Halloween in Boston celebrations start at least a month before the actual event on October 31st.
After all, Boston has some of the country's oldest graveyards, haunted tales, and scary events, plus great places to shop for Halloween costumes.
If you visit Boston during October, don't miss these Halloween events!
Here are some of the best places to celebrate Boston Halloween . . . starting with graveyard tours and ghost stories.
Not just for Halloween, Boston's nightly Ghosts and Gravestones Tour combines a trolley ride with walking to visit the city's scariest sites.
Costumed "gravedigger" guides show you the darker side of Boston. They'll entertain you with haunted tales about the city's earliest days and strange discoveries - the mysterious North End tunnels, the unexplained Day of Darkness back in 1780, and the haunting ghost of Boston Harbor, the Lady in Black. And then there's the scariest part of the tour . . . a chilling visit to 2 of Boston's oldest graveyards, accompanied by tales of the macabre.
Ghosts and Gravestones tours fill up fast around Halloween in Boston - so make your reservation now!
Another exciting option is an evening walking tour in Boston's historic North End. You'll explore the neighborhood as your guide shows you the North End's darkest corners and regales you with ghost stories about former residents. More about the North End Ghost Tour
If you are 21 or older, get ready for some massive Halloween fun at Halloween on the Harbor party crawl along the South Boston Waterfront on Friday, October 31, 7pm-10pm.
A $5 ticket (proceeds donated to a local non-profit) gets you rides on a Boston Duck shuttle departing from Seaport Hotel to all the Halloween parties at Blue Dragon, Jerry Remy's, Whiskey Priest, Atlantic Beer Garden, and more top spots along the waterfront. Come in costume, and get ready to party!
Spend the night or the weekend at Seaport Hotel (check rates & make reservations), and you won't even need a designated driver!
Party ticket information: www.seaportboston.com
When: October 31; 6pm - 9pm
Where: Hampshire House,
Part theater, part musical event, and part culinary adventure, Dining in the Dark presents a memorable evening at Hampshire House, the special occasion dining venue in a magnificent Beacon Hill mansion. You'll put on a blindfold before entering the candlelit dining room, and all your other senses will take over as you savor the exquisite meal, stirring music, wonderful story, and of course, your dining companions.
You can also enjoy a special Thanksgiving Dinner at Hampshire House
Boston pubs and hotels get into the Halloween spirit with prizes for best costumes, live music and/or DJs, and shows. Tickets usually required (call in advance to check); most are 21+. Several Halloween parties and events to check out:
Liberty Hotel (215 Charles Street, 617-224-4000) - The Shining extravaganza with DJ, specialty drinks, and costumes; Friday, October 31, 2014 at 8pm, tickets $45, or included in Liberty's special Halloween Package (includes 2 party tickets, parking, and 2 Bloody Mary vouchers, plus a luxury room. November 2 Check rates.
The Greatest Bar (262 Friend Street, West End near TD Garden, 617-335-5582) hosts Dirty Water Halloween Blast - Enjoy great music and wear your scariest costume - Friday, October 31, 8pm.
Lansdowne Pub (9 Lansdowne St, Fenway, 617-247-1222) - Halloween Ball with live music by Bearfight on October 31; shows start at 10pm. Plus, don't miss the Angels & Demons Party on the 30th, or the Halloween Blowout Disco Part on November 1st.
Half-price (and less!) tickets to Halloween events and shows are available through Goldstar. Check out these offiers from last year, and look for 2014 updates closer to Halloween:
The Addams Family - Laughs and chills as you experience the sometimes loony, sometimes macabre dynamics of the Addams Family in this entertaining musical
Haunted Ghost Ship & Halloween Dance Party Cruise - Wear your most outragious costume and get ready to PARTY aboard this ghost ship cruise across the moonlit harbor
Cirque of the Dead - Wear your scariest costume and get ready for "macabre and unsavory" circus acts (ie, skip this one if you're easily offended) at the Oberon Theatre in Cambridge by the edgy Boston Circus Guild - 21+
Bowlloween at Lucky Strike - Put on your favorite costume and head over to enjoy some monster mash, DJs, and dancing at this 21+ event near Fenway Park
Beacon Hill's historic homes display some of the most colorful and lavish Halloween door and window decorations in the city. You can easily stroll through the neighborhood on your own - Chestnut and Mt Vernon Streets are great starting points.
Even better - join a Beacon Hill walking tour:
- Beacon Hill Brahmin Walking Tour - Limited to only 6 people, this 3-hour tour shows you all the special places and memorials in this historic neighborhood. You'll learn about the elite Brahmin families who lived here during the Revolutionary War, and see today's top attractions, memorials, and mansions - More about the Beacon Hill Brahmin walking tour
- Beacon Hill Photography Walking Tour - Your guide will make sure you see the neighborhood's famous cobblestone lanes and other photo-worthy attractions, give you tips on how capture the best shots, and entertain you with stories about the famous residents who live here.
Of course, you can take these tours throughout the year, but seeing the colorful and creative Halloween decorations adds to the fun! - More about the Beacon Hill photography tour
You'll encounter the dead, the undead, and everything in between at the last, biggest, and perhaps the best SoWa Open Market of the season.
With over 130 artists and designers, and a fabulous prize for the best costume, this popular outdoor market will be packed with ghouls, goblins, and the macabre - along with wonderful things to buy and take home.
Live music, pumpkin carving, food trucks, and lots more make this the perfect pre-Halloween destination - plus if you're smart, you can do all of your holiday shopping before the market closes for the season.
Date: Sunday, October 26, 10am-4pm (time to be confirmed)
Location: 460 Harrison Ave, Boston's South End
Historic graveyards dating back to the 1600s enhance Halloween in Boston. You can easily explore these Freedom Trail sites on your own.
