Business, Features

Fun Boston Halloween activities, businesses to support this fall

Sick of staying indoors? Or perhaps too tired to leave the house? Either way, Boston and its neighborhoods have events fitting for residents in either of these categories this season.


People looking to take a break from city life while staying in the Greater Boston area may want to visit Allandale Farm in Chestnut Hill. COURTESY OF ALLANDALE FARM

Allandale Farm

For those ready to leave their homes behind to breathe in the fresh, crisp fall air — through a mask, of course — get ready to check out Allandale Farm in Chestnut Hill.

While Allandale usually hosts a variety of fall events such as hayrides, as well as a “Summer Send Off” with live music, face painting and a pie eating contest, visitors will have to look forward to next year because of the pandemic.

Despite these cancellations, Christina Crescimanno, media and marketing coordinator at Allandale, wrote in an email that there are still a variety of goods present this year in the farm’s Garden Center.

“We are currently stocked with everything you need to make Fall feel cozy and festive,” Cresciammno wrote. “In the Garden Center, we have bundles of firewood, a variety of pumpkins, gourds and squashes, as well as straw-bales, corn-stalks, fresh cut flower bunches … and our own sustainable mums, grown right here on the farm.”

When visiting the Farmstand, one can enjoy fall flavors of sweet potatoes, tomatoes and heirloom apples. For more apple delicacies, Red Apple Farm supplies Allandale with cider donuts, apple cider, hot toddy mixers and more.

Beacon Hill neighborhood
If you prefer to stick closer to home, get ready to check out the Beacon Hill neighborhood on foot.

During October, the beautiful cobbled streets and brownstones of Beacon Hill transform into a Halloween-themed wonderland. In years past, passersby could admire the spires of a spooky-styled tent decorating the outside of a home or check themselves out in funhouse-style mirrors.

Sofia Rivera covered last year’s festivities in an article for Boston Magazine. She said the neighborhood is a favorite spot for city locals.

“It’s an informal tradition … but I’ve seen it happen every year,” Rivera said in an interview. “It’s pretty packed during that time, tons of kids, but also parents having their own parties inside their really nice Beacon Hill homes.”

Rivera advised that people check out Pinckney Street and Acorn Street, which traditionally go all out for the holiday. The atmosphere is reminiscent of old Disney Channel movies, she said.

“I think the majority are probably spectating,” Rivera said. “I think that the kids actually trick-or-treating are probably in the minority.”

Gov. Charlie Baker has not issued mandates for trick-or-treating, but U.S. Centers for Disease Control guidelines discourage it and emphasize mask-wearing and social distancing. However, this does not mean those interested cannot visit the neighborhood to feel the Halloween spirit.


Boston By Foot’s virtual tours

If you are staying in for the night, you can register for Boston By Foot’s three spooky-themed virtual events, starting the Thursday before Halloween. Boston By Foot is a nonprofit organization founded in 1976 that offers tours across the city centering on various topics.

BU alum Samantha Nelson, executive director of Boston By Foot, said a lot of its events are for people from out of town, but also for Bostonians who want to engage more with the city’s culture and history.

During the fall season, the nonprofit typically runs a “Beacon Hill with a Boo” tour of the Beacon Hill neighborhood, with a focus on its “darker side.” However, because of the pandemic, Boston By Foot moved this year’s tours online. Guides on the ground lead viewers through the tour via phone.

Two of the events will be lecture-style, including a talk on Boston’s burying grounds and a virtual preview of the original Dark Side of Boston Tour complete with tales of “misery, misfortune, malevolence, and murder,” according to its website. A third event will be based off its popular April Fools’ tour, “True Lies and False Facts,” focusing on ghastly tales that originated in Boston.

In going completely digital, Nelson said Boston By Foot has taken the opportunity to expand its reach to a wider crowd.

“We’re seeing this as a great opportunity to raise awareness about our organization and what we do to perhaps a new audience,” Nelson said, “or even just existing audiences that are looking for something different.”

The pandemic and resulting rise of virtual programming has also opened the door for those who are unable to attend Boston By Foot’s walking tours.

“We’ve been thinking about what kind of virtual opportunities could we take advantage of, and how can we help people that may not actually physically be able to walk with us still participate in the programs,” Nelson said. “I do think virtual programming is here to stay, and that we will continue to offer some level of virtual programming well into the future.”

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