Hurricane Sandy came and went quicker than expected, and while Salem still feels what amount to minor residual effects of yesterday's storm, city officials are reporting that the annual downtown Halloween celebration is set to take place as planned.
"Halloween is on. We are full-steam ahead," said Ellen Talkowsky, the city's special projects manager. "We have just normal weather concerns that would happen, nothing that's part of the hurricane or part of any emergencies, so we're on and moving forward."
A number of Halloween-themed businesses remain closed today (a list can be found here), undoubtedly to the dismay of some tourists, but city officials say that downtown will be alive Wednesday night with DJ's, dancing, the Radio 92.9 concert stage on Washington Street - along with five other stages scattered throughout downtown and the common area - and a beer garden sponsored by Shock Top.
A full Halloween agenda can be found on the Haunted Happenings official website.
The only planned event that has been cancelled, a high-tech, 3-D light show using technology known as projection mapping, was new to this year. The equipment required to put on the show, Talkowsky says, is simply too expensive to risk getting wet.
Talkowsky says she does not anticipate any problems with the fireworks display, scheduled for 10:15 p.m., that close out the festivities in mesmerizing fashion.
"Right now we're as planned, we're going to take one more look at the weather before they actually drive them down here...I think we'll be fine," Talkowsky said. "Obvsiously even if they're here and they're set up, wind dictates whether they shoot or not...but if we don't have anything that we anticipate seeing in the weather forecast early on Wednesday we should be fine."
Police Captain Brian Gilligan never expected anything but a full night of Halloween activities on Wednesday, and says the department has planned accordingly. Most of the force will be downtown, about 150 to 200 officers, according to Gilligan, along with resources, including specialized units and K-9 officers, from other communities.
"I think we're fine, I don't think we were ever anticipating that there wasn't going to be any Halloween," Gilligan said. "It's kind of a difficult holiday to cancel, and I think short of the hurricane occurring on the 31st, I think people are still going to be here.
"I think we just kept our plans in place for the most part."
According to Kate Fox, executive director of Destination Salem, the city's official tourism office, Halloween night historically brings about 45,000 visitors to the downtown area. Common sense might dictate that the number on a weekday would not reach what it might if Halloween fell on a Friday or Saturday, but Gilligan disagrees.
"Historically that hasn't been the case at all," Gilligan said. "At the end of the day, historical knowledge right now of the event leads us to believe that people will be here, and we have to plan accordingly.
"Better to have too many [officers] and have no one show up than have not enough and their be a ton of people."
Ryan Mooney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @mooney_ryan.