Let's face it, as much as we love the H, getting into the Halloween spirit may require getting up and out of the bubble—plus, sometimes we just need a brain break that goes beyond Tootie Frooties. Here are some quirky and classic destinations in the area that guarantee an autumnal experience you won't soon forget.
1. Salem (Travel time: 45 min.)
Regardless of previous witch hunting activities, 21st century Salem has a certain charm. When planning your visit, keep an eye out for these attractions, which will appeal to all of your friends' diverse interests.
Lori Bruno, modern-day Salem witch
See your Harry Potter-inspired dreams come true by paying a visit to Lori Bruno, a bona fide witch. Leave it to a veteran psychic and Tarot reader who has been featured on CNN, FOX, SyFy, and TLC to discover all the ways that Harvard has made you nutty.
Vampire & Ghost Hunt Tour
Twilight fans can finally feel unashamed in the company of professional ghost hunter and supernatural expert Mollie Stewart on her nightly interactive ghost hunt tour to documented and researched haunted sites.
Peabody Essex Museum
While you're in Salem, swing by the Peabody Essex Museum and check out the "Man Ray | Lee Miller: Partners in Surrealism" exhibit to see some seriously psychoactive art.
Gulu Gulu Café
Grab a crêpe and glass of wine at Gulu Gulu, a European-style café that is also a gallery featuring local artists.
Angelica of the Angels
Don't forget about your friends who couldn't make it! Stop by Angelica of the Angels, a gift shop that also offers psychic readings, trance channeling, and nightly séances, before heading home.
2. Connors Farm Corn Maze (Travel time: 40 min.)
Have some good old family-style fun with your friends at this local farm. Get lost in the 7-acre corn maze, pick apples and pumpkins, experience the jumping pillow, and enjoy a meal at Bob’s BBQ Pit.
3. Walden Pond (Travel time: 30 min.)
For an autumn outing to calm your mind and soothe your soul, head out to Thoreau's hallowed hangout spot. Swim, picnic, hike, use canoes and rowboats, fish, cross-country ski, and snowshoe, or just bask in the intellectual glory for which the pond is known. The changing leaves will make for breathtaking scenery and a welcome escape from the Harvard bubble.
4. Belkin Family Look-Out Farm (Travel time: 30 min.)
Described as an "orchard/amusement park hybrid," Belkin offers hayrides, a pumpkin patch, maze, hay pile, train, bee farm, playground, and even live entertainment on weekends. Get there with time to spare because it tends to get busy on weekends, and definitely try their homemade artisanal gelato!
5. Nightmare New England (Travel time: 60 min.)
If you're looking to get hardcore this Halloween, Nightmare New England is the place to go. With haunted attractions like The Colony, The Catacombs, Torment, Willow's Asylum, House of Eternal Darkness, and Freak Show in 3D, the hour-long journey to get there is well worth it. Apparently they have chainsaws, clowns, and an attraction with electric shocks, but don't worry—alcoholic beverages are available for the weak of heart.