From kid-friendly hay rides to PG-13 haunted houses, Halloween offers tricks and treats for all ages. But not every thrill is right for every costumed ghoul.
Trick-or-treating is excitement enough for many younger kids, while teens and adults may be looking for a scare. Here’s a guide to some age-appropriate Halloween alternatives.
Westfield Vancouver mall provides a family-friendly indoor alternative to the door-to-door nighttime candy hunt. Kids can play at craft stations, and stores will hand out treats to costumed trick-or-treaters. Mall officials ask that children leave toy weapons, masks and face paint at home when they turn out for this free all-ages event, which takes place 4-6 p.m. Oct. 31 at the mall, 8700 N.E. Vancouver Mall Drive. Information: 360-892-6255, westfield.com/vancouver.
Or head outdoors by visiting one of several Clark County pumpkin farms. Pomeroy Living History Farm’s mile-long hay ride is lined with pumpkin-headed scarecrows, and offers a hay bale maze, petting zoo and scarecrow-making opportunities. The farm is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 30, and 1-5 p.m. Oct. 31 at 20902 N.E. Lucia Falls Road, Yacolt. Admission is $5 for adults and $4 for children 3-11 and includes a hay ride. Information: 360-686-3537.
For a wild take on Halloween that doesn’t involve ghouls and monsters, consider a visit to another kind of beast: zoo creatures at Howloween. Children can trick-or-treat at the Oregon Zoo, join in a scavenger hunt and watch animals play with Halloween-themed treats. The festivities take place 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 30-31, but the zoo is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day at 4001 S.W. Canyon Road, Portland. Zoo admission covers all Howloween activities: $10.50; $9 for seniors 65 and older; and $7.50 for children 3-11. Parking is $2. Information: 503-226-1561, oregonzoo.org.
A headless horseman has been spotted galloping through north Clark County. Riders on the Chelatchie Prairie Railroad should be alert, in case the frightening figure chases their train, which offers scenic views during calmer moments. Small kids may be scared by this ride, which departs at 10 a.m., noon and 2:30 p.m. Oct. 30-31 from Chelatchie Prairie Railroad, 207 S. Railroad Ave., Yacolt. Admission: $15; $14 for seniors 60 and older; $10 for children 5-11; $8 for children 2-4; and free for children 1 and younger. Information: 360-686-3559, bycx.com.
If you prefer humor with your frights, consider “The 50th,” a one-act slapstick spoof from Magenta Theater. Zombies chase characters Ashley and Shawn across town as they rush to save Ashley’s grandmother in this humorous show that may scare small children. Shows are at 7 p.m. Oct. 29-31 and 9 p.m. Oct. 29-30 at Magenta Theater, 606 Main St., Vancouver. Tickets $5. Information: 360-635-4358, magentatheater.com.
Watch for frenzied spiders and ghoulish beasts along the Haunting in Glenwood trail. Columbia River High School performing arts students are donning costumes for the event on a 10-acre farm. Children 12 and younger are not permitted without an adult. The frights are outside, so dress for the weather before you go. The Haunting in Glenwood runs 6-10 p.m. Oct. 29-31 at 6600 N.E. 144th St., Vancouver. Admission: $10. Information: 360-576-4421.
Other haunted houses to consider:
• FrightTown’s three Portland haunted houses are filled with gruesome sights, startling moments and risqué presentations that are not appropriate for young children. FrightTown opens at 7 p.m. Oct. 29-31. Admission, $20, covers entry into all three haunted houses, which are in the Exhibit Hall at the Rose Quarter, 300 N. Winning Way, Portland. Information: frighttown.com.
• Scream at the Beach includes nine themed areas, some that are appropriate for younger kids. But many of the haunted attractions are too scary for youngsters, and refunds are not available to visitors who leave early with scared children. The Scream runs 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Oct. 29-31 at Jantzen Beach Supercenter, 1230 Jantzen Beach Center, Portland. Admission: $20, plus $1 for the clown tent maze. Information: 503-258-1782, screamatthebeach.com.
• Cabin Fever Haunted House at Skamania County Fairgrounds cooks up fresh scares. People must be older than 13 or accompanied by an adult to attend. Open from dusk until 11 p.m. through Oct. 31 at 650 S.W. Rock Creek Drive, Stevenson. $5. Information: 509-427-3980, skamaniacounty.org.