Summer Fades and Halloween Is Here

Mid-September marks the unofficial start of the season.


Some years back a few Salem business owners decided to use the Halloween season to stir up some downtown shopping business.

Many debate just who did what and when in that capacity. Suffice it to say that it was a group effort, driven mostly by private business owners.

This past Saturday morning I saw the Samantha Statue get its annual pre-Halloween polishing. I then watched as the downtown filled with visitors. Parking became scarce, breakfast and lunch joints filled up, and folks wandered the city streets looking for the attractions. Sunday brought more of the same. This, despite the fact that Halloween is still seven weeks away.

We all have our memories of our childhood Halloweens. Those my age probably focus more on the costumes they wore. Ghosts and pirates were popular then as they are now, but we didn't have as much to work with as the kids do today. A bed-sheet for a ghost and some burnt cork for a pirates beard were the best we could do.

The costume I remember the most is the one I liked the least. As a third grader at St. Mary's Elementary, I planned on knocking on doors dressed a a fearsome pirate. Sister Alice Rose of the Sisters of Charity had other ideas. She explained to us that Halloween was just a misappropriation of All Saints Day and All Souls Day. We were told in clear language that she expected us to dress as a saint when we went out to trick-or-treat. We were also expected to come by the convent that Halloween night. 

My pirate costume was put aside, and I went that year as St. Vincent de Paul. It was not my parents style to irritate the nuns.

Over the next seven weeks we will watch as the city fills with visitors. Watch the traffic on Thursday afternoons. That is usually a good way to gauge just how busy it will become.

Like anything else, Halloween in Salem is an issue that has proponents and opponents. For some it is profitable, for many it is just fun. Others question whether or not it is really worth while at all. 

For me it is just another time of year to look forward to. The Haunted Happenings Grand Parade creates memories for the current generation of Salem children.

Watching and mingling with the crowds as they move about the pedestrian mall or examine the headstones at the Burying Point is always interesting.

It is wonderful to see the many small businesses make a little extra money to get them through the winter months.

I always look forward to seeing the police horses on the final night.

Yes, there some inconveniences.

Traffic becomes impossible and you have to get creative in order to maneuver around it.

The annual visit of the hateful preachers is something I have come to detest.

No matter how I feel, or how you feel, Halloween is here. We will experience it, live with it, love it or hate it and feel relief when it is over. 

David Moisan September 17, 2012 at 01:14 PM
Halloween has become my favorite holiday. I live downtown, but I am so not joking. For me, and SATV, the highlight is the Grand Parade, which we will be webcasting again this year. It's my most favorite event to work on.
ADOgno September 17, 2012 at 01:24 PM
Time to dust off your bicycle and take advantage of all the places downtown to lock it up! You'll almost always find bike parking right in front of whatever location you choose.
Erin Cyr September 17, 2012 at 01:49 PM
Newcomers to Salem always ask me if there's really anything "to do" on Halloween. People spend hundreds of dollars on costumes, the city looks beautiful and feels more friendly, and there's that special magic in the air that makes you want to be outside with a hot cider crunching through leaves. You can't beat the peoplewatching!
Chris September 17, 2012 at 02:13 PM
Oh yeah, it's a great time for people watching! The hate preachers are kind of a pain- Sheesh, do we crash their celebrations and tell them they're going to hell?
Bill September 17, 2012 at 02:21 PM
I enjoy the annual cutting of the weeds of Derby St. It means carnies are on their way! Yay. Also love being behind cars with out of state plates who are befuddled by the horribly designed road and lack of decent signage.
chester suchecki September 17, 2012 at 02:48 PM
please dont cut the weeds . i have a ragweed allergy and the city manages to cut that lot in full bloom every year
KlassySalem September 17, 2012 at 04:24 PM
Bob Broderick September 17, 2012 at 04:26 PM
Last year, my son's and friends made giant t-rex heads out of cardboard, and walked around town. The best part was when they surrounded one of the hate preachers and "ate" him
Chris September 17, 2012 at 04:54 PM
Thumbs up for your son and his friends!
Aubry Bracco (Editor) September 17, 2012 at 05:03 PM
I believe the dinosaurs in action can be viewed briefly here: http://salem.patch.com/articles/video-halloween-night-with-the-salem-police#video-8310778 :)
William Legault September 17, 2012 at 05:11 PM
Geez Bob, ingesting all of that self loathing can be tough on the digestive system.
Bob Broderick September 17, 2012 at 05:24 PM
Yep. Thanks aubry. As i always say, that's my boys. I'm so proud.
Emily O'Brien September 17, 2012 at 06:36 PM
Bob, they always make us proud!
Kim Madrid September 17, 2012 at 10:49 PM
Hey is the schedule right for the parade Thursday Oct 4? Does anyone know what time?
Darrell Bibby September 18, 2012 at 01:03 AM
Let the fun begin!
Stephanie Hagyard September 18, 2012 at 10:41 AM
Yes it is always the first thursday of October. THe parade kicks off from Shetland Park at 6:30 and ends at the common
Chris September 19, 2012 at 06:12 PM
Aubry-thanks for sharing!


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