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Ways to Celebrate Halloween in Portland + Surrounding Areas This Year

  |  Portland

Like most holidays in 2020, Halloween is likely to look different this year than years past. But since we love this fun, spooky holiday and it falls on a Saturday this time around, we’re still going to celebrate to the fullest!

The CDC put together some guidance for celebrating Halloween safely this year, including ideas for low-risk, moderate-risk and high-risk activities (that should be avoided). Plus, the Halloween & Costume Association has created a helpful tool for evaluating the current COVID risk level of each county in the country, and a list of appropriate activities for each. Multnomah, Clackamas and Clark Counties are all at a moderate (or yellow) risk level, which means there are ways to celebrate the holiday creatively — and safely.

Check out a few of their ideas, plus some pandemic-proof Halloween events happening in the area. All that’s missing is your costume!


Go to a Haunted House

Several haunted houses have closed their doors this year due to COVID-19, but have no fear — a couple are pressing forward to haunt and horrify all month long. If you dare, make your way to The Fear PDX (COVID Info) or the Haunted Corn Maze at Bella Organic for a terrifying evening filled with creepy crawlers, dark ghouls, goblins and zombies lurking around every corner.


Drive Through the Oaks Park Haunted Drive-Thru

Oaks Park Haunted Drive-Thru

…Or if you’d rather the hauntings come to you, you can drive through the Oaks Park Haunted Drive-Thru. The amusement park is offering not one, not two, but five different haunted attractions that you can experience from the comfort and safety of your car. Simply drive up, roll down your window and pick up a sanitized bluetooth speaker that will project all the creepy sounds as you navigate a scene filled with live actors, spooky lighting and special effects. The Oaks Park Haunted Drive-Thru is open October 9–11, October 16–18, and October 22–November 1. Get your tickets online in advance here!


Go Drive-By Trick-or-Treating in Vancouver

It’s clear that the residents of Franklin Street in Vancouver get excited about holidays — after all, they have a Facebook page called Holidays on Franklin Street! This year, they’re hosting a drive-thru trick-or-treating event, plus nightly displays starting on October 3. Stop by any night for lights, music and special effects, and return for drive-by trick-or-treating on October 30 from 6–9 p.m. and a traditional trick-or-treating experience on October 31 with physical distancing in place. Follow them on Facebook for more information throughout the month!


Watch a Scary Drive-In Movie at the Cinema of Horrors

Ramp up your traditional scary movie experience with a visit to the Cinema of Horrors at the Clark County Fairgrounds. This unique drive-in movie experience lasts about two hours and features high-quality sound and lighting, in-car audio, monsters lurking outside your car window, and other terrifying twists. They are showing 12 movies throughout the season, with showings each weekend from October 9 through November 1. Check out the schedule and get your tickets in advance — if you dare.


Visit St. Helens for the Spirit of Halloweentown

Spirit of Halloweentown St. Helens, Oregon

Photo Courtesy of Spirit of Halloweentown

Did you know Disney Channel’s Halloweentown was filmed in the tiny town of St. Helens near the Columbia River in Northwest Oregon? The town fully embraces the connection to this ‘90s seasonal classic by hosting a month-long event called The Spirit of Halloweentown. The tradition continues in 2020, with photo ops with The Big Pumpkin, self-guided walking tours, a vendor village, a costume contest, a haunted hotel and more. Due to restrictions, they are limiting the number of guests each weekend, so be sure to get your tickets early.


Watch the SLAY Film Festival Online

The SLAY Film Festival is going virtual this year! The festival showcases short homemade horror films (8 minutes or less), from classic ghost stories and slasher films to dystopian cults and political nightmares. From October 15–31, these films will be livestreamed each evening. You can purchase tickets for either Volume 1 or Volume 2 — or both (and get $5 off with promo code “doublefeature”)!


Go to the Clackamas County Scare Fair

Nightmare Factory, Davis Cemetery, Fearlandia and Creatures of the Night have joined forces to create the terrifying Clackamas County Scare Fair, a drive-thru experience happening each Friday, Saturday and Sunday night starting on October 9 through Halloween. Admission for each car load (filled with however many people you can legally fit in your car) is $20 and a single person is just $11. Get your tickets here!


Pair Candy With Wine At Hip Chicks Do Wine

Hip Chicks Do Wine Portland, OR

Photos Courtesy of Hip Chicks Do Wine

Join Hip Chicks Do Wine for a unique pairing of Halloween candy with wine. Your ticket includes a flight of five candies paired with five wines, plus a sample of their Seasonal Witches Brew Sangria. Additional wine, sangria and small plates are available for purchase. The Halloween Candy & Wine Pairing is happening October 23-25 and October 30-31. Due to COVID, you are asked to purchase a ticket in advance and not arrive early for your appointment, as they need time in between seatings to set up and sanitize.


Go Trick-or-Treating (Safely)

Trick-or-treating is still a go this year, if you feel comfortable! If you are taking your kids trick-or-treating in the neighborhood or you are a homeowner handing out candy, be sure to read the recommended guidelines here to make it a safe experience. You can even take the Safe House Pledge and print it to be displayed on your window or door, telling your neighbors your house is safe for trick-or-treaters!

If you’d rather avoid close contact, you could create a drive-thru trick-or-treating street with your neighbors. Or you could even arrange a one-way outdoor trick-or-treating route with tables set up on the street, with no-contact candy pickup. Some are even creating candy chutes for an extra socially distanced transfer!


Arrange a Face Mask Decorating Party

Face masks and Halloween go hand in hand! Get a bunch of plain face masks (or some fall-themed fabric) and arrange a mask decorating party with your family to make some creative masks you can wear all fall and winter. Get some fabric pens, paint, and other supplies to create your one-of-a-kind masks.


Host a Neighborhood Costume Parade (while social distancing)

Portland, OR Halloween 2020

This is a great way to get the neighborhood together while still maintaining a safe distance. Strut your stuff and show off this year’s costume by creating an outdoor costume parade with your neighbors! This can be for kids, pets or even adults, depending on who wants to participate. Create a panel of judges and decide who gets most creative, most creepy, best couple’s costume, etc.


Create a Fairytale (or Haunted!) Forest

Transform a neighborhood wooded area or park into a fairytale forest by lighting it up with glow sticks, flashlights and other mesmerizing materials. You can line the trail with Halloween props, candy and other festive decorations — or some creepy unexpected surprises! Add signage with social distancing guidelines and create a one-way path.


Happy Halloween!

The only thing scarier than the above-mentioned activities is not celebrating at all! How are you spending the holiday this year? Let us know in the comments below!

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About the Author

Melissa Peterson, Director of Agent Services and Technology

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