WESTFIELD, NJ – A crawling hand, the likes of the Addams Family character, “Thing,” rests in the storefront of a spice shop on East Broad Street.
A witch painted on the window of a coffee shop advertises a “haunted house” for sale.
And spectacles are painted on pumpkins in an optician’s storefront window.
Westfield is preparing for AddamsFest, a three-day festival celebrating the work of Charles Addams, a town native, cartoonist and creator of the Addams Family.
The town is calling it “The Wicked Windows of Westfield.” The festival runs Oct. 26 – 28.
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Marty Silverman, manager of Savory Spice Shop on East Broad Street, is among the shopkeepers who partnered with the municipality to have his storefront decked out for the occasion.
The theme for Savory Spice’s storefront: “The mad scientist kitchen,” Silverman said.
Beakers, a container of “bone dust” and other amenities, which Westfield residents and Chatham school district teachers Kiera Spadaro and Eric Hreha set up in his storefront, are on display this month.
“We see people stopping and pointing out and chuckling at, all day long, the little details that they have noticed,” Silverman said. “Just a little while ago a senior dropped into the store and said she loved our windows.”
Silverman’s storefront is among an estimated 50 stores, which volunteers are decorating for the festival.
Originally, 20 shops signed up to have their storefronts decked out, said Councilwoman Dawn Mackey, chairperson for the festival, but by the end of this week, about 70 had said they wanted to participate.
Mackey is partnering the shopkeepers with artists who are volunteering their time for the project.
“I’ve got a list of artists, and I’ve got a list of buildings and that list changes every day,” Mackey said.
The goal is to draw people into the downtown. On Friday, the town placed a replica Addams Family house in the center of a pond in Mindowaskin Park.
Mackey said she wants people to come to Westfield for the Halloween season the way the public goes to New York City’s Fifth Avenue to see shops during the holiday season.
“We’ve got the ‘Thing,’” she said, referring to the Addams Family character that is just a hand. “I love it. I absolutely love it. I’m going to take my nieces downtown Sunday so I can look myself, as a spectator.”
Realtor Jean Marie Morgan is funding window supplies with additional support of Coldwell Banker’s Frank Isoldi, Mackey said.
“We’ve had an incredible response where we’ve gotten Girl Scout troops sports teams and lay artists to step up,” Mackey said.
Learn more about AddamsFest at AddamsFest.com.
Email Matt Kadosh at firstname.lastname@example.org; Follow him on Twitter: @MattKadosh