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When I decided to spend Halloween in Los Angeles over New York, I had one major motivation. Yes, memories of cold, rainy nights in a damp costume certainly dissuaded me from my East Coast option. But Los Angeles? Los Angeles had Tucker. Game over.

Howl'oween Dog Parade Long Beach Los Angeles

Howl'oween Dog Parade Long Beach Los Angeles

Tucker has always been pretty down for dress up time — or perhaps he’s just learned to humor us after a lifetime of it. Easter? We’ve got a pair of bunny ears on him. Graduation? He needs a cap and gown too! Prom? Don’t worry, I got rush shipping on the cocker spaniel tuxedo I ordered.

So it always really burned at me that we rarely got to spent Halloween together anymore. When I was living in Brooklyn I used to go to the , but I’d always leave wistful that I didn’t have my own little man with me. (Wondering where I find all these events? is my go-to — and no, they are sadly not a sponsor of Meihoukai in Wanderland, at least not anywhere other than my dreams.)

Howl'oween Dog Parade Long Beach Los Angeles

Howl'oween Dog Parade Long Beach Los Angeles

Hence, I was more than willing to plan my Los Angeles weekend around attending the in Long Beach. Tucker was pumped.

We went for a sea creature costume theme, inspired by an old lobster costume Tucker had lying around and a pair of gold mermaid legging I’d recently purchased. I spruced up Tucker’s look by dying the lobster suit a more sophisticated color and adding some painted shell eyes, while a trip to the local craft store whipped me into a frenzy of spray paint, shells, hot glue and inspiration for our human ensembles.

Howl'oween Dog Parade Long Beach Los Angeles

Howl'oween Dog Parade Long Beach Los Angeles

Honestly, I thought we were looking pretty cute, but little did I know we were amateur hour compared to the creative canines that were about to strut their stuff. My friends Lindsay and Asher had joined my dad and I for this fabulous furry day, and so we’d all decided that rather than walk in the parade, we’d instead snag front row seats and enjoy being spectators. Seats are $10 in advance or $5 on the day of, if there are any left. Dog registration runs $10 per dog in advance, $20 on the day, and $35 for Very Important Pooch registration. Best of all? It’s all a fundraiser for a local animal non-profit!

We settled in and got ready to be wowed.

Howl'oween Dog Parade Long Beach Los Angeles

Howl'oween Dog Parade Long Beach Los Angeles

Howl'oween Dog Parade Long Beach Los Angeles

And dang, were we ever. I can’t believe the creativity and energy that went into some of these costumes! It made me so heartwarmed and happy to think of families and friends and fluff-balls all hanging out, dreaming up and bringing to life these lovely creations.

Howl'oween Dog Parade Long Beach Los Angeles

Howl'oween Dog Parade Long Beach Los Angeles

Howl'oween Dog Parade Long Beach Los Angeles

Howl'oween Dog Parade Long Beach Los Angeles

Howl'oween Dog Parade Long Beach Los Angeles

The Frenchie Fries, above, was one of my favorites of the day! I absolutely adored watching Tucker watch the parade — he was so alert and attentive, carefully watching each and every group go by. Nine out of ten he’d just track with his eyes, but then every so often he’d burst up out of his seat to go wag at and sniff a dog walking by in the parade. It was so sweet!

Howl'oween Dog Parade Long Beach Los Angeles 2016

Howl'oween Dog Parade Long Beach Los Angeles 2016

Isn’t it amazing what a fabulous job these women in the purple did dressing their dog up as a chicken? It’s uncanny! (In case you’re reading this on a phone or other tiny device, I’ll just go ahead and explain the joke: it’s not a dog. It’s an actual chicken. That is, for better or for worse, all the information I have.)

Howl'oween Dog Parade Long Beach Los Angeles

Howl'oween Dog Parade Long Beach Los Angeles

Howl'oween Dog Parade Long Beach Los Angeles 2016

Howl'oween Dog Parade Long Beach Los Angeles

Howl'oween Dog Parade Long Beach Los Angeles

It was fun to watch some of the themes emerge. We saw many costumes based on Star Wars, several inspired by the show Stranger Things, and quite a few riffing on the (then) upcoming election. Angelenos are a creative bunch!

