The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

CU dogs flaunt spook-tacular costumes at fourth annual Halloween Puppy Parade

Emma Pyatt
Dogs Salsa and Conrad dress up as Wednesday and Pugsley Addams with their owners during the Halloween Puppy Parade on Saturday. They were chosen by the judges and won the first place.

Lions and tigers and dogs, oh my! This Halloween weekend, 25 dogs paraded around Hessel Park in costume for a chance to win prizes from local Champaign-Urbana businesses.

Participants and spectators gathered Saturday morning for the fourth annual Halloween Puppy Parade, hosted by the Lisa Rector Team and Keller Williams Realty.

The Lisa Rector Team highlighted its commitment to family and the community on its website. The team said it is working to develop lifetime relationships that satisfy clients’ real estate needs. To bring the community further together in a period of isolation, the parade started in 2020 as an effort to unite people during the transition out of total lockdown. 

“We wanted to find a way that we could still provide an event for our clients and the community that was going to be safe,” said Lisa Rector, real estate broker at Keller Williams Realty.

Beginning as a small neighborhood gathering, the Halloween Puppy Parade has grown bigger every year. Rector was excited to share this was the paradeʼs first year in Hessel Park due to outgrowing its previous locations. With more traction for the event, there was also an increase in local business presences.

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    “We also have an opportunity for businesses that we work closely with in our community to provide some kind of gift basket so we always have a raffle,” Rector said. “We’ve included a lot of local businesses.”

    The Halloween Puppy Parade is judged by a select group of notable community members every year. This year, three people stepped up to the plate: Whitney Anderson with the Champaign Fire Department, Cory Roberts with 217 Mortgage powered by Flat Branch Home Loans and Madison Jones, 10-year-old judge.

    “I know Lisa Rector because she helped us find our house,” Jones said. “I just think all the dogs are so cute. I was excited to see all of them.”

    Two years ago, Jones’ dog won first place for his Ty Beanie Babies costume. The goldendoodle came in the same costume this year to spectate and cheer Jones on.

    The first place winner of the fourth annual Halloween Puppy Parade was unanimously chosen by judges. Dogs Salsa and Conrad trotted around Hessel Park dressed as Wednesday and Pugsley Addams with their owners, Camila Gavin-Bravo and Miguel Castaneda.

    “Something important about them is that they’re seniors,” Gavin-Bravo said. “We got them from a senior dog rescue called Frosted Faces Foundation.”

    Frosted Faces Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Ramona, California that promises familial and quality veterinary care for senior animals whose lives are in jeopardy, according to its website.

    Gavin-Bravo shared some of the favorite things she has learned about her dogs since adopting them. 

    “Salsa loves rotisserie chicken and Conrad always gets the zoomies when we come home from the park because he’s so excited,” Gavin-Bravo said.

    Salsa, sporting Wednesday Addams’ signature braids and outfit, doesn’t have teeth or a lower jaw. This requires more intention when caring for her, being sure to find food and treats that are soft.

    “I would just tell people to give senior dogs a chance,” Gavin-Bravo said. “There’s so many shelters. They’re really worth it. They’ve enriched our lives so much.” 


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