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  • Georgina D'Angelo

Halloween in Salem: A Spooky Travel Guide

Updated: Jan 6

Halloween in Salem

Halloween deserves to be celebrated correctly, and Salem, Massachusetts sure knows how to do that. If you want to experience Halloween to its full potential, then you need to book a trip to Salem, Massachusetts in October! If you’re a haunted house, spooky season, witch vibe, and Halloween party lover, Salem will be a dream come true for you.

Halloween in Salem, MA is the biggest event of the year for both locals and visitors. When I say they go all out, they go all out and above and beyond. Think local Halloween festival…times about 200. It's not just a block, or even a neighborhood, event; it’s an entire city that goes into Halloween mode. So what is it like to visit Salem Massachusetts in October?

In this article...

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Halloween Activities in Salem, Massachusetts

There's no shortage of fun, spooky things to do in Salem in October, but here are the best. You will not want to miss out on these Halloween activities in Salem!

The Witch House at Salem

The Witch House, located in the heart of Salem, takes you back in time to the haunting era of the Salem Witch Trials. Built in the 17th century, this place was once the home of Judge Jonathan Corwin, a key figure in the trials.

You can immerse yourself in the rooms where eerie decisions were made. The Witch House at Salem offers knowledgeable guides who can tell you the tales of accused witches and the events that unfolded within these walls.

Experience a Seance

Attend a seance in Salem, where the tie between the living and the spirit realm is lifted. In the glow of candlelight, a psychic channels otherworldly energies, offering an opportunity to connect with departed loved ones or seek answers from the beyond. To experience a seance, take a look at the Spirit Parlor of Omen for openings.

Go on a Trolley Tour

A great way to explore more of Salem in a short time and with a knowledgeable guide is to book a trolley tour. There are several different Halloween-themed trolley tours in Salem. These include the Ghosts & Legends Tour at Gallows Hill, the Tales & Tombstones Tour, and the historical Salem tour. Visit Haunted Happenings to book.

Headstones in a Cemetery | Halloween Activities in Salem, Massachusetts

Visit a Psychic

Looking for a more personal Halloween activity in Salem? Get a psychic reading! You can receive guidance and insight into your life at a psychic, and what better place to do this than in Salem, Massachusetts? Psychic readings can include topics such as relationships, careers, finances, and health.

Shop Locally

While this isn't the spookiest activity, there are so many local shops in Salem, you won't want to miss them. Many of them also sell witchy goods, Halloween souvenirs, and other spooky items. Wandering from store to store is a fun yet calm way to explore downtown Salem, Massachusetts in October.

Join a Haunted Walking Tour

Another great way to learn about Salem's history and eerie happenings is by joining a walking tour. There are historical options as well as creepier ones to choose from. The best walking tours in Salem during Halloween are below.

Salem Witch Museum

Step into Salem's dark past at the Salem Witch Museum. With haunting exhibits, this museum unveils the tale of the infamous witch trials of 1692. Hear the tragic stories of accused witches and the hysteria that consumed the town. Through dramatic presentations and displays, the Salem Witch Museum offers a chilling exploration of this time in history.

Haunted House

What's Halloween without a creepy trek through a haunted house? Just outside of downtown, you'll find some of the spookiest houses. The best haunted houses in Salem, Massachusetts are Hysteria at Connors Farm, Haunted Witch Village, Chambers of Terror, and The Lost Museum at Gallows Hill.

Haunted House | Halloween Activities in Salem, Massachusetts

The History of Salem

In 1626, a group of immigrants founded the settlement originally known as Naumkeag, and soon began calling it Salem, which is actually the Hebrew word for peace! In the late 17th century, the infamous Salem Witch Trials began. Nineteen innocent people were hanged, and one man was even pressed to death. The town believed the devil was presenting itself through women, and even a few men, but these trials stopped when the governor’s wife was accused of being a witch herself.

Throughout the 18th century, political revolution swept through the town, Salem-based soldiers helped fight the British during the Revolutionary War, and it became the wealthiest city in the country per capita. Salem kept growing throughout the 1800s, adding museums, a shipping fleet, the Salem Common, and more. In 1838, the railroad between Boston and Salem opened, bringing in more people to the area.

The Salem Fire occurred in 1914, destroying thousands of buildings and leaving many people homeless and jobless. It was a tragedy that really shook the foundation of this city. But slowly, the city was built back up. In 1970, the seventh season of “Bewitched” was filmed in Salem, and the very first Haunted Happenings Festival happened in 1982, but only lasted one day.

Continuing through the late 20th century and into the 21st century, Salem lured in more Halloween fame thanks to its witchy history. The famous “Hocus Pocus” movie was filmed in Salem, the Witch Trials Memorial was dedicated by Elie Wiesel himself, and Salem began booming as the best Halloween town in the US. Check out more Salem facts if you're a lover of history!

Halloween in Salem Massachusetts

Why You Should Celebrate Halloween in Salem, MA

Every single part of the city turns on Halloween mode, and besides having a spooky, witchy history, Salem MA provides an incredibly festive celebration for everyone wanting to celebrate Halloween. From the detailed decor to the autumn leaves to the Haunted Happenings experience, Salem is the best place to spend Halloween in the US.

You will be expected to be in costume all day on Halloween, and if you’re feeling extra festive, wear your costume on the days leading up to Halloween. You’ll see all the different kinds of costumes in Salem. Some people go for a more common Halloween look, and other people go all out for their Halloween costumes in Salem. Some even hand make them with precise detail. So no matter how extravagant your costume is, you will fit in here. In fact, the bigger and bolder, the better you’ll be.

