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Spending Halloween in Salem, MA
Nothing says spooky like Salem, Massachusetts. I live in Boston, so Salem is just a 20-mile jaunt up the coast for me; however, spending at least one Halloween in Salem is a must-do trip for everybody, even if you live far away. Salem has a dark history, and its infamous witch trials still haunt the city. In 1692, John Hathorne presided over a witch-hunt that lasted several months and cost 24 men and women their lives. Many believe these “witches’” remain in Salem to this day… in spirit that is. If you are looking for a haunted Halloween with some real ghosts, psychics, and witches both dead and alive, plan to spend your next Halloween in Salem! Here are some fun Halloween activities for 2013!
Let’s start off with family friendly activities that the kids can enjoy in this haunted town during the witching season; after all, you don’t want to scare them too much! One of the most popular annual Halloween attractions in Salem is Professor Wunders’ School of Magic. Children get to participate in Professor Wunders’ magic show and be enthralled by some pretty nifty special effects to boot. Children also receive a free magic glow ring and a chance to have their photo taken with the master magician. Professor Wunders’ School of Magic’s details are:
Runs: Every Sunday in October from 11 a.m. to Noon
At: Gallows Hill Museum Theater / 7 Lynde Street, Salem, MA / (978) 825-0222
More Information: Professor Wunders’ School of Magic at Gallows Hill
Of course, an hour-long magic show and lesson isn’t going to keep your munchkins in Halloween heaven the rest of the time you are visiting Salem, so let’s give three cheers for Salem’s Haunted Happenings Carnival! This annual carnival encourages adults to act like kids right along with their little ones, and has numerous games, rides, and activities sure to give everyone in your family a haunted blast. Here’s the Haunted Happenings Carnival 411:
Runs: Monday – Friday 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. / Saturday – Sunday Noon to 10 p.m.
At: Derby Street, Salem, MA
More Information: Haunted Happenings Carnival
Halloween in Salem must include some historical activities sure to educate you on why Salem is Salem. The House of the Seven Gables’ claim to fame goes far beyond its National Registry of Historic Places listing. It is New England’s oldest wooden mansion, and it inspired Nathaniel Hawthorne to write The House of the Seven Gables. The activities inside the house arguably inspired Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. For Halloween, the house puts on two special events.
The first event is the Legacy of the Hanging Judge. Enter into 1692’s Salem Witch Trials and possibly face trial yourself if you’re suspected to engage in witchcraft. Magistrate John Hathorne, Nathaniel’s Great Grandfather, presides over the hearings, and you and many others will face his harsh hand of justice if you cannot prove your innocence, as well as experience the terror of those who were locked away to await their hanging.
Running alongside the Legacy show is the Spirits of the Gables at the House of Seven Gables. This presentation brings Hawthorne’s The House of the Seven Gables characters to life, and you will be swept into their greed and revenge. Curses and guilt-laden spirits haunt the halls of this historic building, and you can witness both the true and fictional accounting of the events that made Seven Gables so famous. Both shows rotate a new audience in every five minutes, and the rest of the information is:
Runs: Oct. 11, 12, 13 – 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. / Oct. 18, 19, 25, 26 – 7:15 p.m. to 11 p.m. / Oct. 31 – 7:15 p.m. to 10 p.m.
At: The House of the Seven Gables / 115 Derby Street, Salem, MA / (978) 744-0991
More Information: The House of the Seven Gables October Theater Performances
Well, you’ve definitely picked up on a Salem theme here, and that is witches. Salem’s famous for them. Because witches have always been such a part of Salem’s history and culture, you should definitely spend some time with witches when spending Halloween in Salem. A great place to start is the Salem Witch Museum. It’s in the heart of Salem and offers a historical accounting of the Salem Witch Trials, complete with real-sized sets recreating the horrific event. The Salem Witch Museum:
Runs: Monday – Thursday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. / Friday – Saturday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. / Sunday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The museum is open until Midnight on Oct. 25, 26, and 31.
At: The Salem Witch Museum / Washington Square North, Salem, MA / (978) 744-1692
More Information: Salem Witch Museum Visitor Information
Once you’re done learning about Salem witchcraft’s historic past, join some real witches and warlocks for the annual Salem Witches’ Magic Circle. This event, which is part of Salem’s Festival of the Dead, is led by Salem’s Official Warlock Christian Day and Official Witch Laurie Cabot. Celebration of the dead and spells are all a part of this annual ritual, and you, too, will have the opportunity to commune with your loved ones who have crossed over to the other side. The Salem Witches’ Magic circle:
Runs: Oct. 31, 2013 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
At: Salem Common / (978) 666-0763
More Information: The Salem Witches’ Magic Circle
After all is said and done, Salem knows how to end Halloween with a bang. To end Salem’s annual Halloween celebrations, the city proudly boasts a fantastic fireworks display over the North River. Head over to Washington Street at Bridge Street and line up for the pyrotechnic display which begins at 10 p.m. and ends at 10:30 p.m. You won’t be disappointed by this or any other Halloween happenings in Salem, MA. This city isn’t afraid to share its dark history during the time of the year when we all celebrate ghouls, ghosts, goblins, and, of course, witches!