October has quickly come and gone, but not without a proper Halloween celebration from the New Paltz community. Each year on Oct. 31, the entire town transforms into a spooky village as the annual Halloween parade makes its path down Main Street.
Locals gather in their best costumes while admiring the carefully decorated storefronts along the streets. Amidst the celebration are a few local traditions familiar to the town of New Paltz.
The Bakery’s “Night of 100 Pumpkins” on North Front Street welcomes decorated pumpkin submissions each year on Oct. 30 and 31. Participants receive a gingerbread cookie just for submitting, but have the opportunity to take home some stellar prizes. Those ranked in 1st, 2nd or 3rd place receive gift certificates to local restaurants and experiences.
This year’s pumpkin submissions were extremely creative, ranging from beautiful hand-painted Russian nesting dolls to gory horror scenes.
“The community was really excited for the event, as it had been moved to a different location for the past few years because of the pandemic,” Bakery employee Ophelia Lovizio remarked. “Everyone was super excited and I heard so many anecdotes from customers about what this event means to them. The turnout was incredible during the parade, as the owner had the parade walk right past the pumpkins to ensure they got their time in the spotlight.”
This competition has reoccured for over 30 years now, and yet the submissions are just as creative each year. The competition had some confusion last year, as it was hosted at Historic Huguenot Street, but it has finally returned to where it belongs on North Front Street. A consistent crowd existed at The Bakery for the remainder of the evening as patrons gathered to admire the unique creations.
“My favorite moment of the event was when this couple came in dressed as the Cookie Monster and a cookie. They ordered two chocolate chip cookies and I told them I would feel wrong charging the cookie monster for a cookie, so I gave it to them for a discounted price,” Lovizio gushed.
The contest featured three reputable judges this year, including David Santer, former Bakery owner and founder of The Bakery, Deb Abrams, a local artist who’s won the competition in years prior and Amelia Pape, a former manager and SUNY New Paltz alumn.
“The event was a celebration and success. I felt very grateful to experience everyone having a wonderful time and seeing the creativity this town has,” manager at The Bakery, Rianna DeSomma, remarked. “It was truly special seeing The Bakery as a community staple and everyone reminisced on the good times this bakery has offered them. It was endearing to see the children so excited to look at the pumpkins and decorations knowing that this will be a key memory for them.”
Be sure to check out The Bakery, as they have a slew of notable events throughout the year, and get your ideas ready for next year’s competition.