Oct 28, 2022 - Things to Do

The non-Salem Halloween tradition

Two hooded skeletons stand in front an empty merry go round at night in Six Flags.

Creepy vibes from the empty merry-go-round. Photo: Steph Solis/Axios

So you and your friends want to show off your Sanderson sisters costumes, but don't want to waste half the weekend waiting in lines with the crowds in Salem? Turns out a far more exhilarating option exists a couple of hours away. 

What's happening: A $50 ticket gets you into Fright Fest at Six Flags New England in Agawam. (If you just want the rides, it's $40.)

  • If the jump scares or bloodied zombies don't give you an adrenaline rush, the rides will. 

Yes, it costs more than a ghost tour in Salem, but the lines are better and parking is manageable.

The intrigue: While Salem has seen record crowds this year, the theme park has maintained a steady flow of visitors.

  • Besides, we could all use a trip beyond I-495.

Details: Fright Fest runs through Nov. 6 and features 200 creepy performers within five themed scare zones: "Screampunk," "CarnEvil," "Holiday Horror," "Slaughter Hollow," and "Demon District."

  • The park has five haunted houses and various Halloween-themed live shows.

I made the trip last Friday night in under two hours and checked out the park with Springfield Republican reporter Steph Barry.

  • We rode the Thunderbolt and Batman (twice) before venturing into a couple of haunted houses. 
  • The performers successfully scared Barry and other visitors, judging by the screams I heard throughout the night. 

The haunted houses had jump scares, but the creepy inhabitants don't touch you. Nor should you touch them. 

  • "Unless you have your rabies shot up to date, you're getting very expensive medical bills," an employee outside a circus-themed haunted house joked.

Plus: For a more family-friendly vibe, the park also hosts Kids Boo Fest by day. 

Worth noting: The park recommends the event for people ages 13 and up. 

  • Costumes that include masks or full face coverings, including hoods with zippers, aren't allowed. 

The bottom line: Even though Fright Fest isn't unique to Massachusetts, it can still fill the void left by not visiting Salem around Halloween

Some more spooky fun: If Western Mass is out of reach, there's always a good old-fashioned Halloween party. 

  • The Thirsty Scholar in Somerville is hosting Harry Potter-themed trivia nights with costume contests on Friday and Saturday starting at 4pm.
  • The annual Doggone Halloween Parade returns downtown, starting at noon Saturday.

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