Find yourself walking in the footsteps of the “witches” of Boston. (Photo: Alamy)
Whether it’s pumpkin-shaped Reese’s cups (drool), vibrant fall foliage, or reruns of ’90s Halloween flicks that entice you, it’s no secret that fall is a magical time of year. Speaking of magic, just 40 minutes outside of Boston lies Salem, Massachusetts, one of the most haunted cities in the country.
Home to the ominous 1692 witch trials, Salem lays claim to plenty of haunted history and is a must-visit if you’re in the Boston area in autumn. Although fall is the perfect time to take one of Salem’s walking tours, they’re offered year-round, so don’t fret. “Witch” one is right for you? Let’s find out.
If you’re looking for flexibility, hop on one of the Hocus Pocus tours. Although they offer a 90-minute guided tour, their “Salem by Cell” option caters to those who like to go off the beaten path every once and awhile. Stops on the group tour include Salem’s oldest burying ground, Salem Jail and the Witch Trial Memorial (along with 12 other eerie spots). Oh yeah, and they also take you to the Salem locations that appear in Disney’s “Hocus Pocus.” #winning
Halloween Movie Pairing: “Hocus Pocus” (duh). Can you believe that was Sarah Jessica Parker? Looks like life before Carrie Bradshaw was a lot darker than we thought.
The Terrifying Facts
The tour guides on the Bewitched After Dark tours are so knowledgeable, people call them “Walking Encyclopedias” — perfect for history buffs and trivia fans. But just because they give you the facts doesn’t mean that they’ll leave out the scary stuff. You’ll stroll by Harmony Grove Cemetery and Bridget Bishop’s Apple Orchard. Kick it up a notch further on the scare-o-meter and sign up for one of their Scary Stories Walking Tours. Offered only in September and October, willing participants follow a real Salem witch around as she tells tales of the city’s curse.
Halloween Movie Pairing: “The Haunting.” An oldie but goody.
Black Magic Woman
If spells, Wiccan ceremonies, potions and curses really spark your interest, you’re the ideal candidate for the Salem Witch Walk. Stops like the Witch House and Salem Witch Museum are standard, but the real fun begins when you get to mingle with witches and experience a magic circle. This tour goes beyond Salem, too. Learn about witchcraft around the world and how it’s still being practiced today. When you’re done, don’t be surprised if you find yourself trying to squeeze into the witch costume you wore in fifth grade.
Halloween Movie Pairing: “The Blair Witch Project.” Fun fact: the movie wasn’t scripted.
For spine-chilling sites and supernatural experiences, Spellbound Tours is your answer. This Salem walking tour features a professional paranormal investigator as your tour guide. Does it get any cooler than that? Dr. Vitka leads the group around all of Salem’s haunting hotspots, and he stops at nothing.
After taking you to the Joshua Ward House, widely believed to be the most haunted house in the United States, he leads you right to Old Town Hall where he teaches you about Vampire folklore and the culture that still exists today. This isn’t your tween-friendly “Twilight” kind of stuff either (as much as we love Edward Cullen). Those who scare easily should probably choose one of the other options.
Halloween Movie Pairing: “Halloween.” An unnerving horror movie sans the gore. Perfect for thrill seekers.