The history of Salem, Massachusetts has forever left an indelible mark in the psyche of the American public. There is no mention of this town without some remembrance of the macabre Salem Witch Trials of colonial times. The gruesome story goes something like this: In 1692, a group of girls became afflicted with fits and pointed the finger of guilt at various women of the town, accusing them of witchcraft. Suffice it to say, the period goes down in history as a period of mass hysteria and witch hunt fervor which placed at least fifty people under shameful accusation and great misery, while at least twenty were put to death during the period. Today, Salem is a quaint town, lively, with a hearty and happy community, but is not without its share of mystique. When the fog rolls in and the fall begins, it is a spooky time to be in Salem, and thus, what better time to visit than Halloween?
Halloween for Salem is a joyous time, and it gives visitors a taste of this smaller Massachusetts town that has grown steadily and warmly since its earliest of stigmas. The Salem population embraces this history as an interesting introspection into the life and times of the region and people, and the whole month of October is generally considered a celebration. A Haunted Happenings Parade kicks things off on Thursday, October4th, and from there on out it’s pretty much a month-long festival.
If this is your first time visiting Salem, no matter the season, consider swinging by the Salem Visitor’s Center to grab a copy of the Heritage Trail map, which is essentially a red line which takes you through the historically poignant parts of town. It’ll be good to brush up on your gruesome history in time for Halloween too!
Also consider visiting the New England Pirate Museum and see what a big part fishing and the seas had on Salem’s economy. Notorious sea-robbers like Blackbeard and Captain Kidd terrorized these seas and even join them on their hunt for buried treasure. This is always a kid-favorite.
For an extra-special Salem-for-Halloween event, consider taking a candlelit tour of the Witch Trial Trail at night, available only through the month of October. If anywhere is haunted, it’s got to be Salem.