A Dinosaur in Sneakers: Halloween in Salem, MA

I know I have been neglecting you, my dear readers. Believe me, it was not a conscious choice. I will get into why in just a second, but first, I wanted to say a big thank you for sticking with me over the past month and a half. I had over 200 unique visitors in the month of October, and over 500 views. Though my breakup has made me feel more alone than I have in quite some time, knowing that you are all there, reading along with me has brightened my spirits and really has helped keep me going. It is much easier to try and better my life, as opposed to wallowing, when I know I have support. So thank you, thank you for reading and sticking with me, and I hope you will continue to come along on my journey!

Unfortunately, I have had an incredibly hectic couple of weeks at work so haven’t had a whole lot of time to take care of myself, let alone write a blog posts about the amazing things I’ve been doing to take care of myself! And I have to say, I really have been feeling the difference mentally and physically without having that time. My back pain increased, my emotional sensitivity increased, my thoughts of my failed relationship increased and I found myself more sensitive to caffeine and sugar than usual. I forgot to eat lunch several days last week and I certainly did not get enough sleep or rest!

Thankfully, things will start to slow down after this week, at least for the month of November, after I have finished a business trip out to the City of Angels this week. Then, it’s back to bettering my life and improving my mental and physical health! Though I have to say, I am pretty excited about the trip to Los Angeles. I’m only there for two nights, and already have dinner plans for each! I’ll get to see Tia, one of my best friends from high school (who is one of those friends whom I rarely see, but when I do it is as if our friendship hasn’t changed a bit) and my former super star intern, Anna, who I liked to refer to as my office minion before she ran off to Hollywood to become a rising star at a talent agency.

All of that being said, I did get to have some fun the last couple of weeks, though it was few and far between, which is a shame, because October really is one of the most spooktacular months of the year. I mean, first of all, you have all the amazing fall colors as the leaves start to change. The weather is still pretty gorgeous – you can wear a t-shirt, coat, sandals, beanie – whatever you want! The fall fashions come out, which everyone knows are the best of the year. You get to start ordering pumpkin flavored everything, and on the subject of squash, restaurants start serving butternut squash raviolis, risottos and whatever else their imaginations can do with this delicious fruit (technically). And of course, you get to act like a complete goon/ child as you come up with your Halloween costume, consume gobs of candy and carve faces into pumpkins – all for the fun of it. Adulthood can sometimes suck the fun out of life. But Halloween, my friends, is a holiday that doesn’t allow anyone to take themselves too seriously, especially if they are dressed as a bright pink cartoon dinosaur.

Dino attacking Fred
Dino attacking Fred

The Home of the Salem Witch Trials

This year, my parents, who do not often leave home for too long, decided to visit my older brother, Andy, in Salem, MA. It has probably been 20 years since either of them dressed up for Halloween, so I’m not totally sure what drew them to spend the holiday in Salem, but they did, and loved it. Even before Rich and I broke up, I had been considering spending the weekend with them there. I usually have a strict rule against skipping town on Halloween because I feel that it is a time when you should be in whatever community you have the most friends and the most fun potential, so that is usually DC. The past couple of months though, I have obviously been wanting to branch out a bit more. Last year, I had a blast with Rich doing a couples costume (we dressed up as Willy Wonka and an Oompa Loompa, which was hilarious), so I wanted to get out and spend Halloween in a different environment as to not be reminded of that.

Where better to spend Halloween than the place that took down American theocracy?! As you probably know, Salem is known for an incredibly dark time in history. Between 1862 and 1863, 20 people were murdered for being “witches.” Historians now use the Salem witch trials as a cautionary tale against religious extremism and isolationism. As historian George Lincoln Burr said,  “the Salem witchcraft was the rock on which the theocracy shattered.”

