What is it about a dachshund that compels owners to dress them up in costumes and show them off to the world? Is it their perfect long bodies, sweet short legs, adorable floppy ears or cute little faces? No matter what drives us to dress them up, we do it regularly, especially this time of year. Halloween was made for dressing up our pups in all kinds of crazy outfits and sharing them online. Come on, “ween” is even in the name!! This is the tale of my Ludwig and his award winning costume “The Flying Doxie”.
This being Ludwig’s first real Halloween, I wanted to take part in some of our local dog friendly festivities and costume contests. But then the question remained what should he be dressed as? Now Ludwig has several costumes thanks to his participation in the Ween Team activities and other fun events. But none of them screamed “winning costume” and if I was going to enter him into a contest I was going to make a valiant effort to win.
After much brain storming and going through what we had in his collection of stuff, “Ludwig the fighter pilot” came to be. I had recently purchased a set of aviator hat, goggles and scarf, this fueled the idea. Now all we needed was a plane! Courtesy of my history loving hubby, we decided that Ludwig would fly a P-51 Mustang WWII era plane. I won’t bore you with all the web searches for images, plans for model plane and figuring out sizes and shapes. But after 2 days of cutting, taping, sticker making and painting “The Flying Doxie” was born. This 30 inch long and 30 inch wide plane is made mostly of foam board, cardstock paper, masking tape and silver paint. The total cost of the construction was under $10.
Our costume contest adventure started Sunday Oct. 18th with the BARK-toberfest in Richmond, VA. An annual event hosted by a local brewery and benefiting BARK a canine rescue group in the area. A day of music, food, beer and dogs; what could be better!? There was a ton of people and pups, most of the dogs were dressed up. It truly was a day of fun for all dogs and their people. We were excited to meet a handful of doxies as well as a ton of other breeds of pups. It was a great time indeed.
For this event we were told for those who wish to take part, there was to be a parade of costumes through the festivities leading to the stage so each dog could be seen. At the stage the judges would take in all the dogs and then announce the winners. There were 3 categories: Best Homemade Costume, Best Beer Related Costume and Most Unusual/Strange Costume; one winner per category.
As the time came to line up with all the other participants we met up at the assigned tent, collected our number and headed towards the stage with our competition. Unfortunately, due to some pretty big wind gusts, Ludwig was not able to walk in his plane. (I was really worried he would actually take flight) So he happily pranced along in his aviator hat and scarf and I carried his plane until we got closer to the stage. As we reached the stage, they had all of us line up for a group photo. I placed Ludwig into his plane and hoisted him up so everyone could see him “flying” his plane. The crowd and judges all loved it! Even Ludwig seemed to enjoy his flight. We all waited while the judges looked us over and whispered amongst themselves. Then finally the winners were to be announced. “First category – Best Homemade Costume, goes to number 23, The Flying Doxie!” Wow!! We Won!! They were calling us to the stage, as we moved through the crowd people were taking pictures and congratulating us. We walked up on stage and the announcer asked Ludwig’s name and what he was flying. He then gave us our prize, a box full of goodies from several of the vendors that were there that day. We were then guided off stage where a few more people asked for pictures and gave praise. My husband was there in the crowd cheering us on and taking pictures. Once we met back up, we took a few celebratory photos and took inventory of Ludwig’s winnings. In his big box of goodies was: a $25 gift certificate to a groomer, a $15 gift certificate for a new collar, a gift certificate for a free lesson at a training center, a bag of gourmet treats and finally a huge bag of stuff like bully sticks. It was such an amazing assortment of treats and goodies for my little man.
The day was not over for us just yet, as we moved back into the crowd several people asked to take pictures and gave their congratulations. We checked out the vendors that gave gift certificates before we left. I’m happy to say that Ludwig has deemed all the treats yummy and is now a big fan of the bully stick. When it was all said and done we had a wonderful day as a family and we can’t wait to do it again.
Speaking of doing it again; Ludwig’s costume adventure is not over yet. The following weekend, a local open air mall Stony Point Fashion Park held their annual Howl-O-Ween; a very dog and family friendly event where families are encouraged to bring their dogs to shop as well as dress up for Halloween. Again there was to be a dog costume contest. Ludwig and I discussed it, and we decided we had to try again. The crowds loved The Flying Doxie so much at the other event, let’s try our luck again.
I have to say, this event so far was my favorite, there were so many free activities for the whole family. They had face painting, pumpkin decorating, give-aways, pet caricatures and free portraits. Plus the SPCA was there with a pack of pup looking for their furever homes. It was a very well put together and fun event to attend.
Again there were 3 categories of costume judging: Most Original Pet Costume, Best Pet and Owner Team Costume and Judges Choice. The judges were all from the Richmond SPCA and they were roaming around the crowds taking in all the costumes. If a judge liked what they saw, they would stop you and give you a ticket for one of the categories. This meant you would be a finalist in the contest. They gave out 10 tickets for each category, and at 2:45 all the finalist were to head to stage to be judged one last time. We were really hoping to get stopped by a judge.
Ludwig and I began to walk around; he smelled the bushes while I took in the other costumes and families enjoying the day. Due to his insistence to “check out” every bush, bench and trashcan in the area, again mommy was tasked with carrying his plane until he finished exploring. After only 20 minutes, we were stopped by one of the judges. She said she was very impressed with his outfit as well as his plane, we put him in it so she could get the full effect. She gave us a ticket for Most Original Costume, and said to please be by the stage at 2:45PM. Yay! We were in the running, a finalist no less. This was so exciting.
As 2:45 approached we made our way back to the stage area. Ludwig was now back in the plane and ready to fly. We were asked to line up for each category, Most Original Costume was first to be judged. As I could see the other contestants, I knew we had stiff competition. I was sure the 3 greyhounds dressed as carousel horses was going to win, they were beautiful. Ludwig and I were the first to be judged, the announcer asked his name, breed and what he was dressed as. I answered and then we were instructed to walk across the stage so all the judges could see him. We did as we were told and stepped off the stage. Then the wait, this was becoming the hardest part, the whole time people were asking for our picture, so I knew the crowd liked us. After all 10 contestants crossed the stage, the judges deliberated. They announced 3rd place winner was a (insert here), then they announced 2nd place winner was the greyhounds. I thought to myself “Oh, wow! I think we got it!” and sure enough they announced “1st place for the Most Original Costume has to go to The Flying Doxie!” The crowd erupted in applause; it was such a great feeling to know that again my little man in his paper airplane won. After we were congratulated and more pictures were taken we were handed our prize. A $75 gift card to the mall! I promised Ludwig that we will go check out that new doggie boutique when they open in November.
As I write this I’m getting word of another contest on Halloween day, I think we may have to try one more time. Getting Ludwig out to socialize with other dogs and people is so much fun. He loves meeting new friends and smelling new places. So the experience of these contests will always stand out for me. To be able to have him enjoy himself as well as participate in these contests makes me feel great. Winning cool treats and stuff to spoil my Ludwig is just an added bonus. If your pup enjoys getting dressed up, I recommend trying your hand at a costume contest or two. You never know what a little creativity and a cute dog can accomplish. Ludwig and I wish you the best of luck!
Follow Ludwig and his mom Tanya on Instagram @ludwig_the_doxie!