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Halloween In Salem

Halloween in Salem has long been on my bucket list. Hocus Pocus has long been a favorite Halloween movie of mine and from a young age, the town of Salem has held a magical stigma in my imagination.

Aside from that, Halloween is my favorite holiday. I’m a ghost story and horror movie connoisseur. I like spell casting shops. I collect crystals. I believe in energy manipulation and I enjoy being scared. Don’t ask me why, but the thrill of weaving through a dark haunted forest excites me. I suppose it’s because I enjoy the natural high. Research shows that during a thrilling situation in the context of a safe environment, the brain in many individuals releases dopamine in the fight or flight event, thus creating a natural high.

Halloween in Salem
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At Haunted Happenings, hosted by the city. In the background is the Salem Witch Museum

But my husband’s brain is not quite the same and unfortunately, my natural high translates to his boring fear. One obvious consequence of such a difference is a slight rift in joint activities on Halloween. He refuses to go with me to any haunted houses (really sucks), but thankfully Salem does offer enough fun for us both.

I had no idea that Salem was actually a real witch town. The city is very walkable, and the main street consists of store after store of psychics and spell shops, some better than others.  Just for the record, we both refuse to go to a psychic.

There are plenty of Wiccan shops, you know the kind that offer actual spell castings with herbs charged under the energy of full moon light.

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A Spell Book
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Window shopping: crystal balls and spell books

And although I spent some time in Japan at numerous energy shops in Chinatown, the shops in Salem are a step beyond Eastern energy readings and Feng Shui. Wicca I think is a step beyond practicing Feng Shui but it’s interesting to see some overlap in both practices.

Halloween in Salem is an unusual experience. I’ve never seen this many people dressed up with so much zeal.  And unlike Slut-o-Ween, people get really into costumes and horror, some maybe too much.

We spotted a few dressed up so disturbingly gruesome that I found myself photographing facial expressions of those passerbyers who couldn’t stomach the gore. It made us wonder why some people felt the desire to create such gruesome exhibits of dead babies.

Halloween in Salem
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How priceless is this lady’s face?

Heads up on the number of photographs in this post. We went to Salem two consecutive weeks in a row and I want to share them all. But you may find yourself a little intrigued at this real life Diagon Alley. But be warned, some of the pictures are a little disturbing.

What the heck is this?
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This man had the coldest stare. Props to him for not breaking character over the entire afternoon.
There was a month long Psychic & Witchcraft Fair. Booths are set up for readings galor
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There was a month long Psychic & Witchcraft Fair.  #ONLYINSALEM
A Coven's Cottage: A Family Owned Witchcraft Shop carrying all your spellcasting needs. Yes, this place is for real.
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A Coven’s Cottage: A Family Owned Witchcraft Shop carrying all your spellcasting needs.
Crow Haven is the other major spell shop. It has a lighter feel and they offer mojo bags etc
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Crow Haven is the other major spell shop in Salem. It has a lighter feel and they offer mojo bags etc. Definitely worth a stop over.

Displays in Salem
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Aura Photography creeps me out so I didn't do it
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Aura Photography creeps me out so I didn’t do it
Plenty of crystal shops. I acquired a copper ball
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Plenty of crystal shops. I acquired a copper ball. I love how my husband enjoys going crystal shopping with me haha.
Michael Myers
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Well done. He looks exactly like Michael Myers.
I can only imagine what Johnny Knoxville would do with this. Yes, it's fake. But  if you found this in a park, it would inspire a homicide investigation
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I can only imagine what Johnny Knoxville would do with this. It’s fake, I sure as hell hope so. But if you found this in a park, I’m pretty sure it would inspire a homicide investigation

April Fools
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Me: What if I bought one of these fingers and pretended to lose it chopping an onion? Husband: That wouldn't be funny.  Me: Yea I know.
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Me: What if I bought one of these fingers for April Fools and pretended to lose it chopping an onion? Would it scare you?
Husband: That wouldn’t be funny.
Me: Yea I know.

Crazy Costumes
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This man is offering people guts. Ew.
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This man was offering people guts to eat
Wtf is this?
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Wtf is this?

