At least one Salem merchant thinks Haunted Happenings has become a tired act.
“I think Salem lacks a big event to bring people here,” said Tim Maguire, the owner of two Harry Potter-themed shops and a ghost tour company. “I think people feel they see the same thing, year after year here. They have to think outside the box.”
“I think Salem needs to rev it up a little,” said Harris, the candy shop owner. “It just seemed very flat this year.”
Fox said the city tries to enliven Haunted Happenings every October. “We know that for us to build a consumer base that wants to come back each year, there has to be something special,” she said.
Free films on Salem Common, trick-or-treating on Pickering Wharf, and Scary Mary, a rock-horror film shown at midnight at Cinema Salem, were among the new events. Carnival rides were added a few years ago to cast a family-friendly buzz on Derby Street. ”We do try to encourage new and different things for people to see and do here,” Fox said. “Tourism is always weather-dependent. It does hurt when you lose a day or two.”
Kathy McCabe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @ GlobeKMcCabe.