: Cavan Images / Alamy Stock Photo

Oregon’s Spooky Spots

September 20, 2021

In Oregon, you don’t have to wait until Halloween to celebrate haunted tales and mysterious phenomena — you can do that to your heart’s delight all year-round. You can revel in kitschy costumes at a themed cocktail bar, take underground tours full of sordid history, and visit the real-life backdrops of Twilight and favorite TV shows. Oregon is home to plenty of destination-worthy haunted spots; here are more uniquely spooky spots around the state that are ready to welcome you for a frighteningly good time. 

Sip a Spooky Cocktail

If you’re looking for a ghoulish night on the town with a themed cocktail in hand, you’re in luck. Downtown Portland’s Raven’s Manor, a haunted-themed cocktail bar, brings the fictitious world of mad Dr. Raven and his human experimentations to life. Stop in to try any of the “deadly tonics” and “eerie elixirs,” like the Lingering Shadow cocktail made with fired absinthe, creme de violet, cherries and Champagne — and nosh on some tombstone tacos. Or dial your evening up a notch by taking a spook-filled mixology class. Book a reservation for Dr. Raven’s Elixir Experience to learn how to concoct two ghastly cocktails alongside a phantom of the manor.

A foggy forest
Scenes from Twilight were filmed at Silver Falls State Park. Fans can visit year-round to spot their favorite backdrops. (Photo by Cavan Images / Alamy Stock Photo)

Step Onto a Ghoulish Set

If you’re a scary-movie fanatic or are enamored with TV shows that depict the otherworldly, it’s easy to geek out to some of the locations that brought those hair-raising scenes to life. Oregon is filled with famous film locations, including those of the Twilight Saga series, whose beginnings as pages in top-selling books transformed into blockbuster movies thanks to several film locations in Oregon. St. Helens, for example, was the real-life stand-in for the movie’s Port Angeles. And Silver Falls State Park was the backdrop for several iconic scenes, including Bella and Edward in the treetops.

Fans of Grimm, the Portland-based TV series featuring a detective defending his city from magical creatures, will recognize many of the real-life locations. The 5,200 acres of moss-covered tree trunks in Forest Park reminded producers of the Black Forest in Brothers Grimm fairy tales. Get into the spirit by visiting some of the various episodes’ iconic film locations around the Rose City, including the St. Johns Bridge, Hotel deLuxe and Helvetia Tavern.

Head Underground

For some, there’s nothing quite as unsettling as plunging deep below the ground — that is where many are laid to rest, after all. This creepy, below-the-surface experience is readily available at Pendleton Underground Tours. Along with providing an eerie perspective of the Eastern Oregon town, guides tell the story of Pendleton’s red-light district, which dives into the city’s murky past of gambling, prostitution and Chinese opium dens. On the Oregon Coast, you can explore the abandoned tunnel system beneath the streets of Astoria on the Astoria Underground Tour. The self-guided tour is filled with thrills and surprises as you unearth the history — and mystery — of a subterranean maze. 

A lighthouse sits on a rock out in the ocean
Visitors can spy the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse offshore from Ecola State Park and imagine its haunted past. (Photo by Christian Heeb)

Spy Terrible Tilly

Lighthouses along the Oregon Coast draw visitors for their unique architecture, sweeping views and intriguing history. But one lighthouse in particular has become the focus of local sea lore worthy of a few ghost stories around an Oregon Coast campfire. Terrible Tilly, formally known as Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, sits on a basalt rock off the coast of Ecola State Park. Bruised and battered by violent waves, the lighthouse is believed by some to be haunted, and with good reason: It has witnessed ravaging seas, shipwrecks and lives swept out to sea. The crew charged with erecting the lighthouse was at one point stranded on its shores for weeks. 

Explore This Hospital’s Chilling Past

Revisiting a place with a chilling past carries with it an experience that can get under your skin. The stories told at the Oregon State Hospital Museum in Salem will give you that fright. Located in the oldest building on the Oregon State Hospital campus in the original Oregon Insane Asylum facility, you can peer into the disturbing past of mental health diagnosis and treatment. Adding to Oregon’s scary-movie film locales, this site was also used as the set for the Academy Award-winning “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” The museum includes artifacts as well as the hospital’s farms, workshops, tunnels and wards. Be warned: The truth may keep you up at night.

A large pumpkin sits in front of a courthouse
Halloweentown in St. Helens is an annual family-friendly celebration of all things ghostly. (Photo by Crystal King)

Visit Oregon’s Halloweentown

While there are many places to ring in Halloween, there is arguably no better Oregon town to visit on the Oct. 31 holiday than St. Helens. In addition to being a magnet for Twilight fans, the town is also known for its annual Spirit of Halloweentown celebration. For more than a month each fall, the town turns its streets into a citywide celebration. Take a self-guided walking tour, visit a haunted hotel or get a tarot card reading. The courthouse plaza becomes home to a giant pumpkin that stays lit throughout the festivities. With a variety of weekday and weekend events and attractions, there’s something for everyone in the whole family.

About The

Emily Gillespie
Emily Gillespie is a travel writer whose work has appeared in the Washington Post, CNN Travel and Afar magazine. She’s lived in three of Oregon’s seven regions, currently calling Portland home. She and her husband look for every opportunity to hike to a view, bike through wine country and eat their way through a new city.

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