The CDC cautions that “many traditional Halloween activities can be high-risk for spreading viruses,” but also suggests some alternate ways to observe the holiday, broken up into lower- and moderate-risk tiers. Here’s an abridged selection:

Low risk:

  • Carving pumpkins with members of your household – if you wish to include neighbors/friends, try this activity outside at a safe distance
  • Doing a Halloween scavenger hunt – children are given lists of Halloween-themed things to look for while they walk outdoors from house to house, admiring decorations at a distance
  • Having a virtual costume contest
  • Having a Halloween movie night with members of your household

Moderate risk:

  • Participating in one-way trick-or-treating – individually wrapped goodie bags are lined up for families to grab and go while continuing to social distance (such as at the end of a driveway or at the edge of a yard)
    • If you are preparing goodie bags, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 second before and after preparing the bags
  • Having a small group, outdoor, open-air costume parade where people are distanced more than 6 feet apart
  • Going to an open-air, one-way, walk-through haunted forest where appropriate mask use is enforced, and people can remain more than 6 feet apart
    • If screaming will likely occur, greater distancing is advised. The greater the distance, the lower the risk of spreading a respiratory virus
  • Visiting pumpkin patches or orchards where people use hand sanitizer before touching pumpkins or picking apples, wearing masks is encouraged or enforced, and people are able to maintain social distancing

It advises that traditional trick-or-treating, indoor parties, and indoor haunted houses are considered high-risk and should be avoided.

We also have a few ideas of our own, for those based in the Portland metro – here they are!


For families with kids: Make and Take Halloween Craft

  • In this workshop, organized by Vancouver Art Space, you will choose a pumpkin, witch hat, or coffin to decorate with mixed media ephemera
  • Date(s): October 11, 3-5pm
  • Location: 8700 NE Vancouver Mall Drive #283, Vancouver, WA 98662
  • Price: $45 per student, includes all supplies and materials

For the 21+ crowd: Halloween Candy & Wine Pairing

  • Join Hip Chicks Do Wine for a fun pairing of Halloween Candy and Wine. Flight includes 5 candies paired with 5 wines + a sample of our Seasonal Witches Brew Sangria.
  • Date(s): October 23 – 25; see website for winery hours
  • Location: 4510 SE 23rd Ave, Portland, OR 97202
  • Price: $17 per person

For standard thrillseekers: Oaks Park Haunted Drive-Thru

  • From the twisted minds that brought you the Clark County ScareGrounds comes a new and innovative take on the classic Haunted House experience, combining new scare techniques with theatrical story-telling.
  • Date(s): October 9 – November 1. Times vary; see website
  • Location: 7805 SE Oaks Park Way, Portland, OR 97202
  • Price: ranges from $69.99 to $79.99 per vehicle, according to hours; see website

For historian thrillseekers: Clark County Historical Museum Haunted Walking Tours

  • Experience a spooky slant on history with the CCHM Haunted Walking Tour – RSVP required as they do sell out.
  • Date(s): recurs daily October 23 – October 28, tours begin at 6pm and 7pm
  • Location: 1511 Main St., Vancouver, WA 98660
  • Price: $18 ($15 for CCHS members)