There are few cities that undergo the kind of annual transformation that Salem does in the month of October.
The Witch City turns into a haunted destination for Halloween-lovers from around the world. The annual, month-long Haunted Happenings celebration unofficially kicks off Thursday night with the Haunted Happenings Grand Parade, which will force the closure of all roads along the parade route from about 6:15 to 8 p.m.
The entire downtown area closes to vehicle traffic on Halloween night, and this weekend's Haunted Biz Baz Street Fair will take over a portion of Essex Street. But regardless of road closures, Salem is not recognized as a fun place to drive in October, or the other 11 months of the year for that matter. With an estimated 250,000 additional people expected to visit over the course of the month, and 40,000 on Halloween night, anyone planning on joining the festivities is encouraged to take advantage of alternative forms of transportation.
Take the commuter rail
The Newburyport/Rockport MBTA line travels daily between North Station and the towns of Newburyport and Rockport, stopping in Salem at the top of Washington Street, steps from the heart of historic downtown and all of the Halloween action.
Ride the bus
MBTA Bus #450 from South Station and Bus #459 from Logan Terminal C are the quickest routes from Boston, but Salem has a number of other options between downtown and neighboring communities.
Hop on a ferry
The Salem Ferry makes four round-trips on weekdays and Saturdays between it's Blaney Street landing in Salem and Boston's Long Wharf (with an extra voyage on Halloween night) and three round-trips on Sundays.The city-owned Nathaniel Bowditch ferry holds 149 passengers and can make a one-way trip in about an hour. This year, there will also be a direct ferry between Salem and Hingham for the last two weekends in October and on Halloween.
Visiting from out-of-state?
No problem. KT's Transportation, based in Salem, shuttles folks to and from Boston's Logan airport.
Those who must drive in are encouraged to take advantage of the city's parking garages and public lots.
Ryan Mooney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @mooney_ryan.