Something for everyone at weekend-long festivities; offerings include family activities, art exhibit, films, beer garden, trunk-or-treat, masquerade ball and more.

Mark your calendars … if you dare. On Oct. 26-28, Westfield, NJ will be transformed by a uniquely exciting and all-together enlightening experience: AddamsFest. This town-wide celebration, honoring Westfield native Charles Addams and his penchant for the macabre, will prove to be the destination event of the season with family-friendly events, lectures, exhibits, and film screenings.

Born in 1912 and raised in Westfield, Charles Addams was one of the country’s premier cartoonists, with his work prominently featured in The New Yorker. His most successful creation, The Addams Family, was inspired by his surroundings in Westfield. The characters that began as illustrations grew into a television series, a live action movie franchise, a Broadway musical, and a highly anticipated Addams Family animated movie (coming in late 2019). What better place to honor Addams’ talent and creativity than the town where he grew up?

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Following Morticia and Gomez’s Masquerade Ball on the evening of Oct. 26, the festival will officially get underway on Oct. 27, with the opening ceremony at the Mindowaskin Park Bandstand at 10:30; this will include remarks from Mayor Brindle and the presentation of the Skeleton Key to the City to a deserving individual. Winners of the Westfield High School’s Charles Addams Cartoon Contest will also be announced.

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Following the ceremony, the festival will be in full swing with the following activities:

  • The Addams Family Fun Zone: 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., Mindowaskin Park

Sponsored by the Westfield Educators Association

  • Gomez’s Lecture Series: Varying times throughout the weekend

The Life of Charles Addams, by Addams Enthusiast Ron MacCloskey

The Lighter Side of Darkness: A conversation about the Addams aesthetic

The Chas Addams Family Workshop, by New Yorker Cartoonist Felipe Galindo

The Chas Addams Tour, hosted by the Westfield Historical Society

  • Morticia’s Movies: Rialto Movie Theater, times vary

Sponsored by Havens Savings Bank, screenings will include The Addams Family and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Advance ticket purchase is required on the AddamsFest website.

  • “Chill” on Quimby and Elm Streets: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Sponsored by Columbia Bank and inspired by Charles Addams’ high school nickname, “Chil,” Quimby and Elm Streets will do just that -- with live music, games of giant chess, street performers, and an unforgettable demonstration by the Maniac Pumpkin Carvers (www.maniacpumpkincarvers.com).

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  • Charlie’s Ale Garden: 5 p.m. – 11 p.m., Quimby and Elm Streets

Sponsored by Harvest Restaurant Group, parent company of Addams Tavern

Friends and neighbors will gather under the stars to enjoy a special Addams Ale as Quimby and Elm Streets are transformed into a gathering place where memories are made as music fills the streets and local restaurants highlight their festival specialties. A limited number of pre-sale tickets will be available on the AddamsFest website on October 18 and October 21 at 8pm, with additional tickets being sold the day of the event on-site, weather permitting.

  • Paranormal Investigations at the Westfield Historical Society’s Reeve House: 6:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m., and 8:30 p.m. Advance ticket purchase is required, and is available on the AddamsFest website.

On Sunday, the fun continues, with more of Morticia’s Movies and Gomez’s Lecture Series throughout the day. In addition, participants are invited to attend the continuation of a Westfield tradition with an AddamsFest twist! The Optimist Club of Westfield’s Annual Halloween Parade and Downtown Westfield Corporation’s Costume Contest will welcome visitors to a new location this year, at the South Avenue train station, beginning at 1:30, and featuring even more prizes and fun. When the parade ends a new Westfield tradition begins: Pugsley’s Trunk or Treat. The South Avenue train station becomes Halloween trick-or-treating central, with prizes distributed for best car decorations. The parade, costume contest and trunk-or-treating are open to anyone, but advance online registration is required for cars participating in the trunk-or-treat candy distribution.

And, for those who just can’t wait that long for the fun to begin, come and see the Charles Addams Art Exhibit, beginning October 22 at the James Ward Mansion, which features 40 handpicked original drawings, cartoons and personal photographs on loan from the Tee & Charles Addams Foundation. See classic Addams Family pieces, works that brim with hints of Addams’ hometown, and drawings that highlight Addams’ love of New York City. And, for the first time, meet Dudley. This life-sized original, mischievously graffitied by Addams during his childhood, spent almost a hundred years on the second floor of a barn on Westfield’s East Dudley Avenue before being removed exclusively for the Charles Addams Exhibit. Tickets are now available online at www.addamsfest.com/art-exhibit, and can also be obtained at the James Ward Mansion during the exhibit’s operating hours. Weekday group tours are available by appointment only 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. by contacting addamsfest@gmail.com. 

For a full schedule of events, complete details, and ticketing information, please visit www.addamsfest.com, and follow along on Facebook (www.facebook.com/AddamsFest) for updates.

AddamsFest is sponsored by Atlantic Health System's Overlook Medical Center, Columbia Bank and the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders. TAPinto Westfield is the official media sponsor of AddamsFest.