Halloween is supposed to be spooky, but trick-or-treating in Satan’s Kingdom? Whoa there.
Never fear, locals in the unincorporated community in Northfield say.
According to community lore, the area got its name because of a forest fire in the days of fire and brimstone sermons.
Satan’s Kingdom is the unofficial name for the western half of the town of 3,000, which is separated from the rest of town by the Connecticut River.
The moniker was made up after a fiery sermon, author Herbert C. Parsons wrote in his 1937 book “A Puritan Outpost: A History of the Town and People of Northfield, Massachusetts.”
“Some wag coming out of church, after hearing a sermon in which the fires of hell were depicted, and seeing a forest fire across the Connecticut [River], observed that Satan’s Kingdom was burning,” Parsons wrote. “There was no malice in the name, the west side being populated by families held in the highest respect.”
Despite the sinister name, people insist the Western Massachusetts community on the Vermont border is not haunted.
“I’ve never heard anything ominous,” said Jennifer Jones, a stewardship specialist for the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife’s Connecticut Valley District Office.
Satan’s Kingdom is home to 1,800 acres of forests, swamps, and streams, which MassWildlife set aside as a wildlife management area. State officials say it’s a devilishly popular hiking spot.
Satan’s Kingdom isn’t the only strange name of murky provenance in Northfield. A ravine called Hell’s Kitchen lies toward the southern end of the community.
“When I first heard [of Satan’s Kingdom], I thought, ‘What, what’s that?’ ” said Carol Lebo, the chair of the Northfield Historical Commission. “But it doesn’t creep me out. I don’t think that the people of Northfield think about it in one way or another.”
Satan’s Kingdom is “not a census designated or incorporated place having an official federally recognized name,” according to the United States Geological Survey.
“Probably no one knows for sure where these old names came from,” the Northfield Newsletter wrote in 2012.