Halloween in Witch City

It’s Halloween! And there’s probably no better place to celebrate this spooktacular holiday than in Salem, Massachusetts.

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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.
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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)

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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 (?).

IMG_2034 But it’s a very charming small town with lots of beautiful old buildings and churches, all decorated to the nines.

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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.

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 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.

Probably a good way to ‘pick’ your victims (uh oh!).

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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!).

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As we meandered down the cobblestone streets there were witches & warlocks, psychics and tarot card readers standing in front of their shops inviting us to come in (if we dared–which we did).

Though we actually didn’t have a choice, they were fairly insistent.

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 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).

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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).

We’re definitely coming back again soon and spending a few days so we can do a bit more of the tours and events.

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 After wandering the main street taking in the sites and roaming the shops, we decided it was time to grab a drink and maybe a bite to eat too.
There are quite a few restaurants in Salem, but we finally  decided on Salem Works, which is the town’s brew pub. It’s actually a chain (but a good one) as we were at the ‘Boston Works’ yesterday in Beantown.
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Not too surprisingly, even the brew pub had witch-themed offerings. Like this one:
IMG_2057 The Black Bat Stout sounded really good as well. I loved their fun names and their logos were really nice. (beers were tasty too).

IMG_2058  Behind the bar is a ginormous list of what they are brewing and have available right now. It looked like a horse racing scoreboard!

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I tried a delicious fall pumpkin offering, it was so good! You can see the Pumpkin Spice around the rim of my glass. Mnnnn!

IMG_2045 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!

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11 thoughts on “Halloween in Witch City

    • Thanks Smidge!! It’s definitely a beautiful little town and worth a visit even if it’s not in the fall. But the atmosphere and experience is certainly pretty neat during the fall months and around Halloween, so it’s worth planning around it I think. Lots of great beers too, even though I should be drinking them because I get really bad heartburn (since going GF Ive noticed a big difference, but I occasionally sneak in some gluten haha). I hope you’re staying warm in Calgary, what a crazy bunch of unusually cold weather and snow you guys are getting. I’ve heard it’s heading our way (Ontario) soon, yikes!

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  1. Wow, looks really spooky but also very interesting. Being a big fan of Halloween (even if it general interest has dwindled in Germany), this looks like an amazing place to visit. The photos capture the atmosphere perfectly :). Would love to visit the museums and shops one day…

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    • It was a very cool little town and so much history too. Some of it is touristy/cheesy of course, as to be expected. But being there in the Fall is really cool, I just wish we had time to stay longer. I would love to be there at Halloween (I was there a couple weeks before), that would be scary but fun! Apparently a lot of the B & B’s and hotels fill up a year or more in advance, so it’s definitely a trip to plan ahead. If you’re in the states and go to Boston, it’s worth a visit (I believe a half hour or so outside of Boston)! And go at Halloween for sure if you’re a big fan! 🙂

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      • Sounds like a plan, even though it will take quite a while to get there. Anyway, if you’ll visit it during Halloween again, make sure to share your experiences ;-). I guess it’s like New Orleans during Mardi Gras with the tourists and booking hotels :-). Another place I’d like to visit some day.

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      • I shall indeed. My hopes is to maybe even go back this Fall, so even if I can’t get a hotel right around Halloween, I may do the whole Halloween tour this time and spend more time there. I think you’re right, it’s probably similar to Mardi Gras, maybe more spooky, less crazy…and less drinking! ha ha I will be sure to share pics if I go! Thanks again for stopping by and commenting. Sorry it’s taken awhile to reply, it’s been insanely busy on my end this week. Cheers! 😀

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      • Great, looking forward to that before-Halloween experience ;-). I might actually write something about the Movie Park Germany. They always have a Halloween special with some creepy labyrinths and decorations.
        No problem about the late reply, I’ve also been busy (still am), so it’s always difficult to do that blog commenting/liking thing :).

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      • oooh that sounds really cool! I look forward to reading about the Movie Park if you do write a post on it….and lotsa pictures too hopefully! Sounds like it’s especially cool to visit it at Halloween… I’d love that!
        I was in my glory at Universal (Florida) doing The Mummy ride, Twister Simulation (how they made the tornadoes in the movie), Spiderman 3D ride, and other cool visuals on how they make movies (not just rides). Love that stuff!

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      • I’ll definitely write a post about it, maybe even two, one with and one without the Halloween decorations ;). The labyrinths are pretty scary actually, and last year they did an Evil Dead forest. Unfortunately I couldn’t make it during that time. Still lots of great theme parks to discover in Germany, movie-related or not.
        Wow, those rides sound amazing. I guess we can’t compete with that here, although there are a few interesting places in the Netherlands, like Efteling. And the Europa Park is amazing, as you can visit all countries with their different rides.
        The how-to-make-movies stuff was exactly what the former Warner Moviepark was about, e.g. looking at how sound effects were made for Lethal Weapon with the audience participating. Unfortunately that’s a thing of the past…

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      • next time you get to the states, you should definitely aim for ‘the deep south’. People are incredibly friendly, fun atmosphere, amazing food…New Orleans was incredible, and much better than I expected. I didn’t go at Mardi Gras, which is probably a good thing (haha—and MUCH cheaper to not go during that time) but it sounds like a lot of fun. I was there in May a couple of years ago and LOVED it! I think you would, too!

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      • Sounds like a plan! New Orleans really looks and sounds amazing, not only because I remember the adventure game “Gabriel Knight” taking place there, although that was a dark setting, actually. Anyway, after having watched “Hatchet”. I’m pretty sure Mardi Gras party culture isn’t for me, hehe. Would be great to see for real, though!

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