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November 1, 2013

A star-studded Halloween

Crowds pack Salem to hear one Idol, honor another

SALEM — It was a Halloween to remember in “Witch City” as an American Idol from across the bridge drew a crowd to Salem Common and a few serious cases of World Series fever were evident in a crowd estimated in the tens of thousands.

After a rainy afternoon turned into a balmy evening, Angie Miller of Beverly, who rose to musical fame on the TV reality show “American Idol,” took the stage on Salem Common before a large and enthusiastic crowd.

Dressed in a long, black cape with red lining, Miller reminded the audience that this was the second time she has sung at Salem’s Halloween celebration.

“I was here last year on a small stage, and nobody was there,” Miller said as the crowd laughed. “It’s crazy to be back here, and all you guys are here.”

One night after the worst-to-first Red Sox won the World Series at Fenway Park, there were Ortiz shirts in the crowd, a few fake beards and some people in full Red Sox uniforms. A Peabody man even came in a Pedroia uniform, beard and all.

“As soon as they clinched the (playoffs), I said, ‘What the heck, I’ll start growing one,’” said Tom LeBlanc, 55.

The street preachers were out in force, railing against the wages of sin from one end of the Essex Street pedestrian mall to the other. As a speaker in front of Rockafella’s restaurant warned of eternal damnation, two men in their early 20s stood nearby holding handmade signs poking fun at the preacher. The signs said: “Free Condemnation.”

It was a particularly good year for signs. They ranged from “Evolution Is A Lie” to “Obama Is A Moron.”

It was also a good year for costumes.

One man came as Zoltar the fortuneteller from the movie “Big.” He was even inside a fortuneteller’s booth on wheels and drew a crowd as he rolled down the mall.

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