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Westfield’s queen of Halloween spooks again

220+East+Dudley+Ave.
220 East Dudley Ave.

220 East Dudley Ave.

Photo by Ava Maurillo

Photo by Ava Maurillo

220 East Dudley Ave.

Lauren Greenspan and Ava Maurillo

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With an eight-foot tall skull on its roof and cobwebs stretching from door to door, there is no doubt that 220 East Dudley Ave. is in the Halloween spirit. Bringing in thousands of trick-or-treaters each Halloween, the house is famous in Westfield because of the love that homeowner and decorator extraordinaire, Ms. Darleen Caruana, has for the tradition.

“I do it all by myself,” said Caruana. “People always ask me if I use a professional, but no professional ever sets it up. It’ll be me on the ladder or me with the hammer getting the decorations ready.”

Caruana and her husband moved to Westfield in 1994, but their extreme decorating began long before then. The couple’s Halloween decorating skills began in the halls of their Manhattan apartment, as Caruana has always had a love for the holidays.

Yet, if she has to choose, Halloween is the holiday she loves the most.

“It’s one of my favorite holidays because the whole neighborhood comes out. Family visits, and kids, parents, and grandparents love it,” said Caruana.

For Caruana, decorating serves as a creative outlet and each year she adds different decorations. This year, she dressed the skeletons as characters from the Addams Family in honor of the inaugural AddamsFest this weekend.

The Caruanas have come a long way since their first Halloween when they only had eight trick-or-treaters. Last year alone they distributed 3,000 pieces of candy to trick-or-treaters who lined up on Dudley Avenue and around the corner. Judging by the growing numbers, it is safe to say that the Caruana home will be another hotspot this Halloween.

Once a part of the thousands of trick-or-treaters that eagerly entered 220 Dudley, a number of WHS students can still vividly remember their experiences with the haunted house.

“It was a really fun experience,” said senior Meredith Case. “They even dressed up in costumes and tried to scare you.”

Freshman Jackson Stock added: “[There were decorations] all the way out to the front yard, they had a big coffin outside full of Ring Pops. When I was younger, it looked like a real haunted house so it was a little scary for me.”

The town is excited for this year’s Halloween, but one question still remains: how much longer will Caruana be upholding 220 Dudley’s holiday spirit?

“For as long as I can, I will,” she said. “I’m 65 right now and I have been doing it since 1994.”

Regardless of how long Caruana will continue this tradition, the childhood memories of 220 Dudley Ave. will remain for thousands of Westfield residents.

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