What To See In Salem, Massachusetts For Halloween

October is always a special month in the historic city of Salem, Massachusetts. After all, the city is synonymous with Halloween, witchcraft and haunted houses.  However, this year is extra special and not just because you don’t have to social distance. Indeed, it’s the 40th anniversary of Salem Haunting Happenings, a monthlong event with special …

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The Bewtiched statue in Salem

October is always a special month in the historic city of Salem, Massachusetts. After all, the city is synonymous with Halloween, witchcraft and haunted houses.  However, this year is extra special and not just because you don’t have to social distance. Indeed, it’s the 40th anniversary of Salem Haunting Happenings, a monthlong event with special attractions. For instance, there will be a Vampire Ball, psychic faire, ghost hunts and a whole lot more. While you may already have a few ideas on what to do, the following are among the best in Salem for Halloween

Bewitched Statue

235 Essex St.
Salem, MA  01970

If you are a fan of the popular TV series “Bewitched” or its spinoffs, you’ll want to see the Bewitched Statue. Standing six feet tall, this bronze statue depicts actress Elizabeth Montgomery sitting on a broom. The statue rests upon a molded bronze stand and also features a large crescent moon behind the witch known as Samantha. As much as it’s now known as a landmark of the city, it wasn’t always that way. That’s become some local residents felt that the comedic expression of the statue “trivializes” the Salem Witch Trials. You can find the Bewitched statue in Lappin Park, at the corner of Washington and Essex streets.

Charter Street Cemetery

51 Charter St.
Salem, MA  01970

Another popular yet somber spot to visit in Salem for Halloween is Charter Street Cemetery. Also known as the Old Burying Ground, it’s one of the oldest remaining cemeteries in America. Furthermore, it’s also known to be one of the most haunted spots in the city, because of its association to the Salem Witch Trials. In fact, two judges from the infamous trials John Hathorne and Bartholomew Gedney, are buried here. An estimated 600 people buried here and includes Revolutionary War soldiers, a Mayflower passenger and Reverend John Higginson. In the event that you visit during the Halloween season, this graveyard will be quite busy with other sightseers. With this in mind, don’t be surprised to see some visitors dressed as witches, vampires etc.

Haunted Happenings Grand Parade

Shetland Park
27 Congress St.
Salem, MA  01970
(978) 744-0004

Date: Thursday, October 6, 2022
Time: 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

You won’t have to wait until Halloween in Salem for the Haunted Happenings Parade. In fact, if you want to see it, you need to start making plans very soon. That’s because this annual parade is always held on the first Thursday of October. In case you do want to go, you’ll be in for a treat, and maybe a few tricks. In addition to a Halloween parade with floats and costumed marchers, there will be live music, great food and even some witches. The Chamber of Commerce-led parade begins in Shetland Park, continues by many local attractions and ends at the Salem Common. This event to kickstart the season is free and completely family friendly.

Related: America’s Best Halloween Parades

Peabody Essex Museum

161 Essex St.
Salem, MA  01970
(978) 745-9500

If you want to see rare artifacts from the Salem Witch Trials, then visit the Peabody Essex Museum. In brief, the Peabody Essex is the only place in the city where you can see artifacts from the Salem Witch Trials. In fact, it has the world’s largest collection of artifacts, including court documents. During the month of October, the Peabody Essex Museum will be hosting several Halloween-related events. For example, you can attend screenings of films like “The Witch” and “ParaNorman” or attend the Talk Series. However, the main highlight might be Hocus Pocus recreation at Ropes Mansion. An early 18th century Georgian Colonial mansion, it was featured in the Disney film “Hocus Pocus”. Dating to 1799, the Peabody Essex Museum is among America’s oldest continuously operating museums.

Related: Supernatural Towns To Visit For Halloween

Psychic Faire & Witches’ Market

Witch City Mall
1 Church St.
Salem, MA  01970

If you’re interested in a psychic reading or having your fortune read, stop by the Psychic Fair & Witches’ Market. Held inside Witch City Mall, admission is free all month to attend the fair and market. However, you can book an appointment online for psychic reading sessions or visit any of the booths. In addition to psychics, there will be Tarot card readings, crystal ball fortunetellers and palm readers. Of course, you can also purchase items like witchcraft tools, candles, handcrafted incense, jewelry, crystal rocks and more The annual Psychic Fair and Witches’ market will be open daily through October 31.

Salem Wax Museum

288 Derby St.
Salem, MA  01970
(978) 740-2929

You will find plenty of fun things to do at the Salem Wax Museum for the Halloween season. That’s because, you will have not one, but six attractions to enjoy. The main attraction of course, is the wax museum, the first and best in Salem. However, you can also do a tour of Salem Witch Village, as well as visit two haunted houses. If that’s not enough, you can also go on a Ghostly Walking Tour or join in on the Witching Hour Spellcasting. Tickets can be purchased online and use your receipt as your ticket. Also in October, the Salem Wax Museum will feature “The Enchanters” design-based art exhibit.

