By Kristina Rex

SALEM (CBS) – Halloween is back in Salem, and spookier than ever. After Halloween 2020 was held mostly virtually and visitors were discouraged from traveling to Witch City, Mayor Kim Driscoll told WBZ that October 2021 has seen record crowds.

Those crowds were evident on Halloween night, as costume-clad kids and adults packed the city center in shoulder-to-shoulder street traffic.

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“It’s 100 times better than last year,” said Brian Cordeiro of Fall River, as he was dressed like a “crazy clown.”

The visitors were back. People traveled to Salem from Pennsylvania to Denver to Arkansas. Shelly Turner of Arkansas was in Salem for the first time, dressed as a witch.

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“I thought New Orleans was awesome,” Turner told WBZ. “No way. This is awesome, this beats it. I’m coming back next year…Halloween is all year long at my house. Like straight up. I don’t take the decorations down, I love it.”

One thing is consistent in a Salem Halloween: the commitment to character. A man dressed as a monkey only answered WBZ’s questions in monkey noises, and a creepy nun refused to break character. It’s this love of Halloween that brings thousands of people each year.

“Last year was sad. There were not that many people,” said Jocelis Urive, a Salem native. “I like seeing the crowds and seeing the different people and where they are from and you know seeing the different costumes.”

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Urive did say, while the crowds were fun, she was ready for the city to get quiet again, and for the Halloween visitors to head back home.

Kristina Rex