It’s Halloween! And there’s probably no better place to celebrate this spooktacular holiday than in Salem, Massachusetts.
Salem is only about 30 minutes outside of Boston and definitely worth a stop if you’re in the area, especially in the fall.
That’s when the Town of Salem launches its witchy-witch Fright Fest, complete with a Zombie Prom, cemetery tours, seances and many more creepy events for tourists and Halloween lovers alike.
The town is chock full of chills and thrills, but I wasn’t scared in the least. Well, maybe a little… the Brewery did run out of one of the beers I wanted to try (gasp!). Now that was scary. I had to make another choice! (more on the witchy beers in a bit)
I love that the entire town was completely decorated for the fall season with pumpkins strewn everywhere, as well as hay bales, witches, goblins, and cool red lights in the church windows (and other buildings) to give the town that (extra) spooky feel.
We arrived here early in the afternoon and it was sunny and fairly warm, so it didn’t look all that spooky until the sun started to set. I’m really not sure why, but for some reason I was expecting Salem to be dark at noon (?).
As you probably know, Salem is also the spot of the infamous Witch Trials of 1692 where 19 men and women (though a larger percentage were women) were hung to death after a series of hearings in court (in Salem and other surrounding areas). They were accused (and then convicted) of practicing witchcraft and consorting with the devil himself.
As the story goes, it pretty much started with a group of teenage girls who were throwing hysterical fits and accusing three women of bewitching them.
An investigation began and the hearings were soon underway, with of course, a sad outcome for those accused. It was definitely a tragic event in America’s history.
While we wandered around the town, I couldn’t help think that I was smack in the middle of ‘ Hocus Pocus’, a classic (early) 90’s movie about witches (with Bette Midler and Sarah Jessica Parker). I kept expecting those funny witches to jump out at me at every corner.
I did run into a pretty cool witch on main street, though she wasn’t really all that funny. She was actually rather quiet, but she let us take a picture with her at least. Something tells me she’s used to all the tourists here.
The town’s trademark image of a ‘witch on a broomstick’ was plastered everywhere we went.
Even the police badges had the logo on it, which I found it took away from their authoritative role. (but I didn’t test them by jaywalking or anything, just in case haha!).
Though we actually didn’t have a choice, they were fairly insistent.
There were tons of Wicca (modern-day witchcraft) stores along the downtown main street that offered crystal balls, potions and everything else you’d need to put a spell on someone (and some great spots to find yourself a Halloween costume too).
There’s also a Witch Museum so tourists can learn more about the town’s history and the Witch Trials, as well as several ghost and haunted house tours for the brave tourists. Since we were mostly passing through town, we didn’t get a chance to do a tour unfortunately (ok, maybe it was because we weren’t that brave! ha ha Just kidding).
Not too surprisingly, even the brew pub had witch-themed offerings. Like this one:
The Black Bat Stout sounded really good as well. I loved their fun names and their logos were really nice. (beers were tasty too).
I tried a delicious fall pumpkin offering, it was so good! You can see the Pumpkin Spice around the rim of my glass. Mnnnn!
After a delicious meal, we headed back into the street and wandered around town a bit more before deciding it was time to get back on the road. We were hoping to be at our next stop (Portland, Maine) before it got too late.
If you come to Salem around Halloween, be forewarned that many of the B & Bs and hotels book up reallllly fast. Some of them are even full a year in advance, apparently (so we were told this by many locals). Especially the more popular downtown B & Bs. If you plan your trip too late, you might have to stay in Boston and drive out to Salem for the day (like we did). It’s not a far drive at least.
Seeing a Bruins game AND visiting the Halloween capital of the world in just two days? Is there a better way to celebrate Halloween??? I think not!
Hope ya’ll had a fun & spooky Hallow’s Eve too!