HomeUSHalloween Headaches in Salem, Mass.: Traffic. Crowds. Tiny Liquor Bottles?

Halloween Headaches in Salem, Mass.: Traffic. Crowds. Tiny Liquor Bottles?

Miniature bottles of alcohol, commonly referred to as “nips,” are causing litter issues in gardens, parks, and playgrounds, leading the city of Salem to propose a ban. Salem, Massachusetts, is known for its association with Halloween, attracting large crowds and generating significant litter. Concerns include rowdy crowds damaging historical gravestones, unlicensed fortune tellers, and disputes over parking spaces. Residents and city leaders in Salem are now mobilizing against the problem of discarded nips. These small, single-serving bottles, only 50 milliliters in size, have been accumulating and causing litter problems throughout Massachusetts. Several cities and towns are pushing for a ban on nips due to their appeal to teenage and covert drinkers, as well as the environmental impact of the discarded plastic bottles. While the primary objective is to reduce litter, the bans also have a historical resonance with the region’s Puritan roots. Some residents fear it is reminiscent of the city’s intolerant past and view it as an extreme measure. Despite acknowledging the litter issue, many believe a ban on nips would have minimal impact as people would simply purchase larger bottles of alcohol. Additionally, the concealable nature of nips poses unseen risks for bartenders and bar owners who are legally responsible for monitoring patrons’ alcohol consumption. While some liquor store owners argue against the ban, mentioning the potential loss of business and increased dumping of bottles, others support it to address the litter problem and alcohol consumption concerns. Bans on nips have already been implemented in Chelsea, Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, and some towns in Cape Cod. Efforts to pass statewide bans in Maine and Rhode Island have failed, but states like Utah, New Mexico, and Chicago have successfully enacted bans on most nip sales. In Salem, alternative options like refillable flasks or addressing the larger issue of cigarette litter have been suggested. However, banning the highly popular “Haunted Happenings” festival, which attracts tourists dressed in Halloween costumes, remains a controversial and unlikely proposition.