Imagine being in a Halloweentown movie… Walking through a town full of witches, fairies, ogres, and pumpkins… To sitting at a restaurant next to vampires, clowns, werewolves, and zombies… There being a shocking chill to the air but a warm haze of incense that fills each store on the town’s main street… That is how it felt to be in Salem, Massachusetts on Halloween day. Of course that may not be how the town is day to day, but it was for this holiday! All of the locals working said that Halloween is their very own Black Friday. Whether costumes were scary, cute, and/or funny, almost everyone was dressed up to celebrate (even the workers!)
Prior to visiting, all I knew about Salem was that it was a town about an hour away from Boston, and that the town was known for witches and witch trials from the 1600’s. So really, I did not know much. But that little knowledge did have me wanting to learn more, especially after my good friend visited a couple months ago and mentioned so many interesting things about the town. So when she invited me to go with her on Halloween, the most popular time for tourists to visit, I was ecstatic.
All over the town there were many visiting areas, museums, and tours to go on to help you understand and learn the true history of Salem. (Now, I am no expert at the historical events so I won’t be sharing much about that. But I definitely encourage researching those events!) We visited Salem’s oldest cemetery that dates back to 1637, which is also the second oldest cemetery in the United States. (Woah!) This burial ground is where victims of the witch hysteria were buried, along with a judge from the witch trials, and even a person from the Mayflower. We also went on a ghost/witch tour where a man lead a group of us to different points in the town explaining old myths and historical events of the Salem Witch Trials. We then learned even more about those events by going into the Salem Witch Museum and the Witch’s Dungeon.
By the time the sun set on Halloween night, the town center on Essex Street was completely filled. That was where the majority of people ate, shopped, conversed, and well.. partied! Even a couple news casts went to show off the crazy costumes that people showed up in. (Really wishing I took photos of those costumes!) I personally did my makeup to mimic the face of a vampire. I did not have a real costume, but hey I’ll take any occasion to have fun with some makeup.
What I loved about this town was how much history it has. Some townspeople prefer to forget the erie history of Salem, while others choose to admire and learn from it. Although not all of the history is something positive, I believe that it is good to acknowledge. By visiting many of the tourist attractions I was able to learn so much about the town that I never knew of. Specifically that witches are not the stereotypical ‘green-faced, big nose, broom-stick-riding’ witches that Hollywood made us believe. Or are they? I guess that’s your own opinion to determine…