A Season with the Witch: The Magic and Mayhem of Halloween in Salem, Massachusetts

Countryman. Oct. 2016. 240p. photos. ISBN 9781581573398. pap. $18.95; ebk. ISBN 9781581575545. TRAV
Travel writer Ocker (Poe-land) takes readers along with him and his family on an enjoyable trip to Salem, MA, during the month of October. The town is one of the largest Halloween-themed tourist spots, and the author examines how the holiday connects with its solemn past. Both the witch trials of 1692–93 and the life of 19th-century author Nathaniel Hawthorne, who was born in Salem, are woven through the narrative, giving it a solid historical starting point from which to explore the area's modern take on witches and Halloween. The result is an entertaining and historical guide to the varied sites of Salem, with Ocker interviewing everyone from the mayor to local archivists to men in scary costumes, covering burial sites of witch trial judges, and perhaps the most awesome Halloween street party ever described in print, with Ocker's good humor and touch of sarcasm marking his readable style.
VERDICT A fun read for anyone who enjoys Bill Bryson-style travel writing, this entry will make readers want to visit Salem.
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