Westfield’s ‘AddamsFest’ Is Monthlong Celebration of Halloween

Editor’s note: the Halloween festivities on Saturday, October 27 will now be held at a New Location: South Avenue Train Station Parking Lot.

Westfield will host its inaugural ‘AddamsFest‘ this October in honor of one of its most creative residents: Charles Addams. Born in Westfield in 1912, Addams was one of America’s greatest cartoonists. His most well-known creation, The Addams Family, grew from an assortment of cartoons into a celebrated televisions series, a movie franchise, a Broadway musical, and, coming in 2019, a highly anticipated animated motion picture.

Westfield’s AddamsFest celebrates this prolific talent and the hometown that inspired those creepy and kooky, mysterious and spooky (and all together ooky) characters.

Provided by the Town of Westfield, the following is a list of ‘AddamsFest’ events:

The Addams Family House on Mindowaskin Lake
Beginning October 5
385 East Broad Street
While following Lurch’s purple footprints throughout the park be sure to take a photo of the floating Addams Family house on Mindowaskin Lake. Playing off a beloved Westfield tradition, this Halloween house is a nod to the replica of the Presbyterian Church that signals the holiday season in December.

The Wicked Windows of Westfield
Beginning October 5
Downtown Westfield
Destined to become an exciting new tradition that will delight residents and attract visitors from neighboring towns, The Wicked Windows of Westfield will transform Downtown Westfield’s storefronts into delightful Halloween displays. Look for some of Charles Addams’ favorite characters peering out from the windows! And don’t forget to check out the festive murals on our businesses along South Avenue.

Haunt Your House
Beginning October 12
Get in the spirit of the season with Westfield’s first annual “Haunt your House” Halloween house decorating contest. Community members will tour the decorations and vote for their favorites using an online map of participating homes. Which home will be the spookiest? The kookiest or the ookiest? Maybe it will be yours!

Westfield High School Charles Addams Cartoon Contest Exhibit
Westfield Town Hall 425 East Broad Street &
Westfield Memorial Library, 550 East Broad Street
Celebrating Charles Addams’ success as a Westfield High School alumnus, current WHS students will create an “Addamseque” cartoon inspired by a variety of themes, including his 1929 WHS Weathervane yearbook entry, which read, “He much amazed us.” And he still does! Judges include Esquire Magazine Cartoon Editor Bob Mankoff and representatives from the New Yorker and University of Pennsylvania School of Design (Addams’ alma mater). Winners will be chosen during the festival and participants’ work will be displayed online and at the Westfield Memorial Library and Town Hall.

Charles Addams Art Exhibit
October 22 – October 30
James Ward Mansion
169 East Broad Street
The crown jewel of the AddamsFest is sure to be the Charles Addams Art Exhibit, graciously on loan to the Town of Westfield from the collection of the Tee & Charles Addams Foundation. Featuring 40 handpicked original drawings, cartoons and personal photographs, the collection features classic Addams Family pieces while brimming with hints of Westfield and highlighting Addams’ love of New York City. The exhibit will feature the unveiling of the newly emancipated Charles Addams skeleton artwork. Affectionately named “Dudley,” this life-size Addams original, drawn during his Westfield childhood, spent almost a hundred years on the second floor of a barn on East Dudley Avenue. Current homeowners Jennifer and Samuel Khichi are lending it on a long-term basis to the Town, generously sharing this valuable piece of history with the community.

Morticia & Gomez’s Masquerade Ball
Friday, October 26, 8 PM
James Ward Mansion
169 East Broad Street
The weekend’s festivities kick off in high style when Morticia & Gomez Addams host their First Annual Masquerade Ball. After walking the purple carpet, guests will feast on Charles Addams-inspired gourmet fare served Goth style, sip smoldering libations and dance the night away in the incomparable James Ward Mansion.

AddamsFest Opening Ceremony
Mindowaskin Park Bandstand
385 East Broad Street
Saturday, October 27, 10:30 AM
The official kick off ceremony will take place at the Bandstand with welcoming 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 be announced.

The Addams Family Fun Zone
Saturday, October 27, 11 AM – 2 PM
Mindowaskin Park
385 East Broad Street
Sponsored by the Westfield Educators Association
Families will get ooky and spooky in Mindowaskin Park as they participate in a variety of activities including face painting, magicians, character visits and a Monster Mash Dance party they will never forget.

