Bust out the candy, pumpkins, and costumes — Halloween is back.
After two years of mounting Halloween hunger, the spookiest day of the year has finally returned in full force. Last October, traditional trick-or-treating was banned in several Massachusetts towns, events like costume parties and bar crawls were nixed, and Salem, the witchy capital of the state, saw far smaller crowds of monsters, witches, and magical creatures than usual.
2021, thankfully, has seen far fewer tricks than 2020. Now that Dr. Anthony Fauci has given parents the green light to trick-or-treat with their kids this Oct. 31, it seems Halloween may be nearing pre-pandemic levels of fright.
In honor of this momentous return, we’ve rounded up some relatively low-risk activities to keep you busy leading up to and on the big day. Just remember to confirm the event’s vaccination policy, check to see if you need a reservation, and, of course, wear your mask — costume and otherwise.
GUILTY! A SALEM WITCH TRIAL The audience members are the ones on trial for witchcraft in this event, which transports them back to 1692Salem. Patrons will have to meet the Judge in the courtroom to plead their case, supported by testimony from other audience members with guidance from a local Puritan. This event is considered suitable for all audiences. Thursdays to Mondays, Through Oct. 30, 7:15-8 p.m and 8:15-9 p.m. $20 adults, $13 for children ages 7-13, children under 7 free. 7 Lynde St., Salem. gallowshillsalem.com
GRAVEYARD CONJURE WITH HOODOO SEN MOISE Talk about the conjuring. In this 18+ event, traditional Hoodoo practitioner Sen Moise teaches patrons how to call upon the “Blood of your Blood,” or speak to kin who have passed on. For more mischievous folks, Moise will also teach how to bless and curse enemies at a grave, finishing the night on a high note connecting with spirits at one of America’s oldest graveyards. Oct. 27, 7 p.m. $80. 184 Essex St., Salem. festivalofthedead.com
SALEM WITCHES’ MAGIC CIRCLE Double, double, toil, and trouble! Witches gather from near and far to pay tribute to those who have crossed over to the spiritual world, accompanied by drumming from the Dragon Ritual Drummers. This is a time to mourn those you miss, but also to make new connections and engage in a celebration of life. Oct. 31, 5 p.m. Free. Washington Square, Salem. salem.org
JACK-O-LANTERN SPECTACULAR It’s about an hour’s drive from Boston, but the jack-o’-lantern display at Providence’s Roger Williams Park Zoo is worth the trip. Listening to a soundtrack that spans the 19th century to today, you can amble through over 6,000 pumpkins aglow with LED lights. There are also sensory-friendly nights, fairy tale and superhero nights, and a zip line ride for an extra fee. Through Oct. 31, 6 p.m.-10:30 p.m. Tickets $14-$21. Roger Williams Park Zoo, 1000 Elmwood Ave., Providence. 401-785-3510. rwpzoo.org
BEACON HILL WITH A BOO! Don’t let Beacon Hill’s pristine presence fool you— horror stories and spooky history abound there. On All Hallow’s Eve, wander through its dark alleys and listen to tales of the unfortunate fate of Dr. George Parkman and the hanging of witches and visiting Quakers. Oct. 31, 4-8 p.m. $20. The steps in front of the Massachusetts State House on Beacon Street across from the Boston Common, 24 Beacon St. bostonbyfoot.org
SOMERSTREETS: MONSTER MASH Do the monster mash (and make sure it’s a graveyard smash) at this open streets festival. There will be two stages of music, a new rollerblading disco party, face painting, and a Halloween costume parade with all kinds of creatures roaming around. Oct. 31, 2 p.m. 349 Somerville Ave., Somerville. somervilleartscouncil.org
BRICK-OR-TREAT Build the Halloween of your dreams at LEGOLAND Discovery Center, where you can construct a pumpkin made out of bright orange blocks and complete a scavenger hunt in a mini city made entirely from Legos. Through Oct. 31, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. $20 for standard ticket. LEGOLAND Discovery Center Boston, 598 Assembly Row, Somerville. 617-702-5593, legolanddiscoverycenter.com
DOGGONE HALLOWEEN DOG PARADE A procession of pups will descend on Downtown Crossing this Halloween Eve, competing for the various titles, including best dog and human duo. Oct. 30, noon-2 p.m. Free. Downtown Crossing, 9 Summer St. 617-261-4243, eventbrite.com
