There are few things as American as Halloween trick or treating, except maybe a witch hunt.
The Salem Witch Trials which happened 330 years ago are older than the States and have a special place in the common culture.
The spooky goings on in the colony town have inspired everything from gothic horror, films to Sabrina the Teenage witch. October 31 marks a high point for local tourism who visit for Halloween, but the idea of an influx of tourists to the town during a surge in coronavirus cases has local officials spooked.
"This is not the year to come to Salem," mayor Kim Driscoll told assembled press on Friday.
"Our message to those planning a trip to Salem this October at this point is to postpone your visit."
The town is putting additional restrictions in place and measures to stop non-residents entering the town. This includes parking bans on out of town traffic and removing stops in midtown from commuter trains. On Essex Street, the main road, barricades have been erected to keep diabolical hordes out.
300 years later, Salem's concerns over private gatherings are not over witches covens – but Halloween house parties. Massachusetts set its indoor limits on gathering sizes to 25 at the beginning of the month.
In August, the town scrapped a month-long programme of events called "Haunted Happenings".
The mayor's office said it is focused on limiting house parties not just in public areas but also shared housing, reports the Washington Post. There is a large student population, at Salem State University which have been warned not to gather.
Halloween restrictions will be in place until the witching hour on November 1.
"We want our residents, visitors and workers to be safe, and our visitors to have the best possible experience when they come to Salem, and that's just not possible this year."
It's not just Salem which is worried about Halloween Gatherings. Accommodation hosting company Airbnb has announced a ban on one-night reservations over the Halloween weekend.
"The great majority of guests are respectful of our hosts' homes and neighbours, and we understand that this initiative will disrupt many one-night reservations that might not have led to parties," the company said in a statement.
Airbnb said the decision was "designed to help protect our hosts and the communities" during the current pandemic.
The announcement comes on the anniversary of the Orinda Airbnb shooting, on Halloween 2019. The mass shooting at rental house killed 5 last year and has been the focus of a year-long review of problematic group bookings and listings, which has shaken up the lettings website.