Portland: One of this Year’s Hottest Halloween Destinations

Continuing with our countdown of the best Halloween destinations:

If you’re searching for one of the most mystical and magical cities to journey to this fall, look no further than Portland, Oregon: a real-life Halloweentown. Whether your interests center around scary stories and haunted hikes or over-the-top and frighteningly festive parties, you will not be disappointed by all the spellbinding celebrations Oregon has to offer.

Here are our choices for the most bewitching bashes in this spine-chilling city:

The Spirit of Halloweentown

The Spirit of Halloweentown/Facebook
The Spirit of Halloweentown/Facebook

Personally, after watching the delightful 1998 film Halloweentown, I thought such an enchanting place could only exist in a Disney movie. Thankfully, I was wrong. Just north of Portland in the city of St. Helens, a dream becomes reality with The Spirit of Halloweentown. Throughout the entire month of October, the whole town gets into the Halloween spirit by adorning their most intricate attire while participating in costume contests, pumpkin carvings, and tarot card readings. Dozens of scarecrows and other decorations dazzle the city’s visitors as they wait in eager anticipation for the lighting of the Great Pumpkin. Halloween lovers of all ages will be thrilled by this event:

“The town sets up an entire replication of the set used in the film, complete with photo-ops, tours, and costume contests that your inner child can be a part of every weekend in October.” (Source: Moviepilot.com)

Even Kimberly J. Brown, the actress who plays Marnie in the movie Halloweentown, is scheduled to make an appearance. With its unique shops, unforgettable activities, and quaint autumnal atmosphere, The Spirit of Halloweentown is truly one of the most spectacular and thrilling events of the season.

The Portland Corn Maize

What’s Halloween without a few twists and turns? Adults and children alike will revel in The Portland Corn Maize, a two-mile challenge with complicated curves enclosed in a colossal corn wall. The cornfield is designed with a different pattern every year, so a map is recommended even for the most skilled maze-goers. Once they find their way out, visitors can pick the perfect pumpkin, say hello to some farm friends at the animal barn, or embark on a Halloween hayride. Climb aboard the giant hay pyramid before checking out the farmers market for some fresh-grown goodies to take home. Without a doubt, The Portland Corn Maize is one of the most a-maize-ing activities in the northwest. It isn’t recommended to enter the maze alone, however—you’ll probably want some company in case you get lost!

Fright Town

Photo: Faith Cathcart/The Oregonian
Photo Credit: Faith Cathcart/The Oregonian

Fright Town, Oregon’s largest and most torturous haunted attraction, is perfect for those who crave the spine-tingling sensation of a true scare. This haunt is unlike any other—with three different haunted houses to choose from, there is undoubtedly something creepy enough to get under anyone’s skin. All of the houses are equally eerie, and guests can choose one, or try of all three—if they dare. It is up to you to decide your fate—will it be the mysterious H.P. Lovecraft’s The Madness, with unspeakable nightmarish presences lurking in every corner? What about the bone-chilling Baron von Goolo’s Museum of Horrors, the longest running haunted attraction in all of Portland? If you’re brave enough, enter the newest and most controversial realm of terror: The Witch House, where you must investigate—and survive—the strange and sinister occurrences of the house’s evil coven. No matter which scare you think is up your alley, Fright Town leaves quite an impression on its visitors:

“Fun and scary rolled up into one monster of a Halloween burrito…but bring your kneepads for when you hit the deck screaming.” (Source: Portlandmercury.com)

West Coast Giant Pumpkin Regatta

It goes without saying that when Halloween is looming around the corner, one of the first images that comes to mind is a pumpkin. So what better way to honor the holiday’s iconic symbol than to host the West Coast Giant Pumpkin Regatta, a festival where anything and everything is pumpkin. Ordinary boat races are a distant memory as you travel across the lake in a 1,000-pound pumpkin boat. There’s also live music, face painting, pumpkin carving, pumpkin golf, and a pie-eating contest—a pumpkin pie-eating contest, of course. Those looking to test out their treasure hunting skills should join the medallion hunt in hopes of winning a fabulous pumpkin-y prize! Guests should start their pumpkin carving and paddling practice now so they’re well prepared for this lively occasion. Just know what you’re in for—after the pumpkin pie-eating contest, you may find that these holiday gourds are the most frightening aspect of Halloween!

Other Honorable Haunts:

Portland, Oregon is open to a plethora of other spooky attractions as well. If you’re hungry, treat yourself with The Dinner Detective® Murder Mystery Show, where guests enjoy a four-course dinner while attempting to solve an intriguing murder mystery. Be careful, because anyone could be the killer at this fun and fearful event! Fans of the paranormal will love the hands-on involvement of the Beyond Bizarre Ghost Tour, where they are given real ghost hunting equipment. The 7 PM tour is family-friendly, but at 10 PM adults only are permitted as the real scares begin. Speaking of scares, those willing to travel just outside Oregon to Ridgefield, WA for the Four Horsemen Haunted Attractions will experience a 3D haunted house and a laser-tag adventure! Anyone with a fear of evil dolls should steer clear of the extra creepy Doll Asylum. Admission may be free, but a price is paid after viewing over 700 of these disturbing figurines.

Those looking to enjoy this time of year without scaring themselves silly should look into events such as Howloween at the Zoo, where the animals and zoo patrons alike get into the Halloween spirit. The Halloween Fantasy Trail is perfect for any age as families stroll through tunnels, a maze, a suspension bridge, and a spooky castle. The little ones will get a kick out of trick-or-treating and the arts and crafts at A-Not-So-Scary-Halloween at the Portland Children’s Museum.

Of course, Halloween wouldn’t be complete without some gore-old-fashioned parties, and Portland boasts quite an assortment. The Killer Pumpkin Festival features a variety of adult beverages while guests can partake in pumpkin bowling. Those looking to quench their thirst while learning of the town’s paranormal history should look into the Haunted Pub Tour, where you take a break in between ghost stories for an ice-cold beer. Music fans and all-around party goers 21 and up will enjoy the ’80s Video Dance Attack Halloween Party.

Howloween at the Zoo, Photo: Michael Durham
Howloween at the Zoo, (Photo: Michael Durham).

For those of you Portland natives out there looking for a full list of all the October events, visit events12.com and travelportland.com.

Needless to say, Oregon has many options to choose from when celebrating Halloween. Does Portland sound like a city you’d like to visit during the spooky season? Leave your thoughts and questions in the comments section, and be sure to subscribe to see which city is the next on our tour!

Did you miss last week’s Halloween destination? Click here to explore the best Halloween events in Atlanta, GA.

For more cities on our countdown, click below!

New Orleans: How America’s Most Haunted City Celebrates Halloween

L.A. is the place to be this Halloween

BONUS: Top 20 Cities for Trick or Treating!

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10 thoughts on “Portland: One of this Year’s Hottest Halloween Destinations

  1. You can vote for all our scarecrows in Halloween town thru the Facebook page ” spirit of Halloweentown scarecrow contest” like the best scarecrow to help them win.., p.s the chef for village is the best, please vote for norm lol!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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