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Halloween Costumes
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Halloween in Boston 2023: How to celebrate

The spooky season has arrived. Here’s how to get your thrills and chills in Boston this October.

Written by
Josh Middleton
Tanya Edwards
JQ Louise

Celebrating Halloween in Boston is a no-brainer. As one of the oldest cities in the country, this town is rife with any kind of spook imaginable—whether it’s one of our creepy old graveyards, a verifiably haunted hotel or sites of bloody massacres that would put your favorite true-crime podcast to shame. And if all that’s not enough, we’re only a quick broom ride from Salem, which boasts a whole other kind of frightening history—and real-life witches everywhere you turn! But Halloween in Boston doesn’t have to be all that spine-tingling. Keep reading for various fun ideas, including Barbie-themed dance parties in former (probably haunted) prisons, floating costume soirees and suggestions on where to get your costumes and pumpkins for the season.

RECOMMENDED: The best things to do in Boston

Halloween in Boston

Salem is at its busiest during the month of October, when history and horror buffs head to the site of the Witch Trials. Check the city’s Haunted Happenings website for the full schedule. You can tour the Witch House or take a Ghost Tour any time of year, but there’s something extra spooky about being there in October. You won’t want to miss the Haunted Happenings Market the first, third, fourth and fifth weekends in October.

The (probably haunted) Liberty Hotel is hosting a Barbie Extravaganza Halloween Party on Saturday, October 28, from 9pm through 1:30am. Always an epic annual bash, the party will transform the multi-level former prison into a Barbie Dreamhouse, with specialty-themed cocktails and music from two DJs. You knew you’d see a lot of Barbies this year, but did you know you could party with all of them in one giant, pink-filled space?

  • Things to do

Halloween’s first order of business is to find yourself the perfect pumpkin to carve up and place on your stoop. Skip the puny grocery store gourds and opt for one from an awesome family-run farm near the city where you can pick your own from a patch surrounded by idyllic farmland and maybe even catch a hayride. Your options are plentiful—from the dreamy Lookout Farm in South Natick to the Boston Hill Farm in North Andover, where you can make a whole day of your excursion with a petting zoo, live music (on weekends) and a fresh farm stand doling out delectable autumnal treats. Apple cider donuts, anyone?

  • Shopping
  • Thrift stores
  • Kendall Sq
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The next order of business? Where to find a costume in Boston! We’ve always been a fan of the Garment District during Halloween, which has everything you can think of for the perfect season’s getup—witches, ghouls, monsters, all the “sexy versions” of things and masks out the wazoo.L ooking for budget-friendly options? Head to the thrift section for some awesome retro finds, or simply Google other thrift stores near you. There’s nothing more satisfying than pulling together a costume from scratch from a discount bin!

  • Things to do
  • Walks and tours
  • Waterfront
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Explore the spookiest haunts in Boston on this 90-minute tour that focuses on tales of the Boston Strangler, the murders and executions on the Boston Common, and paranormal activity at the Omni Parker House. Most of the tour is aboard the trolley, but you’ll also walk through two of the oldest burial grounds in the city, and visit the site of a notorious grave-robbing scandal. The tour is available year-round, but Halloween is the best time to go (book tickets early), especially when you and your fellow guests get into the spirit in costume.

Brookline’s wonderful Coolidge Corner Theater presents its 22nd annual Halloween Horror Marathon over Halloween weekend, where you can binge 12 total hours of classic horror flicks, including Rosemary’s Baby, Suspiria and found footage spooker The Blair Witch Project. Suppose a marathon is too much of a commitment. In that case, you can stop by Coolidge throughout October for any number of flicks fit for the spooky season, including a live-scored presentation of The Night of the Living Dead, camp classic Death Becomes Her and seriously scary old-school zombie thriller Re-Animator.


Abingdon's terrifying haunted attraction returns with an all-new set of creepy rooms packed with rabid clowns, crazed nurses and chainsaw-wielding ghouls. You can make it a date with the venue’s “Bite and Fright” special, which includes dinner at the Abington Ale House—you can even upgrade and have scary characters visit you and take photos while you’re feasting. For scares later this fall, Barrett’s Haunted Mansion is included in the upcoming Legendary Haunt Tour of regional haunted attractions, along with Haunted Overload and Fright Kingdom. That’s taking place on November 10 and 11.

