The Business of Salem

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The Boston Globe looks at Salem’s preparations for the upcoming Halloween season, when Witches, Pagans, curious tourists, and people who just want to party, all gather in the small New England city. This year Salem is selling a new discount card (called a “Haunted Passport”) to help offset the city’s expenses.

“In an effort to manage the Witch City’s biggest moneymaker – the Halloween season – the city is offering a $13 discount card to the hordes who descend on Salem every October for Haunted Happenings, a local celebration of everything witchy, ghostly, and ghoulish. “It’s almost like a diner’s card where you buy it and you get a discount,” Mayor Kim Driscoll said of the card, which is called the Haunted Passport. She said proceeds from the card will help the city coordinate and pay for public safety efforts, such as sending out extra police patrols, positioning portable bathroom facilities near attractions, and getting street-closure notices to residents.”

Among those participating in the program is the Salem Witch Museum, and local Witch Christian Day, who is throwing his annual “Festival of the Dead”.

“Christian Day, a local witch who puts on several events collectively called the Festival of the Dead, said he already has seen customers making use of their cards when ordering tickets through his website. Day said he decided to support the program because it promotes the city while helping him to advertise his festival to a wider audience.”

As more Pagans get formally involved in Salem’s tourist preparations, it seems like only a matter of time before the large and growing number of Pagan residents in the city help elect one of the first openly Pagan politicians. In a city where Witchcraft is big business, anything can happen.