Might as well call it: right about now, Stumptown is spooooooky. The days, dark; the nights, shrouded in fog; the skies, alive with thousands of shrieking crows. October in Portland sometimes feels straight out of an Alfred Hitchcock film—verging on original black and white. Luckily, we embrace the ghostly atmosphere with a festive Halloween attitude. For the next few weeks, at least, there's no shortage of pumpkin booze-fueled and costume-adorned mayhem. Here are our 11 favorite happenings about town—and beyond!
Through Oct 31: Fri & Sat from 7 p.m.–11 p.m.; Wed, Thu, Sun and Halloween Day from 7 p.m.–10 p.m at the Moda Center; $23 admission per person
Portland’s most infamous block party of horror returns with three brand-new haunted houses: Grimthorne Manor, the Witch House, and Baron Von Goolo’s Museum of Horrors. With daily exhibitions Wednesdays through Sundays (and an especially grisly showcase of terror happening on Halloween night), FrightTown annually fills the Moda Center to capacity with its elaborate twists on the horror genre (think Blair Witch and Texas Chainsaw Massacre).
Poor Farm Pumpkin Patch and Carving Challenge
Sunday, Oct 23 from noon–6 p.m.; McMenamins Edgefield (Blackberry Hall); $10 per person (includes pumpkin and carving kit)
Need artistic inspiration for your jack-o-lantern? Prepare to be dazzled by the pumpkin carving skills of local artists from Laika Studios—the dark geniuses behind such recent stop-motion flick as The Boxtrolls, ParaNorman, and Coraline. All ages welcome at this family-friendly event, which features said pumpkin carving contest along with fresh apple cider pressing, tastings of McMenamins ciders, and, of course, the many seasonal splendors of Edgefield itself.
Run Like Hell
Sunday, Oct 23; start point at SW Taylor and Broadway; $8 (kids 1K fun run)–$89 (half marathon)
Prepare for the inevitable zombie apocalypse with this annual half marathon. (We hear being chased by the undead is a great motivator.) The race—which offers a 10k, 5k, and a kid’s half-mile fun run—also packs in a costume contest, tons of live music, and a post-race party. Rule number one of Zombieland is cardio, people.
The Curse of the Haunted Curds Returns
Thursday, Oct 27 from 11 a.m.–7 p.m.; Portland Brewing Company Taproom; $16
Now in its third year, this outrageous pub grub competition has chefs from five separate breweries facing off under one roof for a poutine-making culinary challenge. The entry fee gets you a poutine sampler plate paired with a seasonal beer. If that seems steep, remember these curds are for charity: half of proceeds go to the local Friendly House organization.
Underdog Halloween Bash 2016
Saturday, Oct 29 starting at 8 p.m.; Wonder Ballroom; $20 advance tickets, $25 at door
Chills, thrills, tricks, treats, and an overall freaky good time can always be expected from this 21-and-over annual party thrown by Portland's largest adult co-rec sports league. (What happens when competitive cornholers try to one-up the dodgeball league in costume? We don't know, but we're damn sure going to find out.) Plan on grabbing your tickets as soon as possible, because this monster mash bash can sell out fast.
Killer Pumpkin Festival
Saturday, Oct 29 from 11 a.m.–midnight; Green Dragon; $5 donation encouraged to benefit Camp Ukandu
Take a break from carving and drink a pumpkin instead. In association with Brewpublic’s Killer Beer Week, this all-day, family- and dog-friendly event will serve more than 40 pumpkin-flavored craft beers. Drink deep, and yes, you will be judged—for your costume.
Tour of Untimely Departures
Saturday, Oct 29 from 5–9 p.m.; Lone Fir Cemetery; $10 at gate, $5 for kids and seniors
Take a family-friendly, supernatural stroll through the Sunnyside neighborhood's historic Lone Fir Cemetery and become acquainted with some of the site’s ghostly occupants. Visitors will be guided along candle-lit walkways and regaled by tales of how some of Lone Fir’s residents met their unusual and unfortunate deaths. (Organizer suggestion: when amongst the undead, do as the undead do—wear something spooky.)
Jai Ho! Annual Bollywood Thriller Dance Party
Saturday, Oct 29 starting at 9 p.m; The Raven; $12 advance tickets, $15 at the door
Finally—a dance party that offers choreographed dance lessons to Michael Jackson’s timeless werewolf jam. For the sixth year in a row, Bollywood Dreams Entertainment is throwing what it promises will be “the biggest international Halloween dance party in Portland,” hosted by Prashant and Brittany Newton. Come midnight, something groovy’s lurking in the dark…
Salt and Straw’s Spooktacular Series
Through Oct 31; Salt & Straw locations
Have you ever been halfway through your bag of trick-or-treating candy plunder and wondered, “what would a ghost taste like?” Or, “what sorts of desserts would Dracula have eaten in his Transylvanian mansion?” Well, wonder no more. The mad scientists at Salt & Straw have created some monstrous Halloween flavors, including “Essence of Ghost,” and “Dracula’s Blood Pudding,” plus many others into which you can sink your sweet-fangs.
Oregon’s Most Haunted Spots
Ongoing self-guided tours across the state; free
Sure, you could decorate your house with plastic Halloween paraphernalia—like skeletons that sing a song when you press a button, or that fake spider web material that ends up in your yard after it rains. Or, you could really walk the spooky talk, and spend Halloweekend visiting one of these real-life haunted houses, all of which have genuinely bone-chilling pasts, and, legend has it, the occasional ghostly occupant that appears to visitors. Bring your friends, and maybe a crucifix.
Spirit of Halloweentown
Through Oct 31; St. Helens, Oregon
Remember the 1998 Disney film starring Marnie along with an entire town of All Hallow's Eve permanent residents? In the St. Helens, Halloweentown comes back to life every October. Just a 30-minute drive from Portland, St. Helens is, in fact, where the cult movie was filmed, and remains one of the most popular family-friendly Halloween festival destinations in the Pacific Northwest: a city-wide ceremony with myriad Halloweentown-themed events.