Halloween in Portland in 2020 will look different compared to previous years; sure, there will be masks, but less the superhero kind and more increasingly required kind. The usual costumed Halloween parties at clubs and bars are basically nonexistent this year, with restrictions on crowd sizes throughout the state, 10 p.m. closing times, and hopefully some common sense that jamming into a room full of strangers is a bad call. And the Oregon Health Authority is recommending families avoid traditional trick-or-treating this year, which means kids will have to beg for candy inside the house.
That being said, there’s no reason to cancel Halloween. A few places around town are offering some socially distant and outdoor experiences for the holiday. Other restaurants and bakeries are offering Halloween-themed treats, so Portlanders can enjoy some spooky pastries while watching their favorite horror movies. Whatever the case, there’s still room for treats and fake scares while avoiding the real ones this October 31.
Mississippi Avenue’s bright and chic Stem Wine Bar will host a socially-distanced Halloweekend party on Friday October 30 and Saturday October 31. In addition to live DJs and some Halloween-themed drinks like “Bloody Red Wines” and “Fangria,” the bar will also host a doggy costume contest. Attendees can enter a for a free flight of wine by visiting the wine bar with their costumed pups and posting photos to Instagram stories, tagging @stemwinebarpdx. Entries need to be tagged by 5 p.m. on October 31.
The famed pastry shop and wine bar has been running its dual vending machines Pix-O-Matic for a few months now, with pop-up parties and late night happy hours. On Halloween, Pix-O-Matic will replicate the trick-or-treating experience — the space will be dressed up like a haunted house, the vending machines will be stocked with free candies from 6:30 to 9 p.m. (one treat per person, naturally), and visitors can participate in a costume contest by using the Pix photo booth and tagging @pixpatisserie on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. Winners will receive a $50 box of chocolates.
The crew at the urban winery Hip Chicks is not letting the pandemic get in the way of their annual tradition — pairing Halloween candies with their wines. The tasting includes five wines with five different candies, as well as a sample of sangria. Hip Chicks offers the tastings on October 23 to October 25, as well as October 30 and 31, with reservations required for safety.
Salt and Straw, the Portland ice creamery famous for its long summer lines and inventive flavors, always has something special for the holidays. This year’s flavors include the treat-filled The Great Candycopia, the Chocolate Gooey Brownie with house-made marshmallow, the vegan Mummy’s Pumpkin Spice Potion, and, for the brave, the Creepy Crawly Critters, a matcha ice cream with toffee-brittle mealworms and chocolate crickets — yes, actual critters.
A Korean cafe known for its adorably decorated pastries and coffee drinks, Soro Soro is keeping things cute with its Halloween-themed pastries. Wide-eye mummies decorate matcha pies, grinning jack o’lanterns top pot de creme, and howling ghosts decorate cheesecakes and mini-cakes. The cakes are only available for a limited time, so those looking to enjoy them should order online or stop by.
This cafe and bakery focusing on mini pies has two locations — one with a walk-up window in Montavilla, the other with a cute cafe in Kerns. At both spots the bakery is getting into the spooky season with the Chocula S’cream Pie. The inky black chocolate pies are available from now through the holiday.
A decades-old restaurant with a location on either side of the river, Papa Haydn has been serving cakes and pastries since 1978. This year, its bakers are making some adorably spooky Halloween cookies, including jack o’lanterns, candied apples, ghosts, and monsters. The cookies are only available via pre-order boxes, and can be picked up from either location between October 30 and November 1. All orders must be placed by October 28.
A bakery specializing in custom cakes, cookies, and other treats, Unicorn Bake Shop is serving some holiday specials this year, including bat cookies, pumpkin cookies, and pre-made themed cakes like a spooky Beetlejuice cake. Those thinking for some themed dessert for holiday get-togethers can order ahead of time with custom designs, and anyone who stops by the bakery in costume can enter to win a six-month supply of cupcake samplers.
Nanban, the Japanese comfort food restaurant under the Hawthorne Bridge, is offering $1 Taiyaki treats all day on Halloween. While not exactly “traditional” Halloween cuisine, the Japanese puff pastries are on special that day, and come with options for filling including red kuri squash cheesecake or pumpkin spice.
Vegetarian Jewish deli Ben & Esther’s is taking its traditional deli-style black and white cookies and gussying them up with the holiday spirit. The cookies can be found with Halloween sprinkles, frosting cobwebs and spiders, and frosted googly eyes. Shoppers can stop in to pick up their cookies or preorder boxes with a minimum of six orders by emailing email@example.com. Vegan options are also available, and all orders must be placed by October 27.
A food cart in the rapidly developing John’s Marketplace food cart pod, Penny Cakes offers customizable three-inch cakes, with a large variety of cake, icing, and topping choices. On Halloween weekend, the cart will offer two-packs of cakes decorated with spooky art like candied gravestones and jelly blood.