around decked out in a range of costumes, the crowd went wild and took pictures of them with their smartphones and asked to pet some of them after the contest. This came after their owners spent several moments primping them and making sure their costumes were in place.
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The inaugural contest was part of the Mount Prospect mall's free Hoots and H'owls Fall Festival. The Daily Herald sponsored the costumed pet parade contest. Readers are also invited to submit photos of their costumed pets online until Nov. 3 and to vote for their favorites Nov. 4-8.
The crowd went especially crazy for Hairy Pawter, a Yorkshire terrier from Streamwood that was dressed up like a firefighter and rode in a firetruck complete with sirens and squirting water.
"That one stole the show," said Cindy Bohde, the mall's marketing consultant.
Pawter is accustomed to the star treatment.
He works as a therapy dog, he models, has won two other costume contests and recently rode in a limo with Pat Boone when the crooner performed at Sun City in Huntley.
"He gets to travel with the stars," said Adrian Brigham, one of Boone's agents and Pawter's owners.
Pawter ended up winning the fan favorite award at the contest. The overall winners were Duke and Chance, a pair of beagles from Fox River Grove dressed as fuzzy blue monsters.
Every costume had a story.
Nancy Richards of Des Plaines dressed both of her golden retrievers in costumes inspired by football: Riley donned a "rufferee" costume while her sister, Haley, was dressed as a cheerleader. Richards said those costumes were a no-brainer.
"Well, I went to Target and that's all that would fit them," she said.
In Pawter's case, his owners found the fire truck at a thrift store, then searched online for a firefighter's costume small enough to fit him. They also scored a wagon that read "port a pawty" and carried a fire hydrant with the American flag.
"One thing led to another," said Denise Brigham, Pawter's other owner.
Other costumes included a dragon, a skeleton, and a Pomeranian dressed like a banana whose owner, Ashley Fricke of Mount Prospect, donned a monkey costume.
The event also featured stilt walkers, a live owl demonstration, sand sculptures and a pumpkin decorating station.
Hoots and H'owls is in its second year and was created to celebrate the mall's 50th anniversary, Bohde said. It proved to be so popular that the mall decided to bring it back as an annual affair, she said. More than 100 people had shown up for the event less than an hour after it started.