Related: America’s Best Pumpkin Farms and Corn Mazes

Salem Witch Museum

19 ½ Washington Square North
Salem, MA  01970
(978) 744-1692

In what seems to be the literal heart of the city is the Salem Witch Museum. Located inside a 19th century Gothic Revival building, the museum presents an overview of the Salem Witch Trials. You will learn about this infamous period of American history through two 20-minute presentations. During this time, you will see wax figures of people who lived in 1692 while listening to a recorded narration. Because there are no overly scary sights or sounds, this museum if family friendly. Just across the road is a statue of Roger Conant, the founder of Salem. However, with his hat and long cape, you might mistake this statue to be of a witch.

Granite markers surrounding lawn at Salem Witch Trials Memorial
Salem Witch Trial Memorial (credit: Randy Yagi)

Salem Witch Trials Memorial

24 Liberty St.
Salem, MA  01970

Mere footsteps from the Old Burying Point is a memorial built to honor of the 20 victims of the Salem Witch Trials. Here, you will see the inscribed names on granite markers, of each victim, most of whom died by hanging. However, the location of a mass gravesite is unknown. Moreover, these people were not allowed to be buried at the Old Burying Point because they were allegedly witches. Due to contrary belief, none of these people died by burning at the stake. However, due to the prevailing hysteria, they were incinerated, in an effort to prevent bad spirits from returning. The memorial will be one of the more somber attractions to visit in Salem for Halloween.

Exterior of the famous House of the Seven Gables
House of the Seven Gables (credit: Randy Yagi)

The House of the Seven Gables

115 Derby St.
Salem, MA  01970
(978) 744-0991

Arguably the most recognizable landmark in Salem is the House of the Seven Gables. A colonial mansion that dates to 1668, it’s well known for its seven prominent gables or triangular roofs. Just minutes from the city harbor, it became quite famous after the 1851 publishing of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel by the same name. With Gothic fiction and romance themes, it tells the story of a curse upon members of the Pyncheon family. Grounds passes and guided tours are available, which features a 45-minute tour of this iconic home. In addition to daily tours, the House of the Seven Gables will hold special events to celebrate the Halloween season. This includes Haunted Fables at the Gables, featuring storytelling based upon Hawthorne and Edgar Allan Poe’s stories. In case you go, you will listen to excerpts from classics like The Raven, Annabel Lee, The Cask of Amontilado and of course, The House of the Seven Gables.

Witch Dungeon Museum

16 Lynde St.
Salem, MA
(978) 741-3570

Another family friendly attraction you can visit for Halloween in Salem is the Witch Dungeon Museum. While some attractions are better than others, the Witch Dungeon Museum has a TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Award. In other words, you might like to visit this museum with a very historical location. To put it differently, this museum lies on the original property of the Salem Gaol (jail). Because of this, many people prosecuted during the Salem Witch Trials were sent here. What’s more, Giles Corey, the only male to be convicted, was executed here by being pressed to death. Although the museum itself is a replica of the Gaol, the reenactments of the Witch Trials might be worth the cost of entry. Even if you decide not to go inside, you can still take photos of your group at the wooden pillories outside the museum.

Other Events & Attractions

Annual Salem Witches’ Magic Circle: Drum circle at Salem Common, October 31 at 5 p.m.

Count Orlock’s Nightmare Gallery, 217 Essex Street.

Gallow’s Hill Museum Theatre, 7 Lynde St.

Proctor’s Ledge Memorial: The site at 7 Pope Street that is believed to be where Salem witches were hanged.

Witch History Museum, 197-201 Essex Street.

Witch House: Former home of Jonathan Corwin, one of the judges of the Salem Witch Trials

Zombie Walk 2022: Walk with other zombies to kick off the Halloween season in Salem. Event is at Salem Common, October 1 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Related: Halloween At California Amusement Parks

Where To Stay

Due to high demand, many hotels in Salem are already booked for the Halloween season. Moreover, you can expect to pay a premium on any lodging you can find in the historic city. Your best option might be to stay in Boston, where there are a larger number of overnight accommodations. In fact, some hotels like Kimpton Nine Zero are offering special packages for Salem. The Witch Way to Salem package includes roundtrip private car service to Salem and tickets to Salem Witch Walking Tours.

About The Author

Randy Yagi is an award-winning freelance writer who served as the National Travel Writer for CBS from 2012-2019. More than 900 of his stories still appear in syndication across 23 CBS websites, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco. During his peak years with CBS, Randy had a reported digital audience reach of 489 million and 5.5 million monthly visitors. Additionally, his stories have appeared in the Daily Meal, CBS News, CBS Radio, Engadget, NBC.com, NJ.com and Radio.com. He earned a Media Fellowship from Stanford University in 2012.