Here's an update on Salem, where I spent both Friday & Saturday nights.|
There aren't any haunted houses this year, although there are special tourist attractions that are basically year-round, such as the Wax Museum, which looked cheesy.
Not worth seeing: The Eerie Legends of Salem was awful. The Ghost stories told aboard the merchant ship they have in the harbor were OK but not really worth the trip.
Worth seeing: The House of Seven Gables has two performances, Legacy of the Hanging Judge, which is about the Salem Witch Trials of the 17th century, and Spirits of the Gables, which takes characters from Nathaniel Hawthorne's novels. It was quite interesting, you go through maybe 7 rooms of the house and spend 5 minutes in each room with a single actor. In this way they can pipe a lot of people through the attraction.
Also worth seeing: Cry Innocent! which is a re-enactment of a salem witch trial and interesting enough to see. A suspected witch is put on trial in a large court-like room, and members of the audience get to ask questions of the witnesses and the accused. Fun even though the tourists mostly voted for the witch to be hung, thus showing how readily they could get swept up into mob mania and would have been a great addition to 17th century witch hysteria.
Possibly worth seeing: The Haunted City which is three different locations of ghost stories, I didn't get around to it because it was raining and I was cold.
Some Salem secrets: parking is ample at the lot right across from the Visitor's Center near Derby/Brown Street. But there is a convenient Salem commuter rail stop. You can pick up city guides most anywhere, just keep your eyes open in attractions and restaurants, if the visitor's center is closed. Also, call ahead to ensure a spot at the theater events, but you really don't need to. Merchants told me that Halloween itself is the top night of the year, even though it is a Monday. So you haven't missed Salem yet!
All this at www.hauntedhappenings.org.
Also a few weeks ago I wrote about Wolf Hollow. Well, yesterday I went and it was awesome. It's only $6 and they give you a whole hour lecture on wolves and you get to howl along with the wolves. Really amazing, they are beautiful creatures. It's far up on the North Shore, so do something else while you are there. Warning - shows are at 1:30pm Saturday and Sunday only. Do not show up at any other time!