Halloween

Your Guide to Halloween Events in the Pacific Northwest

Halloween

Celebrate Halloween With More Than Trick-or-Treating

Woodland Park Zoo's family-friendly Pumpkin BashWoodland Park Zoo's family-friendly Pumpkin Bash

The Pacific Northwest has a special relationship with Halloween: Every fall, as the days get shorter, leaves change color and pumpkins ripen, families pick the perfect costume, carve jack-o'-lanterns and go trick-or-treating in big cities and small towns alike.

Throughout the region, several seasonal offerings go beyond costumes and candy with ghost tours, haunted hotels and castles, spooky corn mazes and more. So, in the spirit of the season, here’s a look at where to celebrate throughout the Pacific Northwest. Just beware: Most of these destinations and festivals are family-friendly, but some are for teens and older, or are adults-only affairs.

Seattle 

Georgetown morgue

Seattle hosts year-round ghost tours, including the popular Spooked in Seattle Tours, founded by a self-proclaimed paranormal investigator (tours offered nightly).

But in the weeks leading up to All Hallows' Eve, Seattle ups its game with “spooktacular” events geared toward families and thrill-seekers alike. 

The (not so) scary fun starts with Seattle’s annual Halloween Pet Parade, which includes food trucks, a free raffle, a pet costume contest and a stroll through Volunteer Park in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood (October 20). 

For something decidedly scarier, consider a haunted house — or, rather, a haunted morgue. In 1928, Kolling Mortuary Services of Seattle processed and prepared the deceased in a three-story facility near the present-day Georgetown neighborhood, south of downtown Seattle. Nearly a century later, that same building hosts the Georgetown Morgue haunted attraction (pictured), where thrill-seekers just might encounter several of the building’s “residents.” The attraction is open on weekends between late September and early November, as well as additional evenings in October. Not recommended for children younger than 12. 

For families with younger kids, the Pumpkin Bash at Woodland Park Zoo (October 26–27) hands out pumpkins to several animals, offers trick-or-treating for little ones and more.

Unexpected Productions is gearing up to share Market Ghost Stories, a series of Halloween tours through the halls and alleys of Seattle’s historic Pike Place Market through November 2. Each tour and performance will weave together the history and the horror of one of the Northwest’s most iconic working markets and tourist attractions which, fittingly enough, also housed the city’s first mortuary.

This year’s one-night-only FreakNight Festival (October 25, for adults 18 and older) takes place at WaMu Theater next to CenturyLink Field. The Halloween bash includes a music festival, dance party, carnival rides, sideshow wonders and spooky surprises.

Tacoma, Washington

an owl inside a pumpkin at Zoo Boo

Although it is not strictly a Halloween-themed destination, the historic Thornewood Castle has starred on the small screen as a haunted fortress. Today, the castle is a 54-room bed-and-breakfast (and a popular site for weddings) on the shore of American Lake in Lakewood, 12 miles south of Tacoma. But the Tudor Gothic mansion was also the backdrop for the 2002 miniseries “Rose Red,” scripted by legendary horror writer Stephen King; the hotel even loans DVD copies of the series to overnight guests to watch in their rooms.

Another frightful option is a terror-filled trip through The Haunted House at Tacoma’s Frighthouse Station. Now in its third season, Frighthouse Station hosts more than 30 rooms full of twisted creatures, the undead and other ghastly characters. The event (September 27 – November 2) is not for those with claustrophobia or arachnophobia, and is open to children 12 and older.

Each fall, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium’s annual Zoo Boo (pictured) offers a whole weekend of fun for little trick-or-treaters. The Zoo Boo includes games, pumpkins and icy treats for the zoo's animals, face painting, trivia, arts and crafts, and a costume parade. Kids in costume even get discounted admission. 

Olympic Peninsula, Washington

Ghost-hunters have long flocked to Port Townsend to bask in the town’s Victorian-era charm and its tales of haunted castles and hotels. 