Howl'oween Dog Parade Long Beach Los Angeles 2016

Howl'oween Dog Parade Long Beach Los Angeles

Howl'oween Dog Parade Long Beach Los Angeles

Howl'oween Dog Parade Long Beach Los Angeles 2016

Howl'oween Dog Parade Long Beach Los Angeles 2016

Howl'oween Dog Parade Long Beach Los Angeles

Howl'oween Dog Parade Long Beach Los Angeles

I have to give kudos to the organizers of the event, it was awesome to really be able to get a good view of the costumes and the adorable pups! The parade route was long and winding and lined with a row on each side of official seating, and onlookers were welcome to bring their own chairs to set up behind those, or just to stand and watch. There was quite a crowd, and it didn’t look like anyone was straining to see.

With over 400 dressed up dogs, they claim to be the largest Halloween pet event in the world!

Howl'oween Dog Parade Long Beach Los Angeles 2016

Howl'oween Dog Parade Long Beach Los Angeles

Howl'oween Dog Parade Long Beach Los Angeles

I couldn’t help but whoop for the above costume, inspired by the Dia de los Muertos celebration I’d attended the night before! They would have fit right in.

Howl'oween Dog Parade Long Beach Los Angeles 2016

Howl'oween Dog Parade Long Beach Los Angeles 2016

Howl'oween Dog Parade Long Beach Los Angeles 2016

Howl'oween Dog Parade Long Beach Los Angeles

Howl'oween Dog Parade Long Beach Los Angeles

Howl'oween Dog Parade Long Beach Los Angeles 2016

Howl'oween Dog Parade Long Beach Los Angeles 2016

Pupperoni pizza? Sign me up for a slice!

Howl'oween Dog Parade Long Beach Los Angeles 2016

Howl'oween Dog Parade Long Beach Los Angeles 2016

Howl'oween Dog Parade Long Beach Los Angeles 2016

And even more Dia de los Muertos fun — you definitely feel the Latin American influence in Los Angeles.

Howl'oween Dog Parade Long Beach Los Angeles

Howl'oween Dog Parade Long Beach Los Angeles

And how cute is this mother daughter pair? My heart melted!

Howl'oween Dog Parade Long Beach Los Angeles 2016

However, there’s only one group that can take home the ultimate grand prize, which in this case was a year’s supply of dog food. And from the moment we lay eyes on them, we knew who it would be.

Behold, The Boston (Terrier) Tea Party. I salute these fabulous patriots for creating a masterpiece.

Howl'oween Dog Parade Long Beach Los Angeles

Howl'oween Dog Parade Long Beach Los Angeles

Howl'oween Dog Parade Long Beach Los Angeles 2016

Howl'oween Dog Parade Long Beach Los Angeles 2016

However, I think if the Baackes family ran the voting committee there’s no question who would have won. In our hearts, the Cutest Dog Around Competition will always be no contest.

After the parade, we spent an hour or so wandering around the various vendors (pet photographers, pet psychics and organic vegan dog treat makers were all present) and contemplating adopting a rescue puppy, and eventually capped off the day with cheap tacos nearby. While we’d sadly missed the big pumpkin drop due to our late arrival, we definitely feel we made the most of the day otherwise.

Howl'oween Dog Parade Long Beach Los Angeles 2016

Howl'oween Dog Parade Long Beach Los Angeles

Howl'oween Dog Parade Long Beach Los Angeles

And I have to admit, the day started as a total disaster. We were late. We brought the wrong dog collar. The masks I made started to fall apart. My phone was dying. I was running late (as usual) and underestimated how much time I needed to get ready (as usual) and ended up running out the door in a complete frenzy with my hair half crimped, planning to finish it in the car, a plan that was crushed when the mobile outlet wouldn’t turn on.

Thankfully my dad has survived raising four daughters so it’s probably not the first time he’s been stuck in the car with one of us having a mental breakdown over having a half-crimped, half-straight head of hair, having packed incorrectly, and beating ourselves up over why we can’t be on time to anything in our dang lives even things that are important to us and we weren’t even doing anything significant anyway before we left! Ah, family.

But all is well that ends well, right?

