SALEM, MASS. (WHDH) - The port city of Salem, known worldwide for its Halloween festival, announced Tuesday that many of the Haunted Happenings events in October will be canceled or scaled back due to the ongoing pandemic.
Though most of the events held are not city-sponsored, officials said limitations imposed by the state’s reopening requirements will be in effect.
At present, the following Haunted Happenings events and programs will not take place this year as they customarily do:
- Haunted Happenings Grand Parade
- Mayor’s Night Out
- Kids’ Costume Parade
- Lanterns in the Village
- Biz Baz Street Fair
- Creative Collective Merchant Marketplace vendors
- Salem Food Truck Festival
- Outdoor food vendors, including Fiesta Shows food trucks
- Great Salem Pumpkin Walk
- Haunted Harmonies
- Howl-o-ween pet parade
Some of the events may be able to take place with restrictions.
Those who have plans to attend an event not listed above are urged to contact the event organizer to ensure it is still taking place as originally planned.
For Halloween night, public programming including concerts, beer gardens, and fireworks will not be planned.
Currently, there are no plans to cancel or alter neighborhood trick-or-treating for families.
Additional restrictions, based on the state’s reopening requirements, will exist for outdoor retail in the month of October. In general, the only outdoor retail that will be permitted will be for existing Salem businesses and in compliance with the state’s requirements for retail, city officials said.
Each year in October the City of Salem – a community of around 40,000 residents – welcomes close to 500,000 visitors who celebrate the Halloween season during the monthlong family-friendly Haunted Happenings festival.
The month of October is very important to the local economy, producing thousands of jobs and millions in local sales revenues for Salem’s restaurants, shops, and other businesses each year.
“Many people inside and outside of Salem will be disappointed that their favorite, fun and festive October activities cannot take place this year,” said Mayor Kim Driscoll, “However, as a community we are committed to doing our part to help protect residents, visitors, and staff and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Salem. There is no doubt this circumstance will have an impact on the many small businesses – including museums, restaurants, shops, attractions, vendors, service industry staff, and other partners that rely heavily on the increased business that October attracts. We will strive to explore options to provide Haunted Happenings experiences that comply with state guidelines and encourage creatives and entrepreneurs in our community to do the same.”
Officials are still focusing on beefing up public safety, public health, transportation, and parking should people still decide to visit.
The City of Salem instituted a mandatory mask requirement throughout the downtown area and that order is expected to remain throughout Halloween. The rule is enforced by both health and police personnel and violations can result in fines of up to $300.
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