Halloween 2011 in Salem

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Sigh. Sometimes, time gets away from me.

Between drafts of my book and Kraft’s Battle of the Kitchen Bloggers, I never got around to sharing all my Halloween photos with you guys.

But, who says you can’t have a little Halloween in December? After all, signs of All Hallows Eve are never far away, especially when you live in Salem, Massachusetts, a.k.a. Witch City. 😉

Here’s a look back at this year’s spooky season in Salem. We actually (oddly) enjoyed a little wintery weather on Halloween this year. Even though December has been unseasonably warm here so far, it actually snowed on Halloween weekend. That’s Pickering Wharf, below.

Costumes: Here, there, and everywhere

Hands down, Salem is my favorite place on the planet—even when we get flooded with tourists in October who come seeking glimpses of the strange and unusual.

The first of the costumieres start to show up the last week of September. By the last week of October, more folks are walking around in costume than not. Here are some of our favorites from Halloween week.

There were the pirates…

…who were conveniently located right by the Pirate Museum.

A posse of mice (!!!) hanging out by the fountain on Essex St.

And pointy hatted witches, real and pretend, in all shapes and sizes…

It’s a given that most of the street entertainers are dressed up.

And all the kids, too. (Even this very bored looking little yellow M&M…)

There were colonial folk…

…a Frankenstein…

…and a very authentic Captain Jack Sparrow.

We saw steampunks

…and, um…a super awesome, snarly werewolf creature. (We weren’t too concerned. Seems like he had just eaten…)

There were fancy folks…

(That’s Witch City Ink in the background, one of the best places to get a tattoo in the greater Boston area.)

…and angels…

…and more than the city’s regular allotment of demons…

Not to mention some fabulous, classic costumes, like Beeker from the Muppets

…a Ghostbuster…

…and Superman. (Yep, that’s me climbing on the light pole to get a little height. Next year, stilts!)

And that’s mostly all before the lights went down…

The spooky factor goes up tenfold after dark on Halloween night. I mean, just take a look:

(Pretty good Pinhead, right?)

The sketchy factor was also representing. (Hello, Spy vs. Spy!)

Thankfully, not everyone out that night was quite as terrifying.

Edward Scissorhands was posing for pics with party goers.

We even saw a Rebel from Hoth getting pretty cozy with a Jawa…(we blame the unseasonably cold weather).

And don’t forget the bride of Frankenstein…

…a super nice Indian chief…

 …and Batman (who was watching the religious protesters, who also always come out on Halloween in Salem).

There were more than a few Stanley Cups floating around…

And a hungry shark…

…who very obligingly tried to eat his friend when I asked.

We even saw a zombie banana smoking a stogie.

There were a bunch of bananas out and about, but this fellow was unquestionably the best.

Oh, and let’s not forget the gang of psychotic clowns.

And someone, somehow, managed to capture a picture of yours truly dipping into a glass of wine later that night.

Best costume of the night goes to…

Call me a geek, but hands down, my favorite costume of the night was Lloyd Dobler from Say Anything. (Yep, the boom box worked, and yep he was playing In Your Eyes.) It was kinda epic. It was totally epic.

Don’t underestimate the size of the crowds

When I say we get a ton of tourists at Halloween, I’m not joking. Take a peek.

(Even the dead aren’t safe from the horde…)

There’s plenty to see aside from costumes

Like the zillion attractions in town, which are almost always packed, with lines out the door. That’s Count Orlok’s Nightmare Gallery down on Derby Street.

Food vendors sprout up out of nowhere and take over empty nooks and crannies all around the city.

Including on the Salem Common.

Nom, nom, nom.

The Common plays host to the city’s annual pumpkin decorating contest.

If I haven’t mentioned it before, when you walk around Salem, especially in October…if you squint just right…it kinda feels like you’ve gone back in time.

A little local love

The shops around town get a ton of action in October. We love our local businesses, and are happy to be able to share a little of our city with you. That’s the window of the local knitting shop below.

Two happy local authors

Rev. Lori Bruno (Dr. Leo Martello’s Weird Ways of Witchcraft) was kind enough to stop and snap a picture with me. If you visit Salem, be sure to have Lori read your tarot cards. She’s absolutely amazing. (Not to mention, our favorite person in town!)

Sigh. I’ll have a copy of my book in the spring. We might just have to have a do-over.

Oh, and speaking of local authors, our friend Sean is an amazing horror writer. If that’s your thing, check out his blog here.

A magic circle on Salem Common

Lori is the same lady who co-hosts a public magic circle on Salem Common every year.

Even the mounted police stopped by to check it out.

Curious? I thought you might be. Take a peek at the footage on YouTube.

Never let it be said that we locals don’t decorate

We may not always dress up in costume, but we do like to put on a good display around town.

Dave Eng, Derby Street florist extraordinaire, puts up our favorite display every year.

Spooky, eh?

And let’s not forget the Great Pumpkin!

A stroll around Old Burying Point Cemetery

Now, folks come from far and wide to visit Salem in October. They come for the Halloween attractions—and the historic ones. Old Burying Point cemetery is the oldest burial ground in Salem, and always attracts a ton of visitors.

Folks buried here include Jonathan Corwin and John Hawthorne, both judges in the infamous witch trials.

It’s not uncommon to see coins or other small items left at the the graveyard’s gate as offerings for the dead.

Let’s take a peek inside, shall we?

The cemetery definitely felt the effects of the recent storm we had.

Even though we were in the height of tourist season, it was still relatively tranquil.

There are a bunch of traditional gravestone carvings.

Hope you enjoyed the tour!

Somehow, it seems like we always end up walking the wolves down on Salem Wharf late Halloween night. That’s the Custom House below.

Always love the sight of the carnival ferris wheel, lit up over the water. Happy haunting until next year!

Want more Halloween in Salem?

Take a look back at previous years here:


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Jessie Cross is a cookbook author and creator of The Hungry Mouse, a monster online food blog w/500+ recipes. When she's not shopping for cheese or baking pies, Jessie works as an advertising copywriter in Boston. She lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and two small, fluffy wolves.


  1. Say, did you ever come across a Red-Riding Hood and Wolfman couple and get their picture taken? We came up from south shore and actually forgot our camera at home. I've been scouring the net just to see if anyone posted it. We got stopped and had our pic taken at least 20 times. It's got to be around somewhere! Thanks! ;-)