Halloween Season in Salem

When you look for the best places to visit during the Halloween season, it’s almost guaranteed that Salem, Massachusetts will make the list. After all, it’s supposedly filled with hauntings, most of which involve the trials and executions of several locals who were convicted of allegedly practicing witchcraft in 1692.

You might also be familiar with the city of Salem from a pop culture perspective, with Disney’s early 90s film Hocus Pocus (one of my favorites), where the film focuses on the fictional Sanderson Sisters (witches) who are accidentally summoned back to life on Halloween and wreak havoc on the city of Salem.

Over the weekend, Ted and I trekked up to Salem for some Halloween fun, and BOY was the city alive! The last time I visited Salem was for a quick stop during a summer road trip and things have changed quite a bit from what I remember! 

Halloween Season in Salem

Interesting Facts About Salem

  • Most of the city’s historical buildings have been turned into condos (even the most gruesome ones)
  • Criminals such as Whitey Bulger and Boston Strangler suspects were once held in Salem’s jail
  • The second oldest European cemetery can be found here, where someone from the Mayflower is buried
  • Hocus Pocus was filmed here (and a sequel is rumored to be in the works)
  • The first ice cream cone in America was served here in 1906 at Salem Willows (and it’s still a hotspot for ice cream today)
  • Over 20 people died in relation to the witch hysteria in the late 1600s
  • Several episodes of Bewitched was filmed here in the 1970s, when the city first started to really open up as a tourist destination from its bewitching history

Must Do’s When Visiting Salem

If you’re only in Salem for a short time, I highly recommend doing these things:

  • Walking Tour:  There are SO many tours to choose from, but we opted for Spellbound Tours at $15 each. Tickets were sold out online ahead of our trip (Halloween season in Salem is CRAZY), but fortunately, the guide squeezed us in, and it was a highlight of our time in the city. Not only did we learn more about the witch trial times, but we were also able hear about the hauntings of the city and tour Salem.
  • Witch House: I’ve always been a huge history buff, and if you are too, you should set some time aside to visit the Witch House, the only historical structure still standing from the time of the witch trials in the late 1600s. It reminds me of the Hocus Pocus house and is filled with information and artifacts of life at the time. You’ll be pretty shocked at some of the things!
  • Mock Witch Trial: Want to step back in time and experience what a witch trial was like back in 1692? Cry Innocent is a great way to learn more about them, with a mock trial of Bridget Bishop, as you sit on the Puritan jury.
  • See a Psychic: What better place to get a reading than the witch capital of America?!

If you’re planning a trip to Salem during the Halloween season, keep in mind that it’ll be packed! Be sure to make reservations for tours and restaurants ahead of time, especially if there are 3+ in your party! 

Have you visited Salem? 

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  • What a fun place to visit right before Halloween! I’ve never been, but love anything historical so this seems like it would be right up my alley. Definitely something to add to the list!

    http://simplyjandk.com/

    • It was so much fun! You’d definitely enjoy Salem if you’re into history!

  • melissa christian

    I’ve always wanted to go there for halloween

    • This time of year is really cool to visit – you should definitely look into it for next year!

  • Marissa Pedersen

    I’m from Seattle and I’ve never been to Salem before! I really want to visit now.

    • You should! It’s not terribly far from Boston, so you could really make a great trip out of it!

  • We’re only a few hours from Salem and I really want to take a trip there next Fall!

    • You should! It’s such a cool town to explore – especially this time of year!

  • This sounds like so much fun, especially right during Halloween! I haven’t watched Hocus Pocus this year, and that’s the only way I’m getting to Salem this year!

    • It is! And you know what, I’ve only seen bits and pieces this year, but I’m definitely setting aside some time for it this weekend. After visiting the Witch House, I think it’ll put the movie in an entirely new perspective!

  • Omg I’m so intrigued by Salem! I’m currently reading The Crucible with my students, and it reminds me of how interesting the town’s history it. I’ll have to keep your ideas in mind when I finally visit Salem.

    • How cool! I need to add it to my reading list. Salem’s history is so fascinating (and pretty crazy)!

  • Sofia N

    I want to go there!
    http://www.aloveaffairblog.com

    • I hope you can plan a visit soon – it’s a really cool city!

  • Sam

    Salem witchcraft! This is the perfect place to go this Halloween. I didn’t actually know where to find it til I read your blog. I’d love to do ghost hunting here. Or not.

    http://followyouroad.com

    • It definitely is! You can always start with a daytime ghost tour – they’re much less spooky than at night :)

  • Joscelyn | Wifemamafoodie

    I read a lot about Salem in school when learning about the witch trials. Looks like the perfect place to visit for Halloween!

    • So cool! I definitely want to read up on it more now that I’ve visited!

  • EEK! I have only been to Salem in the summer, definitely need to make a fall trip at some point!

    ​xx katie // a touch of teal

    • For sure! It’s totally different in the fall – especially during the month of October!

  • My mom and stepdad just went to Salem this past weekend!! I’ve been wanting to make my way up there but never take the time. I’ve heard they have a lot of great food too :)

    • You should plan a trip! We only stopped for vendor food at one of the tents – the restaurants were packed! Hopefully next time we’ll get to try one of them!

  • I would love to visit Salem during October!! I bet everything is a blast there! Hocus Pocus is one of my favorite halloween movies to watch. I have heard they are making another one. I bet the Witch House tour would be a lot of fun!

    • It was really cool! They said they’d be filming the sequel to Hocus Pocus in Salem next year – it might be a good time to plan a trip :)

  • I’ve always wanted to visit Salem during Halloween because of Hocus Pocus lol. There’s a sequel being planned? OMG!