Crazy Costumes
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Amazing costume
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Chucky Doll
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Chucky Doll + Michael Kors purse = kills it
A Wand Shop
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Here I am visiting Wynotts wand shop. Way better than Ollivanders. PSH
We went inside the Hawthorne Hotel. It's supposed to be haunted. How about this bathroom?
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We went inside the Hawthorne Hotel. It’s supposed to be haunted. This bathroom is amazing.
Spooky bathroom selfie, another to add to my collection of Leica selfies
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Spooky bathroom selfie, another to add to my collection of shameless Leica selfies. But seriously, this place is cinematic.
Spectral Evidence and Ghost Hunting Meeting Location: The Library
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Spectral Evidence and Ghost Hunting Meeting Location: The Library. Sad I didn’t make it to that.
It's the New England School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
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It’s the New England School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

The Psychic Fair in Salem
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Coffin simulation. And I thought I saw it all...
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Coffin simulation. And I thought I saw it all…
Note this woman's facial expression
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Note this woman’s facial expression
It turns out, this freaks people out.
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It turns out, this really freaks people out.
Innocent bystander #3
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Innocent bystander #3 does not like fake dead babies

Some Intense Costumes
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Halloween in Salem
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Some Intense Costumes
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Halloween in Salem
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Halloween in Salem
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A Hocus Pocus shop
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A Hocus Pocus shop

Halloween in Salem
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The Book of Shadows
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The Book of Shadows

Halloween in Salem
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Playing dressup with an old Alice costume. I had no plans to dress up this year.
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Playing dressup with an old Alice costume. I had no plans to dress up this year. He loves me so much :).

Costumes
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We decided last minute to dress up. My husband already owned this Polo shirt that looks like Freddy Kruger so we found a hat and a hand and it worked out splendid. I attempted to paint my face Sugar Skull.
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We decided last minute to dress up. My husband already owned this Polo shirt that looks like Freddy Kreuger so we found a hat and a hand and it worked out splendid. I attempted to paint my face Sugar Skull. It turns out, I’m seriously allergic to cheap face paint when I couldn’t stop sneezing half the night.
Baby man went as Mr. Buttons and my twin. He turned a thousand heads in Salem.
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Baby man went as Mr. Buttons and my Sugar Skull twin. He turned a thousand heads in Salem. I’ve never seen Bostonians so friendly before.  The hat came from a shop in Yokohama.
Interesting costumes everywhere
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A Leica M9 costume!!
Halloween in Salem
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We saw some friends from Japan when we got off the train, how crazy is that?!!! We haven’t seen them since we left Japan so that was such a neat experience to reunite. What are the odds???

Halloween in Salem
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A little tough to eat
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Delicious Pho at Aurora Cafe in Salem made the night perfect
Halloween in Salem
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Lantern tours through town
Spellcasting in Salem
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You can pay to cast actual spells with real witches. Interesting….
M9 selfie
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M9 selfie #2

Getting Ready for Halloween
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Getting Dressed Up for Halloween
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Halloween in Salem
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Halloween in Salem
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Halloween in Salem
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Two Freddys
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The Interesting Train Ride Home
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And if seeing actual witches, dead baby costumes, attending spell castings, and a psychic fair wasn’t an odd enough experience, let’s just say our train ride home topped it all.  I found myself sitting next to a group of Hare Krishna members on the crowded train ride home to Boston.

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A bohemian woman sitting next to me started to chant softly, while I sat there frigid desperately trying to look away. A man attempted to clap the seat behind us. The group’s noise level steadily rose as members’ chanting increasingly grew louder and completely oblivious to other passengers.

Come to find out, Krishna members don’t bust out in full song, but they start off very quietly and build up their strength before they attack in full-force. Before we knew it, we found ourselves in the midst of a full out drum circle.

We sat on the train for twenty minutes and listened to them chant loudly without inhibition. I swear, I’ve never had an odder experience in America. For that time, it felt like I was on a train to Bangladesh, yet everyone on board was dressed in costume. One member whipped out a tambourine, the guy to the left of me started beating a drum set, and the kid in front of me was beating a drum standing up in the aisle, worshipping at the top of his lungs. It was loud, very loud. But perhaps the most entertaining part of it all was observing the facial expressions of the Bostonians on board.

My dog was definitely a little off for a few hours after we got home. Finding himself in the midst of a Hare Krishna drum circle really freaked him out. I guess Benji got his scare on Halloween after all.

This man's facial expression was priceless. The noise volume on this train was about a 10.
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This man’s facial expression was priceless. The noise volume on this train was about a 10.
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2 Comments

  1. November 9, 2015 at 3:05 pm — Reply

    What a fun time to visit Salem! I knew about their witch history but had no idea how much everyone dressed up for Halloween (and creepily)!

    • November 9, 2015 at 11:51 pm — Reply

      Definitely! I knew the town was famous for witch hunting but I had no idea there are so many real witches there!! Such an interesting place!

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