Tiny monsters began creeping into Uptown Park Thursday evening. By 5:30 p.m., the whole park was riddled with witches, wizards, stormtroopers and even ninjas. They came in search for one thing and one thing only: candy.
Thanks to Oxford Parks & Recreation, the park was filled with delicious treats. As a part of their annual Uptown trick-or-treat event, they came prepared for the invasion with games set up for the monsters. They rolled dice to get either a trick or treat, putt-putted into pumpkins and threw balls at cans to knock them all over.
“We hold this event every year to give families the opportunity to enjoy the holiday together,” said program coordinator Emily Sibcy. “I came up with all the games for the kids to play to give them a fun way to get candy.”
The kids spent an hour competing to win as much candy as they possibly could, while Halloween music played in the background. A magician wandered around the park amazing the mortals with his tricks, and a flame thrower all the way from the Cincinnati Circus bewildered them.
After the monsters raided the park of all of its candy, their four-legged companions competed in the annual Dog Costume Contest.
Oxford native Karen Sizemore has been competing in the costume contest for years. A Talawanda and Miami graduate, Sizemore and her two dogs were the “We Can Do it! World War II” group. Sizemore dressed as Rosie the Riveter, while her German shepherds, Astro and Daisy, were a tank and a jet plane. Complete with hats and all, the two dogs were incredibly well-behaved, and even posed for the photographs. According to Sizemore, competing in the contest is something her and her family have always enjoyed.
“I love to go all out on making their costumes,” said Sizemore.
Another Oxford local, Michael Schultz, competed with his two dogs — Bud, the rat terrier, and Izzy, the Yorkie — for the second time. With Schultz dressed as Ryder and Bud and Izzy as Marshall and Skye, they were the trio from the popular kids show, “Paw Patrol.”
Twenty-four dogs competed in the event this year. Some of the dogs included a Husky dressed as a banana split, a King Charles and a Cavalier dressed as Nemo and Dory and a grey shih tzu decorated with gray spots as “50 Shades of Grey.”
The three judges — Steve Dana from the City of Oxford, Darlene Hacker of Parks & Rec, and Jennifer Marston from the Animal Care Clinic — judged the dogs costumes by four categories: effort, theme, creativity and overall appeal.
After all the dogs had been presented by their owners, the judges took time to deliberate on the winner.
The prizes were three baskets filled with dog treats and toys, one donated by Oxford Veterinary Hospital, and the other two by Oxford Parks & Rec. First prize went to Karen Sizemore’s dogs Astro and Daisy for their World War II costumes, and they were given first choice at which basket they’d like to take home. Second place went to Little Foot, the shih tzu dressed as “50 Shades of Gray,” and third place went to Steve, the rat terrier dressed as a UPS driver.
With the conclusion of the Dog Costume Contest, the families retrieved their companions and retreated back to their homes, not to be seen again until next year’s event.