A month full of creative activities for the spooky season, including new self-guided witch trials walk
SALEM, MA – This October, the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) offers an action-packed month of Eerie Events programming to celebrate the season through storytelling, fashion, film and more. On the heels of two highly successful witch trial exhibitions in 2020 and 2021, this fall PEM will offer a pop-up experience featuring a selection of authentic witch trial documents focused on the Towne sisters. Visitors can listen to eerie stories after dark at the museum’s historic houses and make s’mores around a campfire. Explore the darker side of Salem’s history with PEM’s new audio tour – the Salem Witch Trials Walk. This self-guided tour – which offers an exclusive look and authentic 17th-century objects with museum curators and experts – starts at PEM, takes visitors to three galleries inside the museum and to six key sites in downtown Salem. Other spooky offerings include dark and aesthetically pleasing films, an after-hours dance party, PEM’s Ropes Mansion decorated like it was in the Hocus Pocus film and the museum’s first ever October pop-up shop, featuring gifts, book signings and a costume trunk show.
The Salem Witch Trials: The Towne Sisters In this pop-up experience, view rare original documents that illustrate how the Towne sisters, Rebecca Nurse, Mary Esty and Sarah Cloyce, experienced the trials.
October 1–31 Self-guided Witch Walk In this 90-minute audio tour, experience the only authentic witch trial documents and objects in Salem and visit six key sites in the downtown. Tour free with museum admission.
Pop-Up Halloween Shop Open October 1–31 from 11 am–6 pm Shop costume accessories and unique seasonal specialty goodies. Located at 181 Essex Street in downtown Salem.
10/1–10/2 & 10/27–10/31 Hocus Pocus at Ropes Mansion 318 Essex Street Take a selfie outside of Allison’s house from the Disney classic.
10/6, 7–8 pm Illustration Workshop Learn how to draw Halloween-themed character illustrations with artist Bill Crisafi in this virtual Create Night.
10/7, 1–3 pm Author Book Signing Meet Laurie Lico Albanese, author of Hester: A Novel.
6–8 pm | R The Lighthouse Enjoy this 2019 film set on a remote New England island.
10/8, 3 pm Curator Talk Series: Dark Glamour Dresses dyed with arsenic. Fresh blood that provides a healthy glow. Learn about the darker side of fashion with PEM Curator Petra Slinkard.
10/9, 1–5 pm Author Book Signing Meet J.W. Ocker, author of The United States of Cryptids.
10/14, 7–11 pm After-Hours Dance Party and Fashion Installation Dance all night with DJ Ana Matronic and see a mystical fashion installation designed by Hogan McLaughlin.
10/14 & 10/15, 11 am–5 pm Costume Trunk Show Shop unique headpieces, crowns and masquerade masks by a designer who dressed Moira on Schitt's Creek.
10/17, 3 pm Curator Talk Series: Materializing Ancestral Shadows PEM Curator Paula Richter dives into fashion designer Alexander McQueen’s ancestor who was executed for witchcraft in Salem.
10/21, 3 pm Curator Talk Series: Frances F. Denny’s Major Arcana PEM Associate Curator Lydia Gordon explores contemporary photographer Frances F. Denny’s portrait series Major Arcana: Portraits of Witches in America.
10/21, 4:30 pm The Witch: A Pre-Film Conversation Emerson “Tad” Baker and PEM’s head librarian explore the movie’s hauntingly accurate portrayal of early New England.
10/21, 6–7:30 pm | R The Witch A family in 1630s New England is torn apart by the forces of witchcraft, black magic and possession.
10/22, 11 am Curator Talk Series: Bats! Beyond Halloween Decorations PEM Curator Jane Winchell broadens our imagination about these nocturnal and secretive creatures.
10/22 & 10/23, 2–5 pm | PG ParaNorman Screening and Q&A Enjoy this 10th anniversary matinee of this animated feature from LAIKA Studios.
10/23, 1–5 pm Author Book Signing Meet Dan Gagnon, author of A Salem Witch: The Trial, Execution, and Exoneration of Rebecca Nurse.
10/24, 3 pm Curator Talk Series: Remember Me, Objects of Mourning How do we grieve and remember loved ones who have passed? PEM Assistant Curator Lan Morgan delves into American mourning objects and mementos.
10/27 & 10/28 Haunted Histories Listen to eerie stories after dark on the grounds of PEM’s historic houses. Family-Friendly Hour, 5–6 pm Goosebump-Inducing, 7–10 pm
10/28, 3 pm Curator Talk Series: Spine Chilling Posters of Classic Horror Films PEM Curator Dan Finamore explores some of the greatest examples of classic horror and sci-fi movie art ever made.
SOCIAL MEDIA: Share your impressions with us on social media using #PEMEerieEvents
ABOUT THE PEABODY ESSEX MUSEUM Over the last 20 years, the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) has distinguished itself as one of the fastest-growing art museums in North America. Founded in 1799, it is also the country’s oldest continuously operating museum. At its heart is a mission to enrich and transform people's lives by broadening their perspectives, attitudes and knowledge of themselves and the wider world. PEM celebrates outstanding artistic and cultural creativity through exhibitions, programming and special events that emphasize cross-cultural connections, integrate past and present and underscore the vital importance of creative expression. The museum's collection is among the finest of its kind boasting superlative works from around the globe and across time -- including American art and architecture, Asian export art, photography, maritime art and history, Native American, Oceanic, Asian, and African art, as well as one of the nation’s most important museum-based collections of rare books and manuscripts. PEM's campus offers a varied and unique visitor experience with hands-on creativity zones, interactive opportunities and performance spaces. Twenty-two noted historic structures grace PEM’s campus, including Yin Yu Tang, a 200-year-old Chinese house that is the only example of Chinese domestic architecture on display in the United States. HOURS: Open Thursday–Monday, 10 am–5 pm, and Friday 10 am–7 pm. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. ADMISSION: Adults $20; seniors $18; students $12. Members, youth 16 and under and residents of Salem enjoy free general admission. INFO: Call 866-745-1876 or visit pem.org.