If like me you love the Halloween season, there’s no more magical place to be than Salem, Massachusetts. Despite its infamous witch trials, Salem has reinvented itself and is now an open-minded place to celebrate all things supernatural, hosting a huge ‘Festival of the Dead’ throughout October.
Two years ago I spent Halloween in Salem, hoping to experience some real enthusiasm for the holiday – and I wasn’t disappointed! The streets were lined with pumpkins and almost every home was decorated; it’s a day out in itself exploring the fountains of blood, graveyard gardens, giant insects and barrels of nuclear waste! There are plenty of places to stay and the Salem hotels, restaurants and shops were decorated too, so there was real community spirit, which was welcoming.
We visited some museums and took part in ‘spooky’ events, like wand making! But one of the most memorable days involved a guided tour by a real life warlock; we got to cast a group spell down the back of an alleyway – something you won’t find anywhere else. Because of its history, it feels like anything could happen in Salem, and it does – we even saw a woman’s hair catch fire in the appropriately named shop, Hex!
People dress up well in advance of Halloween as everything from monsters and ghouls to Spiderman and laundry baskets! One tip, though, is that if on Halloween night you’re watching the fireworks and partying at the closing ceremony, don’t leave candy corn out for the ‘trick or treaters’, you’ll only find it strewn in the gutter…with the bowl! Even though it’s delicious, candy corn seems to be an insult to the local kids who’d prefer something more substantial!
Because anything goes in Salem, it’s exactly the kind of place to try new things, like have your tarot cards read or participate in a magic show, as we did! Although it’s not the sort of thing I’d do back home, it was a special experience and is one of my most treasured memories.
The embracing culture of Salem makes it a truly magical place with real energy and mysticism. Whether you want to connect with your spiritual side at the annual psychic fair or indulge in spooks and thrills at the Witch’s Ball, there’s so much going on. So why are you still reading this – shouldn’t you be planning next year’s Halloween in Salem today?!