This one is for the locals! I want to start out today’s blog with a little story regarding part of my very first experience in Salem ever. I know I have talked about it before, but I have another aspect of that visit that I have not shared so far.
The helpful Phantom
The first visit I made into Salem, with my then boyfriend…we came in with absolutely no plan. We had no clue, no tickets to anything, grabbed a hotel room in Rockport last minute by the grace of the universe and were flying by the seat of our pants. Honestly, we had no idea what we were in for, visiting over Halloween.
As we walked around the city, making loops because we were lost (haha), we kept running into the same guy, dressed up as the Phantom of the Opera. He had the cape, the mask covering half of his face, the whole thing. He was very friendly and would wave every time we saw him. Even in the crowds, for whatever reason we ran into him over and over. Finally, we approached him and asked for suggestions. We explained that it was our first visit and we were basically clueless. He suggested a few things to us, places to eat and said we should catch a showing of Cry Innocent if tickets were still available. So off we went, towards the cart near the Old Town Hall and we scored two tickets to the show.
It turns out, our helpful Phantom of the Opera, was Denis Castleton. He didn’t live in Salem at the time but lives there now. He is a local that most people recognize and can be found out and about in Salem at events. He is a busker during peak season, dressed these days as a bloody zombie. He was such a welcoming and warm face, when we were overwhelmed by the experience of Halloween in Salem.
This warm welcoming vibe extends into a few other areas of Salem. During the Halloween season you can find the info booth up at the top of Essex street being run by volunteers, offering help to those visiting us. They can help you with directions, suggestions, you can grab a copy of the Haunted Happenings guide, etc.
You can also find Salem residents walking around with buttons that say “Ask me, I’m local”. This is an invitation for you to approach them if you’re lost or need help!
In addition to this, the city amps up police presence and safety measures during peak season. Local law enforcement and city officials are out and about, keeping an eye. Haunted Happenings used to attract a little bit of a rowdy crowd back in the day, and due to the addition of some more friendly family programming, they have been able to shift the vibe. Salem’s governing bodies take care of keeping an eye on the city, making sure everyone is safe and able to enjoy Halloween.
Fundraising + Looking out for its own
I love the out pour of help I have seen when Salem locals are in need. There was a fire in the spring of 2017 on the Pickering Wharf and local businesses organized a benefit event to help bring in money for the residents affected.
A similar situation happened where a fire broke out on Lynde street last year. There were several GoFundMe pages set up and within a matter of a day or so, the city of Salem stepped in to help. They organized with other businesses how donations can be brought in and set it up right on their website.
The fact that the city looks out for its own so well is amazing and is a testament to the vibes of Salem.
Come as you are
I have mentioned this one before, but I feel like one of the things that makes Salem so unique and special is how welcoming it is. Salem scores well on the HRC index, is a sanctuary city, offers many organizations to help members of the LGBTQ community and much more. The locals are welcoming, friendly and accepting in a big way. You can come as you are (however that is) and feel comfortable in the city.
As if you needed five more reasons to move to Salem, right? <3