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    In Salem, a night for ghosts and ghouls

    The scene on Halloween evening in downtown Salem included Frankenstein posing for photos.
    Jim Davis/Globe Staff
    The scene on Halloween evening in downtown Salem included Frankenstein posing for photos.

    A festive crowd streamed into Salem to celebrate Halloween Wednesday night, dressed in gory and gorgeous costumes, and dancing to DJs and live bands.

    “Where else in the world can you go to see people of all ages dressed up,” said Nick Taber, 28, of Fall River, dressed as a furry Ted, the flip, pot-smoking teddy bear featured in a Mark Wahlberg film. “And most of it is all for free.”

    Brandon Clarke of Roslindale dressed as a green martian for his annual trek to the Witch City. “I come every year,” said Clarke, 25, who came with two coworkers from a Boston hotel. “It’s just a lot of fun, walking around, watching people. I want to move here.”


    “It’s very safe,” said Cecelia Arregudi, 32, his friend, who was dressed as a pregnant purple martian. “There are police officers everywhere.”

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    The crowd around 8:30 p.m. included teen-agers dancing on Salem Common, and parents pushing baby strollers along city streets. Derby Street had the feel of a carnival, as revelers danced to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” in the shadow of a brightly-lit ferris wheel. The crowd was mostly pleasant, with no major incidents, a Salem police spokesman said.

    Costumes created their own spectacle. A woman dressed in tight, black leather masqueraded as Cat Woman. Another woman dressed as pancakes, with two brown discs and a square pad of butter strapped over her shoulders. There were sightings of Big Bird and Fred Flinstone, Harry Potter and Snow White.

    Jeanette Fitzpatrick of Rocky Hill, Ct., dressed as a blinking Rubick’s Cube. Her daughter, Brianna, 12, was a Gothic bride.

    “I wanted something unusual,” Fitzpatrick said, visiting Salem for a second year in a row. “There is just no place like Salem on Halloween.”