    Alix | http://www.apintsizedlife.com

    • Exactly! You should totally plan a trip for next year – that’s supposedly when filming will happen!

  • I want to visit so desperately! And now that I know that Hocus Pcus was filmed there, I’m booking a ticket, now! So awesome!

    • I hope you can get there soon, it’s such a fun place to explore!

  • I went to Salem last summer with Lisa and it was amazing!!!! So much culture and it’s so pretty there!

  • AmphoriaBello

    I have ALWAYS wanted to visit Salem in the Fall! Hocus Pocus is so cheesy but it’s my favorite Halloween movie and every year I swear I’m going to plan a trip NEXT time! I love your photos! I wonder what sort of evening festivities the town of Salem plans around this time of year.

    • We were only there for the day but it seemed like there was a big nightlife scene – especially during October! I love Hocus Pocus too :) I hear they’re filming the sequel next year so that might be the time to do it!

  • Salem is such a fascinating city, I have always wanted to visit!

    La Belle Sirene

    • It really is! I hope you can get a trip together soon!

  • Pamela Arsena

    I am drawn to all things witchy which is why Salem is on my bucket list of places to visit. I would be in heaven there.

    • It’s such a cool city! I hope you can get there soon, you’d LOVE it since you’re into all the witchy things!

  • I’ve never been. I actually thought a lot more people were killed because of witch hysteria. That actually really surprises me!

    • It does seem like there’d be a lot more, but the stories of the time are just crazy!

  • I loved that you included some facts about the town in addition to the must-dos in the area as well! Great post!

  • linda spiker

    We were in Salem in May! What a fun place to spend Halloween!

  • Salem is forever on my bucket list!! I’m so fascinated by the witch trials. I can’t believe they were so gruesome back then!!!!

    • I think it’s just insane how all of it went down! You should try to plan a trip one of these days – it’s not far from Boston so you can knock that off your list too if you want to visit!

  • Chrissa – Physical Kitchness

    What a cool place to see during Halloween. I LOVE Hocus Pocus!

  • I visited Salem on a road trip up to Maine and I loved the town! Based on the parts I visited it really felt like I had traveled back in time, but I wish I could have been there during the fall

    • My family and I did years ago too :) It was a totally different experience visiting in the fall. You should definitely go back if you can!

  • my girlfriends and i did a day trip here a couple years ago and loved it. we did a walking tour i believe. they said it gets CRAZY around halloween, i can’t even imagine!

    • What a fun place for a girls trip! The walking tour was my favorite – I love hearing all of the stories and it was INSANE the weekend before Halloween. I can’t imagine how nuts this past one must have been!

  • I live in Massachusetts, and visiting Salem each fall is a must! There is so much to see and do, it’s definitely the perfect place for a weekend getaway :)

    • I’d definitely be out there every fall if I lived up there! How fun!

  • Sheila Jo Spencer

    I’ve never been there, but it sounds like a perfect Halloween trip!

    • It was a really fun trip! I hope you can get there one day to experience it yourself!

  • Taylor Smith

    I want to go to Salem during Halloween season!!! How fun is that!

    • You absolutely should! It’s such a cool city, especially this time of year!

  • Neely

    Oh my gosh what a cool thing to do ! I would love to go!

  • Going to Salem during October was my favorite field trip every year growing up! Such a great post!

    • Thanks, Amanda! Field trips to Salem?! That sounds incredible!

  • I have always wanted to go here during Halloween!

    • Halloween is such a fun time to visit! I hope you can get there one year!

  • A sequel for Hocus Pocus!? How awesome would that be! I seriously want to visit Salem during Halloween!

    • Right?! They’re supposed to be filming next year, so maybe that’s the time to plan a trip :)

  • Patricia Conte

    The scenery looks so pretty! I’m sure it’s so fun (and like you said, crowded!) around Halloween. Thanks for the info!

    • It was! Crowds are never fun to deal with, but once we were off the main street it wasn’t too terrible.

  • October in Salem is crazy yet magical lol theres really nothing like it. It’s one big Halloween party all month long. Everyone is out bar hopping and walking around in their costumes. You have all the fun haunted tours of Salem. I miss living just a couple hours away and being able to visit this time of year. Everyone should take a trip there this time of year.

    • I totally agree! It was so fun to people watch there too :) The haunted tour was one of the highlights of the visit for me!

  • How cool. I would love to visit Salem some day!

    • It’s a really cool city. I hope you can get there one day!

  • I have always wanted to try to go to Salem for Halloween. That would be such an amazing trip – I would love to learn more about the history of the town. Maybe one year soon :)

    • Fingers crossed! It’s such an interesting place to explore!

  • Wow this seems so amazing! I would love to spend Halloween in Salem, it would be so cool.

    • It was! The city comes alive like you wouldn’t believe during the month of October!

  • I visited Salem recently on a trip to Boston and would love to come back for Halloween!

    • I’m glad you were able to squeeze in some time for Salem! What was your favorite part?

  • Yes! I had a lot of fun in Salem when I visited over the summer. I imagine it’s way better to go in the fall. Did you see a psychic when you went?

    • It definitely is! I did see a psychic but it wasn’t a good one, unfortunately. I’ll have to try again next time! Did you? What was your favorite part?

  • It definitely is! I hope you get the chance to visit one day!

  • Salem is on my list, and I definitely would do the walking tour! Pinning this for when I finally plan a trip there! :)

    • The walking tour was the best! We loved hearing all of the stories. I hope you can get there soon!

  • I was so close to visiting Salem when we were in Boston in July but sadly we weren’t able to… it’s def on the list!

    • Aww, boo! You’ll have to get there next time for sure :)