WESTFIELD — If isolation and distancing were an art, the Addams Family would be the masters. This year, their dynamic is on-brand, as the wildly successful AddamsFest returns for a third year — this time, in a pandemic-friendly manner, and once again transforming Westfield with an exciting celebration honoring its own Charles Addams and his penchant for the macabre with a wide variety of events.
Dubbed “Alt AddamsFest” for 2020, the festivities will be shaped by creative approaches to gatherings that provide a safe environment while maintaining the initial spirit of the celebration.
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 hometown surroundings. The characters that began as illustrations grew into a television series, a live-action movie franchise, a Broadway musical and last year’s animated movie. In October, Addams will be posthumously inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame.
“The return of AddamsFest is a wonderful way to provide the community with a celebration and connectedness during a year that has challenged us all,” Mayor Shelley Brindle said. “I’m thrilled that we are able to find innovative ways to have these festivities safely and keep the spirit of AddamsFest in Westfield for its third year.”
Events coming to Westfield this October include:
• Wicked Windows of Westfield. Residents and visitors can support downtown Westfield and South Avenue businesses while taking in this artistic celebration of Halloween and the Addams Family.
• Haunt Your House Contest. Back by popular demand. Community members will tour Westfield to view the entries and vote for their favorites using an online map of participating homes. After spending so much time at home in 2020, the expectations are high! Registration opens Sept. 14.
• Draw This in Your Own Style: The Addams Family. This challenge is a viral trend that emerged over the past few years on social media and art-oriented websites. The challenge begins with a posted piece of artwork; participants are to reinterpret that drawing or character in as many different styles as possible. AddamsFest will invite the public to participate in this contest by drawing one of Charles Addams’ iconic cartoons in their own style and sharing their entries on social media.
• Mystical Mindowaskin. One of Westfield’s most picturesque destinations will be the site of a family-friendly, self-guided stroll that will evolve throughout October and include features such as the Painted Pumpkin Path, showcasing works of art presented by the Westfield Public Arts Commission; Quest for the Halloween Fairy Doors, a hunt to locate these hidden portals on various trees; an enchanted forest; the return of the Addams Family house on Mindowaskin Pond; and a variety of innovative photo stops along the way.
• Maniacs Carving Contest. Join Brooklyn’s beloved Maniac Pumpkin Carvers via Zoom for a hands-on jack-o’-lantern carving tutorial, and enter your creation for a chance to win prizes from local businesses.
• Dudley’s Drive-In, on Fridays, Oct. 23 and 30. The South Avenue train station lot will host four drive-in movie screenings. On Oct. 23 at 6:30 p.m., it’s a Halloween pajama party for families to watch “The Addams Family” movie. On Oct. 23 at 9 p.m., the second shift is for the braver audiences, with a screening of the classic thriller “Psycho.” On Oct. 30 at 7 p.m., there will be a pajama party screening for the whole family of “Hotel Transylvania.” On Oct. 30 at 10 p.m., AddamsFest is calling all Brads and Janets, must be 18 or older; AddamsFest tradition lives on for a late-night screening of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”
• Tamaques Haunted Trail, on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 24 and 25. Cars near and far are summoned to drive through this new and immersive Halloween experience in Tamaques Park. By day, the Trick or Trail will welcome families for a spooky, age-appropriate event, while the distinctly haunted Trail of Terror will be held at night for more mature attendees seeking a frightful drive. Through a combination of live action and digital simulation, this innovative attraction for a pandemic-friendly environment aims to bring the spirit of the season to a variety of age groups.
• “Charles Addams: A New York State of Mind,” on Thursday, Oct. 29. Join a virtual conversation with Kevin Miserocchi, director of the Tee & Charles Addams Foundation, as he regales attendees with tales of the saucy side of his friend, Chas, and introduces the new book featuring illustrations of Addams’ beloved New York City, “Addams’ Apple: The New York Cartoons of Charles Addams.”
“Perhaps now more than ever, the essence of Charles Addams’ creations ring true with their odd, macabre take on everyday life, and themes of home and family at the core,” said Councilwoman Dawn Mackey, AddamsFest chairperson. “We are thrilled to bring back this celebration of one of Westfield’s most notable residents in a newly reimagined way that is reflective of the challenges, silver linings and resiliency of 2020.”
Further details about this year’s lineup, as well as community partner events and additional surprises, will be announced in the coming weeks at www.addamsfest.com. All events are subject to change in accordance with public health guidelines. For more information on sponsorship and volunteer opportunities, email firstname.lastname@example.org.