Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade

When people find out how long Justin and I have been married, many of them inevitably ask if we have kids.  We do not.  I don’t bemoan that circumstance except for once a year: at Halloween.  Because of this.  I mean, come on.

#GOALS, right?  I would love to dress Chloe up as sushi, but she would have none of it.

Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade - Mad Hatters NYCSo the next best thing would be to attend the annual Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade.  And we do.  Every year.

There’s so much effort and ingenuity that goes into the Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade, which has continued to grow exponentially every year.  There are always au courant costumes: while there were several pizza rats last year, this year there were several Donald Trumps and Kenneth Bones, as well as a Basket of Adorables (vs. Deplorables).  There are many fan-based costumes: Game of Thrones has had a strong showing in the last few years, Stranger Things was a predictable newcomer, Harry Potter was still present, and I was happy to discover a Neverending Story one this year.  And there are incredible props, including a USPS truck (a play on the dog-mailman relationship), a Good Humor ice cream push cart and a candy shop.

Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade - Mad Hatters NYCTompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade - Mad Hatters NYCTompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade - Mad Hatters NYCTompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade - Mad Hatters NYCTompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade - Mad Hatters NYCDog owners are a friendly and supportive community, but competitors also have an incentive to put their best paw, um, foot forward.  There are thousands of prizes offered, from Broadway tickets to gift cards.  But the event also helps fund the park and promote pet rescue and adoption.

Aside from the sheer amount of creativity, the Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade is the definition of a feel-good event.  Visitors are squealing, participants are posing for pictures, and all the dogs are getting tons of love… and treats.  It’s a great way to disappear into the now.  

Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade - Mad Hatters NYC
Snoopy, Woodstock, Peppermint Patty and Linus
Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade - Mad Hatters NYC
The Hamilton Crew
Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade - Mad Hatters NYC
Neverending Story!
Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade - Mad Hatters NYC
Yes, that’s a man dressed like a dog interviewing a dog dressed as a puffer fish
Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade - Mad Hatters NYC
Proof that 90s flannel is back

I couldn’t possibly capture all the wonderful and imaginative costumes here, so if you’d like to continue to ogle all the dressed-up dogs from the day, head over to Gothamist or spend two hours watching NPR’s live feed.

Tompkins Square Park

Pair it with:

A sandwich from Harry & Ida’s

Harry & Ida's - Mad Hatters NYCHarry & Ida's - Mad Hatters NYCSiblings Julie and Will Horowitz pleased their Hester Street Fair fans when they finally opened Harry and Ida’s Meat and Supply Company in 2015.  It’s set up like a general store that can only be described as Deadwood-meets-Brooklyn.  They sell a hodgepodge of curated items like pigs ears and wild mushrooms from local producers, but they also have a small menu of hot and cold sandwiches served from the counter.  The Pop’s Pastrami Sandwich is its signature item, named for their great grandfather, and it’s universally loved.  The meat is smoked on-site then hand-cut and served on a hero roll from Pain D’Avignon. The tender, perfectly marbled meat comes with pickled cucumbers and fronds of fresh dill.  There’s a small selection of additional sandwiches, some of which are available as gluten-free salads, but you can’t go wrong with the pastrami.

189 Ave A

Mon-Sat 11am – 10pm
Sun 11am – 9pm

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– L.

I’m done – take me back to the top!

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Mad Hatters NYCRashmi and ChalukyaRebeccaMMary Lane @NewYorkCliche Recent comment authors
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Mary Lane @NewYorkCliche

Sorry I missed you, I go every year too, it’s the best! Ha, we easily could’ve been standing next to each other snapping our cameras: I pretty much had puppy tunnel vision! Our post definitely feature some of the same faves but I think I’ll edit my post to link yours- most of the coverage is just pictures and facts, I love how you make every blog anecdotal too!


I totally could not make this event this weekend, even though I wanted to. Thanks for the photos! They definitely made my day and I also want to dress my cat up 🙂


I was there, too! It was so much fun to look around and watch all the people. So much creativity!

Rashmi and Chalukya

Wondering how we never heard of this before. We love dogs and this would definitely be our kind of event.. Harry Potter and Game of Thrones would be fun to watch.