Yay! I am happy to add to this series of blog posts talking with some of Salem’s recognized faces around Halloween. Today we have a chat with The Salem Satan. I know I personally have seen him around the city, standing beside the religious folks that protest, maybe you have too. Please note his actions are not meant to be disrespectful, and please keep any comments civil. This is what he had to say…be sure to follow his adventures on Facebook here!
“When I was a kid growing up in Mass, we would go trick or treating almost every year. It was at the time of the cheap plastic mask and smocks of your favorite TV/movie characters. There were a couple years where I did my own costume with my mother’s help.
I was always drawn to the idea of being somebody else even just for one day. We would go out as a group of friends and family and just have a blast. As I got older I got out of trick or treating, but never lost the love of Halloween.
One year we developed a haunted neighborhood walk through. My uncle has a place where several homes shared their backyards and we made a little haunted walk through that people loved. Then again in college we made a haunted house out of our dorm on a budget of $50 abandoned objects, things from home, and our imagination. We were told that it was the best house people had gone to that particular year.
I still dressed up throughout the years though. The Halloween spirit never left as I got older.
I don’t actually live in Salem, however, I find myself drawn to it and wanting to be there. I do hope to move there one day, but one never knows.
I visited once when I was a kid, but I don’t remember that trip that well. Having an interest in witches and alternative religions, my ex-wife and I went down on a day trip and did all the attractions. I think we missed out on the Witch House, but we did everything else. It was interesting. Flash forward almost 10 years later, I went down after going through a bad breakup. The feeling I got from that trip was so overwhelmingly positive. It was like I didn’t have any problems to worry about. I don’t typically like a lot of crowds, but I didn’t mind and at that point, I decided to go back later in the month of October for Halloween. I’ve been coming every since. The energy, positivity, and the overall love there is amazing. There’s nothing else like it. Being a Mass native and that feeling the town gives off, I feel like I’m at home even if just once a year.
The Salem Satan was born on my 3rd year going down to Salem. My first trip in 2010 I met a friend and actually didn’t dress up. I was just enjoying the day and taking pics of all the great costumes and taking it all in. I then saw the street preachers yelling at people and thought how obnoxious it was. (I fully support the First Amendment and their right to do that, but it was annoying because of the positivity the town has vs what they were saying and doing) I largely ignored them that year.
The second year I came (2011) I saw them yelling at little kids for dressing up and enjoying their time in Salem. This actually upset me. These are little kids who are enjoying the day and having a little fun and they’re being made to feel poorly about it. This didn’t sit well.
I started to think about what I could do to get my own point across.
I simply got my mask and robes through Spirit Halloween and my wife modified the robes to fit better. I try to add or change a little something every year and next year I will have a new costume. I also made my Free Hugs From Satan sign.
2012 was the first year I went as The Salem Satan. I started to shyly stand next to the preachers, but as time went on throughout the day I broke out of my shell. I got an overwhelmingly positive response and I have been making every effort to be there on Halloween as The Salem Satan every year since.
What started as a joke has become somewhat of a social commentary for me. I noticed the hate the preachers were getting from standing on their soap boxes and how people were responding to them using their bullhorns. I stand quietly with my sign and I get hugs, laughter, high fives, thank you’s, etc. It’s the whole “you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar” approach.
I continue the Salem Satan character to keep pushing that ideal of being nice, no matter how you’re dressed will get a better response than yelling. In 2016 I had asked people if I should continue because I started to feel that it was played out. I found that people wanted me there and felt that I was part of the Halloween lexicon now for some of the regulars. This was a humbling moment and an honor at the same time. I’ve decided that I will do this for as long as I can and until my body says I can’t.
I usually come down for 2 or three days and the first day is spent with my family. This is where my costume creativity comes into play. One year I went as an evil pumpkin with an Animotion pumpkin mask. These are masks that have an evil smile or hide teeth and when you open your mouth they are exposed. I dressed my daughter as a little pumpkin and decorated her stroller. I found battery operated pumpkin lights and strung them around it. I also added fake leaves and placed a fake carved pumpkin on top and added battery operated tea lights to it. My daughters stroller is typically modified to what she wants to be. That’s the most fun I have is decorating her stroller.
Then last year I went as a scarecrow with the same style Animotion mask. I got burlap for my neck and went to Goodwill to get a flannel coat and picked up some plastic knives and a sycle. I also added fake leaves around my shoulders.
I love Halloween. I love Salem. I love what I do.”
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