AddamsFest adapts in 2020

Window+art+in+Downtown+Westfield+

Photo by Katilin Bavaro

Window art in Downtown Westfield

Julia McGann and Katherine Hamilton

Although the pandemic has created many obstacles for the town in preparation for AddamsFest, Westfield will still carry the tradition forward with adaptations to suit social-distancing guidelines. 

AddamsFest Chairperson and Creative Director, Councilwoman Dawn Mackey, said, “We firmly believe that life can’t stay still just because we are in the middle of a pandemic. People need safe opportunities to enjoy with their families.”

The biggest changes to AddamsFest this year are the cancelations of Charlie’s Ale Garden and the Masquerade Ball. These two events have been fan-favorites in the past, but due to a spike in COVID-19 cases in July, Mackey said the town decided to pull back from these activities. 

Other popular activities that have been removed this year are the Optimist Club’s Annual Halloween Parade and Downtown Westfield Corporation’s Costume Contest, which will now be held virtually.

Despite these changes, the town has added various things that can be done in compliance with social-distancing regulations. 

There will be four drive-in movies hosted in the South Avenue train station lot on Oct. 23 and 30. Each date will have two showings, one geared towards families and another geared towards a more mature audience. The 6:00 p.m. showing on Oct. 23 will feature The Addams Family (2019) and the 9:00 p.m. show will feature Psycho. The 6:00 p.m. showing on Oct. 30 will feature Hotel Transylvania, and the 10:00 p.m. show will feature The Rocky Horror Picture Show. All early-bird tickets are sold out, but the remaining half of the tickets will be sold on Oct. 18 at 8:00 p.m on the AddamsFest website.

There will also be a virtual pumpkin carving tutorial on Oct. 16 at 5:00 p.m. hosted by the Maniac Pumpkin Carvers of Brooklyn. This event will be complemented by Westfield’s first-ever jack-o-lantern contest being held between Oct. 17-27. 

  Additionally, Mindowaskin Park is going to be transformed into self-guided walking tours that will involve several activities like the Painted Pumpkin Path, an Enchanted Forest, and Quest for the Halloween Fairy Doors. The Enchanted Forest near the playground will not require tickets and can be done on your own time. “I think bringing the park to life is going to be very exciting for the little ones. As a mom I would want my kids to be safe during this time,” said Mackey. 

Tamaques Park will also be decked out in Halloween decor with the introduction of two haunted trails. The Trail of Terror will take place on Oct. 24 and 25 between 7:00-11:00 p.m. This event features a drive-thru story of the Addams Family. Trick or Train will take place on Oct. 25 between 10:00 a.m-2:00 p.m. This experience features a drive-through tour of Westfield’s fictional abandoned and haunted prison. There will be both live-action and digital simulation. Tickets are required for both events and can be found on the AddamsFest website.

There will also be a social media-based drawing contest. “Draw This in Your Style” Addams Family Challenge invites artists to reimagine the iconic Charles Addams cartoon and put their own spin on it. Prizes will be awarded for the creepiest, kookiest, and most creative versions and top submissions will be selected for a virtual art showcase. To participate in the competition, post a photo of the piece on Instagram with the hashtags #DrawThisInYourStyle_Addams and submissions must be in by Oct. 20. 

The town is also introducing the New York State of Mind Zoom lecture, hosted by Kevin Miserocchi, Director of the Tee & Charles Addams Foundation. Miserocchi will be providing insight into the life of his good friend, Charles Addams. He will also be featuring his new book, Addams’ Apple: The New York Cartoons of Charles Addams. Furthermore, viewers will get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of Charles and Tee Addams’ home in the Hamptons also known as “The Swamp,” and the pet cemetery where the couple was married.  

Activities brought back from previous years include the Haunt Your House competition which has a total of 51 participating houses compared to around 25 houses in past years.

The Wicked Windows of Westfield have also made a return, with over 60 businesses participating this year. Mackey said AddamsFest was designed to help energize the business district, so local stores are excited for the opportunity to highlight their stores during such a hard time. 

Mackey said she is most nervous about disappointing the public because of all the new, untested activities. However, she is grateful for the support of the town and the ability to be able to continue the AddamsFest tradition. “We don’t want to look back at this and say it was a lost year.”

See the slideshow below of all of the window art in Downtown Westfield. All photos by Katilin Bavaro.