The ferris wheel came down early in Salem this year lest anyone get blown off it during Hurricane Sandy, but what this city lacks in cheap carnival rides it makes up for in revelers decked out in all manners of ridiculousness. My unscientific survey of the pedestrian mall turns up more adults in costumes than children; when else are adults allowed to dress up and pretend they’re someone else? A little fantasy never hurt anyone.
Still, it’s hard to tell the costumed zombies from the real ones roaming the streets amid tiny super heroes and cotton candy vendors, all backlit by fireworks over the water. Adults in wigs, feathers, and leather (sometimes all at once) replace the briefcase-carrying business folks on the train ride home to Salem. I have to admit it adds a little spice to the commute.
A handful of kids turn up at my door—a quartet of princesses, a Superman, and a masked something or other.
“Trick or treat,” they say in chorus.
“Do you have a dog?” asks a princess.
“No, but I have a cat,” I say, doling candy into their sacks.
“Can I see your cat?” says the masked kid, walking into the house.
“She’s hiding under the couch,” I tell him. “You’re too scary.”
Is this question-and-answer thing a new Halloween ritual?