DARIEN — In a tradition that the town has maintained for 23 years now, the Darien Youth Commission hosted its annual Halloween Window Painting Contest on Saturday morning. The contest was open to middle and high schoolers.

Following Darien Health Department guidelines, all participants were instructed to wear face masks and teams are expected to maintain social distancing. Teams could have as many as five members, but were not required to have five.

Equipment required included assorted art brushes, water (for mixing paints, pails, empty cans or other containers for mixing the paints, masking tape to mark window borders, newspaper to spread below to catch paint, a large box or bag for garbage, and participants were encouraged to wear warm clothing. Paints were distributed at 9:30 a.m. on the morning of the contest.

“This year we have 21 teams,” said Alicia Sillars, youth director, with groups of up to five middle and high school students putting brush to glass on various store windows throughout town.

“Honestly, it’s just a really fun activity,” said Bella Fiordalis, 12, who worked with friends to create a pumpkin patch.

“And it’s great to get outside and painting and have everyone see it,” confirmed her friend Mackenzie Fosdick, 12.

“I love it,” said parent Alex Perlin, who grew up in town. “I just love the creativity and allowing these kids to be creative and the local businesses supporting that.”

“They haven’t had that many opportunities to be this expressive on a grand scale like this,” she said, particularly since pandemic settled in.

Commission members toured around the town, viewing the different projects and getting photos of the artists in action.

“We try to bring all age groups (together) just to show a little artwork and the spirit of the season,” said Emily Hyatt, a member of the youth advisory committee.

“We like that the kids do it,” said John Chetta, co-owner of the Darien Barbershop—one of the businesses taking part in the event.

“We enjoy it. They enjoy it,” he said.

“There’s no one who doesn’t love this event,” Sillar said.