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Trick and Treat

This North Salem couple has Halloween in the bag



Hosts Renea and Duncan Dayton come out of the attic dressed to thrill.

Photos by Tyler Gustin

Renea and Duncan Dayton are no strangers to entertaining. In addition to welcoming friends and family at home, they regularly host events at Hayfields Café and Garden, which they own and operate. Stop by on a Sunday afternoon and find a workshop on how to build succulent pots or Christmas wreaths. Or come in on a Thursday evening for a rousing night of trivia or to listen to a local band while sipping on a glass of wine. 

The Daytons have interesting although very diverse backgrounds that happened to intersect at just the right time and place. The two met at Lime Rock Park in Lake-ville, where Duncan was racing cars and Renea was the director of marketing. For those who know them, most would probably agree that although Duncan has the horsepower behind him, it’s Renea who has the creative edge.

Prior to moving East, Renea also worked in marketing for the San Antonio Spurs as well as an event planning company who had a lot of sports clients. The company was called Outside the Box and proving herself worthy, what started as an internship while she was at Trinity University turned into a full-time job after she graduated.

“I learned the greatest things at this job—literally how to think outside the box, which is not always one’s natural tendency,” says Renea. “As an employee, the first thing you had to ask yourself was, ‘Why would they call us? What makes our company unique and different from the others?’ It’s about doing things that people haven’t seen or experienced before. It’s a combination of all the little details and unique elements, whether it’s interactive, themed or the setting.” 

So when asked what motivates someone to throw an over-the-top Halloween party Renea replied, “When I first started dating Duncan he had always hosted the traditional Christmas fête. It was large where 150 people were invited—you know, all the things one would expect from a party that size. The checklist approach, but not very personal.”

So, after hosting it together for a few years and fulfilling the social niceties they decided it was time to have a more intimate affair with close friends. “We wanted to have fun—do something different and it just so happened that that year Halloween fell on a Saturday.” 

The venue was the first consideration and on their property there was a horse barn, which sat empty from a former life begging for good use and attention. It had a large, long open aisle perfect as a communal gathering spot and individual stalls that beckoned for a creative mind to fill their space. Renea had a hay day—no pun intended. “This isn’t the kind of party we could throw every year because it would just be too hard to duplicate. Our first one was in 2010 and it was extravagant to say the least. When I proposed it to Duncan this time he agreed as long as I could do it on half the budget.” So Renea turned back to her “outside the box” schooling and took on the ultimate challenge of an event planner—make it great and do it yourself.

This time, instead of hiring professional actors from New York City, they hired high-school drama students. Renea designed everything from the invitations to each of the themed rooms. Unnecessary expenses like space heaters were eliminated and many decorations from the previous party had been saved and were used again. Owning Hayfields was a big help because it meant they weren’t paying retail for food.

The expectations for this past year’s party ran high, but no one was disappointed. The Daytonsthought it was as successful as the first and are already planning their next event. Friends had fun dressing in outrageous and original customs and a vote for the best one was awarded at the end of the evening.

Guests also moved among the stalls (each with its own vignette), either having their portraits taken, testing their vocal cords for the loudest scream, searching for their tombstone or just enjoying eating and drinking. 

“To me it’s all about the décor and ambience. If you have that nailed, no one’s really paying attention to what vintage year your wine came from!” exclaims Renea. “It’s a different take—that special little spin.” Different and special? Yes, we’d agree.

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July 2018

Sunday, July 22, 2018 – Green Expo at 12pm – Performance at 2pm People’s United Bank Presents  Shakespeare on the Green & Green Expo: Hamlet A FREE...