ZOO HOWL To ring in the hair-raising holiday, Franklin Park Zoo will hold a scavenger hunt, set up a trick-or-treat trail, and confound visitors with “mystery animal encounters.” There will also be opportunities to learn about why munching on Halloween candy made with sustainable palm oil may help save animals’ habitats worldwide. Oct. 30-31, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Tickets come with general admission, which are $15.95-$22.95; members and infants free. 617-541-5466, zoonewengland.org
Food and Drink
HALLOWEEN CANDY AND BEER PAIRING Ever wonder what beer would go best with your Snickers bar? The folks at Everett’s Bone Up Brewing Co. will offer a candy match made in heaven for every beer on their menu, plus some flights with pre-chosen pairings. Oct. 28-31, times depend on day. Free pairing with the purchase of a beer flight or full pour. Bone Up Brewing Co., 38 Norman St., Everett. 781-691-9092, eventbrite.com
CITY TAP BOSTON City Tap House in Fort Point is serving up two Halloween-centric food events this season: the Basic Witch Brunch on Oct. 30 will offer psychic readings, a DJ, and plenty of autumnal fare, and the Skeleton Crew PJ Brunch on Oct. 31 will feature a Halloween-themed pajama costume contest where the winner takes home a $50 gift card. Oct. 30 and 31, both start at 11 a.m. City Tap House Boston, 10 Boston Wharf Road. 617-904-2748, citytap.com
HALLOWEEN SPOOKTACULAR Enjoy a night at the museum when the Boston Children’s Museum hosts an after-hours event filled with festivities, including trick-or-treating, a “scare package,” and a trip to the haunted “boo-tanical garden.” Oct. 29, 6-9 p.m. $30. Boston Children’s Museum, 308 Congress St. 617-426-6500, bostonchildrensmuseum.org
SPOOKY SCIENCE WEEKEND Get scientific with your scares at the Museum of Science, which will offer design challenges, Halloween-themed live presentations, and a DJ’d dance party at this weekend-long event. Oct. 30-31, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tickets come with Exhibit Hall admission, which costs $24-$29; free for members and infants. Museum of Science, 1 Science Park. 617-723-2500, mos.org
ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW: SPECIAL SHOW Do the time warp again at the AMC Boston Common theatre, where a shadow cast of the “Rocky Horror Picture Show” performs live at showtimes throughout October in front of the movie screen. Remaining shows Oct. 29-31, 9:30 p.m. Tickets $12.49-$15.49. AMC Boston Common 19, 175 Tremont St. 617-423-5801, amctheatres.com
HALLOWEEN HORROR MARATHON For the 20th time, the Coolidge Corner Theatre will screen 12 straight hours of formidable films, kicking off with a performance from horror movie composer Alan Howarth. Oct. 30-31, 11 p.m.-noon. $45. Coolidge Corner Theatre, 290 Harvard St., Brookline. 617-734-2500, coolidge.org
WALTER SICKERT & THE ARMY OF BROKEN TOYS This eclectic, costumed band will bring its mysterious musical stylings to the Hayden Planetarium at the Museum of Science — and their judging prowess to a costume contest. Oct. 28, 7:30-10:30 p.m. $20 in advance, $25 day of. Museum of Science, 1 Science Park. 617-723-2500, mos.org
HAUNTED TALES: THE ONLINE HALLOWEEN SCAVENGER HUNT FOR KIDS Embark on a Zoom scavenger hunt with Watson Adventures, where the stories of haunted locales, including Salem, will come to life as you discover clues. Oct. 30, 6-7:30 p.m. $19 per participant. Online. 877-946-4868, watsonadventures.com
HALLOWEEN OOBLECK Kids in fourth through eighth grade can create “oobleck,” a slime-like concoction made from cornstarch and water, by picking up a kit from the Jamaica Plain library branch from Oct. 27-29. On Halloween Eve, there will be a Zoom lesson from Northeastern University students on how to create the satisfying ooze. Oct. 30, 10:30 a.m.- noon. Free. Pick up kits at Jamaica Plain Branch of the Boston Public Library, 30 South St., Jamaica Plain, lesson on Zoom. 617-524-2053, bpl.bibliocommons.com
Riana Buchman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Dana Gerber can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @danagerber6.