Taking your kids trick-or-treating is one of the best things about Halloween! It gets you out in the community, meeting neighbors, and allows your kids to see you engage with others in a safe environment. But there are more ways than just going door-to-door (in the rain!) to have a locally-focused Halloween. Here are eight easy and fun ideas that offer candy, toys, or special holiday activities for the whole family to go trick-or-treating this year.
Many offices now allow their kids to go from cubicle to cubicle and trick-or-treat. If your office doesn’t do it, ask them to! Some of the big companies that call Portland home like Intel, Nike, Adidas, Columbia Sportswear, and Keen even allow friends of employees to come. Call ahead and make sure the campus near you is participating.
2. Malls and Shopping Centers
Most of the local malls/outlets and their participating stores (Lloyd on 10/26, Clackamas, Pioneer Place, Westfield Vancouver, Woodburn Premium Outlets, and Columbia Gorge Outlets) offer Halloween fun, and you’d be surprised how many smaller strip malls will too. Some of our favorite business trick-or-treat destinations are Multnomah Village (SW), Bridgeport Village (Tigard) on 10/26, Bethany Village (NW), Streets of Tanasborne (Hillsboro) on 10/26, and Cedar Hills Crossing (Beaverton).
Next time you’re passing by your local shopping center, stop in and ask a couple stores if they offer something similar.
3. College Campus Dorms
This can be great spot to take your older kids, because often college students will decorate their dorm halls and rooms a little more scary, like haunted houses. Check out the links for specific activities at Portland State (on 10/26), Concordia, or call other local campuses like University of Portland, Reed, Lewis & Clark, Pacific University, Linfield, etc. and see if they are offering public events.
Some neighborhoods and HOAs get together and provide food, hot beverages, WHOLE candy bars and even games and activities in an effort to make Halloween more friendly, safe and fun. A few we found are Reed’s Crossing, SE Lents, and Woodstock neighborhoods. Call around, google, or check Craig’s List for family-friendly block parties near you, OR get your neighbors together and throw one yourself!
5. Local Church and Community Center Harvest Festivals/Trunk or Treat Parties
As an alternative to scary Halloween parties with decorations and costumes that can be frightening to small children, many community centers and churches opt for more fall or harvest-themed parties. Most are open to the public and some are even fundraisers benefiting great organizations and causes. NW Kidney Kids (10/19), Old Town Forest Grove (10/19), Sunset Hills Memorial Park (10/26), Good Shepherd (10/27), Church on the Hill, Central Christian, Crossroads Community Church, The Branch Christian, Open Bible, Greater Portland Bible, Gladstone Christian Church, Christ Church Parish, and Living Hope are just a few local groups offering festivals this Halloween.
Check on Craig’s List, or call and ask your nearby community centers or churches if they are celebrating this year.
In our small hometown of Forest Grove, Main Street is the best place to trick-or-treat, and nearly all the local families know it! Every October 31st, the sidewalks are jam-packed with adorable princesses and pirates, scary dragons and witches, and every other costume in between. Almost every downtown business participates in handing out candy and goodies before dark. Milwaukie (10/26), Oregon City, Gresham, Alberta Street, and Tigard are just a few of the confirmed towns doing this. Visit some local downtown businesses or call city halls near you and ask if they are participating in something similar.
7. Your Local Library
Many community libraries are offering fun, Halloween and Dia de los Muertos fun for little and big kids alike. Specific events are at various Washington County, Multnomah County, and Clackamas County libraries, but stop in or call yours and ask about specifics.
Other places I’ve heard of doing cool, daylight Halloween events include Portland Farmer’s Market Great Pumpkin at PSU (10/26) Belmont and Mississippi Avenue neighborhoods, a few of the McMenamins pubs, the Oregon Zoo (10/27), and the Children’s Museum (admission purchase may be required).
What about visiting an assisted or senior living facility? Many residents of these places don’t get to see their families very often, and a visit from your little gouls could really brighten up their day!
I hope these give you some good alternatives to going door-to-door in strange neighborhoods with your littles. If you think of other Halloween events for kids, or know of specific places and updated links, please comment below!
Have a fun and safe Halloween!