Jack-o-lantern display at night, located in Bristol, NH

Catch the Spirit: Halloween Activities in Bristol, NH

October 20, 2023 8:20 pm

Salem, Massachusetts isn’t the only New England town that knows how to throw a Halloween party. Each year, Bristol, NH, channels its festive spirit to create a memorable Halloween season for all ages.

What should you expect when visiting Bristol during this spooky season? Here are a few things to do while here:

Scarecrow with a pumpkin head sitting in a lawn chair in Bristol, NH Central Square

Scarecrows Take Over Central Square

Some are spooky. Some are folksy. Some are just plain silly. Each year, visitors to Bristol’s Central Square will find a gathering of scarecrows, decorated by local residents for the Halloween season. Drive outside of Central Square and you may catch a few scarecrows in front of local businesses or homes, too.

The tradition of putting out four-to-six-feet-tall scarecrows in October includes a scarecrow decorating contest for prizes and bragging rights. No trip to Bristol in the fall is complete without a tour of the scarecrows in Central Square!

Get Some History in a Cemetery

While many people associate Halloween with dark walks through a spooky cemetery, there’s plenty of history in the town’s six cemeteries. For example, the town’s founders are buried in a number of these cemeteries, including Samuel Worthen (Worthen Cemetery), Colonel Peter Sleeper (Worthen Cemetery), and Samuel Heath (Heath Cemetery). These small cemeteries that date back to the early 1800s are the final resting place of a number of veterans of the Revolutionary War, War of 1812 and the Civil War, including New Hampshire’s Civil War Governor, Nathaniel Berry, who is buried in Homeland Cemetery, located off of Route 4.

If you would like to visit one of these historic cemeteries, a listing can be found on the Cemetery Trustees’ webpage.

Trick or Treat Is a Great Family Night Out

Girl dresses as a princess trick-or-treating in downtown Bristol NH

Here in Bristol, the whole town gets into Halloween, including the town offices. On October 31, folks are invited to head to Central Square for a family-friendly evening of Halloween festivities. It kicks off at 4:45 p.m. with an all-ages Halloween parade which leads directly into trick-or-treating at 5 p.m. Because Bristol is a small town with many rural parts, people have the option to trick-or-treat in Central Square. Those who want to hand out candy just need to bring some goodies and part in one of the spots on the square.

While you’re in Central Square, make sure to grab some goodies and hot chocolate from the Lion’s Club or visit the Jack-o-Lantern display by Hazel’s Light Foundation. Nearby, the Minot-Sleeper Library will hand out candy to kids in costume. Older kids can head down to the Masonic Lodge at 61 Pleasant Street for a haunted house, the Fire Department will hand out glow sticks and the Tapley-Thompson Community Center on North Main Street will have a haunted yard and a visit from the Witches of Bristol at 6:14 p.m.

For more information about Halloween activities in Bristol, NH, visit the Town of Bristol website.