Salem – A Halloween Visit Will Haunt You

Posted October 28, 2014 by Cheryl Fenton in Downtown Boston
Salem Witch Trial Museum Cemetary

Calling all ghosts and goblins. It’s the season of spookiness. Also known to some as the time for candy corn, sexy nurse costumes and pumpkin lattes. But for those who are really into it, it’s the best time of year to give yourself a good scare. Whether it’s popping in a horror DVD (no one beats Michael Myers IMO) or walking through a cemetery at midnight (no thank you), freaking yourself out is just a natural thrill in October.

But what about really scary? Something that isn’t Hollywood magic. Something based on historical horrors. Enter Salem, a town 30 minutes from downtown Boston and home of the 1692 Witch Hysteria. During this dark moment in Massachusetts history, 150 people were put on trial on suspicion of being witches and 20 of them were executed.

It’s an unsavory blemish in its history books, but Salem embraces the nature of its beast every October with a great Halloween experience. Get festive (and spooked) with hundreds of Halloween-themed events, including the month-long 33rd Annual Salem Haunted Happenings. Here are a few favorites.

Chambers of Terror (57 Wharf Street, 978-741-0002): Carve as many Jack o’ Lanterns as you want. It’s just not Halloween until you’ve been to a haunted house. With actors making you scream and movie quality scenes adding to the fright fest, this is the one for you. Sure, there will be horned demons, freakish ghouls and blood-thirsty psychos, but we have two words for you—evil clown.

Nosferatu

Nosferatu, the ultimate monster; courtesy of Count Orlok’s Nightmare Gallery.

3-D Haunted Adventures (131 Essex Street, 978-744-0013): Formally Salem’s 13 Ghosts, Salem Time Machine brings you two levels of spook. The 3D Haunted Adventure is for anyone not keen on being scared (we’re talking to you, families with kids). This 16-minute narrated walk-through tells Salem’s history accompanied by special effects. If you love screaming, check out the 3D Haunted House. There are high-tech 3-D walls and floors, black lights, and sounds that’ll haunt you long after you’re done. Take your time during this hallucinatory freak show of ghosts, live actors and animatronics.

Ghosts & Legends Trolley: This is one terrifying trolley ride. You’ll go on a journey through Salem’s darkened streets, as your sinister guide tells tales of witches, ghosts and murder. You’ll see The House of the Seven Gables, the old cemetery, Winter Island and more. It’s an hour long, but the stories you hear that night will stay with you for a while.

Count Orlok’s Nightmare Gallery (285 Derby Street, 978-740-0500): There’s the eerie still-life nature of a wax museum and then there’s Count Orlok’s Nightmare Gallery. This cinematic wax museum boasts more than 60 life-sized characters (think Alien, Billy Puppet and Pennywise) professionally created by Hollywood special effects artists. But during October weekends, demons await around every darkened corner.

When it’s showtime (AKA actual All Hallow’s Eve on October 31), Salem comes alive. Or does it come undead? There are concert stages around town, so you can dance in the streets, parking lots and The Common, as DJs spin and bands play all night starting at 7pm. The night closes out with fireworks over the North River, beginning at 10pm. Get into the Halloween mood with a simple walk around the Pedestrian Mall. There will be plenty of costumed strollers reveling in the night and feeding on its energy. But with all those Walking Dead zombies and Draculas hitting the streets, the more important question is – will anything feed on you?