In search for Halloween ideas in New England? Ready to give up the Sunday football game to take the kids exploring? Nothing is as Halloween focused as Haunted Happenings, the Massachusetts festival that draws more than 250,000 annually between October 1-31. Along with other seasonal activities that you and your family can embark on, it takes place in Salem.
This infamous seaport is famous for its historic witch trials in which 17th Century residents were accused of witchcraft and eventually imprisoned and executed. Today, families can take advantage of the many happier “haunted happenings” that are being offered in this bewitching town the entire month of October.
Watch history come alive with a presentation of “Cry Innocent: The People Versus Bridget Bishop.” Go back to April of 1692 when Bridget Bishop is accused of witchcraft and you will have the chance to be on the jury! Each historical reenactment is unique and allows you to become a part of the story. This presentation is offered daily from October 2 to November 1 at the Salem Old Town Hall located at 32 Derby Square.
There are also a variety of slightly unsettling, night-time outdoor excursions which feature the historic structures of Pioneer Village.
Experience Salem’s most authentic and renounced ghost walk with Haunted Footsteps Ghost Tours. This frightful saunter occurs every night in October and at other times throughout the year. Don’t miss their Ghost Photo Thursday page on Facebook. Advance tickets are encouraged to ensure this bone chilling experience.
The Spirits of Salem Seance includes a ghost tour and the chance to be a part of a genuine seance; check their website for the latest schedule.
Historian Jim McAllister’s popular one-hour candlelight walking tour, the Witch Trial Trail, departs from the Old Town Hall on Front Street at 7pm Thursday to Sunday, from October 9 through October 30. Admission is $12 for adults, $3 for children 1-17. It’s family-friendly and note: candles are provided. Reservations not required. This event meets at Old Town Hall, Front Street, Salem MA 01970.
Where to Stay for Hotel Deals – Boston
Little Salem gets very booked over the October holidays, so we suggest basing the family in nearby Boston, a great city where you can spend many more days in exploration. One caveat according to hotel experts are the dates when the New England Patriots are playing. Seriously! Hotel rates rise to an average of $230/night and with home-game ticket prices going for an estimated $373 apiece — this combo is the second highest in the country after the Seattle Seahawks — you probably don’t want to take the kids along.
Luckily, hotel deals oriented towards family visitors abound on fall weekends. For example, The Colonnade Hotel has a family special that includes: guaranteed connecting rooms, 2 adult and 2 children tickets to your choice of the Boston Duck Tour, the Children’s Museum, Science Museum or New England Aquarium, a full American breakfast for two adults and two children, and a complimentary walking map of Boston. Through December 31, the Charles Hotel in Cambridge is running their fun “Smarty Pants” family deal which provides a deluxe guestroom, breakfast for up to four people, valet parking, kid friendly books and coloring activities, two child admission tickets to the Harvard Museum of Natural History, and a welcome amenity of milk & cookies at turndown.
It’s good to be a kid in the Financial District at the Boston Harbor Hotel, because they’re encouraging city exploration with your choice of complimentary tickets to the New England Aquarium or the Boston Children’s Museum, then warm homemade cookies and chocolate milk — plus one of the in-room movies in their comfy modern rooms — to cap off a long day of sightseeing. A full American Breakfast is available when booking Thursday through Sunday nights. The Best Western University Hotel Boston/Brighton showcases the New England Aquarium in Boston with a “New England Aquarium Package” which offers a double room, 2 adult admission and 2 child tickets to the Aquarium, continental breakfast and free hotel parking for one car. This package requires a minimum of 7 days advance booking.
With these thoughts in mind, head to Booking.com and see what nightly rate offers are available. Tip: Sort the choices by number of people in your group, and use the More Filters tab if you need a crib or other special request, to make finding the right hotel easy. (Perhaps easier than ridding it of Halloween ghosts.)
For non-spooky ideas on what to do in the area, check out Family Travel Forum’s guide, Boston, Massachusetts Attractions, with sights selected for all groups.
Dear Reader: This page may contain affiliate links which may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Our independent journalism is not influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative unless it is clearly marked as sponsored content. As travel products change, please be sure to reconfirm all details and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.