Much like last year’s Halloween festivities, this year’s are a bit toned down compared to normal. COVID-19 rates are on the decline yet again, and there’s a return to some amount of partying, even in indoor spaces. But for those who would rather take it easy and stay in, or just have some low-key fun, there are options to be had, as well. This list dives into the various ways Portlanders can celebrate Halloween with food and drink, from dessert specials to full-blown events.
Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; the latest data about the delta variant indicates that it may pose a low-to-moderate risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.
The dessert shop branch of Holler Hospitality, the restaurant group behind Holler and Bullard, is offering a number of specials for the season, including ghost cookies, spooky spiderweb cakes, and gummy worm brownies. The treats are available for takeout and in-house orders only.
Stem Wine Bar
This elegant wine bar on Mississippi Avenue has a few things going on for the season: First is a month-long happy hour (Tuesday through Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m. and Fridays from 3 to 6 p.m.), which features discounts on drinks like “Fangria” sangria, dark-red “bloody” wines, and sparkling wines swirling with purple and orange food coloring. Then, Halloweekend will see the Howl-O-Ween doggy costume contest: Every visitor who brings a dog in costume gets a chance to win a gift card.
Salt & Straw
Every year, the creative confectioners at Portland’s iconic ice creamery Salt & Straw come up with something to fit the spookiest holiday. This year, diners can find ice scream flavors like Don Bugito’s Creepy Crawly Critters, a matcha ice cream with toffee-brittle mealworms and chocolate crickets; Jack o’ Lantern Pumpkin Bread with whipped cream frosting; and the candy-filled butterscotch ice cream known as the Great Candycopia. The specials will be available in scoop shops across town through the 31st, and kids in costume under 14 years can get free scoops on Halloween itself.
The elegantly vintage cocktail lounge at the Woodlark Hotel is currently closed for public service, but will host the pop-up cocktail party Zoo Bar for a themed Halloween party the day-of. From 5 p.m. to midnight Sunday, October 31, the lounge will be dressed for a Halloween costume party while Zoo Bar slings cocktails themed for Disney villains — for instance, the Ursula, a gin sour flavored and colored with squid ink syrup. Cover is $25 and tickets are available here.
Pix Patisserie opened its pastry-stocked vending machine last year as a pandemic-era pivot, and it’s been a hit ever since. On Halloween itself, the Pix-O-Matic will be stocked with truffles, mini Fantôme cakes, candy ghosts, and other Halloween treats, and from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., it will be free to stop by and grab one, with a strict limit of one per person. Costumed visitors can head to the Pix-O-Matic photo booth at any time on Halloween and snap some shots to enter the costume contest. All week long, the interior will be decked out as the Catacombs Café, with food and wine specials available.
Bartender Estanislado Orona’s dark and moody cocktail bar is dressed for Halloween year-round, but for the actual holiday it will be going all-out. The basement space —previously a venue when the bar was The Liquor Store and before that, the Blue Monk— will be open for the first time since the pandemic began. The event space, newly christened as The Sïx, will host DJs and dance parties for its inaugural party, as will the upstairs, and the place will be decked out for the holiday. Costumes are strongly encouraged, and proof of vaccination or negative COVID tests are required. Cover is $13 at the door.
Relatively new to the distilling scene — but already well-received for its gin, whiskey, and coffee bourbon — Aimsir Distilling is celebrating its first Halloween with cocktail specials. The list includes a lychee martini with an “eyeball” ice cube, an autumnal gin and tonic with elderflower, and a gummy worm gin drink with strong candy flavors. Also, the distillery will be screening the classic comedy horror film Beetlejuice on Friday, October 22 and Saturday, October 23.
Hip Chicks Do Wine
The urban winery Hip Chicks Do Wine has been running the same Halloween special for years, and it’s always a fun time—visitors can find a special flight of five wines each paired to a Halloween candy. It also includes a taste of the winery’s Halloween Witches Brew Sangria. The pairing is available only on weekends: October 22nd to the 24th, and October 29th to Halloween. Reservations are required and can be made online.
Baker Ghoul Magic
From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Halloween, Baker Ghoul Magic, a pop-up from Mama Dút chef Kachina Williams, will take over the vegan Vietnamese restaurant, selling desserts like a pandan cookies-and-cream dirt-in-a-cup called “graveyard in a cup,” pumpkin cinnamon rolls, and ube whoopie pies. Pre-order by emailing email@example.com with your name, number, and desired order; the menu is available on Instagram.
Reel M Inn
At 1 p.m. on Halloween, this iconic dive bar will host a “pup strut” costume contest for dogs, benefitting Portland dog rescue Stumptown Strays. The bar will be pouring beer and slinging fried chicken and jojos, with prizes for the coolest costumes.