Halloween Events in Salem, MA: Spooky, Not-Too-Scary Fun for Little Ones

The Witch City has a whole month of family-friendly Halloween events to help you celebrate the holiday.

If your kids are like mine, they started getting excited for Halloween about the time the 4th of July fireworks ended. From the costumes to carving pumpkins, it’s a whimsical time full of imagination, and revolves around children like no other holiday. And we’re lucky to live very close to what may be the Halloween capital of the country: Salem

But despite what you might have heard about "Witch City," it’s not all scary stuff. Many of the events happening in Salem over the next month are tailor-made for families, replacing most of the tricks with treats. This year, the town has introduced a new Wednesday program just for kids, and have made some old favorites more fun than frightening. If you've never done fall in Salem, it's time!

Keep in mind that many events sell out quickly, so buy tickets in advance when you can. And for the full calendar Halloween events, including some scarier stuff for older kids, check out the Haunted Happenings listings.

Black Cat Historic Day Tours
September 23, October 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, 2017; 2-3pm ($)
A walking tour around Salem is less than a mile total, making it ideal for kids. It will feature ancient burial grounds, interesting architecture, some historic information about witches, and some spooky stories. Best for ages 6 and up.185 Essex Street

Little Monsters, Magic, and Storytelling with Tom Foolery and Susie Magoozy
October 4, 6:30pm ($)
This silly show features magic, storytelling puppets, and lots of kid participation. ​Salem Witch Museum, 19 1/2 Washington Square

Haunted Happenings Grand Parade
October 5, 2017, 6pm (free)
The festive Grand Parade in Salem serves as the official kick-off of the Halloween season in the city. This year’s theme is “Movie Monsters." Downtown Salem

Trick or Treat with the Mayor
October 6, 2017 5:30pm (free)
Halloween may still be a few weeks away, but kids can trick or treat with Salem’s mayor, Kimberley Driscoll, during the Mayor’s Night Out. Downtown Salem

Lanterns in the Village
October 6-8, 2017; 6:30pm ($)
See Pioneer Village aglow with jack-o-lanterns while you sip warm cider and cocoa. Buy tickets soon here—this cool event sells out! Pioneer Village, Forest River Park

Haunted Biz Baz Street Fair
October 7-8, 2017; 10am-6pm (free)
Entertainers, street performers, music, crafts, and food fill the streets while families mill around, in costume or not. Essex Street Pedestrian Mall

ParaNorman. Photo courtesy of LAIKA-Focus Features

Family Movie Nights on Salem Common 
October 7, 14, 21, 28, 2017; 6pm (free)
Bring a blanket to Salem Common on Saturdays in October to catch four family-friendly, not-too-scary flicks that are sure to get you in the Halloween spirit:

  • 10/7: Ghostbusters
  • ​10/14: Casper
  • 10/21: ParaNorman
  • 10/28: Hocus Pocus​

Professor Wunder’s School of Magic
October 8, 15, 22, 29, 2017; 10am ($)
This live, interactive show is perfect for kids—it focuses on making Halloween fun instead of scary. Children get to meet a friendly wizard and experience comedy, magic, and fun special effects. Gallows Hill Museum and Theatre, 7 Lynde Street

Wicked Wednesdays (free)
October 11, 18, 25, 2017; 4-7pm
New for 2017, Salem is devoting three October Wednesdays to family fun, with lots of programming for kids at various spots around town. There will be musicians, face-painting, kid-friendly walking tours, and interactive events geared for the under-12 crowd. Each Wednesday will be different. Here are some highlights:

  • Family Navigation Game, House of the Seven Gables (Oct. 11, 18, 25, 10am-7pm)
  • Magic Wand Making, Wynott's Wands (Oct. 11, 18, 25, 3pm)
  • Family Ghost Tour, Remember Salem Gifts (Oct. 11, 18, 25, 5pm)

Derby Street Carnival 
October 13-31, 2017; afternoons and evenings, times vary (free entry, single ride tickets are $1.50)
The Derby Street Carnival is full of classic, old-fashioned fun, like a midway bursting with family-friendly rides and games. Derby Street

SCNA Kids Carnival
October 21-22, 28-29, 2017; 11am-5pm (free entry, single ride tickets are $3)
The Salem Common Neighborhood Association is hosting the Kids Carnival on the Salem Common this year. Come by for rides, entertainers and more. Salem Common

Little Chip's Hotel Bash
October 22, 2017; 3-5pm (free, treats are extra $)
Call 978-740-8788 to reserve a spot for fun activities and treats with your little monster on the waterfront. Salem Waterfront Hotel

Neighborhood Trick or Treating
October 31, 2017 5:30-8pm (free)
If you can’t make it to Trick or Treat with the Mayor, bring the kids to Salem to trick-or-treat around town on the big day. Lots of businesses participate, and there are some fabulous costumes to see.

Top photo courtesy of Salem Haunted Happenings