SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

October 30, 2012

Salem remains on track for Halloween night

BY TOM DALTON STAFF WRITER
The Salem News

---- — SALEM — Hurricane Sandy was so scary that even some of the haunted houses shut down yesterday.

Although final decisions will depend on the weather, city officials expect the Haunted Happenings celebration to go on as scheduled Halloween night.

“We’re all waiting to see what the storm does, but we’re hoping we’ll be OK for Wednesday,” Kate Fox, executive director of Destination Salem, the city’s tourism office, said early yesterday.

The size of the Halloween crowds tomorrow will likely depend on the damage from Hurricane Sandy and how long the storm lingers on the North Shore. As of yesterday, city officials said they were not making any changes in their Halloween plans.

“I’m proceeding, right now, as if it’s going to be business as usual,” said police Capt. Brian Gilligan, who oversees a force of 150 officers on Halloween night.

The fate of the Halloween fireworks will be determined today. For the past few years, fireworks have been shot off over the North River around 10:15 Halloween night to signal the end of the celebration. If there are still strong winds, however, the fireworks could be canceled.

“Rain is not as much of a problem as the wind,” said Ellen Talkowsky, the city’s special projects coordinator.

One early casualty of Hurricane Sandy is the high-tech projection mapping show that NightRide Visuals planned to show on the side of Tabernacle Church. The company canceled plans yesterday. They can’t risk the expensive equipment being out in a storm, Talkowsky said.

Some of the stages set up for Halloween night are not covered, so rain could prevent a few bands from playing, she said.

Since police rely on outside officers from other departments, Gilligan is watching events in the area in case police are called away for emergencies in their home communities.

Among the closings yesterday were the Salem Witch Museum, The House of the Seven Gables, the New England Pirate Museum, Count Orlok’s Nightmare Gallery, Mahi Mahi Cruises, the Salem ferry and the Salem Trolley.

Mayor Kim Driscoll was scheduled to meet this morning with department heads to assess conditions in the city and to make final Halloween plans.

Salem gets up to 100,000 visitors on Halloween day.

Tom Dalton can be reached at tdalton@salemnews.com.