Halloween is next Friday, and the annual celebration of ghosts and goblins, candy and consumerism, and sexy costumes and creativity is in full, pumpkin-spiced swing. But the fun of those things shouldn’t be restricted exclusively to humans who want to dress up like devils or superheroes or whatever: It should also be extended to humans who want to force their pets to dress up like those things for reasons that the poor pups are incapable of comprehending. 

Celebrating not just the spoooooky holiday but also the fact that it’s adorable to make a dog wear a costume, Austin Dog Rescue is holding its “Howl-O-Ween” costume contest to raise money for its pet foster and adoption services. The way it works is devilish in its simplicity: They have 18 dogs in costumes listed on their website, and to vote for your favorite, you just make a donation to the dog rescue under that dog’s name. They keep a tally of each dog’s total, letting you know who’s winning at the moment. 

Right now, first place is held by Evie, an all-black pit bull, who dresses in pink like a pretty, pretty princess, complete with jewelry, tiara, and tutu. She’s got $86.32 worth of votes at press time, but it’s hardly a runaway: Violet, a small brown dog with decorative white spots on her fur to complete her costume as a fawn, is in close second place with $76.54, while Clemmy, a devil-dressed pit bull, and floppy-eared Freddy, as a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, round out the top four in the $60 range. 

Unlike the “one person, one vote” principle that guides political elections, the campaign to crown a king or queen of the pet rescue’s Halloween costume contest is overtly and unabashedly based on money. That means that today’s last-place dog, with sufficient financial commitment, can ascend to the top of the contest tomorrow. If you love Jockey, the terrier adorned with his namesake, you can catapult him to first place by making a big donation. If you’re cynical, you could probably say that it’s almost identical to how actual politics work, just more honest about it. 

In any case, all of this is for a good cause, and dogs dressed up like lobsters and puppy-sized hot dogs and such are adorable—you could do a lot worse for a break at the end of the week, and pet rescues, whether in Austin or in any other community, certainly provide a service that’s worth supporting.