Halloween is the one time of the year where spooky is the norm and planning creepy trips is a must. One of the best places to visit is Salem, Massachusetts, known by most as the place where a group of ladies (and a few dudes) were wrongfully accused of witchcraft and murdered in 1600s. The town has definitely exploited these murders, some exhibits take a very serious approach (Salem Witch Museum) and others are a bit hokey (Salem Witch Cottage), but all are entertaining. Even without the Salem Witch Trials aspect, though, the town is definitely a Halloween lover's dream. The town has a gloomy atmosphere and enough Halloween fun for the whole family. I visited the town this month (I try to go every other year in October) and instead of doing the usual "tourist thing" (we still did some), I decided to wing it. Here is a quick recap of some of the things I did on my visit.
Essex Street/Derby Street
Both of these streets will definitely get you in the Halloween spirit. Most of the streets are cobble stone and every shop is fully decked out in Halloween decor. Along the way you'll pass several attractions (Haunted houses, Museums, etc). People dress up as different characters and around every corner is another witchcraft shop. One of my favorite shops had to be "Hex Old World Witchery." Inside you'd find potions, spell books, and brooms (yes brooms) I don't believe in witchcraft, but got a kick out of all the stuff they had for sale (especially the War Water pictured below.)
Inside this unique pizzeria you'll find vintage memorabilia from an assortment of Sci-fi films and TV shows. There is a Patrick Stuart Borg statue inside, which was awesome. The pizza itself is amazing and they have tons of Vegetarian and Vegan options, which was a plus for me and my group. Each pie is named after a notable Sci-fi character or film (I ordered the "Morbo the Annihilator"). Definitely eat here if you get a chance.
One of the top attractions has to be "Count Orlock's Nightmare Gallery." Inside, you'll find wax figures of some of horror's most iconic figures--Freddy Kruger, Frankenstein, and Micheal Myers are all displayed inside. The dim lighting and spooky Halloween music really set the mood. My only complaint is the size of the location. It's a small place, so definitely take your time walking through. If you're a Horror fan like me, this is a must.
I'm a beer drinker, so Salem Beer Works is a place I visit every time I head to Salem. Their "Pumpkin Works" beer is delicious and brewed in-house (The rim is also dipped in Sugar and Cinnamon) My friends ordered something call a "Sleepy Hallow" which consists of Pumpkin Works and Vanilla Stoli (Vodka). It literally tastes like you're drinking a pumpkin pie. I didn't get to have one, being the responsible driver that I am. Also inside is a giant Neon Witch, which is just awesome to look at while you drink your beer.
Another great restaurant is Howling Wold Tequeria. This place has both awesome drinks and food. I ordered the Fried Avocado tacos, which was heavenly; I could have probably had two orders. On the menu, they also have a cocktail called the "Chupacabra." In the drink is a couple of types of tequila along with a few different types of juice. Don't make the same mistake that my friend made of drinking more than one!
Hocus Pocus/Lords of Salem locations
Hocus Pocus is one of my favorite family films; it's sort of a tradition of mine to watch it every October. For some reason, in all of the years I've visited Salem, I never thought to visit the actual locations used in the film. Well, I finally did! Both are relatively easy to find with a quick Google search. Another film set in Salem, Massachusetts is Rob Zombie's "Lords of Salem," which was also shot around the town. I'm a big fan of the flick and was able to visit several locations (there are many) on my visit as well.
If you've never been to Salem, I highly recommend visiting in October at least once. You won't regret it!