A trip to Salem during the month of October is the equivalent to visiting the North pole in December. You would if you could, right? Salem, home to the infamous with trials of the 1690s, is a mecca for all things Halloween. So, if your family is looking to get a jump-start on the spooky holiday, a drive north is definitely in order.
There are literally hundreds of things to do once you park your car and get out in Salem (metered spots are tough to come by but the two city garages and the city lots are $20 flat rate for all day at entry). To get a general idea of how much there is to do, consider that there are haunted tours, historic tours, trolley tours, vampire tours, ghost tours, dramatic presentations, ghost stories, psychic fairs, shops, restaurants, among other things to do. There are museums, shops, street vendors, people watching and festivals.
Some highlights include the Salem Witch Museum, which takes visitors back to 1692 and through the events of the Witch Trials. If you're planning to go to the Salem Witch Museum, go there first to get your tickets. They do timed entries during the day, so if you go at 11:00 AM the next available presentation may be at 3:30 PM. You can go explore Salem and return for your timed presentation.
The Witch House (AKA the Jonathan Corwin House) is Salem's only remaining building directly tied to the events of 1692. The authentic house features furnishings, architecture and general lifestyle of the 17th century. Corwin, a magistrate at the time, was called to investigate the widespread accusations of witchcraft and was a judge on one of the famous trials. The house, now a museum, also features history on the time. Or, visit one of the most well-reputed historical sites in Salem -- the House of the Seven Gables, which is the oldest surviving 17th century wooden mansion in New England. The house was the inspiration for the famous novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Be surprised by a secret stairway and step through time in the vintage attic. Worth the trip.
Don't forget that Salem's Pumpkin Festival & Food Court will be held Oct. 17-18, 24- 25 and 31, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Salem Common.
Check out a display of pumpkins decorated by Salem and area schoolchildren, find your way through a hay bale maze and pose for photos next to a 1,000-pound pumpkin from the Topsfield Fair. Fun for the whole family!