The witches have bedecked your neighborhood and your little ghosts are ready to spook and be spooked! If you are looking for some chilling local haunts to scare up some fun, we’ve got a few great ideas for you.These spine-tingling spots will take your family deep into Portland’s mysterious history where you will enjoy eerie tales and endless adventures appropriate for all of your eager ghouls. Scroll down to get your scare on.
photo: Kirbster via flickr
Originally built as the Multnomah County Poor House, this McMenamins property has a long ghostly history that’s perfect for a sinister stay-cation. Spooky sights like old nurses wandering the halls and glimpses of a man in tattered black clothing have been reported. Many reports come from Room 215—stay there if you dare! For some extra Halloween fun check out the log at the register of paranormal activity, guests are welcome to record anything they see (or think they see).
Consider staying overnight to take the best advantage of the 72 acres of Edgefield property: the warm soaking pool is best on foggy nights, there are plenty of restaurants to choose from, the movie theater is always showing something good and the 3-par golf course is great for beginners. Weave spooky stories inspired by the wall art at night then wash away the scares with buttermilk hotcakes at the Black Rabbit restaurant in the morning.
A Family room starts at $110: note that many have shared bathrooms down the hall.
2126 S.W. Halsey St.
photo: Mike Ohrig via flickr
Witches Castle in Forest Park
Take a picnic and explore the dark mossy depths of Forest Park. When you “accidently” stumble upon this abandoned stone structure in the forest it is sure to provoke the shivers in even the biggest hikers in your family. History reveals it probably never housed witches (it was built in the 50’s as a ranger station) but fiction is stronger than reality sometimes, and the myth lives on.
It’s an easy half-mile jaunt from the Upper Macleay Parking lot. Make it a day out by visiting the Portland Audubon Society– if you’re lucky, the resident owls and turkey vulture may be out to visit! For some extra fun add a tour of Pittock Mansion. Built in 1909, the 16,000 sq ft house doesn’t hold any sordid tales, but minor hauntings have been reported, like pictures moving around and windows closing unexpectedly.
Take a special once-a-month “Behind the Scenes Tour” to get places the regular public can’t access like underground hallways, elevator shafts, and the original furnace room. The next tour is on Oct 22, and is best for kids over 10.
Forest Park Hikes
11 a.m.-4 p.m.
3229 NW Pittock Drive
Tours with admission is $7 for members, $19 for non-members.
Lone Fir Cemetery
One of Portland’s oldest cemeteries, this holds over 25,000 graves, including well-known names like Asa Lovejoy and Dr. James Hawthorne. The beautiful grounds are open dawn to dusk anytime, but October brings an especially haunted vibe with fallen leaves, branches of barren trees, and raven calls.
Once a year the cemetery gives tours of the headstones: “The Tour of Untimely Departures.” Volunteers dress up as “ghosts,” actual deceased people, and guide groups on candlelit tours through stories of the past. Kids of all ages are welcome: the tour isn’t designed to scare anyone with sudden spooks or gore, but the subject matter will be mature at times (murder and risque behavior were the norm in Portland’s sordid past!) Costumes are encouraged and no dogs are allowed.
Sat., Oct 29
5 -9 p.m.
Entrance on SE 26th St. between Stark and Morrison.
Purchase tickets ahead of time for a guaranteed spot, or get them at the door.
photo: Kabayanmark Images via flickr
Shanghai Tunnels and Pizza
The seedier side of life is on display in Portland’s underground. Take a tour of the Shanghai Tunnels with the Cascade Geographic Society, which will dip into rooms and passages underneath the city. Hear tales of tunnel-goers—the willing and the unwilling. This month is the special “Halloween Tour” which combines a visit to the tunnels with even more details and stories. It’s a fully educational tour, not a scare-house, and is great for families. They do warn that it sells out, so book early!
For those who prefer their scares above ground and with food, visit Old Towne Pizza. Sitting right on the of the tunnels, it’s purported to be the most haunted eatery in Portland with its resident ghost Nina (pronounced Nigh-na). Enjoy your pie while trying to spot where Nina carved her name in the wall and learn the sordid tale of her demise down the elevator shaft over 100 years ago!
Tours with Cascade Geographic Society
Old Town Pizza
226 NW Davis St.
Sun.–Thurs. 11:30 a.m.–11 p.m
Fri. & Sat. 11:30 a.m.-midnight
photo: Rimsky-Korsakoffee by Marie via flickr
A pair of Russian revolution-era writers are reputed to haunt this old Victorian house in SE Portland. For 35 years Rimsky’s has been serving coffee and house-made desserts along with live music: with a few tricks! A visit to the bathroom has a few surprises in store, with legs dangling from the ceiling and other spooky treats. Get your peanut butter mousse pie, or chocolate banana cake with an almond steamer. Keep your eye on your dessert at the “haunted” tables!
Fridays and Saturdays offer live piano (remember to tip the musicians!) Doors open at 7 p.m. every night, and the whole place is cash only.
707 SE 12th Ave.
Sun.–Thurs. 7 p.m.–midnight
Fri. & Sat. 7 p.m.–1 a.m.
What is your family’s favorite spooky Halloween spot? Tell us in the comments below.