Halloween — the ultimate holiday for kids.
There’s candy, costumes, parties, pumpkins. What’s that, you say? Your preschooler is terrified of people in masks? And your infant hits the sack before it’s even fully dark yet? No problem. We’ve compiled a guide of outings by age group to help you figure where to go and what to do, from the grade-schooler who appreciates a good scare and the toddler who doesn’t.
Autumn at our local farmers markets is more than a little magical with the mountains of squashes and gourds of all shapes and colors on full display. Join in the harvest celebration at the Great Pumpkin event at PSU Farmers Market, October 29. The pumpkin-carving contest starts at 9 am. The children’s costume parade at noon is the perfect chance for little ones to test-drive their costumes before the big night.
The West Coast Giant Pumpkin Regatta is like something out of a fairy tale. Giant pumpkins are hollowed out and turned into boats, and then paddled across a lake. This daytime event is perfect for babies and toddlers with early bedtimes. Watch the fun, Saturday October 15, 10 am-4 pm. Tualatin Lake of the Commons, 8325 SW Nyberg St, Tualatin.
Crowds and toddlers aren’t the greatest combination. So the slightly longer drive to Sauvie Island Farms to nab a pumpkin (and the totes adorbs photos of your LO wobbling through the fields of orange) is worth it. This small, family-owned farm offers many of the same attractions as some of the larger patches, but without the overwhelming hordes of people. Pro tip: Traffic can get gnarly on the way home from Sauvie Island, so go early (we’re talking day and month) and head home early — or time your return trip with nap time. 19818 NW Sauvie Island Rd. sauvieislandfarms.com
In the days leading up to Halloween there are plenty of baby- and toddler-appropriate events at the Portland Children’s Museum’s Eek Week. On October 30, hit the Not So Scary Halloween event at the museum after your baby’s morning nap (11 am-3 pm) or on October 31 enjoy an early Candy-free Halloween from 10 am-1 pm. Your little can take in a puppet show, feed carnivorous plants or help press apples in a cider press, in addition to scoring sugar-free goodies like glow sticks and toys.
Get that Candy
Most tots can’t last till the prime after-dark trick-or-tricking hours without a meltdown, so check out some of the afternoon neighborhood or mall candy-grabs such as Trick or Treat on Mississippi Avenue or Hillsboro’s Orenco Station Halloween celebration, which launches from Fancy That party shop.
There aren’t too many things a4-year-old will find funnier than watching a pumpkin go flying through the air. That’s why you should stop at Plumper Pumpkin Patch this year. Other pumpkin games not to miss include bowling and croquet. Slides shooting down from giant hay bales, pony rides, goats to feed and a play structure round out the activities. Take a picnic or purchase hot dogs and caramel apples from the farm kitchen. 11435 NW Old Cornelius Pass Rd.
Family Time Picks
Your kids won’t even realize they are learning about animals around the world and their special habitats as they’re zipping around the Oregon Zoo collecting treats and prizes on the Howloween scavenger hunt. What’s not-so-scary? None of the candy passed out contains palm oil, whose harvesting leads to habitat destruction for many animals. Zoo animals will also be provided with pumpkins to eat, play with and, in some cases, squash. Saturday, October 29 and Sunday, October 30, 10 am-3 pm.
Your littles will be spellbound on a walk through the Halloween Enchantment event at Micha-El School. Several scenes are set along along a magical walking path; children can stop and receive a small gift at each one. They’ll also have juggler and entertainer Henrik Bothe performing shows throughout the evening. Kids are encouraged to come in costume, but should dress warmly. Friday, October 28, 5 pm-8 pm. 13515 A Rusk Rd., Milwaukie. Call 503-882-3322 to reserve a time.
Stroll through the wooded, eerily lit Fantasy Trail at Wenzel Family Farms. There’s also a 40-foot castle with Halloween scenes, a tunnel, maze, crooked house, suspension bridge and more. Pumpkins and refreshments are available. Open October 1-30. 12 pm-5 pm and 7 pm-10 pm. 19754 South Ridge Rd., Oregon City. Adults $6, kids 12 and under $5. Cash only.
Get that Candy
Hauling around a preschooler in a soggy costume is no parent’s idea of a good time. But there’s no need to keep your fingers crossed for dry weather on Halloween night if you plan on trick-or-treating at McMenamins’ Kennedy School in Northeast or Grand Arbor Lodge in Forest Grove. Their indoor candy handouts will keep your kiddo — and more notably you — quite happy. Monday, October 31. Kennedy School, 4:30 pm-6:30 pm. Grand Lodge, 5 pm-7 pm.