You can even make your own witch’s broom at The Witchery! If you’re up for it, go the extra mile and create the best Halloween treat for yourself. Channel your inner witch, get your broom ready, and hit the sky (errrm…streets) for a spook-filled night! Plus, what better souvenir will you find than a custom witch broom to remember your time in Salem, Massachusetts for Halloween? TIP: Remember to book all activities in advance.

If you enjoy history, tag along on a historical tour of Salem. Or walk yourself around the area to find famous historical monuments, such as the House of Seven Gables Museum and the Salem Witch Museum. This city is filled with rich history, so you won’t run out of sites to see and facts to learn about!

Another way to celebrate Halloween in Salem MA is just by roaming the streets. The Salem Witch Trials Memorial is a great starting point; while wandering around, you’ll stumble upon Halloween stores, spooky cafes, haunted restaurants, and more. This was our plan, and it turned out to be great fun. We found tons of monuments and learned a lot about Salem by reading all the historical signs we could find.

At night, the city comes to life, and the people pour into the streets. The drinks and dr*gs come out, but don’t worry. If that’s not your thing, it’s very easy to avoid. Everyone is here to have a great, spooky time! (FYI: If you’re a people watcher, you will be in heaven spending Halloween in Salem). Just be prepared for very large crowds.

Salem Massachusetts Halloween

How Long Should I Spend in Salem?

While Halloween is only one day (obviously), you should spend around 3 days exploring Salem so you can see everything you want to. It’s quite a small city, but there is a lot to see, including multiple museums where you can learn a lot about the history of Salem. There are also many restaurants, cafes, and bars to try in Salem, Massachusetts, so if you’re a foodie, you won’t run out of places to try while in town!

If you're planning on visiting on Halloween, we recommend going a few days before and spending the first couple of days just exploring Salem. Maybe you'll want to take a day trip to Boston as well! And when Halloween arrives, you'll be ready to spend all day haunting the streets, meeting new friends, showing off your costume, and having the best Halloween ever.

Salem in October

What to Bring to Salem for Halloween?

The most important thing to pack for Halloween in Salem MA is definitely your costume. Okay, you won’t want to spend 3 straight days in your costume, but not having one will be a huge bummer. But besides bringing the greatest Halloween costume of all time, you also want to pack warm clothes, comfortable shoes, a camera, a day bag or small backpack, and your spookiest vibes.

Salem is located on the northeastern coast of the US so it gets very chilly by the end of October. Packing warmer clothes and layers you can easily take on and off is the key to any fall/winter adventure. You don’t want to have the sickest costume, but not be able to go outside and show it off because you’re freezing your butt off!

Having a day bag is great if you plan on being out all day exploring. You can store a jacket, a water bottle, a camera/phone, and more in a day bag or small backpack. This just makes your life so much easier while you're on the go.

  • Costume

  • Warm jacket or coat

  • Long pants

  • Thick socks

  • Sweaters

  • Shirts to layer underneath

  • Boots or sneakers

  • Beanie or warm hat

  • Small backpack or day bag

Halloween in Salem - Men in Halloween Costumes

How to Get to Salem, MA

The easiest way to get to Salem, if you don’t have a car, is to fly into Boston, Massachusetts. From Boston, you can catch a train straight into Salem so you can get right to the Halloween festivities. However, when we visited in 2020, the train leaving from Boston on the afternoon of Halloween skipped the stop at Salem. We believe they did this to deter so many people from filling the streets of Salem as it was still during the pandemic, but thankfully they warned all the passengers before the train even left the station. We were able to get off at the stop before and get a cheap Uber into the main part of Salem. This probably is not an issue anymore, but you have been warned.

Another way to get into Salem is by car. You might be doing a fall or Halloween road trip in the New England area. Please be aware that parking in Salem in October will be nearly impossible. We heard that for the whole month of October, all street parking is for residents only. There are parking garages and satellite parking lots available with shuttle buses into the town, but be prepared to have to walk or wait for a shuttle from a parking lot. You don’t want to risk parking on the street, especially on Halloween, and being left with a hefty ticket.

Because Salem and Boston are so close to each other on the coast, you can also take a ferry from the Long Wharf in Boston. The ride takes less than an hour and it’s a fun, scenic alternative to getting to Salem from Boston. For more information on parking, directions, and transportation, check out this Salem site here.

How to Get to Salem Massachusetts

Salem, Massachusetts in October: Halloween is Here

We hope you’re prepared for your Halloween trip to Salem, MA. There is a plethora of things to do, sites to see, and food to eat while in town, and nobody does Halloween better than Salem. If you’re looking for a fun, haunted Halloween night, then Salem is most definitely the place you need to be. And if you want to experience the spooky season without all the craziness of overflowing streets, visit Salem in October the week or two before Halloween. The decorations are all out, the haunted vibes are in town, and festivities have begun. But you won’t have to deal with insane crowds like you will on the day of Halloween.

With all the details thrown at you, are you going to be riding your broomstick in to celebrate Halloween in Salem? Let us know below!

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Grabbing my broomstick. I'm so excited for Halloween now!

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Hi, I'm Georgina, adventure enthusiast and creator of Alpacka My Bags. I'm here for all of your travel and adventure planning needs! 


I've been exploring this beautiful planet since I was a child, so I decided it was time to share my travel tips with others to enjoy. After college, I knew the "traditional career path" was not for me.


I needed to travel and explore what this world has to offer. It sounds cliché but you do only live once. So I made going on adventures a priority, and soon realized that I wanted to share them with others so you can enjoy them too! 

My passion is spreading the travel bug and showing others that travel is attainable and so worth it. From itineraries to camping tips to packing lists, Alpacka My Bags has you covered!

Join me, and often my partner and my dog, as we find exciting adventures and travel recommendations for you! If you've been bit by the travel bug just as I have, I hope you find my tips useful for all of your future travels.

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