CALDWELL, NJ — Dressed as Little Red Riding Hood and “The Wolf,” Livingston resident Lori Ileya and her dog, Milo, recently earned third place in the “Best Dressed Group Costume” category at the Essex County Strut Your Mutt Canine Halloween Costume Contest at Grover Cleveland Park in Caldwell/Essex Fells.

The duo and a friend are pictured above alongside Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. and Essex County Deputy Parks Director Kate Hartwyk. Also pictured above is the first place winner, Joanna Sepe of West Caldwell, her family and her dog Greta, who were dressed as a hotdog with mustard and ketchup.

Last weekend, DiVincenzo welcomed dog owners and their pets to Brookdale Dog Park in Bloomfield/Montclair, Branch Brook Dog Park in Newark and Grover Cleveland Park in Caldwell/Essex Fells, where dog owners displayed their creativity during the free costume parade. Awards were presented to the top three winners in various categories, including Best in Show, Cutest Costume, Most Creative Costume, Best Dressed Group Costume.

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“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,” said DiVincenzo. “I am always amazed and impressed with the creativity of the costumes. Congratulations to the winners.”

This year’s winners from the Branch Brook Dog Park Strut Your Mutt Canine Halloween Costume Contest were announced as follows:

Best in Show: Rose Russo from North Caldwell and her dog Max who was dressed as two men carrying a box.

Cutest Costume: First Place: Nancy Howley from West Caldwell and her dog Louie who was dressed as a pirate. Second Place: Shirley Chin from Caldwell and her dog Pip who was dressed as a Seniorita. Third Place: Michele Colacino from West Caldwell and her dog Ollie who was dressed as a baby sheep.

Most Creative Costume: First place: Michael Bravata from Newton and his dog Candie who was dressed as a Phoenix. Second Place: Jessah Hogue from Roseland and her dog Humphrey who were dressed as a shark and victim. Third Place: Jean Cowan from Montclair and her dog Sally who was dressed as a cowboy.

Best Dressed Group Costume: First Place: Joanna Sepe from West Caldwell and her dog Greta who were dressed as hot dogs with ketchup and mustard. Second Place: Joanne Rim from West Orange and her dogs Poppy and Redd who were dressed as Santa Claus and one of his reindeer. Third Place: Lori Ileya from Livingston and her dog Milo who were dressed as Little Red Riding Hood and the wolf.

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