  • Attractions
  • Religious buildings and sites
  • North End
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At the historic Old North Church, visitors can explore the main floor and bell chamber, but there’s something far creepier underfoot. The crypt below the historic church—recently reopened after a nine-month restoration project—offers frightening fun with vaults containing an estimated 1,100 bodies entombed between 1732 and 1860. On this dark and claustrophobic tour, you’ll learn about Anglican and Puritanical burial practices in colonial Boston.

  • Hotels
  • Downtown
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One of Boston's oldest and most historic hotels, the Omni Parker House, is believed to be haunted. Originally built in 1855 and rebuilt in 1927, the hotel is a stop on many ghost tours, but you can always grab a room to spend a whole night there. There have been reported sightings of a bearded gentleman dressed in colonial garb on the 9th and 10th floors, the elevators have been known to operate independently, and hotel staff have responded to complaints of eerie noises coming from otherwise unoccupied rooms.

Enter the creepy forest in Westford and get ready to scream bloody hell. The Witch’s Woods Haunted Hayride and Halloween Screampark offer six different haunted experiences—the hayride itself, Vampire Passage, Castle Morbid, the 3-D Keeper’s Crypt, Jack-o-lantern Jamboree and Horrorwood Chamber of Chills—all designed to scare you shitless. Buy tickets online in advance and leave the dressing up to the ghouls in the park—costumes are strictly prohibited.


Explore the very best of haunted Beantown with this local tour group dedicated to revealing why this city is spooky as hell. The main tour stops by Boston’s most historical and haunted hotspots, dishing out gruesome tales of murder, mayhem and paranormal curiosity. Need a little liquid courage? Boston Ghosts’ Boos and Booze pub crawls include stops at local haunted watering holes.


The Beacon Street Quartet will be at Temple Ohabei Shalom in Brookline on October 25 and 26 to perform an hour’s worth of beloved Halloween season ditties for the masses. The setlist for Candlelight: A Haunted Evening of Halloween Classics includes pop hits such as Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and Ray Parker Jr.’s “Ghostbusters (Theme)” to goosebump-inducing movie scores from Psycho, The Exorcist and Halloween. To make this even more hauntingly beautiful, the sanctuary will be lit with the glow of thousands of candles.

  • Nightlife
  • West End

Big Night Live invites guests to spend Halloween weekend enjoying performances from top artists like Nora En Pure, Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike. The party continues on Halloween night, when DJ Claptone performs alongside Lee Foss and Tita Lau during Claptone presents Masquerade. Big Night Live offers luxury pod seating, multiple bars, LED walls and a state-of-the-art supersonic Funktion One sound system, giving guests the best access to the best artists.

10/27 Nora En Pure

10/29 Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike

10/31 Claptone presents The Masquerade with Lee Foss and Tita Lau


The ultra-charming Inn at Hastings Park in Lexington taps into its ghostly side with its annual high tea with a Dia de los Muertos twist. The afternoon affair includes themed tea towers overflowing with delicious sweet and savory bites and planned activities such as costume contests and cookie-decorating workshops. There are three seatings on October 28, at 10am, noon and 2pm.

Sail into the harbor over Halloween weekend with 500-plus fellow ghouls during the Witches & Zombie Halloween Party Cruise. Guests can peruse multiple party decks (two of which are fully covered) while enjoying food and drink, and dancing to thumping DJ sets. Be sure to bring bills; this is a cash-only cruise, and the ATMS are only known to “sometimes work well.” Come in your best garb, too. Prizes will be doled out for the best zombie, witch and “horror star” costumes.

Go trick-or-treating on historic Beacon Hill
Photograph: Shutterstock

17. Go trick-or-treating on historic Beacon Hill

Whether you are a kid or a kid at heart, the most Boston of all Boston things to do on Halloween is to go trick-or-treating on Beacon Hill. The elaborate decor from Boston's toniest residents really make strolling their historic streets a treat for everyone. Enjoy the mayhem and the closed streets to enjoy plenty of elaborately decorated brownstones and maybe pick up some candy.

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