Ah, Halloween. What a complicated relationship I’ve had with you.
As a kid, I couldn’t get enough of the hype that surrounded this highly-celebrated holiday. It usually started somewhere in the middle of summer with the premature arrival of Halloween decorations in Target. And soon to follow was the excitement of picking out that year’s costume at Party City, carving the familiar jack-o’-lantern designs into our pumpkins in the front yard, then sneaking early pieces of candy from the kitchen pantry.
The actual night of kicked off with a chili-and-cornbread dinner with neighborhood friends that transitioned seamlessly into an evening full of trick-or-treating and excitedly racing from one house to another.
As a teen, Halloween became an excuse to get into a little mischief . . . maybe hang out with that cute boy I had a crush on, and perhaps push my luck and stay out past curfew.
But as an adult, I’ve got to admit that the charm has worn off, almost completely. I no longer find enjoyment in thinking up a creative costume . . . I see dollar signs instead. Dollar signs and a nasty hangover. The only excitement that really remains for me is the anticipation of fall weather and Freeform’s 13 Nights of Halloween (Hocus Pocus on repeat, anyone?! Or is that just me?).
This year, however, was different. This year, Halloween breezed to the forefront of my mind as early as May — easily a new record for me.
Why the sudden change of heart, you might ask?
Well, this year I was both unlucky and lucky when my friend’s grad-school plans included a big move to the East Coast. Unlucky since she would no longer be a quick forty-five minute drive from me here on the West Coast. Lucky, since she was moving to Boston! Boston is full of charm. It’s a city with a vibrant past and, when the time comes around, gorgeous autumn weather — something we are seriously lacking in Southern California. And I couldn’t wait to grab at the first chance I could to fly out and visit.
Before she hopped on her flight in Los Angeles and headed to her new city, she proposed something that renewed the kid-Marissa excitement of Halloween in me: a spooky Halloweekend spent in Salem.
I was hooked the minute she mentioned it, and was 100000% in. How could one pass up this holiday weekend in a city filled with so much folklore and spine-chilling history!? It was just as good, if not better, as spending the weekend in the very real village of Sleepy Hollow, or the more fictional Halloweentown.
So last Thursday, after months of anticipation, I jumped onto an early flight to Boston. It was the perfect time to jet off, with temperatures in Orange County reaching an unbearable 104 degrees. In October!
I landed to far more tolerable weather, with highs only reaching in the mid-sixties. It was divine — and I don’t use that word lightly. It really did feel like a godsend after having to deal with freakishly warm weather when it should have been crisp mornings I was relishing in and overcast days that encouraged a steaming cup of tea.
I couldn’t wait to get up and bask in the brisker temperature.
Friday in Boston
We slept in Friday morning (the extra sleep was very necessary), getting a later start on the day than originally planned. Instead of starting with breakfast, we hit a quick lunch on Newbury Street at a charming cafe called Cafeteria Boston. We each enjoyed a strong and spicy Bloody Mary, and split a fig and goat cheese pizza and chicken Caesar salad.
Afterwards, we took to the streets, hitting popular tourist stops like the Boston Public Library, the Boston Public Gardens, Acorn Street, and the Boston Commons before getting some coffee and regrouping at Caffe Nero. Along the way, we stopped more times can I can count to admire and take pictures of the decorated stoops throughout the city.
After we rested our tired feet and got a little caffeine in our systems, we were on our way again, with Italian food for dinner in the North End being our ultimate destination.
We saw the Old State House, strolled through Quincy Market, and ventured past the Paul Revere House, deciding immediately after that we were ready for an early dinner and a well-deserved glass of wine.
We settled on a restaurant called Trattoria Il Panino, primarily because it was the first restaurant we stumbled upon that didn’t require a reservation or have an hour-long wait. The food ended up being absolutely delicious, and much more than we bargained for (leftovers for days!). Satisfied and a little sleepy, we headed back to my friend’s place in Medford for a night full of baking, Hocus Pocus (duh), and more wine before getting to bed early, as our other friend landed early and we had full day planned in Salem.
Saturday in Salem
The last time I was in Salem, I was five, quickly approaching six, and a huge scaredy-cat. My brilliant parents (sarcasm) didn’t think a day spent learning an in-depth history of the famed Salem Witch Trials would leave a lasting impression on me. Safe to say those images definitely stuck with me until this day. I was very eager to return, though, and re-learn the history with new eyes and a new interest.
Once we picked up our friend from the airport, we immediately got on the road. Salem is only a quick forty-five minutes from Boston, but it was sure to get very busy since it was the Saturday before Halloween, so we got an early head start.
We drove through some absolutely stunning coastal towns and through some charming neighborhoods, too. My friend had to tell me to sit back in the passenger seat during the drive since I was eagerly looking ahead and blocking her view of her side mirrors.
Along the way, we made some important stops as avid Hocus Pocus fans. Our first was at Old Burial Hill, the cemetery where Max meets Jay and Ice for the first time.
We then stopped at Max and Dani’s house (!!!!!!), a beautiful coastal cottage right on the water.
Last on our quick Hocus Pocus tour was Alison’s house, which is only a few houses down from the famed Salem Witch House. Once we found parking, we walked along the street and snapped some pictures of both before getting in line to tour the Witch House.
The rest of our day was spent walking around the city center, popping into different shops, and looking at some historic grounds. Since it got much more crowded as the day went on, we weren’t able to go on any official tours without having to wait for upwards of an hour or two. So after grabbing a quick drink and appetizers at a bar that was once the town’s jail, we got back on the road for dinner at a waterfront restaurant in a place called Swampscott. We then headed back into Boston to get into our costumes before heading back to Salem for a spooky night out at the bars! Take a peak at our costumes below.
(Corinne was “Pregnant Kylie Jenner”/I was Vivian Ward from Pretty Woman/Sabrina was Samara from The Ring)
My trip was much too short. I’m already looking forward to the next time I can spend an extended amount of time in Boston, getting a more comprehensive look at the Freedom Trail, and maybe get a chance to dive into Salem’s dark history once more!
Until next time . . .