There’s a chill in the air, and it’s not just the changing season. COVID hasn’t put and end to Portland’s spooky October fun. Spine tingling stories of ghost-sightings abound in our strange (even weird) town. In fact, did you know we were once on the top ten list of most haunted spots in the U.S.? If you and your little goblins are in the mood to be spooked, we’ve got your map of local haunts all picked out. Read on for all the ghostly details.

photo: Mike Rorhig  via flickr

Witch’s Castle in Forest Park

This abandoned stone structure deep in Forest Park was a mid-century ranger station, but it can be a spooky sight to stumble upon during an October hike. Located a half mile from Upper Macleay parking lot, it’s an easy hike for younger explorers. Pack a picnic and venture up the road to the Portland Audubon Society next, for an up-close visit with an eerie bird. You can cap off your day with a tour of Pittock Mansion which has a modest list of hauntings, such as windows closing suddenly and  picture frames moving.

Forest Park Hikes
Online: forestparkconservancy.org/forest-park/maps/

Audubon Society,
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
5151 NW Cornell Rd
503-292-6855
Online: audubonportland.org/wcc/about

Pittock Mansion
11 a.m.-4 p.m.; Tours run on the hour from 10 a.m.- 3 p.m.
3229 NW Pittock Drive
503-823-3623
Online: pittockmansion.org/
Tours with admission is $7 for members, $20 for non-members.

Benson Hotel

This hotel in downtown Portland is said to be haunted by former owner Simon Benson. Built in 1913, it has hosted every U.S. president since William H. Taft., but that’s not what it’s best known for. Visitors regularly report visits by the resident spirits (there’s even a guest book dedicated to spooky encounters), and apparently they’re mostly friendly ghosts. For best results, plan an overnight with your ghostbusters in a room on the 7th, 9th, or 12th floors, which have had the most reports of ghost-sightings. The next day, you can complete your mini staycation with an excursion to Forest Park. (See our recs below.)

309 Southwest Broadway
503-228-2000
Online: coasthotels.com

photo: underutilized via flickr

Hollywood Theatre

This 1926 historic landmark, is a favorite spot for locals to catch a flick while keeping an eye out for the resident ghosts. Most sightings have been in the upstairs lobby and screening rooms, but you never know. While the theater is currently shut down, they are streaming movies you can watch to support this local gem until it is opened again. You can even stop by an grab some bites from the consession. You never know, you might just catch a glimpse of a local ghost while you are there.

4122 NE Sandy Blvd
(503) 493-1128
Online: hollywoodtheatre.org

Lone Fir Cemetery

Open from dawn to dusk year-round, this is one of Portland’s oldest cemeteries, with a remarkable history that is well-tended by the Friends of Lone Fir Cemetery. While their regular ghostly tour is canceled due to COVID, the cemetery is the perfect place to stroll with your kiddos and tell ghost stories while reading the ancient headstones. Bonus: It’s also gorgeous this time of year. You might find walking through the leaves becomes one of your favorite fall family activities!

Entrance on SE 26th St. between Stark and Morrison.
Online: friendsoflonefircemetery.org/

photo: Stone via flickr

McMenamin’s Edgefield

On 72 acres, the Edgefield property’s 3-par golf course, warm soaking pool, restaurant, and movie theater make it a great choice for a family getaway any time of year. But it’s the hotel’s haunted history that make it a spooky choice for Halloween. Room 215 has the most reports of ghostly sightings, and you can check out the log of paranormal activity at the front desk, where guests record what they see. Even if you don’t catch a glimpse of a ghost, you’re guaranteed to have a memorable stay.

2126 S.W. Halsey St.
Troutdale
503-492-3086
Online: mcmenamins.com/Edgefield

Oregon State Capitol

If you’re willing to venture a little further afield for your fright, head south to Salem for a visit to the Capitol building, where paranormal activity abounds. The current building was built in the 1930s, after the previous two Capitol buildings burnt to the ground. Reports of strange sightings have been common, and recorded since the mid 1990s. Witnesses have seen and heard everything from disembodied footsteps and soft voices in empty rooms, to doors slamming shut for no reason, and the apparition of a former representative, now deceased. If you don’t experience your own ghostly encounter at the Capitol building, visit the nearby Willamette Heritage Center, also said to be haunted, or consider a tour with Salem Ghost Tours.

900 Court St. Northeast
Salem, OR
Online: oregonlegislature.gov

Old Town Pizza

This historic tavern is reportedly the most haunted restaurant in Portland, with a resident ghost named Nina (Nigh-na) who is frequently spotted wearing a black dress and studying diners. The restaurant was built in the former lobby of the 1880 Merchant hotel, and sits right on top of the controversial Shanghai tunnels, a series of underground passageways with an unproven history and documented paranormal activity. Old Town currently offers curbside pickup! It’s the perfect place to grab an easy Halloween bite.

226 NW Davis St.
503-222-9999
Online: otbrewing.com

-Annette Benedetti

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