You should use npm-run-all (or concurrently, parallelshell), because it has more control over starting and killing commands. The operators &, | are bad ideas because you'll need to manually stop it after all tests are finished.
This is an example for protractor testing through npm:
"webdriver-start": "./node_modules/protractor/bin/webdriver-manager update && ./node_modules/protractor/bin/webdriver-manager start",
"protractor": "./node_modules/protractor/bin/protractor ./tests/protractor.conf.js",
"http-server": "./node_modules/http-server/bin/http-server -a localhost -p 8000",
"test": "npm-run-all -p -r webdriver-start http-server protractor"
-p = Run commands in parallel.
-r = Kill all commands when one of them finishes with an exit code of zero.
Running npm run test will start Selenium driver, start http server (to serve you files) and run protractor tests.