Get your sweets fix at the Matt Dishman Community Center on October 31. Several candy stations will be set up around the community center from 3 pm-9 pm. (Another indoor trick-or-treating option, score!)
Ages 6 and older
It’s a bird, it’s a plane … no it’s the Great Pumpkin!
This year marks the 50th anniversary of “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” and The Pumpkin Patch is paying tribute to this cultural touchstone with a Peanuts-themed corn maze. Get lost with the kiddos in the maze, then score the perfect gourd from one of the farm’s many fields. This uber-popular pumpkin patch also boasts farm animals, hay rides, farm store and café, so lines can get long.
Family Time Picks
Kick up your skates at the Oaks Park Spooktacular. The open skate sessions are $1 cheaper if the kiddos come in costume and include costume parades, contests and more. Saturday, October 29 and Sunday, October 30, 1 pm-5 pm both days, 7 pm-10:30 pm on Saturday, 7 pm-9:30 pm Sunday.
We Portlanders love to dress up in costumes and race through downtown. So it’s no surprise that the annual Run Like Hell Portland is celebrating its 13th year. This year’s theme: ComiCon, so expect plenty of sci-fi costumes, superheroes and villains. In addition to a kids’ half-miler and grown-ups’ 5K, 10K and half marathon, the race boasts costume contests, music along the course and a rockin’ kids zone with local, loveable clowns Olive & Dingo. For parents who’ve worked up a sweat there’s also plenty of post-race brews, ciders and swag. Sunday, October 23. The kids’ half miler starts at 8 am. Visit terrapinevents.com for more information.
Chris and Jeff Davis love Halloween. Really love it. With their family and friends they create a bone-chilling graveyard in the front yard of their property each year. Their artistic and technical special-effects skills even earned the Davis Graveyard the Home Haunter Award from the Haunted Attraction Association. Mark your calendars for their open house on Sunday, October 9 from 11 am-4 pm or visit davisgraveyard.com for dates and times. (Pro tip: Full lights plus special effects are set for every Friday and Saturday night in October from dusk until 11 pm.) 8703 SE 43rd Ave., Milwaukie.
North Portsmouth between Lombard and Willamette is known as the Street of Screams. Neighbors go all out on Halloween night, especially at one gory home dubbed the House of Horror. Use your best judgment — only you know if your first grader is the type of kid who will love the scary props … or have nightmares for weeks.
Get that Candy
Kids from all quadrants descend on Northeast 51st Avenue between Alameda and Klickitat on Halloween night. The neighborhood does Halloween to the hilt with coordinated family costumes, creepy decorations and, of course, candy. Be sure to hit the Halloween House on the corner of 51st and Alameda, where Elvis arrives in a hearse to do a one-night only special performance.
Serious Scares for Older Kids
Attention thrill-seeking teens, the techs and actors at 13th Door Haunted House are itching to terrify you. You’ll experience blood-curdling sights, sounds and smells while walking through this ghoulishly decorated maze. 3855 SW Murray Blvd., Beaverton. Open select nights in October. Tickets start at $18. 13thdoor.com
Your tween or teen think she’s too cool for dressing up for Halloween? Take her to the Lone Fir Cemetery’s Tour of Untimely Departures, which mixes spooky storytelling and history. Costumed tour guides lead the living around the graves of Portlanders whose lives ended in usual ways — via cesspool, say, or hot air balloon. Saturday, October 29. Lone Fir Cemetery at SE 26th and SE Morrison. Tour is 45 minutes long. First tour starts at 5pm and last at 9pm. Starting at $10 for adults and $5 for kids 12 and younger. Register at oregonmetro.gov/calendar.
By day the Kruger’s Farm harvest festival is as little-kid friendly as they come. (Their daytime corn maze is designed to allow for a quick exit if your kiddo is beat.) But after 8 pm on Fridays and Saturdays in October the haunted corn maze opens with scary actors and props. Post-maze, swing by the circus tent where there’s beer for grown-ups, live music and fire dancers. 17100 NW Sauvie Island Rd. Daytime maze $6 for one adult with one child. Nighttime maze $10, $15 with entry to circus tent.
Get your teen zombified at the Gladstone Public Library’s Zombie Walk. Your kid can come with his own special-effect makeup or have it done by the makeup artist there. The undead will take a stroll at dusk and then are invited to partake in a Halloween movie and snacks at the library. Sunday, October 30. Starts at 4:00 p.m, walk at dusk. Free.