OFFBEAT: Retro creativity star of 2013 Brookfield Zoo costume contest

Phil Potempa's daily entertainment news column
2013-10-22T00:00:00Z OFFBEAT: Retro creativity star of 2013 Brookfield Zoo costume contestBy Philip Potempa, (219) 852-4327

There were some local faces from our readership who were big winners over the weekend for Brookfield Zoo's annual Halloween costume parade and contest.

I served as one of the judges both days and I'll be back this weekend, too.

Brookfield Zoo calls this Boo! at the Zoo and it offers an array of "spook-tacular activities for the whole family."

Prizes this year are courtesy of Radio Flyer and Jamaica Tourist Board, who are among the corporate sponsors for this year's fun, which continues again this weekend with a 1 p.m. parade on both Saturday and Sunday with a costume showcase afterward on the East Mall at 1:30 p.m.

Everyone receives a prize for participating and there are also first- and second-place "big prize" winners in four categories: scariest, best animal theme, most original and best group theme. For judging duties, I was joined by Loyola physicians Dr. Sara Doss and Dr. Kevin Polsley and the hospital's media rep Stasia Thompson on Saturday. And on Sunday, I shared the judging panel duties with Tamara L. O'Shaughnessy, editor of Chicago Parent Magazine, along with Rani Morrison, of Chicago Parent Magazine's parent panel and also Laura Stewart, a features writer for The Daily Herald.

Admission to Brookfield Zoo is $15 for adults and $10.50 for children ages 3-11 and seniors 65 and older. Parking is $10. For further information about Boo! at the Zoo activities, visit or (708) 688-8000.

As for the most popular costumes, there were 215 contestants Saturday and 227 on Sunday, along with 12,000 visitors to the zoo Saturday and more than 17,000 on Sunday.

What I saw the most of during the weekend was zombies, fairytale characters, vampires, pumpkins, Disney princesses and characters from "Toy Story" and The Learning Channel's "Duck Dynasty" show, along with plenty of superheroes of all sorts, while butterflies, peacocks and pigs ruled the animal kingdom of favorites. There were also some retro costumed characters this year, like Little Orphan Annie, Roy Rogers, an abolitionist, Bozo the Clown, a fortune teller and Son of Svengoolie.

Here are the winning photos from Saturday and Sunday's competitions. In Saturday's photo, you'll see a Count Dracula who is Nathan Tollard, 6, of Portage, who attends Jones Elementary School and is the son of Jim and Pam Tollard. Also, the little tyke dressed as a mouse hails from Hammond. On Sunday, Violet Smith, 10, of Hobart and dressed as an owl, took top honors.  As for who's who, in Saturday's photo, in addition to our winning local mouse and Region-raised Count Dracula, you'll see the colonial gown garbed abolitionist and the "mini" Son of Svengoolie and his rubber chicken, as well as a "Wizard of Oz" family, Chucky the vengeful doll, a flying pig and a family dressed as "Despicable Me." In Sunday's photo, in addition to the winning local owl, other top placers were popcorn and a stick of butter, a family dressed as The Simpsons, The Joker, Count Dracula, a raccoon in a garbage can, a fireman, a waste management truck and a recycling bin.

See you for Round Two this weekend at Brookfield Zoo!

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer. He can be reached at or (219) 852-4327.

Copyright 2014 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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