If you spend the days before Halloween scrambling around Party City in search of a costume, then you’ll be downright embarrassed by the Spooky Pooch Parade (October 13), where approximately 300 dogs march through the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe dressed as everything from pumpkins to Disney princesses. The most inspired canines are given awards in such categories as best horticultural interpretation. We asked Ed Curran, CBS-2 meteorologist and reporter (and parade MC), for the lowdown.

What are your judging criteria?

It boils down to originality. There are a lot of cute commercially available costumes, but a thoughtful and homemade one gets points. And just cleverness, the kind of thing that makes you smile or shake your head and say, “Wow, how’d you think of that?”

What’s the most creative costume you’ve seen?

A giant arcade claw machine, like the one you use to get a stuffed animal. Somebody did that and called it Paws and Claws, and inside were all these little stuffed animal prizes alongside the dogs.

What’s your biggest challenge as a judge?

It’s very difficult to pick things like best puppy. How many puppies are not cute?