At the top of the list is Manresa Castle, a former mansion, seminary and school that now serves as a 41-room hotel overlooking Port Townsend Bay. The hotel dates back to 1892, when it was built to resemble a Prussian castle. Today, Manresa Castle gets into the spirit of the season with a murder-mystery dinner, scavenger hunt for children, spooky drink-and-draw event, pumpkin-carving party, scary movie screenings and more.

Visitors also can join guided ghost tours around town through Twisted History Tours. The tours explore Port Townsend's haunted maritime history and dive into the sinister dark side of the city's stately Victorian mansions.

Visitors who would like to stay close to Port Townsend’s downtown — rife with historic Victorian buildings — have several options: two of the town’s most popular hotels include the Old Consulate Inn and the rustic Palace Hotel, a former brothel that’s said to be home to a friendly ghost dubbed “The Lady in Blue." Port Townsend is about 55 miles from downtown Seattle via the Bainbridge Island ferry and state Routes 305, 3, 104, 19 and 20.

Fans planning a Halloween visit to Forks, the Olympic Peninsula town where author Stephenie Meyer based her “Twilight” novels, have plenty of choices for spooky, paranormal fun. One of the town’s spooky delights is the Rain of Terror Haunted Hangar attraction (October 11–November 2). And after a night of chills and thrills, “Twilight” fans can stay overnight in the Twilight Eclipse Cabin or the New Moon Breaking Down Cottage, both of which were featured in two of the “Twilight” movies. Forks is about 140 miles west of Seattle via the Bainbridge Island ferry and state Routes 305, 3, 104 and US Highway 101.

Portland, oregon

People on a walking tour in PortlandThe all-ages Beyond Bizarre Ghost Tour gives participants the chance to use ghost-hunting equipment to look for evidence of the supernatural in some of the city’s spooky haunts, including the Merchant Hotel building, where lore has it a ghost named Nina still resides.

And The Fear PDX Haunted House bills itself as the “scariest haunted house in the Pacific Northwest,” complete with five haunted attractions in one location (September 20 – November 9).

Portland might be the city that inspired “Portlandia,” but the Bella Organic Haunted Corn Maze is paying tribute to another popular show this fall. The farm’s annual haunted corn maze will be populated throughout October with characters inspired by the Netflix series “Stranger Things,” as well as ghouls, goblins and zombies roaming the grounds. The farm is on Sauvie Island, about 15 miles northwest of downtown Portland, and open Fridays and Saturdays in October.

Mount Hood, Oregon

Timberline at duskEven if you’ve never heard of the historic Timberline Lodge (pictured), chances are good you’ve seen it at least once or twice. The Depression-era hotel on the south slope of Mount Hood appeared in exterior shots as the Overlook Hotel in the 1980 horror movie “The Shining,” starring Jack Nicholson and based on the Stephen King novel of the same name. 

It’s fitting, then, that the Timberline Lodge celebrates its special place in pop culture with a Family Fright Night on October 26. Events include trick-or-treating, a costume contest, fireside ghost stories and zombie-themed laser tag. Naturally, the evening ends with a late-night screening of “The Shining.” At an elevation of 6,000 feet, Timberline Lodge is about 64 miles east of Portland off the Mount Hood Scenic Byway.

Boise, Idaho

Throughout the season, Boise Trolley Tours offers a 90-minute Haunted Halloween Tour, with special events leading up to (and on) Halloween itself. On October 2526, the company's tours stop at Terror in Cell Block 4, a “haunted cell house” in Boise, for the annual Frightened Felons event, which includes photo ops, music, games, prizes, scavenger hunts, and more. And on October 31, the Boise Haunted Halloween Trolley Tour invites visitors to watch trick-or-treaters while noshing on sandwiches and enjoying drinks (October 11 – November 2).

–Written by Greg Lamm and Matthew Wastradowski

 

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