PORTLAND, Oregon — When 2020 started, Halloween was set up to be legendary. This year, the holiday converges with a full moon and a blue moon - and it's on Saturday. Sounds pretty fun, right?
But then COVID-19 hit, and six months later, here we are. It's spooky season and we're still in the middle of a global pandemic.
Halloween will, of course, look much different this year. Trick-or-treating mask-free (actually, I guess masks have always been pretty normal on this holiday) and attending crowded Halloween parties is not an option.
But Halloween fun (and terror) is still possible, we just have to adjust our plans and expectations.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued guidance for how to celebrate Halloween safely this year.
"Many people will likely be choosing to trick or treat this year and I think that there are many things that you can do to make it a safer experience," said Dr. Sarah Present, Clackamas County Health Officer. "And a lot of these have to do with the same sorts of things that we’re doing every day to decrease transmission in our communities – which is wearing a facial covering that covers your mouth and your nose; whether it’s under your costume, over your costume, or part of your costume, using hand sanitizer frequently, especially before or after eating any treats or touching treats and maintaining that distance from those who are not in your household."
Present said one idea is to put your candy out near the sidewalk for trick-or-treaters to pick it up from a distance, and look for other ways to limit in-person interactions.
"I think what we’re doing is inventing our own Halloween the way we want it at home," said Dale Emanuel, Goodwill Spokesperson. "Right now, a lot of us don’t have control over what’s happening. What we do have a control over is what Halloween looks like to us."
Although the holiday is officially on October 31, Halloween season really extends for the entire month of October. And groups around Oregon and Southwest Washington are getting creative to come up with fun ways to celebrate spooky season safely this year.
Drive through the Scaregrounds at Oaks Park
Fasten your seatbelts, because Oaks Amusement Park is transforming into five different haunted attractions that you can experience without ever getting out of your car! You drive up, roll down your car window and take a sanitized portable bluetooth speaker that will provide the spooky sounds for the whole experience. Then you'll be guided into a a scene where you can turn off your car and be frightened by live actors, sounds, thematic lighting, special effects and animations.
Tickets are available online online in advance here.
When: October 9-11, October 16-18 and October 22-November 1
Where: Oaks Amusement Park, 7805 SE Oaks Park Way
Drive by trick-or-treat in Vancouver
The residents of Franklin Street in Vancouver love to celebrate holidays, hence the group Holidays on Franklin Street. This year, they're setting up a spooky display that they say will be their biggest yet, with lights, music and special effects. The display will happen nightly starting October 3, and then on Halloween weekend they will host both drive-by trick-or-treating and what they're calling a "traditional experience."
When: October 3-31
Where: 4616 NW Franklin Street, Vancouver
Drive up for a scary movie at the Cinema of Horrors
Scary movies not scary enough for you? Why not add live monsters popping up next to you while you watch? The Clark County Event Center is screening drive-in horror movies, complete with monsters lurking outside your car window.
There are 12 movies playing throughout the Halloween season. They'll kick it off on October 9 with "A Nightmare on Elm Street" and end it on November 1 with Jordan Peele's "Us." Tickets are available online in advance here.
When: October 9-11, October 16-18, October 23-25 and October 30 - November 1
Where: Clark County Event Center, 17402 NE Delfel Rd, Ridgefield, WA
Visit the Crypto-Zoo
Portland artist Mike Bennett has become famous for his hand-painted cartoon wood cutouts. He's hidden them around town for people to find, for free, he's created DIY kits for the rest of us to make our own art at home, and now he's setting up a spooky zoo full of cryptids, monsters and mythical beasts! Each weekday Mike adds a new character, from A through Z. All of the animals are family-friendly, so no kid will be scared.
When: Through Halloween
Where: Alberta Arts District - The exact location is a secret, but message Mike on Instagram for a hint!
Get scared at the Clackamas County Scare Fair
If you've been to the haunts at Fearlandia, The Nightmare Factory, Creatures of the Night or the Davis Graveyard in years past, you know they get pretty scary. This year, those four are combining into one big scare!
As you might remember, the fairgrounds turned into an evacuation site for the recent wildfires, so the event has been pushed back one week to start on October 9. Get your tickets in advance here.
When: October 9 - 11, 16 - 18, 23 - 25, October 30 - Nov. 1
Where: Clackamas County Fairgrounds, 694 NE 4th Ave, Canby
Go see the Spirit of Halloweentown
In 1998, the Disney Channel original movie "Halloweentown" was shot in St. Helens, and every year, the town hosts a month-long event in celebration: The Spirit of Halloweentown. This year is no different - in most ways. There will be photo ops with The Big Pumpkin, self-guided haunted walking tours, a tiny parade of pumpkins, a costume contest, a vendor village and more. Social distancing and other safety guidelines will be in place. Buy tickets in advance here.
When: September 26 through November 1
Where: 275 Strand Street, St. Helens
Watch a livestreamed homemade horror film festival
SLAY is an online independent horror film festival, featuring 32 homemade short films. At-home filmmakers were told to make a film capturing what scares them most, and the results range from "classic ghost stories and slasher films to dystopian cults and political nightmares," says the SLAY website.
Get your tickets in advance here.
When: October 15 - 31
Pair your Halloween candy with wine
Enjoy your Halloween candy in the way kids cant: with wine! Hip Chicks Do Wine is hosting a candy and wine pairing event, featuring five candies paired with five wines, plus some Witches Brew Sangria. The tasting area will be sanitized between seatings, so guests are asked not to arrive early to allow time.
Reserve your spot in advance here.
When: October 23-25 and October 30-31
Where: Hip Chicks do Wine, 4510 SE 23rd Avenue