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The City of Wilsonville will host the contest at the Memorial Park Dog Park Sept. 19

PMG FILE PHOTO - City of Wilsonville Recreation Coordinator Erica Behler's  3-year-old hound mix Tahlia will be one of the dogs to don a costume at the upcoming Howl-A-Ween event.

This time, Halloween isn't just for candy-seeking children and families who like to build homemade haunted houses or blanket their front yard with pumpkins. Through an upcoming City of Wilsonville Parks and Recreation event, dogs can get in on the fun too.

The City is hosting the inaugural Howl-A-Ween event from 5-7 p.m.Thursday, Sept. 19, at the Memorial Park Dog Park. That evening, dog owners will dress up their feline friends in costumes and even wear costumes themselves if they are feeling up to it.

"I wanted to offer it (the event) because we offer so many programs for youth, adults and seniors and we've never offered anything for dogs and dog owners," City of Wilsonville Recreation Coordinator Erica Behler said. "Our dog park has always been super popular and we have a great community at the dog park and I just wanted to put something together for that group."

City of Wilsonville staff will judge the costumes and name winners in categories such as "Most Creative," given to the dog with the most creative costume, "The Goodest Boy and Girl," given to the dog who is the most well behaved and can perform tricks, and "Best Couple Costume," given to the dog owner and dog with the best costume combination. Behler said the contest will occur at about 6:30 and that the City chose to hold the contest in mid-September rather than closer to Halloween so that there will still be sunlight in the early evening.

Behler and her hound are planning to go as a chef and a lobster.

"I really think the dog-owner pairing is going to be pretty popular," Behler said.

There will also be dog-themed vendors at the event such as Nature's Pet, which offers dog treats and other products, and Kambry Lane Photography, which specializes in dog portraits. A prize basket from Nature's Pet and two free pet portrait sessions from Kambry Lane Photography will be raffled at the event.

The Parks and Rec department will also raise awareness about the new dog park in Memorial Park, which will be located next to the community garden and will be completed late this year or early next year — as well as the bicycle pump track that will be placed where the current dog park resides and likely won't be finished for a couple years, according to Behler.

Behler would like to see around 30 dogs participate in the contest and is counting on the dog-walking community at the dog park to come in droves.

"Dog owners should come to this event because it's new and it's a good way to not only socialize your dog but meet other dog owners in the area. And just have fun. It's something different and fun," she said.


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