The Witch City Celebrates Halloween with Time-Honored Festivities and New, Unique Special Events
The world-renowned Salem Haunted Happenings returns to Salem, Massachusetts in October with street fairs, traditional event favorites, and new expanded programming. Believed to be the largest celebration of Halloween, Salem Haunted Happenings is comprised of hundreds of events during the month of October. Programs range from reverent commemorations of the Salem Witch Trials history to whimsical celebrations of Halloween. The month of October in Salem also includes Horror Film screenings, outrageous costume balls, and a range of walking tours offering history and haunts.
“Salem has planned for a safe and enjoyable Halloween season by making modifications such as changing the footprint of the events to allow for more space,” said Kate Fox, Executive Director, Destination Salem. “We are excited to welcome back our Halloween visitors with new events while keeping safety top of mind.”
Opening Weekend Offers Traditional Favorites
The month-long celebration of Halloween kicks off with the 25th anniversary of the Salem Haunted Happenings Grand Parade on Thursday, October 7 at 6:30 p.m. This year’s parade, themed, “Upside Down and Inside Out,” will offer a re-imagined event with stationary performances, floats, vehicles and displays, with spectators moving from station to station.
Next, Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll hosts Mayor’s Night Out on Friday, October 8 for trick-or-treating up and down the pedestrian mall, through the shops at the Witch City Mall, and beyond. Trick-or-Treat Bags will be provided for free to all participants.
On Saturday, October 9, the Howl-o-ween Pet Parade returns, a long-time favorite of the Haunted Happenings Festival. The beloved event includes games, a parade, and a pet costume contest with prizes.
New Experiences for 2021
Many new events are slated for 2021 including an exhibition focusing on the Salem Witch Trials at the Peabody Essex Museum, a 1920’s themed parties at the Haunted Speakeasy, and a Wicked Labyrinth.
- The Salem Witch Trials exhibition explores the factors that fueled the hysteria and individuals who rose to defend those unjustly accused and offers two creative responses by artists with ancestral links to the trials.
- The Haunted Speakeasy events take place on October 9, 16, 23, 29, 30, and 31, and feature a 1920s Haunted immersive party featuring live music, burlesque and more at Salem’s Old Town Hall.
- The Bridge at 211 will host Hollowed Harvest: Wicked Labyrinth, which will consist of over 1,000 intricately carved pumpkins, from Friday, September 24 through Halloween. This family-friendly event will be held indoors, and guests can expect to take about 35 to 40 minutes to walk through the show hollowedharvest.com.
Haunted Happenings will offer crowd favorites including free family film nights, Kiddie Carnival, and ghost tours. Every weekend in October, Salem Common will be filled with vendors selling Halloween-inspired merchandise at the Haunted Happenings Marketplace. Performances, mural pop-up photo stations, strolling performers will complement the merchants on the Common. The grand finale fireworks celebration on Halloween night at 10:15 p.m. over the North River.
A complete schedule of Haunted Happenings events can be found at hauntedhappenings.org.
Mobile App Available to Guide Visitors
Destination Salem launched a new mobile app in 2020 to assist visitors to Salem in accessing the latest information. This new app features news, information on walking tours, educational content, and location-based notifications. The Destination Salem app is available for iOS and Android. The app can be found on the App Stores by searching for Destination Salem, Mass.
Salem’s Mask Mandate
Effective August 23, 2021, the City of Salem requires masks to be worn in all indoor public areas. Salem’s mask requirement is currently in place through November 13 pending public health data. Massachusetts requires masks to be worn while on public and private transportation (including trains, buses, ferries, taxis, and ride shares, and while in stations) and while in healthcare settings. Find more information on the City of Salem’s COVID-19 response at salem.com.
About Salem, Massachusetts
Salem is a destination recognized around the world for its rich history, which includes the tragic Salem Witch Trials of 1692, the glorious maritime era that left its indelible mark on Salem through architecture, museums, and artifacts, and for its month-long celebration of Halloween. Today more than one million people visit Salem annually, generating nearly $140 million in tourism spending and supporting 1,000 jobs.
About Destination Salem
As the destination marketing organization for the City of Salem, Destination Salem cooperatively markets Salem as one of Massachusetts’ best destinations for families, couples, domestic, and international travelers who are seeking an authentic New England experience, cultural enrichment, American history, fine dining, unique shopping, and fun. For more information, visit Salem.org.