The home of Witch Trials Judge Jonathan Corwin
The home of Witch Trials Judge Jonathan Corwin

And also, where better to spend Halloween than the home of none other than Max and Dani, the Sanderson sisters and Thackery Binx?! I know I know, I only found out his name was Thackery and not Zachary a couple years ago, and it was quite a shock. I am sincerely sorry if I am the first to tell you. Anyway, everyone knows that Hocus Pocus is the best Halloween film of all time, and it does happen to be based in Salem, so what a perfect place for Halloween magic! I even got to see Thackery Binx’s village, Allison’s house (but only the outside, as a sign on the gate was kind enough to note) and Max and Dani’s house! That, in addition to seeing tons of adults and children alike roaming the streets in costume, interacting with strangers and generally being in jolly moods all around, was the best possible way I could have imagined spending my Halloween, especially since I got to spend it with my family.

Allison's House
Allison’s House
Max and Dani's House
Max and Dani’s House

Dino, NOT Barney!

If you happened to see the Flintstones, including Fred, Wilma, Pebbles, Bamm-Bamm (technically a Rubble) and Dino roaming around on Halloween in Salem, that was us! Last fall, my parents took me out shopping at a church rummage sale and a couple of thrift stores to find pieces for last year’s Willy Wonka and Oompa Loompa, as I was home for most of the month of October recovering from a back surgery. At the church sale, we found this children’s gray costume dinosaur tale. Goodness knows why, we all thought it would be funny if we bought it so I could use it “next year.” Surprise! I did use it this year! I painted it pink with fabric paint and voilà – Dino’s tale! I also dressed in all pink, added some black felt dinosaur spots to a hoodie, painted my face and was good to go. I also ordered some pink dinosaur feet slippers, but they unfortunately did not come in time, so I had to wear my blue Nikes instead. Now I will just have a nice new pair of slippers to wear around the office this winter. My parents dressed as Fred and Wilma (they cheated and bought their costumes) and Andy and his fiancée, Helena, went as Bamm-Bamm and Pebbles (she’s quite crafty and made their costumes). A couple of people mistook me for Barney, that big dumb purple dinosaur, but they must have had deprived childhoods (without the Flintstones) so I will forgive them. 

Flintstones, Meet the Flintstones!
Flintstones, Meet the Flintstones!

We wandered around the town, where hoardes of people were dressed up in costume, for hours. We had delicious coffees, saw the sites and yelled “Yabba dabba doo!” a lot (well, Wilma did anyway). Despite the crowds, people were so friendly, and I truly felt the sense of community. A few people stopped and asked us for photos, and my parents had an absolutely ball being the center of attention. That night, we went back to Andy and Helena’s to put out our freshly carved jack-o-lanterns, eat homemade pizza (Helena is quite the chef) and way too much candy, sip Andy’s homemade hot cider and to hand out candy to trick-or-treaters. I swear, the parents taking around the trick-or-treaters were having as much fun as the kids!

Helena's Cat, Mom's Happy Face and Dad's Slasher
Helena’s Cat, Mom’s Happy Face and Dad’s Slasher
Andy's Vultures and My Happy (Jimmy) Jack-o-Lantern
Andy’s Vultures and My Happy (Jimmy) Jack-o-Lantern

Though I was exhausted from my way-too-busy couple of weeks, dressing like a cartoon character and acting like a kid was exactly what I needed. I don’t always have to take life so seriously, and it’s important to slow down and do nothing but have fun once in a while! DC can be an incredibly stressful city, and goodness knows breakups are some of the absolute most emotional times, so this was truly a much-needed reminder of the value of fun, arts and crafts and time with family.

What did you all do for Halloween this year?

Published by Audrey

Hi! My name is Audrey, otherwise known as Glowstick on trail. I've always been into hiking, adventuring, and the outdoors, but these things took a backseat as I worked on my career in public relations for several years in Washington, D.C. In 2018, I decided that I was discontent with city life. Instead of working on my career, I needed to work on my happiness. So, I reprioritized. I quit my (amazing) job at World Wildlife Fund, thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail, and relocated to beautiful Boulder, Colorado, where I work in climate communications and climb mountains every chance that I get.

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