Howl'oween Dog Parade Long Beach Los Angeles 2016

Howl'oween Dog Parade Long Beach Los Angeles

Howl'oween Dog Parade Long Beach Los Angeles

The next day was actual Halloween, and the day of the big West Hollywood parade that had inspired me to be in Los Angeles in the first place. All day, I planned to go. But I’d been feeling extremely overwhelmed and frazzled by work, and just having one of those weeks where I felt I was half-assing everything. And so rather than half-ass one more event, I made a last minute call to stay home and have one low-key last night at home with my dad and Tucker before flying back to New York.

We put Tucker in his back-up hot dog costume to bark at Trick or Treaters, and agreed that we’d really had all the Halloween fun we’d needed to over the weekend, anyway.

Howl'oween Dog Parade Long Beach Los Angeles 2016

Howl'oween Dog Parade Long Beach Los Angeles 2016

In short, I think Los Angeles may be my new Halloween home base from here forward! Between Dia de Los Muertos, Howl’oween, and the promise of someday — in a less frazzled state — attending the West Hollywood Parade, I don’t think I could imagine anywhere better to be. My dad and I have already started brainstorming ideas for our next set of costumes.

Any ideas? Leave them in the comments!

Aside from Tucker (duh!), who would you give the Howl’oween grand prize to?

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37 Comments...
  • Kristin @ Camels & Chocolate
    November 14 2016

    Bahahahahaha, Tucker’s face looks like Ella’s would be if I forced her into costume šŸ˜‰

    P.S. Love that your dad played along, too. And seriously, where can I get those leggings so we can be matchers on future dive trips!
    Kristin @ Camels & Chocolate recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      November 14 2016

      I will have to look up the brand! The first pair I ordered on Amazon for super cheap and they were wayyyyy too tight on me, so I gifted them to super petite Lindsay šŸ™‚ The pair I’m wearing were much pricier but are handmade in Hawaii on Oahu and I think will stand the test of time. We shall find out!

  • Rae Rae
    November 14 2016

    OMG! This might just be my favorite thing ever! *Cryfaceemoji

    • Meihoukai
      November 14 2016

      You have NO IDEA how difficult responding to comments is sans emoji! I like your solution *Crylaughfaceemoji

  • Cate
    November 14 2016

    Wow those are some pretty intricate costumes! I’m not sure how I feel about putting animals in a constricting piece of clothing though- I feel those may be reserved just for humans! Tucker looks so cute though, love his casual costume. Looks like a fun time.
    Cate recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      November 14 2016

      From my years of experience of trying to get dogs to wear costumes, I’ve concluded that they only allow it if they’re interested šŸ™‚ If a dog doesn’t want to be wearing a hat, he is just not wearing that hat. They all seemed happy and loved and into it, to me!

  • I can’t even think up costume ideas for myself, let alone my dog! Which is just as well, my pup wouldn’t even let me put a Cubs baseball cap on for 1 quick photo, let alone a full costume!

    I think it’s hilarious that Tucker just happened to have a lobster costume lying around! šŸ˜€
    Leigh | Campfires & Concierges recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      November 14 2016

      Ha, we are lucky Tucker is so down to dress up. I definitely know others that won’t tolerate so much as a handkerchief! And yes… Tucker has a whole costume bin lol!

  • Stephanie Craig
    November 14 2016

    Soooo cute! I went to buy my dog a halloween costume, but couldn’t find any good ones in the pet store in Athens. I’m definitely going full dog Halloween next year!
    Stephanie Craig recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      November 14 2016

      If you plan ahead there are TONS to be found online šŸ™‚ I already ordered one for next year, ha ha!

  • Gemma
    November 14 2016

    OMGOMGOMG this is crazy cute. That mermaid!
    Gemma recently posted..

  • Lisa
    November 14 2016

    Omgosh…this is laugh out loud funny…I needed that! The white poodle in the bubble bath ???.
    Tucker loooks like a stuffed animal and by far the cutest ā¤ļø

    • Meihoukai
      November 14 2016

      That is the comment we get on Tucker all the time — that he looks like a stuffed animal. I love it!

