CHICAGO (WBBM Newsradio) — Chicago’s so-called “dibs” has become tradition anytime it snows, with people using anything from dollhouses to vacuum cleaners to Mary and Joseph statues to save the parking spots they’ve shoveled.

“Oh yeah, it’s amazing what people do,” said Kelly, an Instagram and Facebook user whose page “ChicagoDibs” has a gallery of examples.

Dibs – spotted in Ravenswood
(Photo: Nia Garcia/Chicago Dibs)

Kelly said she started posting the photos in 2011 on Tumblr and it took off.

“It started after the blizzard of 2011,” she said. “My friend started posting photos of her digging out her car to Tumblr. I thought to myself, ‘Wow, I bet a lot of people are going to be doing dibs.’ Sure enough, they were.”

Kelly said she and her friend started taking photos. She also searched Twitter and Flickr and contacted people with pictures to ask for permission to re-post theirs.

Leonardo Dicaprio as a “spot hero.” (Photo: kimstagrampa/Chicago Dibs Instagram)

The Instagram account chicagodibs shows some of the funniest, most creative ways people save their spots, and it’s become an instant hit during the Dibs season.

“A lot of the fun ones are the abandoned baby strollers, like someone forgot their baby, weird toys,” Kelly said. “I saw a Malort box one time, quintessential Chicago. I saw a Leonardo DiCaprio cut out from Inception. People seem to love that one. There’s plenty of religious figures. No one wants to mess with Jesus.”

Kelly said it’s become a fun hobby for her. She drives around, on the lookout for dibs creations but relies heavily on others to send her pictures.

“If I see one when I’m out, I take the photos, but most of the time people send me photos. People just have a really good time with it. I know it’s become a controversial thing, but people love submitting their photos. I just started Instagram and Facebook, but we get more and more likes every day. People are tagging us.”

Love it or hate, it makes for some great photography.

“I have no opinion whatsoever about the practice. It’s just showing what’s out there. Let people make their own decisions about it. But I find people love it. They just have fun with it, and so do I.”

Kelly said the neighborhoods with the most creative dibs seem to be in Bridgeport and Pilsen, on Chicago’s South Side.