Dog lovers who also love Halloween, rejoice: The third annual Boo-le-Bark on the Boulevard happens Sunday, Oct. 14 from 4–6 p.m. The event involves a parade, costume contest, food vendors and activities for the entire family.
Boo-le-Bark is sponsored by local nonprofit Athens Pets and is an opportunity for owners to dress their pets up in costumes and walk them through a beautiful and historic part of town. Organizers describe it, simply enough, as “an opportunity for our community to come together over a shared love of dogs in costumes.”
Ashley Short, a member of the board that puts on the event, says this year is going to be the best Boo-le-Bark yet, due to minor changes, such as a tweak to the parade route and a change in start time.
“The parade is so much fun every year, and I think it’s going to be even bigger and better this year,” Short says. “I’m really excited to see who comes out.”
Short says that even if they don’t have a dog to walk in the parade, folks can still come out and enjoy the food and entertainment and experience the Canine Carnival at the Jittery Joe’s Roaster after the parade.
Short adds that she never knows what to expect from the dogs’ costumes, but that they get cuter and more creative every year. “Last year, there was a dog dressed up as a poop factory,” she says. “It sounds gross, but it was so cute and hilarious.”
While attendance at the parade and carnival is free, there is a $20 registration fee to walk your dog in the parade—which begins near the corner of Chase Street and Dubose Avenue and winds through the Boulevard neighborhood before ending up at Jittery Joe’s on Barber Street—and an additional $10 fee to be entered into the costume contest. Registration is open at barkonboulevard.com.
Need a costume idea for your pup? Here are a few of our favorite options to help you get started.
Do It Yourself
Spooky Skeleton: The perfect costume for dogs who hate wearing clothes and/or love eating clothes you try to put on them. Use a non-toxic, pet-safe paint to paint some bones on your dog’s face and body. It’s an ideal look for dogs with a dark coat, but pet paint lends itself to endless possibilities. White dogs can have a beet-juice muzzle inspired by Cujo. A pack of four dogs could include every member of Kiss.
Ghost: It doesn’t get more classic than cutting up a sheet. Cut holes for your dog’s eyes, muzzle and ears (if they’re pointy). Bonus points if your dog has the skills the carry a jack-o-lantern basket. Just make sure your ghost dog doesn’t have to go up and down any stairs!
Chia Pet: Glue-gun a bunch of green aquarium plants to a dog sweater. You can sew four “sleeves” and attach them to a harness, or use orange pet paint to get those terra-cotta Chia Pet legs. Ch-ch-ch-chia!
Loofah: Take 8–10 yards of tulle, depending on the dog and the volume you’re trying to achieve. Gather the tulle into loops and bunches, and hot-glue or sew it in the roundest shape possible onto a dog shirt. Attach a loop of thick cord. (Rubber duck optional.)
Woof Spider: Smaller dogs can wear one of those big, posable spiders on their back, attached to a harness. For larger dogs—or serious costume crafters—a giant spider costume can be DIY’d with fake fur, wire and felt, hot-glued to a harness.
Lil’ Hellraiser: Only a dedicated horror nerd with the chillest dog on earth should make a Pinhead costume. Mod a white hood that fits your dog’s head snugly with carefully painted lines and glued nails. Sew a high collar on a black dog dress, and don’t forget the robe’s breast-piece appliques. If you go to all this trouble, you might as well finish the look with a pup-sized Lament Configuration replica.
Buy It Yourself
Lion: You can never go wrong with a dog in a lion’s mane. Your pup will be the pride of any parade.
Lobster: Perfect for the dog who just wants to be carried around in a pot! Dress your second dog up as a rock and you’ve got—yup—Rock Lobster.
Star Wars: Shih tzus are Ewoks. Mastiffs are Wookiees. Greyhounds are AT-ATs. And every dog on Earth looks heroic in a Jedi robe.
Other Animal Events Happening This Week
In addition to Boo-le-Bark, two other animal-related events will take place in Athens this weekend.
On Saturday, Oct. 13, the Athens-Clarke County Landfill hosts its annual Vulture Festival, a free, family-friendly event designed to “celebrate nature’s recyclers.” The fest kicks off with a bird walk at 8 a.m. and runs until noon, with educational activities, a scavenger hike, photo booth, food, art and more. See athensclarkecounty.com/6785/Vulture-Festival.
On Sunday, Oct. 14, Athens Canine Rescue hosts the Run Your Tail Off 5K at Sandy Creek Nature Center. The race will support ACR in its mission to “rescue, foster and ultimately find permanent homes for abandoned and unwanted dogs in Georgia.” Vaccinated and well-behaved pups are welcome. For more info and to register, see athenscaninerescue.com. [Gabe Vodicka]
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