  • Dominique
    November 14 2016

    Haha I love that nonchalant phrase about Tucker still having a lobster costume lying in the house! It seems Tucker has many more Halloween costumes than I do (I have one go-to dress šŸ™‚ ) This looks like such a fun parade!!
    Dominique recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      November 14 2016

      He’s a pretty well costumed dog… we have a whole bin šŸ˜›

  • Tiffany
    November 14 2016

    I love your Tucker posts, he’s so freaking adorable! Thanks for sharing, it made my morning.

    • Meihoukai
      November 18 2016

      Aw, and you made mine for saying so! Thank you Tiffany!

  • becky hutner
    November 15 2016

    Awww! I love your LA Halloween coverage even though it’s making me very very homesick. SOOO many fond memories of celebrating my favourite holiday in this city. But none that include this fabulous pet parade so thank you for sharing! Some really impressive looks here but I’m sorry, I have a soft spot for Tucker zee Lobster xxx

    As an FYI, you mentioned feeling the Latin influence in LA. This makes sense as there’s actually by a small margin a latin majority in LA County and the largest Latino population of any American city. This means taco trucks I can now only dream of, vibrant celebrations like Day of the Dead and cultural institutions like Olivera Street (where you can visit El Pueblo, the home of the first Angelenos) and MOLAA, the excellent Latin American Art Museum.

    • Meihoukai
      November 18 2016

      I love it! I didn’t realize it was the largest Latino population in America — that’s impressive! Another reason to love LA.

  • LC
    November 15 2016

    Oh, I wish somewhere in Oz did Howl’oeen like LA – I’d love to dress up either one of my boys and drag them along. The Shepherd wins for me, although Frenchie Fries is a close second. And Tucker, naturally!
    LC recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      November 18 2016

      I’m always surprised to hear Australians say that Halloween just isn’t a big deal there. I’m like, you guys love to party! Ha ha. Maybe you can start the movement!

      • LC
        November 20 2016

        I’ve been trying, for 13 years now! Fighting the good fight.
        LC recently posted..

  • Emma
    November 15 2016

    This looks so much fun. So many creative costumes, but I think the little mermaid is my favourite, except for Tucker of course! PS I had to share this post from another blog I follow, they dressed up as hot dogs a few years ago with their dog in the same costume as Tucker’s, except Claude has the added advantage of being a sausage dog šŸ™‚ so cute
    Emma recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      November 18 2016

      OMG how adorable! Love the full family effort šŸ˜› Thanks for sharing!

  • Noelle
    November 15 2016

    This is so cool! I love all the effort put into the costumes. I want to do a baby and dog version of this (I just need to get a baby and dog first…) šŸ˜‰
    Noelle recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      November 18 2016

      Haha! Surely there are some you can borrow? šŸ™‚

  • Laura Bronner
    November 15 2016

    This is too damn cute! I have been really aching for a dog lately. Here in Mexico City it’s so hard to avoid places that have puppies for sale. I literally almost adopted a bulldog last week. Alas, I know it would be too selfish to have one with my wandering lifestyle (maybe I want one so bad I’ll finally find somewhere to “live”). You’re so lucky to have a pooch to come home to!
    Laura Bronner recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      November 18 2016

      “I literally almost adopted a bulldog last week.” <-- STORY OF MY LIFE! Ha but considering I haven't yet found a backpack that doubles as a pet crate, I'm out of luck so far.

  • Rebecca
    November 16 2016

    Oh my gosh, princess Leia dog! We need this in the UK. Xx

    • Meihoukai
      November 18 2016

      START IT, BECS! Perhaps this is your calling šŸ˜›

  • Maria del mar
    November 16 2016

    Yep, dads with daughters are used to our lateness and breakdowns etc. They are the best man. Your doggy is so cute.

    • Meihoukai
      November 18 2016

      Thanks Maria šŸ™‚ He’s my pride and joy!

  • Justine
    November 16 2016

    So. Much. Cuteness. I can’t even handle it. Tucker is such an amazing sport. When I even attempt to put reindeer antlers on my cat he freaks out šŸ˜‰
    Justine recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      November 18 2016

      Ha, I know… I think we broke him in early dressing him up since he was a wee puppy šŸ˜› Such a good little man!

  • Jen
    November 16 2016

    Definitely the Boston Terrier tea party… I’ll have to try that with mine sometime.

    • Meihoukai
      November 18 2016

      So clever right?! I nearly fainted when I saw them.