Looking for places to go this Halloween? Get spooky on vacation to Salem, Mass this year to feel the spirit. Salem, Massachusetts is the hallmark of fall festivities. The famed city is known for the Salem Witch Trials that took place in 1692 and has kept up the spirit of Halloween ever since. Take a look at the best things to do in Salem during the Halloween season. We’ll also show you some places to stay while you’re visiting.
Things to Do in Salem When You’re On Vacation
For a low-key but exciting and fun vacation, Salem, Massachusetts has you covered. You can learn about the city’s history of witch trials, visit local museums and art galleries, and more. It’s hard to run out of things to do in Salem, with all of its beauty and history.
Go On Salem Walking Tours
With all of the rich and complex history that Salem has, you must take a walking tour through Salem. Take a 2.5 hour Salem History & Sightseeing Guided Walking tour with the experts by making a reservation here. Visitors are led by a local guide to some of the most famous landmarks in Salem, like Coven’s Cottage, the Salem Witch Trials Memorial, Hamilton Hall, and more. Not only will you get a glimpse of some Salem haunts, but you’ll also learn about the city’s past as a Native American settlement and its place in history during the American Revolution.
If you’re more interested in just learning more about the Salem Witch Trials on vacation, make time for the Salem Witch Trials Historical Walking Tour. You’ll get a better understanding of the history of the Salem witch trials, including the most common misconceptions. A tour guide brings guests to main historic sites, and you’ll hear stories from accusers and victims during that time.
Visit the Salem Witch House
While some Salem walking tours may take you to visit the Salem Witch House, guests can take a look on their own as well. It’s best to go in the morning before the crowds start to swell. Once home to Jonathan Corwin, a judge that served during the witchcraft trials in 1692, it is one of several “haunted” locations in New England. The black house is eerie looking just on its own but is also the site of family tragedy and turmoil. Guides within the house can share fascinating facts and stories about the Corwin family, as well as the witch trials which took place.
Attend the Witches’ Halloween Ball
Salem’s Witches’ Halloween Ball is an event that you won’t want to miss! This yearly event is the party of the year and you’ll see attendees wearing some of the best Halloween costumes you’ve ever seen! Each year has a different theme and guests truly go all out. Of course, there is a costume contest with great prizes but you can tell that people dress up because they really just love Halloween. The party has music, dancing, food, and even psychic readings! Make sure you get your tickets early because this is a popular event for residents and visitors alike!
Explore Pioneer Village
Pioneer Village transports you to Salem in the 1630s and is the country’s oldest living history museum. This historically accurate village was built in 1930 to mark the 300th anniversary of Massachusetts. You may recognize this site from the popular movie, Hocus Pocus. This is where they filmed the opening scene of the film, so it holds a special place in the hearts of Halloween lovers. The Sanderson sisters’ cottage was built as a set here, however, it no longer exists. During October, Pioneer Villages holds special evening events where the village is lit up with jack-o-lanterns. During these events, there are Halloween-inspired vendors, so it’s the perfect time to get a spooky souvenir!
Get Spooked at Frankenstein’s Castle Haunted House
Thrill-seekers can delight in some extra spooky activities on vacation to Salem, Mass as well. Visit Frankenstein’s Castle, hosted by the Salem Wax Museum & Salem Witch Village. Head into the Salem Wax Museum’s dungeon to enter Dr. Frankenstein’s notorious winding dungeon hallways. Guests go through curving hallways to see the mad doctor’s quest in creating immortal life.
Visit the Peabody Essex Museum
With a rotating selection of exhibits, this fall the Peabody Essex Museum is showcasing original witch trial documents and possessions of individuals involved in the Salem witch trials. Ongoing exhibits include Japanomania! Japanese Art that Goes Global, Fashion and Design, as well as Maritime Art.
The Peabody Essex Museum in Salem also displays a serene 5,000-square-foot garden with almost 300 varieties of shrubs, 60 trees, 37 flower species, and an 11-foot cascading water feature for auditory relaxation. Sit and enjoy the natural landscaping designed for an acoustic break from your trip at the museum.
Check Out Famous Hocus Pocus Movie Sites
Did you know a majority of the scenes in the beloved Hocus Pocus movie were filmed in Salem? Max and Dani’s home is located on 4 Ocean Ave, and it really has the iconic tower from Max’s attic bedroom.
The scenes from the Town Hall party where all of the adults are dancing the night away took place at the Old Town Hall right in the heart of Salem. While you’re exploring the downtown area’s shops and restaurants, the Old Town Hall can’t be missed.
Finally, Allison’s home takes place at the historic Ropes Mansion. The property is a part of the Peabody Essex Museum, featuring beautifully manicured gardens and traditional New England architecture. Guests are welcomed to explore the home and its gardens, so you can feel like you’re in the movie!
See Local Halloween Decorations
A great free activity to do around Halloween in Salem is walking around and seeing the residents’ decorations! Some locals love Halloween just as much as the tourists visiting during October, so you can expect to see some really elaborate decorations! On our last visit, we saw multiple houses with elaborately themed decor. After dinner downtown, take a walk in the surrounding neighborhoods to see the amazing effort the locals put into their decorations! This is a great way to see this amazing city and get a little inspiration for your decorations next year!
Where to Stay on Vacation to Salem Mass
On your spooky October vacation to Salem, Massachusetts, check out our favorite locations and rentals. While there are inns and hotels near Salem, we recommend staying further away and making Salem a day trip on your Massachusetts vacation. The coast is famous for its beautiful beaches and scenery that can’t be beat.
InnSeason Seaside Resort
InnSeason Resorts has a plethora of options along Cape Cod, including the Surfside resort. With the best waterfront views in Falmouth, guests can stay in accommodations ranging from studios, one, and two-bedroom suites with fully-equipped kitchens and private decks.
Soundings Seaside Resort Rentals
Bluegreen Vacations owners can use their points to stay at the Soundings Seaside Resort in Dennisport, only about two hours away from Salem. Soundings Seaside Resort guests can enjoy the beauty of Nantucket Sound with 365 feet of private beach. All units are complete with cozy fireplaces, balconies/porches, and sweeping views of the coast. For the chillier fall months when you may be on vacation to visit Salem, there is an indoor pool to take a dip in.