Cost: free

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The Ridgefield Playhouse
80 E Ridge Rd
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Sponsor: The Ridgefield Playhouse
Telephone: 203-438-5795
Contact Name: Vania Saintfery
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Cost: free

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Keeler Library
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Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
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Keeler Library
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Cost: $125

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The Ridgefield Playhouse
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Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

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Bruce Museum
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Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
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Cost: Free

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Sponsor: Keeler Library
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Cost: $19.08

Where:
AMC Danbury 16
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Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

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Bruce Museum
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Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
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Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
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Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
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Contact Name: Nadia Martinez
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Cost: Free

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Cost: $35

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Weston, CT  06883


Sponsor: Red Bee Honey
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Sponsor: Keeler Library
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Cost: $67

Where:
The Ridgefield Playhouse
80 E Ridge Rd
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Sponsor: The Ridgefield Playhouse
Telephone: 203-438-5795
Contact Name: Vania Saintfery
Website »

More information

On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Nadia Martinez
Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Artis pleased to present “Burn Baby Burn”, a group exhibition featuring works by Kathleen Kucka, Dennis...

Cost: Free

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Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
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Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
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Cost: free

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Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

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Cost: $77.50

Where:
The Ridgefield Playhouse
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Sponsor: The Ridgefield Playhouse
Telephone: 203-438-5795
Contact Name: Vania Saintfery
Website »

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Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
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View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
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View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Nadia Martinez
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
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Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
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Cost: free

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Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
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Cost: free

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Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
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Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
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Cost: $39.50

Where:
The Ridgefield Playhouse
80 E Ridge Rd
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Sponsor: The Ridgefield Playhouse
Telephone: 203-438-5795
Contact Name: Vania Saintfery
Website »

More information

On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Nature is on display in “A Reverence For Nature” with pieces that reflect the artists’ admiration of nature or the environment in a multitude of ways. Exhibiting artists include...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Nadia Martinez
Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Artis pleased to present “Burn Baby Burn”, a group exhibition featuring works by Kathleen Kucka, Dennis...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
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Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
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Cost: donation

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44 Upland Road
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Telephone: 860.355.0300
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Looking for some family-friendly activities this summer? Visiting museums is educational and engaging for even young children, but tickets can often be expensive. Luckily, The Friends of Keeler...

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View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
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More information

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Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

More information

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Cost: $77.50 Gold Circle | $67.50 Orchestra | $57.50 Mezzanine & Balcony

Where:
The Ridgefield Playhouse
80 E Ridge Rd
Ridgefield, CT  06879
View map »


Sponsor: The Ridgefield Playhouse
Telephone: 203-438-5795
Contact Name: Vania Saintfery
Website »

More information

On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Nature is on display in “A Reverence For Nature” with pieces that reflect the artists’ admiration of nature or the environment in a multitude of ways. Exhibiting artists include...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Nadia Martinez
Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Artis pleased to present “Burn Baby Burn”, a group exhibition featuring works by Kathleen Kucka, Dennis...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
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View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
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More information

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Where:
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Website »

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Join us Saturday, July 28, 2018 for the 7th Annual Westside Reggae Festival presented by Heart and Soul Entertainment. Featured artists include Culture "with the lead vocals of Kenyatta...

Cost: Advanced: $15- $35; At the gate: $25-$45

Where:
Ives Concert Park
43 Lake Ave Ext
Danbury, CT  06811
View map »


Sponsor: Heart and Soul Entertainment
Telephone: 203-470-1141
Contact Name: Terrance Jack
Website »

More information

Looking for some family-friendly activities this summer? Visiting museums is educational and engaging for even young children, but tickets can often be expensive. Luckily, The Friends of Keeler...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 titicus road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

More information

Blackmore’s Night seamlessly weaves together elements of modern folk, renaissance and progressive rock music in a style that can only be defined as their own, performing sold-out shows all...

Cost: $52.50

Where:
The Ridgefield Playhouse
80 E Ridge Rd
Ridgefield, CT  06879
View map »


Sponsor: The Ridgefield Playhouse
Telephone: 203-438-5795
Contact Name: Vania Saintfery
Website »

More information

On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

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Cost: Three and Five Class Packages (3 times for $33, 5 times for $42)

Where:
Vary with each class
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Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Artis pleased to present “Burn Baby Burn”, a group exhibition featuring works by Kathleen Kucka, Dennis...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

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