By Edie Johnson
Village of Washingtonville - After worrying for 2 days about the rainy weather, the Committee that had worked for months on the expansive Witchingtonville After Dark program heaved a sigh of relief in the early afternoon when the skies cleared and a little sunshine peeked through. By 6 PM Saturday night on 10/21/23 there were crowds and small groups starting to wend their way down Main Street. Teens gathered at corners, by vehiclesl laughing and having fun, started mingling with the rest of the growing mass, and all then wended their way toward the Village Center where crazy costumes started to pop up...here, and there, and then everywhere.
McLaughlin Square in the very middle looked like the cover of a childen's book (more on that later).
The Veterans Park across from the Bagel Shop and Washingtonville Pharmacy looked more like a Park than a Parking Lot. It had the enticing Vortex machine in the back, with the only beautiful and seemingly "good witch" of the night standing by the Vortex entrance and making it very easy for her to usher unsuspecting visitors into the Vortex interior. Her look was so striking that it could be seen from across the parking lot and across the street.
And at the Western entrance .. Wait! Firestorm Roller Derby Skaters? On a course they had just built....and a pretty young woman being chased by a frighteningly ugly wittch, swerving and swaying while crouched as she caught up to her victim. To their side was a strip of food service trucks, including The Mac Factor (macaroni and cheese), Chick Magnet, and Ehmer Smoked Meats, Yum!
Walking along toward the Main Street's 4-corners, a young girl's face lit up as a lime-green-eyed cat head. And by the time you reached the corner (thank heaven there were several police officers directing both people and vehicle traffic), the crowd was sprinkled with monsters that were way too close for comfort.
Then as you approached The Lot, the crowd quadrupled and there were activities and dragons and a girl mounted on a spinning bull (that looked easy enough until after about the 10th circle when the bull went into high speed)...and there were screams (both from the rider and the crowd). And the Mighty Bull went round and round. This rider was excellent. Usually they fling off onto the mat after two of the spins in high gear. The crowd was LOVIN' it!
Behind the spinning bull the music was blaring to everyone's delight, and dragons with their glowing eyes and flaming tongues helped excite the mood while small impromptu dance parties popped up in between rows of lovely craft tables and small canopies.
In the back a forgesmith showed his skill and offered teaching and practice sessions to a group of young boys.
One of the most exciting parts of the event was the 'here and there' youngsters about 9-14 in extreme costumes who had a flare for acting and drama. You never knew when one might jump out at you and scream, or laugh and do something talented and awesome like robotic dance steps.
Even in the madness of the loudest music and crowd moving around, there was a feeling of Community.
For those looking for a more social gahering , sit-down food and beverages, and a smidgeon less frantic, there was the Hook and Ladder Saloon which was packed to the door, and Amada's Kitchen (a favorite eatery with Mexican food), which was also very busy throughout the evening.
And then there was McLaughlin Square. While walking back westward on Main Street, the shops were all open with sidewalk and tent sales including: What a Girl Wants, Trophies & More, F&J Pizza, and Guilty Pleasues Cheescakes and Sweets.
Waitt!!! That shrub is moving!!!
(Peope about to jump and scream)
Dog Man makes a visit to Guilty Pleasures
Then, BAM, Giant Monster at the front of a sweet garden (or so it seemed...until you saw the dead body lying in the flowers, the bizarre pig man in the dog house and scariest of all A PILE OF SHRUBS CRAWLING ACROSS THE ENTRANCE. The moving shrub pile was so authentic that it caused a group of passers by to jump and yelp in fear when it started creeping, and then everyone let out streams of laughter. All in good fun, no little pretty dressed up girls or shrubbery was injured from the Halloween Masqueraders.
Is that a VAMPIRE crossing the street??
Or the Devil
Looks like the Devil
Plenty of Witches were there too. Witches and Witches and Witches
The Village of Washingtonville has had two things at the top of their community activity goals this year. While keeping the essence of the Village as a place with important history, they have heard over and over that residents want to see development of a more encouraging walkable village center that will bring more visitors and shoppers, and especially activities that are inviting to the area teenagers. Well, there it was, and with just the right mix of fear, and excitement and fun, and of course Community.
Events Co-Chair Patrick Maiorino had a special request of extra thanks for Anytime Electric, who through days of work and minute-by-minute monitoring enabled the very challenging electric systems to work just about flawlessly. On the afternoon just before Witchingtonville After Dark they could be seen looking like a line of bright orange soldier bees, checking all of the wiring.