Candy, costumes and fall fun add up to create one of our favorite holidays: Halloween! While this Halloween, just like last year, is bound to look a little different from usual, there are still plenty of ways to celebrate in Portland. From family-friendly, in-person events to virtual haunted houses and everything in between, we’ve got a list of the best 2021 celebration ideas right here. Have a great Halloween!
Portland In-Person Halloween Events
When: September 14-October 31, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
You may have seen local cartoonist Mike Bennet’s plywood characters all across the city. Well, he’s back at it again with a fun, family-friendly art installation you’ll love exploring! This “Crypto-Zoo” will feature a variety of cryptids that “may or may not exist” and is open to explore through October 31st. Visiting the museum is completely free, but a donation to Taking Ownership PDX—an organization working hard to enable Black homeowners and deflect the gentrification process in Portland—is appreciated.
Where: St. Helens
When: September 18-October 31
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 2021 with photo ops with The Big Pumpkin, self-guided walking tours, a vendor village, a costume contest, a haunted hotel and more. Click here for a list of attractions and to purchase your tickets!
Where: Clark County Fairgrounds
When: October 8-24, times vary
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 15 movies throughout the season with showings each weekend from October 8th through October 31st. While most of the films will be adult-only, they will be hosting three separate family nights on the 21st, 24th, and 28th! Click here to get your tickets.
Where: Oregon Convention Center
When: October 16, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
The Oddities & Curiosities Expo, which is touring the country this year, showcases hand selected vendors, dealers, artists and small businesses selling all things weird. You’ll find everything from taxidermy and preserved specimen to original artwork, Halloween-inspired pieces, antiques and more! They will be coming to Portland on October 16th, so be sure to get your tickets before they arrive.
Where: The Oregon Zoo
When: October 23, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Photo courtesy of The Oregon Zoo
The Oregon Zoo provides a fun and safe setting for little ones to explore during their annual Howloween event! Costumed kids can learn about healthy habitats for wildlife in a fun scavenger hunt throughout the zoo. This event is free with regular zoo admission but there are some changes this year to make it more COVID-19 friendly. Masks are required and instead of collecting candy and toys throughout the zoo, you can purchase an optional $3 treat bag after the scavenger hunt. Click here for more information and other safety measures.
When: October 23 & 24, times vary
Experience this holiday classic like never before at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. Settle in and enjoy watching The Nightmare Before Christmas on the big screen while Danny Elfman’s iconic film score is played by the Oregon Symphony live to picture. Masks are required inside the concert hall and proof of vaccination may be required upon entry.
Where: Milwauke Elks Lodge
When: October 30, 8 a.m.
This Halloween-themed racing event is back! Held in Milwauke this year, the Run Like Hell Marathon starts and ends at the Milwauke Elks Lodge, running along the paved Trolley Trail. After the race, don’t miss the live music, beer, food and more. Costumes are encouraged and they are also offering a virtual race option for those who would rather run in their own neighborhood. Click here for all the information.
Where: Northeast Vancouver Mall
When: October 30, 2-5 p.m.
Photo courtesy of Lisa Howell via Parks Foundation of Clark County
The Parks Foundation of Clark County is hosting Booville once again in Vancouver! This free family-friendly event welcomes children and families to participate in safe trick-or-treating, games, story time, face painting, pumpkin decorating, a costume parade and much more. Follow them on Facebook for updates on their COVID-19 regulations.
Other Halloween Fun
You may have visited Bella Organic Farm on Sauvie Island for all your pumpkin-picking, family-friendly fun in seasons past. But have you experienced Bella Organic after dark? Conquer their haunted maze for a more thrilling harvest experience. After the sun sets, terrifying creatures ascend upon the corn maze, including dark ghouls, goblins and zombies. This year, the corn maze is inspired by Halloween, the movie! So be sure to keep an eye out for Michael Meyers as you traverse the maze. The haunted maze is open every Friday and Saturday in October; hauntings begin at dark and the last ticket is sold at 10 p.m. Masks are required throughout the farm inside and outside, including in the maze. Click here for all the information and to purchase your tickets.
Or take a Halloween-themed train ride
Flower Farmer is a family-friendly farm nestled in the green Willamette Valley just east of the Willamette River in Canby. Throughout the fall, the farm offers a wide range of activities for adults and children, including a miniature railroad, the Phoenix & Holly, offering a tour through fields of fresh flowers and pumpkins in the fall. They also have another Halloween-themed train—which features a large Jack-o-lantern-shaped locomotive—called The Boo Train—which will run October 8th, 9th, 15th and 30th from dark until 9 p.m. this year.
Do a seasonal craft kit from DIY Bar
DIY Bar is a craft workshop and bar that provides all the tools, materials and instruction you’ll need to create interesting and beautiful home décor you’ll actually enjoy displaying throughout your home! While you can book a session and craft in-person at their studio, you can also purchase a Craft Kit and enjoy crafting from the comfort of home. Almost all of their kits can be customized to fit the Halloween season. Click here to start shopping.
Chris and Jeff Davis have always loved Halloween. So, it was no surprise to their loved ones that they decided to turn their front yard into the ultimate haunted graveyard each year. With the help of their family and friends, they spend months putting together an elaborate Halloween yard display that draws people from all over the state to the Portland area. You can experience this incredible sight throughout October starting at dusk every night. Depending on the day of the week, they may have different special effects happening. Click here to view their calendar to see what is going on the night you’ll be visiting!
Visit a local pumpkin patch
If you haven’t visited a local pumpkin patch yet this season, this is your sign to pack up the car and head to one of our favorites in the Portland area. Pick out a pumpkin, take a hayride, sip on some apple cider, and bask in all the fall fun the PDX area has to offer. Afterward, go home and spend the evening carving various faces and shapes into your pumpkin. Or, use this tutorial to turn it into a pumpkin volcano!
Go drive-through 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 3rd. Stop by any night for lights, music and special effects, and return for drive-by trick-or-treating on October 31st from 6-9 p.m. Follow them on Facebook for more information throughout the month.
Take a virtual haunted house tour
If visiting a haunted house in-person is just too scary for you, consider exploring one virtually this season. There are several, real-life haunted houses throughout the world that offer free viewing experiences online from the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California to the Paris Catacombs. Click here to start exploring.
How are you planning on spending your Halloween in Portland? Give us some more ideas in the comments below.