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Puss 'n Boots Ball

Zombies, aristocrats and Goth cows with spiked collars thundered into the Historic Ashland Armory Oct. 20 to participate in the 21st Annual Puss 'n Boots Costume Ball and Auction to benefit the Jackson County Animal Care and Control Center in Phoenix.

Event organizers with the Friends of the Animal Shelter raised about $24,000 that will help pay for reduced adoption fees, medical care and other programs for homeless pets at the county shelter.

Many of the 245 partygoers wore animal-themed costumes, from tinfoil cats to blue-beaked peacocks. Others came to scare with torn, blood-stained flannel shirts or other gasp-inducing duds.

There was an inflated-headed killer clown, battered Evel Knievel Motorcycle Institute instructor and the Joker with a menacing grin.

Animal shelter staff came as "Dawn of the Dead"-inspired gruesome characters or those nicknamed Frankenshelter or Helter Shelter.

Dancing to the Lincoln Project were Cleopatra, cowboys and faux doctors. Four people appeared as earth (in all green), wind (white), fire (red) and air (blue). Peggy Moore, who has been volunteering for FOTAS since 1999, wore her traditional Underdog costume.

Silky ghosts hung in surprise places throughout the spacious room. Tables had centerpieces of hand-painted pumpkins that were preyed upon by black ravens.

Volunteers with Spay and Neuter Your Pet, a spay and neuter incentive program, were dressed as witches and handled the cauldrons across the bar. Wine was donated by Philanthropie Wine and Grizzly Peak Winery, both based in Ashland.

Dinner was created by Quality Catering from Café Dejeuner in Medford and cupcakes by Larry's Cakes of Ashland were topped with photos of dogs and cats. "I hope the photo was edible," says organizer Eliza Kauder, "because I ate one."

Kauder and her husband, Brad, played off the pronunciation of their last name by coming as the "Cowders," two cows suffering from "bad" cow disease with spiky silver hair and pierced udders. Now, that's scary.

For more information: www.fotas.org.

— Janet Eastman