Rich in history and charm, Salem, MA is the place to be for Halloween. Salem is most notable for its witch trials that took place between 1692 and 1693. What began with a small group of teenage girls claiming to be possessed ended in over 200 citizens accused and 20 executed. Eventually, the colony admitted the trials were a mistake and the families of the convicted were compensated. However, since the city’s dark past, Salem has become a place for remembrance of the victims. Fair to say it’s also known to be haunted (spoOoky), and a vacation destination for over half a million tourists every year. Salem definitely has a lot to offer, but it was the Disney hit, Hocus Pocus, that really put it on the map for us! For more details on the trials, check out this article. Every year during spooky season, you can experience ghost tours, mock witch trials, and costume parades all around town.
Add these stops to your list in Salem this October:
Peabody Essex Museum
The PEM features a broad range of exhibits featuring art and history from Salem and around the world. Now through November, you can find the Salem Witch Trials: Restoring Justice exhibit, which uses court documents and historic objects to tell the story of those who lived through the frightful craze. And if you can’t make it there in person, you can check out the virtual tour here. While you’re there, stop by the Bats! Exhibition and get to know the flying mammals up close and personal in this multisensory experience.
Witch City Mall
Witch City Mall provides the perfect venue for a unique shopping experience, entertainment, and dining in historic downtown Salem. Explore the future with a psychic reading, meet real practicing witches, and enjoy a market full of magical gifts at Salem’s longest running psychic fair! Visit Festival of the Dead for more information.
Salem Witch Hunt: Myths & Misconceptions Walking Tour
Few people have a historically accurate understanding of the Salem Witch Trials, which took place over 300 years ago. Using historical documents, images, and locations, this tour helps to uncover the myths and reveal the truth behind this dark period from America’s past. You’ll start with the documentary film “Salem Witch Hunt: Examine the Evidence,” followed by the working tour which visits the Salem Witch Trials Memorial and the site of the original 17th century jail. Tours run each weekend, tickets are available here.
Gallows Hill Museum: A Salem Witch Trial
POV: It’s 1692 and you’re on trial for witchcraft. In this new event, find yourself accused of witchery and try to implore your innocence in front of the judge. Listen to the testimonies from other audience members with the help of a local Puritan. After, take a picture with Sheriff Corwin and a replica of the hanging tree. It’s an eerie one, find tickets here, if you dare!
“Hocus Pocus” Movie Locations Tour
Take a walking tour and visit five real-life filming locations from the Halloween cult classic, including Pioneer Village and the Dennsion House.Your knowledgeable guide will provide insight about the witch trials, the city’s rich maritime history, and other local trivia. Tours run on weekends, find tickets here.
Old Town Hall
Built in 1816, the historic building located in Derby Square served as a town hall and marketplace, and is still used as such today! When visiting the Old Town Hall, whether you’re there for the farmers market, the museum, or a performance of Cry Innocent, you should keep a watchful eye as you may encounter a bit of paranormal activity. Fun fact, this is the location used in Hocus Pocus for the party Max and Dani’s parents attended.