By Bethany Bray STAFF WRITER
---- — SALEM, Mass. — Tonight’s parade kicks off a month of Halloween revelry in the Witch City.
Salem’s Haunted Happenings celebration will have more than 150 events throughout October and promises something for everyone, from trick-or-treating and the annual zombie walk to live theater, arts and music events.
“It’s just a really festive month to be in Salem,” said Kate Fox, executive director of Destination Salem, the city’s tourism office. “Haunted Happenings is a tremendous, collaborative effort ... There’s such a range. It goes from the historic to the haunted and pure entertainment, plus food and shopping.”
Destination Salem compiles all of October’s events, as well as maps and other information at their website, www.hauntedhappenings.org. They’re continually adding updates and events to the calendar, said Fox.
This year, a new open market will set up on the Essex Street pedestrian mall for the last three weekends in October. The city has contracted New England Open Markets, the organization that created the popular SoWa Open Market in Boston’s South End, to manage it. Arts and crafts vendors will set up on Essex Street and Derby Square Saturdays and Sundays beginning Oct. 12.
On Oct. 20, a coordinated “flash mob” dance will take over the Salem common. Organized by Salem State University students, the event is in the theme of Lady Gaga’s song “Born this Way,” said Fox, and participants are encouraged to come in costume. Dance lessons to learn the choreography will be given before the flash mob at the Boys and Girls Club on Hawthorne Boulevard.
In addition to the city’s lineup of haunted houses, cemetery tours and ghost stories at the Witch House and House of Seven Gables, several new events promise thrills and chills, said Fox.
Cinema Salem will host “Scary Mary and the Audio Corsette,” an event Fox described as “a 1980’s rock horror spectacle” Saturdays at midnight. The R-rated program will have live music and a film, created and directed by Kevin Letourneau of Salem.
Also new this year is a program called Witch Hunter at Pioneer Village, a living history museum set in 1630. The village will open on Saturday evenings, Oct. 13, 20 and 27, for people to walk through for a first-hand experience of Salem’s witch hysteria.
This Saturday is the zombie walk, when locals dress up as the undead. Zombies will meet at Collins Cove Beach on East Collins Street at 3 p.m. and will head through the city. Afterwards, several events are planned to raise money for the Wounded Warriors Project, a nonprofit that aids wounded veterans.
On the other end of the spectrum, family-friendly movies, such as “Hocus Pocus” and “Bedknobs and Broomsticks” will be shown every Saturday night at 6:30 on Salem Common. On Oct. 28, a special trick-or-treat event will be held at 5 p.m. on Pickering Wharf, followed by a children’s party at Finz restaurant.
“People are being creative and inventing new events (for Haunted Happenings),” said Fox. “People come back (to Salem) to do their favorites, and it adds so much to the experience to have the new things as well.”
HAUNTED HAPPENINGS 2012
Tonight’s kickoff parade begins at 6:30 p.m. at Shetland Park, 27 Congress St.
For a full listing of events, updates, maps, directions and other details, visit www.hauntedhappenings.org or www.salem.org
Salem’s parking rates have changed since last year; visit www.parkinginsalem.com for full details