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The annual Newton MA Halloween Window Painting Contest is coming up on Saturday October 26, 2019.

The event, now in its 19th year, has become a tradition in Newton and provides safe, fun opportunity for Newton area students, as well as their friends and family, to celebrate Halloween and express their artistic side.

The window painting contest is open to Newton kids in Grades 3-8 and registration is only $10.  Each artist is assigned a 20” x 36” space on the outside of a merchants’ window in Newton’s participating villages on which to paint their masterpiece.

The subject matter ranges from jack o’ lanterns, ghosts, goblins, witches, owls, to black cats and more, and each artist has their own particular take on the haunted holiday. Here are a few of the spooktacular creations from years past.

This event is sponsored by Learning Express.


Raindate: October 27, 2019

I. Date, Time, Rain Date

  1. Children may paint their windows on Saturday, October 26 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. All work must be finished by 4:00 p.m.
  2. Cancellation due to inclement weather will be announced on the voicemail at the Cultural Development office (617-796-1540) by Saturday, October 26 at 7:00 a.m. Light rain will NOT necessarily result in cancellation.

II. Paints and Equipment

  1. Each contestant will supply his/her own paints and brushes. Only waterbased tempera paint will be permitted. Contestants may mix their own colors or use ready-mixed colors. Participants receive a 20% discount on these supplies at Learning Express in Newton Centre when mentioning “Halloween Window Painting” at checkout.
  2. NO felt-tip markers, crayons, china markers, wax-based markers, pencils, pens, or glitter will be permitted. NO solid black, navy blue, dark gray, or charcoal gray backgrounds will be permitted.
  3. Suggested equipment:
    • Newspapers for covering store fronts/brickwork/sidewalks/windowsills.
    • ONLY masking or blue painters tape may be used, NO duct tape.
    • Assorted colors of water-based tempera paint ONLY (poster paint will dry transparent);
    • Bon Ami (or Ajax or Comet) to add consistency to paint and help it to adhere to window (1 teaspoon per cup of paint – be careful, too much and paint will flake excessively);
    • Plastic cups for mixing paints;
    • Assorted paintbrushes (ranging from narrow to two-inches wide);
    • One large box for garbage, rags, paper, etc.;
    • Low stepstool (NO ladders);
    • Warm clothes;
    • Large plastic bag to dispose of all waste;
    • A covered coffee can or thermos filled with water for washing brushes;
    • Rags or paper towels to wipe brushes and spills; and,
    • Rocks or weights (to hold down papers on case of windy weather);
    • A ruler or tape measure;
    • Folding chair and blanket for parent/guardian;
    • Camera, for that precious moment.

III. Painting Rules

  1. Painting must have a Halloween theme. Paintings will be judged on: originality,humor, artistic merit and execution.
  2. Painting size is 20″ w x 36″ h [unless window shape requires 36″ w x 20″
    Contestants are responsible for using masking or blue painters tape to form a rectangle in these dimensions with these dimensions BELOW their orange sign. All painting MUST be done within this rectangle.
  3. Prior to beginning painting, contestants MUST cover non-glass areas (such as brickwork, wood moldings, sills, and sidewalks) with newspapers and masking tape. Contestants may NOT paint on sidewalk, brickwork, or any areas other than the assigned window. Failure to obey this rule may result in disqualification.
  4. Contestants may NOT scratch paint off window in order to create a design.
  5. Contestants may seek advice or suggestions from any source or individual, but the actual work must be done by the contestant only. Adults helping children is a cause for disqualification.
  6. Only one contestant is allowed per window. No switching of window assignments allowed.
  7. Children in grades 3 through 6 must be supervised at all times by a parent or other adult.
  8. Parents or other adults are allowed only to help children in taping off the window/brickwork/sidewalk. Parents or other adults are asked to stand 5 feet away from the painting area. Disqualifications will result if parents or other adults assist children in any manner.
  9. All work must be done freehand; no stencils for lettering or painting will be allowed. This includes pre-cut materials used to trace or aid in painting of the window (e.g., cardboard boxes used as straight edges or tracing pictures out of magazines or books).
  10. All contestants are responsible for cleaning the area around their windows and sidewalks and disposing of all trash when their painting is finished.

IV. Judging

  1. The paintings will be judged on Saturday, October 26th and Sunday, October 27th. (Or in the event of rain, Monday, October 28th). Stickers will be posted on the winning windows by 5 p.m. the day of the judging.
  2. Paintings must have a Halloween theme. Paintings will be judged on originality, humor, artistic merit and execution.
  3. For the purpose of judging the windows and awarding prizes, the contestants will be divided into the following groups:
    • Group I: Children who are currently enrolled in the 3rd grade.
    • Group II: Children who are currently enrolled in the 4rd grade.
    • Group III: Children who are currently enrolled in the 5th grade.
    • Group IV: Children who are currently enrolled in the 6th, 7th or 8th grades.
  4. Four (4) prizes–1st, 2nd, 3rd, and Most Comical–will be awarded in each age group. The number of honorable mentions in each group is up to the decisions of the judges.
  5. All judges’ decisions are final.
  6. Award Ceremony and pizza Tuesday, October 29 at 2:45 pm at the Newton Cultural Center at City Hall, 1000 Commonwealth Ave.

V. Painting Pointers

  1. Sketch your painting ahead of time on a piece of paper.
  2. It is often easier to paint the background first, let it dry, and then paint the scene or characters over the background once it has dried.
  3. Mixing Bon Ami (or Ajax or Comet) into tempera paint improves its consistency and helps it adhere to the window. But don’t use a lot of the cleaning powder as too much may cause paint to crack (1 teaspoon per cup of paint).


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