There are a lot of great Halloween events happening in NYC this year, but for an authentically bone chilling experience with the family, you’re going to want to head up north. New England, home to the Salem witch trials, haunted colonial grave yards, and plenty of family fun, comes alive during the fall, and while traveling up to see the colorful leaves is a great way to spend an October here, there are plenty of other ways to spend the haunted holiday with your little ghouls. Here are just a few of our favorites:
If there is any place to spend an authentic Halloween, it’s Salem, Massachusetts. Known for their infamous witch trials in the 1600’s, the town fully embraces it’s past and offers plenty of fun activities for families and adults alike to partake in some happy haunting. Besides wandering through the town’s colonial streets and visiting local shops, families can visit the Salem Witch Museum for an in-depth and educational look at the witch trials that made the town famous, or the Salem Witch House for an authentic depiction of 17th century life and special Halloween exhibits. Literature-loving families will enjoy stopping by the House of Seven Gables, the house that inspired writer Nathaniel Hawthorne (originally from Salem) to write “The Scarlet Letter.” For some family-friendly Halloween fun, check out Salem Haunted Happenings, a website fully dedicated to helping people visit Salem for the holiday, filled with event listings, hotel recommendations, and everything else you could possibly need!
If you’re traveling with older kids or teens, consider taking them on a haunted ghost tour to search for some other wordly activity and haunted graveyards. New England is chock-full of highly recommended ghost tours, like Ghosts & Gravestones, a tour in Boston that transports you by trolley to some of the city’s spookiest graveyards, with the help of some enthusiastic storytellers. Red Cloak Haunted History Tours, operating in various locations in Maine, offer 90-minute walking tours of the state’s best haunted sites and is kid-friendly. Raven’s Walk is a quirky tour of Nantuckett’s creepiest locations given by local Robin Zablow and her raven, Edgar. Just a simple Google search will pull up countless haunted tours, so you are sure to find something that will delight and intrigue your entire family.
Fun Family Festivals
For families looking to enjoy Halloween with their little ones without all of the spooks and haunts, there are plenty of events and festivals to keep your little monsters entertained. If you’re passing through Providence, Rhode Island, stop by the Roger Williams Zoo Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular to see nearly 10,000 pumpkins come to life. Families in Boston can enjoy Franklin Park Zoo’s Zoo Howl, a weekend of animals, games, costume contest, and more, as well as a Family Halloween Lunch Cruise by Spirit Cruises. For some theme park fun, check out Edaville’s Not So Spooky Halloween festival in Carver, Massachusetts, where kids can enjoy kiddie rides with a side of trick or treating.
The rest of New England has even more fun activities for Halloween-loving families. Pumpkintown USA is open for business in East Hampton, Connecticut, complete with 30 pumpkin-headed characters and a mini village. The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center in Old Saybrook, Connecticut is hosting a Ballet Spooktacular, where not only will the dancers perform spooky dances in costume, but costumed kids can join them on stage and go trick-or-treating. In Maine, families can enjoy fall foliage with a hint of Halloween on the Pumpkin Train, which leaves out of Portland, Maine. For even more pumpkin fun, stop by the NH Pumpkin Festival in Downtown Laconia, New Hampshire for live music, local fare, and, of course, pumpkins! DeMeritt Hill Farm in Lee, New Hampshire is hosting a Halloween Storybook Hayride, where little ones can enjoy fairy tales with a scenic view of the farm.
Haunted Houses & Trails
Another great thing to do with older kids or fellow adults this Halloween? Check out some of New England’s most popular haunted houses and trails! If you’re passing through Connecticut, stop by the Lake Compounce Haunted Graveyard, an abandoned amusement park that is turned into a hauntingly good time with rides, six haunted houses, and a haunted graveyard. Teens looking to get really spooked will love the Night Terrors Haunted Woods Walk in Kittery, Maine, which includes a zip line and tons of zombies. There is no way you are sleeping well after a visit to the Fortress of Nightmares, a truly haunted experience out of Newport, Rhode Island in Fort Adams State Park. Nightmare Vermont is a truly terrifying attraction out of Essex Junction, Vermont that combines live stage combat, theatrical storytelling, and interactive scare zones. Haunted Overload is the haunted house you’ve dreamed about in your nightmares come to life, where a rickety house in Lee, New Hampshire is transformed into a terrifying treat for fear fans.
Six Flags essentially owns Halloween with their popular Fright Fests taking place at almost all of their locations and attracting masses of families every year. The Fright Fest at Six Flags New England offers something for every type of family, from daytime, less scary activities for younger guests to full on scream-inducing terror for teens and adults at night. During the day, enjoy all of the park’s usual rides and attractions, as well as activities like Mayhem Mission: Ghoulish Gameshow, a show hosted by some mad scientists, the Trick or Treat trail, the Spooktacular Street Party, and more. Once the sun sets, adults and teens can enjoy haunted twists on classic rides, scare zones scattered throughout the park, various musical, magical, and downright creepy shows, and a brand new evil “Carnevil.” Make sure to stay alert, because to quote the Six Flags New England website, “there is no place to hide!”