Little Silver, NJ – Every year, the town of Little Silver spruces up its streets and public places for the much anticipated annual Halloween parade. Held the Sunday before the actual holiday, Little Silver children preview their Halloween costumes in a parade down Prospect Avenue. They are joined by their moms and dads and groups of neighbors and friends as well as the Fair Haven Fire Department. The Little Silver firehouse then hosts the parade participants for donuts and cider and the awarding of best in parade prizes in varying categories—best family, best block, best pet, etc.
RBR Commercial Art Major Terrill Warrenburg paints a pumpkin patch on Luigi’s Pizza storefront in her hometown of Little Silver. She participated in an annual town-wide holiday storefront painting event in conjunction with area businesses and the Little Silver middle school and regional high school
For over a decade, part of the holiday preparation has involved the decorative painting of business storefronts by the town’s talented teenagers, a tradition initiated by Markham Place Middle School art teacher Barbara Murray. Every year, Mrs. Murray’s eighth graders created festive window designs which adorned the store windows throughout the Halloween season. Three years ago, Mrs. Murray invited Red Bank Regional’s Commercial Art Teacher Claudia O’Connor’s commercial art students to join their younger brothers and sisters at the storefront painting brigade.
Although Mrs. Murray’s retired last year, her successor, Markham Place art teacher Nicole Lawlor, continues the tradition. On Wednesday, October 20, Ms. Lawlor supervised 33 eighth graders, who painted 15 window stations throughout Little Silver’s upper downtown area.
Markham students Whitney De and Sophie Buchannan have yet to draw faces on their corn candy people after their high school counterparts completed their assignments.
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Ms. Lawlor comments, “The store owners have always been so receptive and impressed with the quality of the student’s work.”
At seven of those stations, the Markham students worked side-by-side with the high school students.
Tom and Eileen Caruso, proprietors of the Ye Olde Pie Shoppe pose with the RBR commercial art students (left to right Kelly McAdam, and Emily Stafford of Little Silver and Mary Climes, Avon). The students decorated the Carusos’ storefront window for the Little Silver town-wide holiday celebration. Mrs. Caruso coordinates the endeavor for her Little Silver Business and Professional Association members and RBR’s Visual & Performing Arts Academy.
Claudia O’Connor adds, “Barbara Murray and I thought that the pairing would be great for both schools. The eighth graders would get a sense of what the commercial art students were doing and our own students would be inspired to do their best work, as mentors to the younger students.”
At the Valley National Bank, Whitney Dee and Sophie Buchannan painstakingly painted giant candy corn people between the high school students’ spooky bat, witch’s hat and a mummy-in-the pumpkin.
Sophie comments, “It was good working next to the high school students, they have great technique and know how to blend colors well.”
The program significantly grew two years ago when the fledgling Little Silver Business and Professional Association decided to incorporate businesses that were located at the train station and off the main road. Ye Olde Pie Shoppe owner, Eileen Caruso chairs the event for the Association as a liaison with her Association members and Red Bank Regional High School.
Eileen Caruso states, “We had nine additional businesses decorated through the Association coordination. The store owners absolutely love it. The painting makes the community a lot more vibrant.”
Association President, Lori Saybolt, the Manager of the Women’s Exchange explains, “This is the kind of thing you do in a small town. It makes other people passing through realize just how special our little town is. Here we have the businesses, the middle school and the high school all partnering to celebrate the holiday. I think it sets us apart from other towns.”