March 13, 2010

Painting the town spooky


— By . KIM

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Gordon Chibroski

click image to enlarge


Gordon Chibroski

Staff Writer

Ghosts, monsters and other creepy creatures are haunting storefronts in Portland's Deering Center neighborhood, thanks to young artists and Boy Scout Troop 1.

Youngsters and their adults turned out for the annual neighborhood tradition on Sunday, painting Halloween scenes on 45 windows belonging to Central Square businesses.

Six-year-old Baely Ames had painted a jack-o'-lantern in a window of Jet Video and was starting the outlines of the focal point of his painting: a vampire.

''I thought it would be scary for Halloween,'' explained Baely, a first grader from South Portland.

Boy Scout Troop 1 now sponsors the event. Every year, the troop contacts the merchants, signs up participants who donate $1 each and prepares the storefronts by washing windows, creating borders with blue tape and attaching newspaper pages below to catch any dripping paint. Later, the troop will return to clean the windows and will donate any money not used for supplies to the art department of nearby Longfellow School.

Clyde Blackwell, a Troop 1 parent and event organizer, likes bringing a traditional activity to Deering Center.

''It's such a great suburban neighborhood-y place,'' he said.

Halloween window painting has been taking place in Deering Center for at least 16 years. It first got started by Michael Cuddy, a neighborhood resident who had memories of painting windows in Bangor as a child.

''We recognized Deering Center had a special sense of community,'' said Cuddy, who transferred the reins to the Boy Scouts after organizing the event for about a decade.

In front of the Sewing Shop, the efforts of Mary-Kate Earley, 7, were visible in the scene she was creating and in the paint smudged on her forehead and hands. She showed off a green monster with orange horns. Aubrey Greenlaw, 10, had his own Green Monster in his Red Sox-themed window at the Quality Shop.

At Siano's Pizzeria, 7-year-old Johanna Canter was creating as gruesome scene with hands reaching up from a blood-splattered tombstone.

The restaurant's owner, Joe Pompeo, looked on as he opened giant cans of crushed tomatoes.

''It's fun to watch them get fired up,'' he said.

Staff writer Ann S. Kim can be contacted at 791-6383 or at:

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