WEST ORANGE, NJ — After a successful first Barktober Halloween Dog Parade in 2018, the members of the “West Orange Dogs” Facebook group who organized the inaugural event decided to make it an annual community affair. This year’s event, hosted by the West Orange Farmers Market, will be held on Saturday at 80 Main Street from 10:15 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in support of the West Orange Animal Welfare League (WOAWL).

The WOAWL, which is run entirely by volunteers on a very limited budget, is a local 501©3 not-for-profit organization that works to avoid needless killing of abandoned and unwanted animals in the area. The cost to register is $8 in advance or $10 on the day of the event.

“[WOAWL] runs on a very short leash, no pun intended, and they don’t have a lot of money,” said Laura Lab, originator of the event. “The reason I chose it is because if any of our dogs got lost, that would be the first place that you’d turn to…You always assume that this service or this entity will be there, but if it wasn’t for the volunteers who actually run it, it wouldn’t be there.”

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Sean McCauley and two special guests will serve as the “rufferies” for the costume contest, and will select winners in the following categories:

  • Overall “Top Dog”
  • Best Pack/Family
  • Most Creative
  • Most Fur-ocious
  • Best Couple (Dog & Owner)

Lab—who has participated in similar events across the county for many years with her beloved dog, Lacey—said these events are typically only held for entertainment or networking. In this case, however, Lab was determined to raise funds to help support a local organization, and fellow residents Beth Platner, Stacey Reese and Jessica Fiorilli jumped at the chance to help organize the event.

“It seems to me that here we have all of our pets, whom we love dearly and are pampered little creatures, and then there are a bunch of animals that could really use some help,” said Lab. “You have to think about those in need, and that includes the animals that are in cages all day long.”

Lab thanked the West Orange Department of Recreation for assisting in the organization of the event and for securing a location.

Visit www.westorange.org/rec to pre-register or register in person beginning at 9:30 a.m. on the day of the event. All dogs must be vaccinated in order to participate.

Cash and checks will be accepted at the registration table, with all checks made payable to the "West Orange Animal Welfare League." The WOAWL will also accept shelter supplies, such as dog and cat toys, during the event.

Sponsorship opportunities are still available for anyone looking to provide the tax-deductible funding that is necessary to keep WOAWL afloat.

Current sponsors include:


Platinum ($250+):

Mayor Rober Parisi

Assemblyman John McKeon


Gold ($100):

DJ Mike Levitt Entertainment

IOS Naturals

Pet Wants SOMA

Vet Tech Care, LLC

Monica Perkowski

Advantage Pest Control

Fred Zorn Dog Training

Essex Green Sunoco

Select Towing & Auto Repair


Silver ($50):

Mark & Laura Lab

Save the Crumbs Cookies

Pleasantdale Nursery

Councilwoman Michelle Casalino

Bagels by Jarrett



Council President Jerry Guarino

The Pennell Family



In Kind:

Rob & Stacey Reese

Casey Fatchett Photography

Councilwoman Susan McCartney

Assemblyman John McKeon

West Orange Farmers Market

Downtown West Orange Alliance

Advantage Pest Control

TAPinto West Orange


For more information, contact the Barktober team at Barktober@WOFarmersMarket.com.