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Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Salem

Click together your fake ruby slippers and chant, "There's no place like Salem. There's no place like Salem." For the experience of it, Chris and I decided to, what the heck, go to Salem for Halloween. We left work early, pulled together really terrible 1980's costumes (Chris as Don Johnson Miami Vice and me as generic 80's) and caught the commuter rail from North Station in downtown Boston. Halloween in Salem, as you can probably guess, places a heavy emphasizes on witchcraft. No matter where you turn, you can see black-hatted witches, tents for tarot readings, carts strung with magical stones and, of course, the annual Psychic Fair and Witch Expo.
After exiting the train and walking to the main strip, we almost immediately came across a crowd surrounding three men holding signs and reading from the Bible. As their voices rang through a microphone, people in the crowd booed and jeered at them and even hoisted someone wearing a Jesus costume into the air, saying, "Here's Jesus. I found him." Now, I know not everyone who reads my blog carries religious beliefs, that street corner preachers can sometimes appear hokey and that these men were asking for a reaction by doing this in Salem on Halloween. But still I stood with Chris in the back of the crowd, mouth open, a chill running up my spine and feeling an urgent need to run fast in case lightning would be striking soon.

We stayed in town for a couple more hours. I have to admit that some of the costumes were spectacular. I saw genuine tree people (or as close as you can get), a man wearing high heels and a Valentine's Day balloon, Sarah Palin, Joe the Plumber, lots of French maids and schoolgirls, Mozart, Louis XIV and below, my favorite: a woman getting eaten by crows.

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