Nightlife, Salem

Every year Salem is the national epicenter celebrating Halloween in style

WHAT:Halloween in Witch City
WHY:Creative costumes galore

Nobody does Halloween like Salem. What do you expect from a city whose logo is a witch on a broomstick? 

Halloween takes Salem the entire month of October to celebrate, but 10/31 is a night like no other. The party gets started in the early evening, with bands entertaining on stages set up throughout downtown Salem. The real show is everyone who shows up dressed in their Halloween best. And do they dress! While horror still reins supreme, the effort and creativity on display is staggering. Hilarious, crazy scary, over-the-top clever, the costumes keep on coming as you stroll through the crowds. Be sure to bring your phone or camera – almost everyone is willing to stop and pose. You can then show your friends back home what a real Halloween party looks like. 

How to do Halloween in Salem

The city gets very crowded and parking pretty much shuts down around 6PM on the big night. That’s why I like taking the train to Salem. The T puts on extra trains and the station is a 5 minute walk from the action, which is centered on Essex Street and spreads out from there. Parking is scarce and eventually roads in get blocked. I usually start at Rockafellas at the corner of Washington and Essex streets and at the center of the action. Grab a Bent Water brew from the bar and take in the odd assortment of characters both in the bar and outside. You’ll immediately note police presence is omnipresent. Cops from towns throughout the North Shore pitch in to keep thing safe for everyone. Kids are welcome, but keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t get lost in the crowd.

Take a stroll down Essex Street and walk to the end, looping right to Derby Street and strolling back to Washington Street. You’ll encounter a number of bands playing along the way, and there’s no shortage of places to stop for refreshments or a quick bite.


288 Derby St, Salem | 978-594-8709
A Off Course favorite featuring wood-fired pizza and asian fusion specialties

185 Essex St, Salem | 978-745-2900
A superbly currated collection of fine wines and beers, plus specialty foods

East Regiment Beer Company
30 Church St, Salem | 978-594-4469
Relax on the patio and sample a coffee brown ale or grab a 4-pack to go