Swoop into Witch City

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By Lisa K. Berton

While it's not necessary to carry around a broomstick while visiting waterfront Salem, Massachusetts, no one will take a second glance at you if you do, especially in October. Local hotels are booked solid, guided ghost tours can be seen strolling morning, noon, and night, and special experiences can be enjoyed every day.

Disney's "Hocus Pocus" served as this year's Salem Chamber of Commerce Haunted Happenings Grand Parade theme. The beloved quotable film is celebrating its 25th anniversary. Plan ahead and don't miss upcoming events such as movie nights, kid-friendly tours, and pumpkin walks, just to name a few. Want to plunge into scream-worthy and heart-racing delights? Salem Horror Fest is for you; meet celebrities, discuss movies, and jump out of your seat.

The Psychic Fair and Witches' Market runs throughout October from 10 am - 10 pm daily at Witch City Mall. Working psychics vary from day-to-day; a schedule is not available in advance to visitors. Merchants and psychics are more commonly found on weekends. If you prefer a private experience, Kelly Spangler offers readings by appointment only. My recent reading with her was impressive and fascinating.

Being a tourism mecca, tsotchkes, t-shirts, shot glasses, and every other expected souvenir is easy to find. Separating Salem from other New England destinations are the otherworldly-infused must-haves like tarot cards, Egyptian idols, potions, and spell books. Try Bewitched in Salem for such mementos.

Running amuck makes one hungry. Restaurants big and small are all too happy to serve up Halloween-esque treats in addition to their regular menu. Even ice cream can be scary.

The parade theme was Hocus Pocus
There's no shortage of t-shirts
Maria's Sweet Somethings

For certain, Salem doesn't lack witch-themed museums and attractions. Whether you make a conscious effort or not, you're bound to learn something regarding the historic and tragic witch trials of the late 1600's. Cry Innocent: The People versus Bridget Bishop is a theatrical performance that begins on Essex Street and takes ticket holders inside Old Town Hall. Theatergoers take on the role of Puritan jurors who can ask questions. Keep in mind, the presentation is based on the actual court transcripts.

Essex Street and the surrounding area host permit-carrying costumed characters who pose for photos in exchange for tips. Feeling nostalgic? Visit the statue of Samantha Stephens, the lead character from the television show "Bewitched". You'll find her where Essex Street and Washington Street meet.

Metered parking fills the streets and garages are scattered about. The average rate is $1.00 per hour. Real meter attendants walk the city writing up tickets on expired meter parking. No curse can free you. Watch the clock.

Current residents welcome modern witchcraft along with the positivity and blessings they wish to share. Times certainly have changed. Explore Salem's history and learn about your own future all in one place.

On trial at Cry Innocent
Just Mike Myers out for an afternoon stroll
"Bewitched" star, Elizabeth Montgomery

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