Halloween is almost here. Being a contemporary romance writer, it’s incongruous to have a part of me really enjoy the macabre. But maybe, on some level, it makes sense. After all, how can anyone truly appreciate love’s lightness without a little darkness to show us what we’d be missing without it? Maybe that’s why most romance books have a villain.
Last year, to help my family really celebrate Halloween, we took a trip to Salem, Massachusetts. What fun! Salem is happy to embrace its dubious past, and proudly displays a sculpture of Sabrina the Witch from the sixties TV show “Bewitched.”
The town (smartly) transforms itself to Spooksville, USA, to precipitate a very lucrative season. There are ghost tours run by the locals, showing off some of Salem’s more infamous buildings (if you go at night, you can take a candle-lit tour). There are plenty of funky, cozy, indie coffee shops with Tarot cards laying about, ready to serve pumpkin-spiced lattes to the adults and apple cider to the kids. There are also plenty of “haunted house” tours. Some of these “houses” let you choose your level of terror, from “ten” (ohmyGodI’mtotallyfreakingout!) to “zero” (so the little ones can go, too).
Salem also has three museums that are must-sees. Two are about the history witches and witch-trials. One is about a different aspect of Salem’s history—shipping and piracy. All of the museums are great, not only in entertainment value, but in the amount of history they convey. I left knowing a lot more about life in the 1700’s. The number one thing I learned—I’m sure glad I wasn’t alive during those times. Because Salem was as scary back then as it is wonderful now.
I do hope you go to Salem at some point in the future to celebrate Halloween. And don’t worry if you forget your costume—trust me, they sell them everywhere.
Where do you go to celebrate Halloween?
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Photo of Downtown Salem at night, in front of the “Bewicthed” statue. Copyright 2013 by Stacy Hoff. All rights reserved.