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For last year's Howl-O-Ween Pet Parade, Lauronda Teeple thought it would be fun to dress up as a scary poem from childhood.

"I was Little Miss Muffet, and my dog Ollie was 'the spider,'" she said. "And my parents, Ron and Audrey Morrow, were curds and whey."

The get-up was good enough for her to get away with the top prize in the annual Howl-O-Ween competition, held this year at 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29 at Town Square in Black Mountain. A graphic designer, she designed and made the costumes for her and her dog. She won the grand prize in 2014 as well, dressing her family up as characters in "Alice in Wonderland."

"It was great fun," she said.

The 14th annual Howl-o-ween Pet Parade is a scream, drawing costumed people and pets from Black Mountain and surrounding communities to laugh, chat and show off their pooches dressed in some of the cutest costumes you will ever see.

It doesn't cost anything to dress up and participate in the parade (or to watch, of course). But if you want to compete for the coveted grand prize, it costs $5 to enter your pet and $8 to enter your pet and yourself. The grand prize winner receives cash. Registration for contests is from 1-2:30 p.m.

Gene and Bobbie Carnell have participated before, and have won with their dog Scooter, a talented Fox terrier and grand prize winner that has retired from competition.

“The parade is a time to show off our dog and to talk to friends with their dogs,” Gene Carnell said.

Scooter was the grand dame of the parade last year, leading people and pets in her custom-made fire truck. The Carnells were Scooter’s escorts, dressed as Uncle Sam and Aunt Samanthia. The trio appear at numerous local functions throughout the year.

Scooter's grand prize came in 2013, when the Carnells won the People and Pets category.

“It is all great fun,” Bobbie Carnell, who makes Scooter’s costumes not only for the pet parade but for daily wear.

“She is a short-hair dog and gets cold easily,” Bobbie said.  “Also, she is like a child to us and we love spoiling her."

She won't compete in this year's pet parade, but she'll be there, escorted by Uncle Sam and Aunt Samantha. Now 11, Scooter is slowing down a bit. "But she still loves the limelight," Bobbie said.

Ollie, Teeple's 8-year-old German Shorthair Pointer "rescue" dog loves the attention as well.

"The spider costume for Ollie was a group effort," said Teeple, who loves sewing and knitting and has created designs for theater and film. "We probably spent about 10 hours sewing and fabricating the body. We engineered the harness for the spider legs so they would all wiggle when Ollie walked and kept him comfortable in costume. He really seems to love wearing costumes and is a great sport."

Teeple

"The pet parade is such a fun opportunity for the families that participate, the community itself, and folks that are visiting.  All of them end up getting to experience such an entertaining bunch of kids and pets that spill into the downtown area for the day.  All of my friends and family have made it a tradition to come and walk and play with us downtown during the event.  The pet parade is also a fantastic fundraising event for local pet charities."

For more, call Bone-A-Fide Pet Boutique at 669-0706. Organizers will accept donations of dog/cat food, blankets, sheets and towels at registration. A portion of registration fees will go to local pet charities.

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