October 5, 2022

Laika to Celebrate ParaNorman’s 10th Anniversary in the “Halloween Capital of the World”

by joeyphoenix

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Partnership with the Peabody Essex Museum, City of Salem and Creative Collective to honor town as inspiration for ParaNorman’s fictional ‘Blithe Hollow’ setting

As part of Salem, Massachusetts’, iconic “Salem Haunted Happenings” month-long Halloween festival, the award-winning animation studio LAIKA has partnered with the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM), the City of Salem and Creative Collective to present a series of ParaNorman screenings and live events this October. The 10th anniversary celebration will honor Salem, Mass., as the inspiration for the Academy Award®-nominated ParaNorman’s fictional ‘Blithe Hollow’ setting.

The second LAIKA feature, ParaNorman (2012), which was produced by Arianne Sutner and Travis Knight and directed by Sam Fell and Chris Butler, follows the adventures of a misunderstood small-town boy named Norman, who can communicate with the dead. When his town is under threat from zombies — as well as ghosts, witches, and even (gulp) grown-ups, Norman has to look inside himself to find the hero he was always meant to become. The voice cast includes Oscar® nominee Kodi Smit-McPhee, Tucker Albrizzi, Anna Kendrick, Oscar® winner Casey Affleck, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Leslie Mann, Jeff Garlin, Elaine Stritch, Bernard Hill, Jodelle Ferland, Tempestt Bledsoe, Alex Borstein, and John Goodman.

Since its founding in 1982, “Salem Haunted Happenings” has evolved into a month-long celebration encompassing everything from family-friendly magic shows to costume balls, psychic readings, haunted harbor cruises, ghost tours, and more. Whether guests come to Salem seeking history, spooks, shopping, live music, or even a vibrant food and “spirits” scene, they will be sure to find their own adventure this October at the Halloween Capital of the World.

Mayor’s Night Out

Friday, October 7 | 3–9 pm
Trick-or-Treat Event for children and families. Stop by LAIKA’s booth to collect ParaNorman 10th Anniversary Trick-or-Treat bags and limited-edition 10th Anniversary buttons. Learn more about Mayor’s Night Out HERE.

Free Family Movie Night

Friday, October 21 | 5–8 pm
ParaNorman 10th Anniversary Weekend kicks-off with a free screening of ParaNorman on Salem Common, presented by Creative Collective. Fans are encouraged to come in costume for a special outdoor event featuring a photo-op with Norman and Zombie characters live and in-person. Learn more about Free Family Movie Night HERE.

Peabody Essex Museum Screening and Q&A

Saturday, October 22 | 2–5 pm
Following a screening of the film in PEM’s Morse Auditorium, Production Designer Nelson Lowry will discuss how his hometown of Salem inspired the ParaNorman’s fictional ‘Blithe Hollow’ setting with acclaimed American film critic Ty Bur. Before or after the screening, view a diorama of a prop van from the set — one of eight created for the film. Reserve your tickets HERE.

Peabody Essex Museum Screening & Panel Discussion

Sunday, October 23 | 2–5 pm
Join PEM and Salem Horror Fest for a special 10-year anniversary presentation of LAIKA’s ParaNorman. Following the screening, Kay Lynch, founder and Director of Salem Horror Fest, will lead a riveting panel discussion about the role and responsibility of historical tourism, writing dark stories for children, and the legacy of queer subtext within the horror genre. Panelists include award-winning author J.W. Ocker and clairvoyant Melissa Rose. Before or after the screening, view a diorama of a prop van from the set — one of eight created for the film. Reserve your tickets HERE.



LAIKA was founded in 2005 in Oregon by President & CEO Travis Knight. The studio’s five films Coraline (2009), ParaNorman (2012), The Boxtrolls (2014), Kubo and the Two Strings (2016) and Missing Link (2019) were all nominated for the Academy Award® for Outstanding Animated Feature. Kubo and the Two Strings won the BAFTA Award for Best Animated Film and received an additional Oscar® nomination for Visual Effects. Missing Link was awarded the Golden Globe® for Best Animated Film. LAIKA has also been awarded a Scientific and Technology Oscar® plaque in 2016 for its innovation in 3D printing. Recently, the studio announced its first live action feature film based on the action thriller novel Seventeen by screenwriter John Brownlow and The Night Gardener, an animated feature with Ozark creator Bill Dubuque, which will be directed by LAIKA’s CEO Travis Knight. LAIKA is currently in production on its sixth film, Wildwood, based on the novels by Colin Meloy.
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Over the last 20 years, the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) has distinguished itself as one of the fastest-growing art museums in North America. Founded in 1799, it is also the country’s oldest continuously operating museum. At its heart is a mission to enrich and transform people’s lives by broadening their perspectives, attitudes, and knowledge of themselves and the wider world. PEM celebrates outstanding artistic and cultural creativity through exhibitions, programming, and special events that emphasize cross-cultural connections, integrate past and present, and underscore the vital importance of creative expression. The museum’s collection is among the finest of its kind boasting superlative works from around the globe and across time — including American art and architecture, Asian export art, photography, maritime art and history, Native American, Oceanic, and African art, as well as one of the nation’s most important museum-based collections of rare books and manuscripts. PEM’s campus offers a varied and unique visitor experience with hands-on creativity zones, interactive opportunities, and performance spaces. Twenty-two noted historic structures grace PEM’s campus, including Yin Yu Tang, a 200-year-old Chinese house that is the only example of Chinese domestic architecture on display in the United States. HOURS: Open Thursdays, Saturdays & Sundays, 10 am–5 pm, and Fridays 10 am–7 pm. ADMISSION: Adults $20; seniors $18; students $12. Members, youth 16 and under, and residents of Salem enjoy free general admission. INFO: Call 866-745-1876 or visit pem.org.

A month-long celebration of Halloween and fall in New England, people travel from around the world to visit Salem during October. Created in 1982, the festival features hundreds of special events in addition to attractions, museums and tours that are in Salem throughout the year.

Creative Collective connects the creative workforce and economic development through connected programs, technical assistance, consultancy, advocacy, and more.