Clackamas County gets ready for Halloween
As home to some of the oldest structures still standing west of the Mississippi River, Clackamas County has some of the most haunted attractions in America, which can get extra spooky around Halloween.
This summer Rocky Smith Jr. opened his Haunted Oregon City Gallery at 819 Main St., featuring books about local and national haunts. Smith, who has run Northwest Ghost Tours for over eight years in the metro area, is nationally known for organizing the Ghost Conference, which will celebrate its eighth year March 29-31 in Seaside. For Halloween, he is taking reservations for nightly tours on weekends and throughout the latter half of October.
Meanwhile, internationally recognized Halloween props experts Jeff and Chris Davis are once again opening their popular Halloween yard display at their home in Milwaukie.
The couple have been turning their property at Southeast Johnson Creek Boulevard and 43rd Avenue into a faux graveyard full of Styrofoam elements for nearly 20 years.
About a dozen years ago, the Davises ramped up their Halloween attraction with a crew of about six to help with decorating, media promotions, hosting the Home Haunters Video Awards, and volunteering to run the West Coast Haunters Convention.
Last, but not least, on the list of top haunted attractions in Clackamas County is reportedly the only year-round Halloween and weird collectibles store in the Pacific Northwest.
Ghoul Gallery is celebrating five years at 619 Main St. after being online for 23 years. Its brick-and-mortar store attracts people from across the nation to Oregon City.
Clackamas County's leaders in the spooky department have many events planned to entertain citizens this Halloween season.
Northwest Ghost Tours and Ghoul Gallery are joining forces for Clackamas County's Spooktacularly Decorated Home Haunt competition. Prizes include a downtown Oregon City Ghost Tour for 10 or gift certificates to Ghoul Gallery.
For information, entry form and rules, visit GhoulGallery.com. Nominations are being accepted through Oct. 14. Judging will take place the week of Oct. 21, with winners announced Oct. 27. For more information on Smith's tours and his gallery, visit HauntedOregonCity.com.
The Davis Graveyard is open from dusk to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, and lights are combined with effects (sound, video, fog and animations) until 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and until 10 p.m. Sundays at 8703 S.E. 43rd Ave., Milwaukie.
An open house will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct 14. The Davises teach classes at their home on how to build Styrofoam displays. For more information, visit Davisgraveyard.com.
The Davises are involved each year in a scarecrow contest in front of the historic Milwaukie City Hall, which they help decorate for Halloween.
Milwaukie Arts Committee members invite the community to create scarecrows. Winners of the design contest, which are selected from three categories at the First Friday event on Milwaukie's Main Street on Oct. 5, will receive gift cards to local businesses.
Ghoul Gallery owner Tom Geil is bringing back the popular "Nightmare on Main Street — A Gathering of Ghouls," from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday Oct. 13, and Sunday, Oct. 14, on the sidewalk outside 619 Main St., as well as in the parking lot next door.
Each year, hearse drivers from the Coffin Cruisers Hearse Club and the Driven Dead Car Club appear for the annual Doom and Gloom car show. The event features a scarecrow contest, local artists selling their creative crafts and tarot-card readings.
"With the popularity of painted rocks, Ghoul Gallery is again featuring a rock-painting contest in conjunction with the scarecrow contest," Geil said. "Paint it, rhinestone it, even feather it — whatever you do — just make it in the theme of Halloween."
Prizes for both contests include gift certificates to various downtown restaurants and Ghoul Gallery. For contest information and entry form, visit ghoulgallery.com/Rules-EntryForm.pdf.
Everything in the store will be at least 10 percent off with a purchase of $25 of more Oct. 13-14. Geil regularly attends haunted trade shows in Atlanta, Dallas and Las Vegas — among other destinations — to select items not typically found in big-box stores.
His "Not Made in China" gallery invites artists from across the U.S. to show their spookiest work.
How about Halloween itself? Mark your calendar and plan your costume for 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31, when downtown Oregon City businesses host what is easily the largest trick-or-treating event in Clackamas County, with thousands of participants and tens of thousands of pounds of candy given away to anyone who dresses in costume.