Spooky Sunday for dogs at ARL’s Howl-O-Ween event

T-R PHOTOS BY NOAH ROHLFING — Elvin the Brittany walks down the sidewalk runway at the Howl-O-Ween Costume Contest Sunday afternoon at Riverview Park. Elvin was dressed as a pirate and won “Best Best Friends” with Murray the Chinese Crested, who dressed as a parrot.

The Marshalltown Animal Rescue League couldn’t have asked for a more perfect fall setting during the organization’s first annual Howl-O-Ween costume party event held at Reunion Hall in Riverview Park on Sunday afternoon.

This is the ARL’s third event in the Marshalltown community since the summer and is part of a push to generate more interest in the organization and its animals. Prior events included Draws 4 Paws as well as the Dogs for Dogs event held at Riverview in August.

ARL Volunteer Coordinator Jessica Slifer said it took about a month of planning to get the event arranged, and she was happy with the results.

“It’s been great,” Slifer said. “We’ve had a good handful of others that have just come out to enjoy the activities. It’s been a beautiful day, and I think everybody’s having a great time. The community loves coming out to these activities.”

There were “Trick or Treat” booths set up with dog treats and treats for kids, with companies like Exterior+ and Staging 2 Sell It providing them. Theisen’s of Marshalltown, Hunting the Moon Creative Studios, Appleberry Farm and Lillie Mae Chocolates were the sponsors of the event. A Boys’ Scout Troop with members from Green Mountain and Garwin sold hot dogs, chips, root beer floats and beef jerky sticks, among other items.

Over 15 dogs participated in the costume parade and contest, and a sizable crowd came out to watch them.

A group of judges observed as each furry contestant waltzed down the sidewalk runway showing off their creative get-ups, and a Pokemon, a pizza and a pirate were all among the costumes.

The overall winner was a 10-year-old pug named Toby with his costume deemed “The Holy Hound.” He wore papal garments and headgear for the event.

Another winner was the duo of Murray and Elvin, entered by Judy Craig and Katie Lyons. Elvin is a three-legged Brittany and Murray a Chinese Crested. The canine duo won the award for “Best Best Friends,” with Elvin wearing a pirate getup and Murray in a parrot costume.

Lyons said they had done a similar event in the past, and when this one came to their attention, they decided to have some fun with it.

Toby the pug won “Best overall” for his “Holy Hound” costume at Sunday afternoon’s Howl-O-Ween Costume Contest hosted by the Marshalltown ARL.

“We’ve done it before when it was at Theisen’s,” Lyons said. “We are fostering a cat for them right now, so it’s a fun thing. And they had a good turnout today, I think.”

Craig echoed the sentiments of Lyons and called the event “so much fun.”

Howl-O-Ween brought everyone who attended into the Halloween spirit at Riverview Sunday. With the success of these events, there’s hope that the ARL can continue to garner more attention for animals in need of adoption and more support for the services the group provides.

“They’re a lot of fun,” Slifer said. “We like to give back as much as we can since the community supports us as they do.”


Pebbles is dressed as the Big Bad Wolf at the Howl-O-Ween Costume Contest Sunday afternoon. The event was hosted by the Marshalltown ARL at Riverview Park.

Contact Noah Rohlfing at 641-753-6611 or nrohlfing@timesrepublican.com.

Murray the Chinese Crested, dressed as a parrot, walks down the runway at the Howl-O-Ween Costume Contest Sunday afternoon at Riverview Park. Murray won “Best Best Friends” along with Elvin the Brittany, who came as a pirate.


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