Salem Before the Storm






October 28, 2012 — I’ve gotten to know the October version of Salem, Massachusetts, relatively well over the past five years. I’m able to recognize many of its street performers from three blocks away, know the best exit to take to skip the traffic, and can generally navigate its alleys and streets with enough confidence to look really stupid when I inevitably take a wrong turn.


Of course, there are quite a few attractions and historical sites in Salem that I’ve never done for one reason or the other. One day I hope to do them all. But yesterday wasn’t a day for exploring Salem. It was a day for experiencing it.

And it was perfect timing for it. The Saturday before Halloween is always an amazing, overwhelming time in Witch City. But yesterday it felt just a bit more amazing. A bit more overwhelming.

And I think it was because of Frankenstorm.

These guys didn't actually look like
they were in costume.
This extremely hyped storm and soon-to-be SyFy motion picture is prophesied to hit the East Coast with legendary force and outrageous duration at some point tomorrow.

That means Halloween could be a bit iffy. I don’t have to remind you of last year’s Oct-snow-ber, where, in my town at least, kids had to put off trick-or-treating until a week into November. It was the first time I ever hated Halloween.

I think yesterday, in Salem, people were taking advantage of the nice weather to squeeze in as much Halloween as possible before they had to start preparing for everything going end-of-the-world.

And they call it Sandy…Claws.

I’m a skeptic about most things, but who knows what the next few days hold. If you’re on any of those paths that the weather forecasters keep predicting with cheesy crooked lines in multiple cheesy colors, stock up on liquor and horror movies. Actually, if your power goes out, you’ll need flashlight batteries and horror stories. Still liquor, of course.


Personally, I’m looking forward to the possibility of this Frankenstorm (and appreciate that it helps give me a new writing angle on these posts). I don’t want Halloween to be cancelled, especially since my kid is old enough to trick-or-treat this season…which means I’ll be trick-or-treating for the first time in decades. But, man, this could be quite exciting and intensely Halloween-esque. And I say that as a man whose house isn’t on a flood plain and which shares an electrical grid with a hospital.

Back to Salem (which I just mis-typed badly enough for the spellchecker to replace with “Satan”), yesterday was a great day for wandering around, meeting up with friends, breathing fake fog vapor, giving wrong directions to first-time visitors, ogling all the strange sites that only Salem can offer, and generally being happy that it’s still the Halloween Season.

Here’s some more of what it was like:













Headless horsemen and witches
can live in harmony.

I don't even know what...

1 comment:

  1. I was one of the people who met you at the Washington Irving Chapel in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery when you gave your lecture. Funny that I was also in Salem (with my daughter) on the Saturday and Sunday before Halloween, hoping to see a ton of things before the storm hit. We did the tourist stuff all day and then had a scheduled Segway tour on Sunday in the mist before we headed home to New York. I would suggest the Segway tour if you get the chance. It is short but fun and memorable.

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