A crisp chill settles into the air and a palpable sense of excitement sweeps through Portland as the season of thrills and spooks arrives. It’s that time of the year when ghosts, ghouls, and all things eerie come to life. From quivering encounters with the unknown to bone-chilling tales of apparitions, the city holds an array of attractions that are sure to send shivers down your spine.
So, let’s delve into the depths of the county’s most haunted spots – a journey that will challenge your senses and test your courage. It’s time to get your spook on!
#1 Portland Oddities and Curiosities Expo
777 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Portland, OR 97232
For lovers of bizarre, strange, and unusual, the Oddities and Curiosities Expo is coming to Portland on October 21st and 22nd. This event invites you to explore a diverse array of curiosities, from preserved specimens and taxidermy to horror-themed creations, antiques with eerie histories, and original works.
The Cryptic Collection of a Mad Clown, presented by the Oddities Museum, is one of the highlights of this peculiar gathering. Inside a bygone sideshow tent, you discover the castaway remains of a clown and his unique, cryptic collection, including genetically engineered monsters, a real mermaid, and a six-foot man-eating chicken. A word of caution: The specimen in this year’s museum may not be appropriate for those with weak stomachs or younger patrons.
There’s also a full mount rabbit taxidermy class on day one (Saturday) and a specialty class on day two (Sunday). But for those who seek the allure of the unusual or the thrill of the unknown, this 2 days long Oddities and Curiosities Expo is an unforgettable experience of the shadows of fascination. Additional details and ticket prices can be found here.
#2 Shanghai Tunnels
226 NW Davis St, Portland, OR 97209
You might enjoy the shops and restaurants in downtown Portland but are you aware of what lies beneath your feet? It’s a series of 150-year-old tunnels that connects the basements of the oldest buildings in the city to the Willamette River. The tunnels earned their name from the sinister practice of “Shanghaiing”, where people were kidnapped or drugged and then sold into forced labor aboard ships.
The Shanghai Tunnels are said to be haunted by the tormented spirits of the victims of “Shanghaiing”, as well as by the ghosts of those who died or were murdered in the tunnels. One known ghost in the tunnels is “Sam”, an Asian man, who most say that he is a good ghost but other tunnel spirits are known as “tricksters” and they often gently tug at the ends of your hair or pull at your shirt tail. Nina, the Lady in White, is also one of the most famous ghosts associated with the tunnels.
Apart from those, mysterious sounds, residual energy, poltergeist activities, and apparitions of sailors, children, women, and men in old-fashioned clothing have been reported. The hauntings of the Shanghai Tunnels are a popular tourist attraction, especially during the spooky season. If you’re interested, you can book the Haunted Underground Shanghai Tunnels Tour here.
#3 ScareGrounds PDX
7805 SE Oaks Park Way, Portland, OR 97202
ScareGrounds PDX is the largest haunted house and Halloween event in the state. As night falls, monsters of all sizes and shapes transform the beloved Oaks Park into an attraction of horrors. This year, the event features three heart-pounding walk-through haunted houses: The Complex, Slayers, and The Silver Scream.
Yet the haunts don’t end there as several sideshow attractions such as the House of Horror Scare Zone, Carn-Evil Haunted House, Labyrinth Games, Zombie Archery, Buried Alive Coffin Ride, and The Complex Blackout will bring your nightmares to life. Immerse yourself in a collection of spine-chilling interactive sets, where you can capture unforgettable selfies with a haunting twist at the Tales of Halloween Selfie Museum.
The Oaks Park Thrill Rides and Games will also be in full swing this October. For those with an appetite after all these macabre thrills, try the Devil Dog at the Sinister Snacks paired with your choice of beer or steaming hot cider. Additional details and ticket prices can be found here.
#4 Lotus Isle Park
N Tomahawk Island Dr, Portland, OR 97217
Oregon’s most surreal and America’s most haunted amusement park, Lotus Isle, is a legendary yet tragic swim-and-play theme park that operated from 1930 to 1932 on Tomahawk Island. Today, much of the land where the park was located has been developed but some people believe that the ghosts of those who died there still haunt the area.
The most common hauntings reported at this amusement park are that of a young boy who slipped into the Columbia River and drowned and the ghost of the former owner who committed suicide is said to wander the park at night. Other ghostly figures that were reported to be seen include a group of children playing on the abandoned rides and a woman in white who walks throughout the park. Some have even reported hearing unexplained noises, seeing orbs of light, and feeling cold spots.
Whether or not the hauntings at Lotus Isle are real is up for debate. But there’s no doubt that the dark history of the park and its abandoned state creates a creepy atmosphere that is ripe for ghost stories. If you’re brave enough you can visit the area and see for yourself if you can experience any of the paranormal activities that are said to occur there but be warned, you may not be alone.
#5 Spirit of Halloweentown
275 Strand St, St Helens, OR 97051
Roughly about 28 miles northwest of Portland, the historic town of St. Helens celebrates Halloween all October long with costume contests, haunted town tours, trick-or-treating through the Old Town District, and more. Every weekend there are special attractions going on.
There are plenty of things to do and see at the Spirit of Halloweentown, including the special showings at Columbia Theatre, Big Foot Hunt, Haunted House, and The Great Big Halloween Exhibit. Come aboard their Spooky Shuttle and travel uptown or board the train for their After Dark short ride to the Nightmare on 4th Street. The main plaza with the pumpkins is open for tasty dining, shopping, and face painting.
Watch out for the Scarecrow Adventure, Old Town Ghost Walk, Hocus Pocus Weekend, Witches Beer Fest, and The Big Halloween Parade. Be sure not to miss this fun, family-friendly affair, or you’ll be haunted with regret. Additional details and ticket prices can be found here.
#6 Hollywood Theatre
4122 NE Sandy Blvd, Portland, OR 97212
The Hollywood Theatre, built in 1927, is one of the nation’s oldest remaining theaters. It’s a popular destination for paranormal enthusiasts and moviegoers alike. The theater has a long and storied history, and some believe that it’s also home to a number of ghosts.
One of the most common sightings in this place is that of a swirling figure that appears and disappears suddenly. This figure has been described as being made up of energy and light, and is often seen in the theater’s upstairs left area. Customers and staff reported feeling weird sensations throughout their bodies and funnel ghosts also frequent the theater.
It’s alleged that the ghosts at this theater are harmless and friendly since there have been no reports of any physical harm coming to anyone who has encountered them. The Hollywood Theatre is a place with a mysterious and rich history, where the past and present collide, and where the boundaries between the living and the dead may sometimes blur.
Now that we’ve uncovered the most haunted Halloween attractions in Portland, I want to hear from you! Have you experienced any of these ghoulish encounters, or do you have other terrifying tales to share?
Perhaps you have insider tips for fellow thrill-seekers. Leave a comment below and let’s keep the spirit of Halloween alive in Portland!