Gomez’s Lecture Series
Varying times throughout the weekend
Chas Addams was as interesting a character as any that appeared in his cartoons. Get to know the man behind the drawings, what inspired him, how he lived as a boy growing up in Westfield and dig deeper into the hidden messages behind his work. Events include:

The Life of Charles Addams by Addams Enthusiast, Ron MacCloskey
Saturday, October 27 at 11:30 AM
Westfield Memorial Library, 550 East Broad Street
A lifetime fan of Addams, Ron MacCloskey has spent his life bringing the world of Charles Addams to light, including founding the Westfield Foundation’s Charles Addams Scholarship, which supports students majoring in art. Ron also had the Westfield childhood home of Addams declared a historic landmark. During the lecture, Ron will discuss the life of Charles Addams, including how his Addams Family characters evolved from a cartoon, to a TV show, and then a film and Broadway Musical a musical.

The Lighter Side of Darkness: a conversation about the Addams aesthetic
Saturday, October 27
Location and Time TBD
Charles Addams excelled at helping us to laugh at our fears. Join Esquire Magazine Cartoon Editor Bob Mankoff and University of Pennsylvania School of Design Senior Lecturer David Comberg for a panel discussion about Addams and how we all use humor to shine a light into the dark corners of our minds.

The Chas Addams Workshop by New Yorker Cartoonist Felipe Galindo
Sunday, October 28 at 11:00 AM
Westfield Memorial Library, 550 East Broad Street
This family-oriented workshop will talk about Chas Addams from a cartoonist’s point of view. New Yorker cartoonist Felipe Galindo (aka Feggo) will share stories and anecdotes about Westfield’s famous artist, how Addams influenced other cartoonists worldwide, and why his peculiar sense of humor made his characters a household name. Feggo will also lead a hands-on cartoon activity showing the audience how to draw their own cartoons.

The Chas Addams Tour, hosted by the Westfield Historical Society
A walking tour of Addams’ childhood home, school and the homes and locations that inspired his work guided by the Westfield Historical Society
Saturday, October 27, TIME TBD

Morticia’s Movies
Rialto Movie Theater
250 East Broad Street
Sponsored by Havens Savings Bank
Featured in several of Addams’ cartoons, the Rialto is an essential component to both his hometown experience as well as AddamsFest. Beginning with a “Movie with the Mayor,” Mayor Shelley Brindle will join a new generation of fans at an early showing of The Addams Family movie on Saturday afternoon. Later in the evening, The Rialto will bring another Halloween favorite to Westfield with two showings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Sure to draw audiences from neighboring towns, as well as Brad and Janet Fans locally, this just might prove to be a new Westfield tradition. Morticia’s Movies will once again feature The Addams Family movie on Sunday.

The Addams Family AM The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Various times October 27 at 10:00 PM and 12:00 AM

“Chill” on Quimby and Elm Streets
Saturday, October 27, 11 AM – 5 PM
Sponsored by Columbia Bank
Inspired by Charles Addams’ high school nickname, “Chil,” Quimby and Elm Street will do just that. Come for a relaxing outdoor respite from the weekend’s activities, listen to live music, play a game of giant chess, enjoy the street performers, witness an incredible pumpkin carving demonstration and dine al fresco on local fare from Westfield’s restaurants.

Charlie’s Ale Garden
Saturday October 27, 5 – 11 PM
Quimby and Elm Streets
Sponsored by Harvest Restaurant Group
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.

Paranormal Investigations at the Reeve House
The Historic Reeve House
314 Mountain Avenue
Saturday, October 27
Three events: 6:30 PM, 7:30 PM, and 8:30 PM. Arrive 15 minutes before start for check-in
Are there ghosts in Westfield? The 1870 Historic Reeve House was occupied for more than 100 years before the Reeve brothers donated it to the Westfield Historical Society in 1985. Are any of their spirits still residing there? Walk through the house with New Jersey Paranormal experts to find out!

The Optimist Club of Westfield’s Annual Halloween Parade and Costume Contest
Sunday, October 28
Festivities begin at 1:30
Parade begins at 2:00
South Avenue Train Station Parking Lot
327 South Avenue
Hosted by The Optimist Club of Westfield and the Downtown Westfield Corporation
A timeless Westfield tradition with an AddamsFest twist! The Westfield Optimist Club’s Halloween Parade draws thousands of participants annually. This year the parade will welcome visitors to the South Side of town and feature even more prizes and fun! The Downtown Westfield Corporation will distribute prizes for a variety of Halloween and Charles Addams-themed categories.

Pugsley’s Trunk or Treat
Sunday, October 28
2:30 – 4:00
South Avenue Train Station Parking Lot
327 South Avenue
The party is just getting started when the Halloween Parade ends. The South Avenue train station becomes Halloween trick or treating central with the NEW Pugsley’s Trunk or Treat. Prizes will be distributed for best car decorations and an allergy-free zone will be available for trick or treaters with allergies.