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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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)