Happy Halloween! After many years of dreaming, I finally made it to Salem in time for Halloween! My “live lovely list,” also known as my life goal list, is responsible for a lot of my crazier ideas. Salem Massachusetts for Halloween is one of them. We made the drive for the last weekend before Halloween. It is only 2 and a half hours from my apartment, but with all the Boston and Halloween traffic funneling into Salem, it took us an extra two hours. We were pretty worn out by the time we found a parking space, but it was all worth it once we caught our first glimpse of Essex Street.
I highly recommend spending a whole weekend so you can see the historic sights such as the ship Friendship and the House of Seven Gables. You will want to make time for the graveyards, the Witch Museum, and the Peabody Museum, as well as the numerous spooky shops and places to eat. Almost everything in the historic downtown is witch-themed. If you only have one night, you will want to focus your energy on Essex Street because that is where you will find the most activities in a short walking distance.
We only spent one evening is Salem, but it is a night I will not soon forget. Here are my tips on how you can plan your own spooky night in Salem. Don’t forget your costume! There was so much more going on that I had ever expected. When we arrived, Essex Street was blocked by police to make it safe for pedestrian traffic. Hundreds of adults (and children) were dressed in costumes and it was not even Halloween just yet. Rockefellas is a very popular restaurant right on Essex Street. Put your name in early because no matter where you go, you will be waiting in line for at least an hour. Many of the restaurants take your phone number to call your cell when your table is ready so you can walk around.Spooky!Leave it to me to find a book store. The streets were lined with tents selling things from artisans and local vendors.We raced past Hex’s and the Witch’s house to make it to the Ropes Mansion, also known as “Allison’s house,” if you are a Hocus Pocus fan, before the sun set. Surprisingly, the mansion was not too busy as it is away from most of the crowds. Still, it is very close to all the main attractions. This mansion is open to the public if you arrive earlier in the day. I highly recommend this as your first stop so you can see it in the daylight. It has so much more to offer than being a place form a childhood film.And we made it, just as the sun was going down! A dream come true!We even found a Little Free Library behind the Ropes mansion under the trellis. Behind the mansion there is a lovely garden you will not want to miss.Before heading back to Essex street, walk by the gorgeous old houses and mansions that line the road. When we returned to Hex’s there was a short line. It was worth the little wait! Another great witch’s shop I have heard good things about is Omen’s, but we only had time for one.When we walked in, David Bowie was playing over the speakers. At the Witch’s Altar there were wishes for David Bowie and others who have passed. You can also write your own message to a loved one as the incense burns on the altar.Feeling like a little witch in training. Matthew got a kick out of these coffin nails and the voodoo candles. Witches buying brooms. The real-life magical belief about brooms is that by sweeping them, you remove negative energy from a room.You can also make an appointment with the psychic. Matthew was guillotined for charity. A very worthy cause.You will see interesting characters on every corner. Salem is a great place for people watching. If you visit on a warm night, take a seat outside so you can watch people passing by.I was surprised to find a carnival just down the road from Essex street. The monster museum had quite the line. You may want to add this experience to your list if you’re looking for a traditional Halloween fright experience.We walked through the Chambers of Terror, the only haunted house attraction in Salem. The haunted house is made out of the bottom rooms of a house. They did a really good job converting it into a “chambers of terror.”
Salem has a lovely Halloween nightlife. I felt like a teenager again walking the streets after dark in costume with everyone else dressed up. There are plenty of clubs, bars, and places to grab a yummy snack after your spooky adventures are complete. I felt very safe and included in a fun public event. We left around midnight and didn’t see anything that made us uncomfortable. With all the drinking that is going on, I highly recommend that you also leave by midnight to avoid any catastrophes and to stay safe on the road.
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