Want to create an itinerary from this post?
Salem Haunted Happenings enters its 36th year this October with a calendar boasting events for Halloween enthusiasts of all ages. Known for the Witch Trials of 1692, Salem is a seaport with many stories to tell. Whether you like to dive into American history or seek out haunted lore, you’ll find something to love during Haunted Happenings.
Ghost stories take a historic twist at the Witch House and Pioneer Village during October weekends. There is something super spooky about sitting in a seventeenth century house hearing a ghost story inspired by history, or standing in a cottage in the woods to hear a ghostly tale by candlelight. Don’t be surprised if you are particularly susceptible to hearing things that go bump in the night after these stories!
For a more dramatic twist, head to the House of the Seven Gables where Nathaniel Hawthorne’s characters in The House of the Seven Gables are brought to life during Spirits of the Gables. The audience moves from room to darkened room during the play, picking up pieces of the plot from each character as they go. Pair this performance with Legacy of the Hanging Judge and you will meet Nathaniel Hawthorne and his great, great grandfather, Witch Trials judge John Hawthorne.
Lighten things up during the first Haunted Harmonies a cappella festival on October 8. Ten groups will compete in the morning at the Fountain Stage. There will be free a cappella performances during the Haunted Biz Baz Street Fair, followed by a pro-showcase event in the evening.
Families will want to check out Salem Common each weekend for family fun days followed by free movies (bring a blanket or a chair!) at dark. The Haunted Happenings carnival will open on October 14 for the second half of the month, and the view from the top of the Ferris wheel is an October must!
If you want to add a hint of history to your visit, there are several museums, attractions, and walking tours that will share stories about the Salem Witch Trials of 1692, Salem’s pirate history, and Salem’s rich maritime stories. If it is your first visit to Salem, hop on a Salem Trolley for their one-hour narrated tour to get the overview of Salem and your bearings for exploring later.
October traffic in Salem can be scary, so visitors are encouraged to use public transportation. The Salem Ferry provides daily service between Salem’s Blaney Street and Boston’s Long Wharf North, and Salem is located five stops from Boston’s North Station on the Newburyport/Rockport lines of the Commuter Rail.
Salem is a very walkable city, so if you do drive plan to park your car and leave it for the day. The longest distance from one site to another takes about 20 minutes to walk, but the amazing people watching and Halloween scenery will make it worth every step!
Visit HauntedHappenings.org for complete information about visiting Salem in October, including the calendar of events.