Halloween in Salem

Halloween in Salem: The "Witch City"

Witches, Ghosts, Vampires, & Parades

Halloween in Salem Massachusetts is a month-long spree of haunted happenings, séances, ghouls, ghost stories, witches, pirates, vampires, and the macabre.  

October is the perfect time to visit if you want a glimpse of the city's darker past along with plenty of present-day fun.

You can easily get to Salem from Boston for a day trip or weekend adventure. 


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.

Need more suggestions about what to do in Boston in October?  Check the October Events Calendar.

Salem Halloween Parades and Events

Haunted Happenings Grand Parade

Haunted Happenings Grand Parade in Salem MA for Halloween

The annual Haunted Happenings Grand Parade kicks off the festivities for Halloween in Salem in early October with music, pageantry, and costumed students from Salem schools marching from Shetland Park to Salem Common. 

Come and watch - and be sure to wear your Halloween best.

The Parade usually takes place on the first Thursday evening of the month - but check the Boston Event Calendar for October for the exact date and time.

Haunted Salem Witch City Tours - Plus House of the Seven Gables

Guides in colonial costumes Salem MA

Spend the day soaking up witch trial history on this 7-hour Witch City Tour to Salem from Boston, which also includes a stop in beautiful coastal Marblehead. 

You can visit the Salem Witch Museum (or one of the other museums) and learn about witchcraft and the historical reasons behind the witch trials in Salem, Boston, and other areas. 

You'll also get to see Nathaniel's House of the Seven Gables, stop for lunch at Pickering Wharf, and explore more of Salem.  This seasonal tour takes place from June to October, and provides an easy, fascinating way to visit Salem.

Book your Salem Witch City Tour now

More Halloween Events in Salem

More halloween events in Salem MA

Throughout the month of October, numerous Halloween-related events such as pumpkin decorating, haunted tours, and even a pet costume contest take place. 

Many of these events are free while others charge admission fees.  

Some events for Halloween in Salem are expertly done, while you'll cringe at how cheesy others are - but hey, it's all in good fun! 

Salem Witch Museums Celebrate Halloween

Witch museums abound in Salem.  Once October arrives, they ramp up for Halloween with extra decorations, special effects, and blood-curdling screams. 

Here's a quick guide to several top witch museums and ghoulish attractions.  As you'll quickly discover, most focus more on chills and thrills than historical facts - so go expecting to maybe learn a couple of things but mostly just have fun.

Salem Witch Museum

Salem Witch Museum in Salem MA

Located in an authentic old gothic church worthy of any horror movie, the Salem Witch Museum is the oldest of the witch museums and claims to be the most visited.  You'll see animated mannequins reenact the sad drama leading up to the Salem witch trials and executions, plus exhibits featuring present-day ideas about witchcraft. 

Adult admission - $12, or free with a Go Boston card

Location:  19 1/2 Washington Square North

The Go Boston card also gives you free admission to other top Salem destinations - Peabody Essex Museum and House of the Seven Gables - plus you get to skip most lines

Salem Witch Village

Salem Witch Village in Salem MA

Get ready for a guided tour of witchcraft through the centuries as you make your way through a "maze" of sets complete with mannequins, painted backdrops, and lights. 

The tour guides' narrative focuses on what's a witch, and what isn't, with lots of detail about present-day wiccans.  You'll also learn a bit about about Salem in 1692.  Aside from the rather creepy fake spiders dangling in corners, Salem Witch Village normally focuses on delivering information rather than fright.

But on October weekends, the emphasis shifts to Halloween as Salem Witch Village becomes Haunted Witch Village where ghouls and goblins do their best to scare the visitors.

How to save:  Get a combo ticket for Salem Witch Village and Salem Wax Museum

Location:  282 Derby Street

Salem Wax Museum and Frankenstein's Laboratory

Salem Wax Museum

If you're a fan of wax museums, you'll probably enjoy the London-made figures in the Salem Wax Museum depicting local history from Salem's founding in 1626 through the witch hysteria of 1692. 

As a bonus, the museum also features other locals - Scarlet Letter author Nathaniel Hawthorne, bands of pirates, and more. 

Down in the dungeon - that is, the basement - you'll visit Frankenstein's Laboratory . . . if you can make your way through a maze, past grave robbers, and avoid the bats.

Save:  Get a combo ticket for Salem Witch Village and Salem Wax Museum

Location:  288 Derby Street

4 Ways to Get to Salem from Boston


Insider Tips:  More About Halloween in Salem

  • When:  October.  Biggest revelry is on Halloween - October 31.
  • Where:  Historic Downtown Salem
  • Tickets to witch museums:   Most charge around $10 or less.  If you are a AAA or CAA member, show your card and ask about discounts.  Free admission to Salem Witch Museum, House of Seven Gables, and Peabody Essex Museum (nothing to do with witches, but a wonderful museum) with a Go Boston card
  • Hotels:  As soon as you know your dates, make reservations as Salem hotels book up very early for the month of October.  Check out Salem hotels
  • Easiest ways to see Salem:  Join a Salem Tour from Boston, and arrive in style on a comfortable tour bus; alternately, take the commuter rail from Boston, or hop on the Boston-to-Salem ferry 
  • Check dates and times:  You'll find most Salem Halloween events listed in an online guide:  https://hauntedhappenings.org
  • Want more options?  Check out Halloween events in Boston

What Caused the Salem Witch Trials?

Salem MA gravestone - witch trials

Salem's obsession with the supernatural started back in 1692, when two local girls accused their neighbors of being witches and the town exploded with hysteria.

Over the next 15 months, the Salem witchcraft trials left 20 people and 2 dogs - believed to possess "the evil eye" - dead, and hundreds more imprisoned. 

Although the persecution of witches died down as soon as it started and became regarded as shameful over the next couple of centuries, Salem has been promoting itself as "Witch City" for well over 100 years.

Today, Salem is home to an active Wiccan community - and the center of a festival throughout October celebrating its haunted past. 


Want to Spend More Time in Salem?

Check out our recommendations for Salem hotels, and use this Salem hotel map to find other great deals (enter your travel dates to get accurate rates)

Booking.com

Spooky Salem Tours

More to Do in Boston in October

Events and things to do in Boston in October

More Articles about Salem & Halloween


Check Out More Top Boston Events Each Month

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