News & Opinion | October 23, 2020 10:32 am

Salem, Massachusetts Asks People to Stay Away This Halloween

Please take your spooky festivities elsewhere

Salem, MA
Visitors are not welcome in Witch City this year.
Staff photo by Nicolaus Czarnecki/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald

In normal times, the month of October sees the city of Salem, Massachusetts turned into New England’s very own Halloweentown. This, of course, is due to the town’s legacy as the site of the 1692 Salem Witch Trials — a particularly dark chapter in proto-American history that resulted in the actual killing of multiple people, which we now commemorate by flocking to Salem for seasonal celebrations and spooky festivities fit for a fun, family-friendly day trip.

But these are no ordinary times, as you may have heard, and instead of packing up the kids for a day of fall fun at the site of grisly murders committed in the name of misogyny and religious hysteria, the city of Salem would very much like you to stay away this year.

In an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19, the city is asking would-be visitors to cancel their annual Salem trip, according to WBUR. Normally, the city draws 50,000 to 60,000 tourists each day every weekend leading up to Halloween, which tends to result in the kind of crowding most would like to avoid amid the pandemic. All seasonal activities and events have already been canceled, but city authorities are worried people might still show up anyway.

“We’re concerned with warm weather and this wanderlust that we’re seeing with folks who just want to get out, that we’re gonna have lots of people flocking to Salem for the typical Halloween events that will not be happening, they’ve all been canceled,” Mayor Kim Driscoll said in a press conference Wednesday.

“This is not the year to come to Salem, this is not the year to visit,” she said. “All Halloween activities have been canceled this year. There’ll be no music stages, no street performers, no beer gardens, no DJs and no fireworks, and, we hope, no crowds.”

In a further attempt to prevent any persistent tourists from setting foot in Salem, the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority will be changing train schedules to skip over the city.

Fortunately, while you may not be able to get your spook on in Salem this year, you can still celebrate Halloween from the comfort of your own home by simply sitting back and experiencing the daily horrors of life in 2020. Happy Halloween!

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