I have given the following tips and tricks in many forms around my website, but I figured compiling a few here into this blog post for easy access would be a good idea, especially given that it’s currently October! The following are based off my personal experiences and thoughts, feel free to comment below with your own!
The most obvious: lines and crowds
Salem is busy during October, especially on the weekends. You can expect lines at restaurants and attractions, so be prepared for this. There are going to be large crowds of people and busy streets as well. Plan ahead as much as you can, have a map on your phone or in your bag, book anything you can early and bring your patience. Many shops will have limits on the number of people allowed in at one time, forming a queue outside so be aware of this too.
The weather does what it wants
I’d strongly suggest dressing in or bringing layers. New England weather does pretty much whatever it feels like, so be prepared. There have been Halloween seasons where I didn’t even need a coat and others where I was literally googling “symptoms of hypothermia”. Plan ahead.
Parking can be challenging
Parking in Salem can be hard in October, so plan ahead. If you aren’t able to land a spot in the lot or garage you wanted originally, have a back up or two in mind. Pay attention to posted signs, keep up with meters and don’t park on side streets where you aren’t supposed to.
People will definitely be in costume
If you’re debating bringing your costume for Halloween or not, don’t worry. You won’t be the only one dressed up. Bring it and get into the season! I see this question asked a lot in my Facebook group, so I figured I’d address it here too. 🙂
- Five tips for picking your costume for Halloween in Salem, MA
- Guest post: Costume in my closet — American Horror Story: Coven
- Five places to grab last minute Halloween costume props in Salem, MA
The calendars will be loaded with events
There is always something going on in Salem, however in October the calendars are packed. I’d suggest buying tickets ahead to anything you can and making sure you give yourself time to enjoy the city. If it’s in the budget, stay for a weekend as opposed to doing a day trip. There is so much happening, it’s nice to have some wiggle room.
The city opens up to tons of street vendors
In the fall, there are tons of street fairs on the schedule. Get some early holiday shopping in or just treat yo self! Make sure you have cash on hand in case you can’t use a card. If you find something special that grabs your eye, I’d snag it while you can! If it’s in the budget, just go for it because you might not find it again. Many of the handmade and local vendors that you’ll see in the streets carry unique finds that won’t surface again anywhere else.
More than just witches and Halloween
Many people are surprised to find there is so much more to the witch city than just witches. Sure, Salem is basically Halloweentown, however it was also a major player in early New England history. It offers a ton of attractions along those lines as well as ones that cover the nautical aspect of the city.
- Five ways to enjoy the nautical aspect of Salem, MA
- Schooner Fame — The Salem Business Spotlight
- Seven reasons why Salem, MA is more than just Halloween
You’ll be sure to run into buskers and street performers
Salem’s streets are busy in October and one of the most fun parts of that is the buskers. You’ll likely run into Salem’s Black Hat Society, MrBones of Salem, The Salem Satan, Joe’s Sax Appeal and more. Be sure to grab some pictures with Salem’s most known and tag me! I’d love to see.
People are generally helpful
I have heard and seen comments along the line of “everyone was so helpful” and “so many people were willing to help me!” online and on social media. Ya know what? It’s true. Many people in the area will generally help you out if you ask nicely for directions or help with something. You can stop by the booth at the top of Essex street if you have questions, ask in my Facebook group or DM me if you can’t figure something out.
You might be overwhelmed with food choices
Sure, there will be lines, but Salem is loaded with delicious food. You can find cuisine from so many cultures and it’s honestly hard to go wrong. I’d suggest picking a few that you really want to try and then having a few back ups in mind in case the wait is insane.
I hope this was helpful! Good luck with your visit and enjoy!! <3