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COMFORT ZONE

Rainbows in windows brighten a Somerville neighborhood

And spotting them gives parents and young children a fun outdoor activity

Katie Brillantes and her three children created rainbows to display from the windows of their Prospect Hill home.
Katie Brillantes and her three children created rainbows to display from the windows of their Prospect Hill home.Katie Brillantes

Last week, rainbows started popping up in the windows of houses across Somerville’s Prospect Hill. Made of different materials -- paper, yarn, or even chalk -- the colorful arcs played into the neighborhood’s “rainbow hunt,” an idea that surfaced on an online community board.

Prospect Hill resident Katie Brillantes had suggested the hunt on the community’s long-running listserv — where residents post about things like missing pets and yard sales — encouraging neighbors to decorate a window with some type of rainbow that passers-by could see from the street.

Brillantes has three children and knew other mothers in the community were searching for ways to get their children out of the house while still practicing social distancing. The rainbow idea, Brillantes says, originated on a Rye, N.Y., neighborhood Facebook page.

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“People started immediately making their rainbows and putting them up in their windows,” Brillantes said. “I think everyone was really looking for an opportunity to do something positive and find a way to connect with our neighborhood in a rather isolated time.”

Prospect Hill resident Lisa Ferretti said though she does not have children, she enjoyed seeing the rainbows. “It was great to see kids pointing out the rainbows and getting very excited, but adults were getting excited too,” Ferretti said. “It’s nice to get out.”

To keep the momentum going from the rainbow hunt, the community proposed a new window decoration for this week: hearts. Brillantes says the trend has spread to Brookline, Medford, and other parts of Somerville.

“We’re all so hungry for connection, and to walk along, see someone with a child, and say ‘Hey, are you doing the rainbow hunt?,’ it’s really nice,” Ferretti said. Luckily, taking a walk around the block is still allowed under Governor Baker’s stay at home advisory, which goes into effect Tuesday.

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