Granary Burying Ground contains the remains of some of the greatest Revolutionary War heroes. One of Boston's oldest historic sites, it is where you'll find tombstones and grave markers for patriots Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, and the 5 Boston massacre victims.
A block away is King's Chapel Burying Ground, Boston's oldest cemetery. Many of the first generation of English Puritans who settled in Boston are buried here. Intricately carved seventeenth century headstones show Time wrestling with Death.
And, if you enjoy scary ghost stories, King's Chapel Burying Ground is supposedly haunted by Captain Kidd, hanged for piracy in 1701.
Of course, like many other Boston Halloween tales, that story may not actually be true.
Excellent information signs at both of these burying grounds will help you discover where all the bodies are buried.
Each year, ImprovBoston creates a new over-the-top musical comedy full of squirting blood (aka red corn syrup), juvenile humor, tasteless dialog, and catchy tunes to entertain and gross out Halloween fans.
"The Gruesome Tale of Penny Dreadful" celebrates the heart ... and various other organs. Get ready for dismemberment, disfigurement, disgust, and dancing in this hilarious Victorian love story/bawdy musical comedy.
Expect plenty of laughs and lots of splattering blood, not all of which lands on the actors. Don't wear your good clothes.
ImprovBoston's Halloween romp aspires to be inappropriate for people of all ages, and therefore is not for children, the squeamish, the easily offended, or anyone with a sense of good taste or decency.
But if you love this kind of comedy, not just for Halloween, get your tickets now. And you may also want to check out other best Boston comedy clubs.
When: October 23 - November 1
Tickets and more information: Check ImprovBoston's website - or call 617-576-1253 for times and reservations
Address: ImprovBoston Theater, 40 Prospect Street, Cambridge (Central Square)
Nearest T station: Red Line/Central Square
If you're looking for a family-friendly Halloween event in Boston, Pru Boo is the biggest Halloween party in the city for toddlers to 12 year olds. The Shops at Prudential Center host this annual event, with all proceeds going to a non-profit partner to benefit children.
Let your children don their scariest costumes and bring them to this safe and fun event featuring costumed characters, concert, pumpkin decorating, trick-or-treating, face painting, magic tricks, and much more. They'll have tons of fun, you can browse for great shopping deals throughout the surrounding shops, and babies who need help the most will benefit.
Date: Weekend before Halloween - check the Boston Event Calendar for updated details
Location: Shops at Prudential Center, Boston's Back Bay neighborhood
Nearest T Station: Green Line/Pru Center
Cost: $4 per child (12 and under)
Pumpkin carvers of all ages are invited to exercise their skills on Saturday, October 18, 2014 from 12noon - 3pm at 75 Chestnut, one of Beacon Hill's most charming neighborhood restaurants. Carve, paint, and decorate your pumpkin, and then take it home with you. Reservations required - 617-227-2175.
The pumpkins are complimentary - but plan to indulge yourself with some of 75 Chestnut's special fall fare - pumpkin bisque, cranberry apple crumble, and for the grown-ups, the special apple, peach, and pumpkin martinis made from locally-grown produce.
On October 31st starting at 5pm, 75 Chestnut invites visitors to stop by in costume and enjoy various Halloween specials and wicked witches brews, including the featured drink of the night: a Halloween Spider Martini made from secret ingredients
75 Chestnut is owned by Thomas Kershaw, who also owns the "real" Cheers (also known as the Bull and Finch) on Beacon Street.
During the weeks before Halloween, Boston party-goers and power shoppers head across the river to the Garment District (200 Broadway at Portland Street intersection; Central Square T station) in Cambridge for budget costume choices. In addition to this funky secondhand clothing store's usual vast array of recycled costumes, retro fashions, and vintage gems, you'll find a great assortment of wigs, swords, masks, body paint, and other Halloween gear in the month or so before Boston's favorite holiday. Cheap prices - so you'll still have plenty of $$s left for buying candy.
My best insider tip for the Garment District: Go early to beat the crowds and get the best selection. Open daily; call 617-867-5230 for hours.
Dorothy's (190 Massachusetts Ave, near Huntington Ave) surely qualifies as the biggest costume shop in Boston, if you measure by the huge quantity of costumes and accessories cramming every aisle, floor to ceiling.
In the weeks before Halloween, Boston shoppers line up for the chance to survey the offerings in this Fenway specialty shop on the edge of Back Bay between Berklee College of Music and the Christian Science Mother Church, and almost next to Bodega, one of Boston's famous "insider" shopping secrets.
Dorothy's almost bursts with every costume and accessory imaginable, and most are very reasonably priced - for example, sturdy fishnet stockings run about $5. Other stellar finds include hats, fake mustaches, wigs, costumes, cheap cowboy boots, outrageously fake jewels, and stilettos.
Most costumes are for adults. You'll want to hit the gym before strutting around in many of them. Don't bring your children unless you want amuse fellow-shoppers as you attempt to explain x-rated details in family-friendly language.
This family-owned shop has been here since 1947, and for the fashionably adventurous, it's not just for Halloween. Boston is a more interesting place to party because of it. Open daily; call 617-262-9255 for hours.
Immerse yourself in witch culture by heading north of Boston to Salem, Massachusetts, also known as the "Witch Capital" after the infamous witch trials of 1692 led to the execution of 20 people and 2 dogs. Numerous historic and entertaining witch museums, historic sites, and appealing restaurants provide more than enough to see and do during your visit.
Check out Halloween in Salem for more about the witch museums. To find this year's date for Salem's Haunted Happenings Grande Parade, usually held in early October, check the Boston Events for October.
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