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8 ways to find your Halloween spirit in Bend

A child cuts a pumpkin from the vine near Bend, Oregon.

Halloween’s nearly here, and you know what that means? Time to hunt for your holiday spirit! 

Bend’s got gobs of spooktacular ways to gear up for the final night of October. From pumpkin patches to hatchet flinging, here are 8 freakishly fun ways to get your Halloween groove going in Bend.

Group gathers in Drake Park for a ghost tour in Bend, Oregon.

Families gather for their spooky tour of Bend haunts in Drake Park.

Get ghosted

When Bend Ghost Tours drifted into our organized tour scene last year, I booked one faster than you can say “boo.” Packed with spine-tingling tales from Bend’s history, their typical offerings take you on a walking tour through Downtown Bend with stops at familiar haunts. With these standard tours, you get plenty of goosebumps and tales of ghost-sightings and eerie events around town.

New this October, they’re offering a new tour called Light on Frights. Scheduled for the final two weekends of October, these outings last about the same time as a regular tour (75 minutes) but fall more in the realm of “spooky” instead of “scary.” They’re perfect for families with kids 5 and up, with storytelling, history, friendly ghosts, dancing, and more.

Spots will fill quickly for this limited-time, family-friendly tour, so schedule online to find a time that works for you.

Creepy Dolls on display at the Deschutes History Center in Bend, Oregon.

Dolls from locals’ beloved collections have made their way to the museum.

Someone’s sleeping with creepy dolls…

When Deschutes Historical Museum announced its Creepiest Doll Contest, I was overcome by the sort of maniacal laughter that…well, you might expect to emanate from one of these dolls. Seriously, scope out the pics. They’re freaky as heck.

And they’re also historical, with each freakish coming from someone’s beloved collection to make its way to the museum. Vote for your freaky fave as many times as you like, then take the creep factor up a notch. 

Once the winner gets announced on Halloween night, Bend musician Mark Quon will attempt to spend the entire night in the museum alone with the dolls and with the museum’s resident ghosts. It’s part of a livestream-a-thon fundraiser that will be broadcast live on the museum’s Facebook page. You can pledge a donation as you tune in for scary stories, live music, and local lore (with perhaps a panicked scream thrown in for good measure.)

Fright Night at the Museum with Mark Quon will livestream at the top of each hour beginning Halloween night at 8 p.m. until 1 a.m with a breakfast check-in at 8 a.m. Don’t miss it!


Set a fall-inspired spa date

Want to treat yourself to something besides Tootsie Rolls and infuriatingly small candy bars?

Fall’s a great time to pamper your skin as it adjusts to autumn’s dry, chilly temps. At Radiant Day Spa in Bend’s Old Mill District, chill in their relaxation room overlooking the river and enjoy the fall colors while you wait for your massage or facial. Then embrace fall’s bounty by tacking on a pumpkin latte hydration masque to their Radiant Custom Facial or Royal Treatment. You can also select from an array of doTerra aromatherapy oils to infuse any massage treatment with your chosen fall fragrance.

At Bella Nuova day spa, their autumn special spotlights pomegranate instead of pumpkin. Now’s the time to schedule a Pomegranate Cider Facial featuring pomegranate enzyme with a vanilla clove hydrating mask for the ultimate autumn treat. Following my oh-so-blissful treatment earlier this week, I strolled straight out the door, across Newport Avenue, and over the footbridge into Drake Park where I kicked through bright fall leaves in the ultimate celebration of autumn.

Can’t make it there in-person right now? To celebrate the season, Bella Nuova is offering free shipping throughout October for anything in their online catalogue. 

If you want to support another Bend-based beauty business, AOS (that’s Angelina Organic Skincare) just rolled out a line of limited-availability perfume oils. I’m currently obsessed with the cardamom vanilla, which smells exactly like an Ocean Roll from Sparrow Bakery.

Can’t decide among all those awesome treats? Better go ahead and do it all. You deserve it, right?

Drink dead beer

Bend Ale Trail Month happens each November with tons of great prizes motivating you to make the rounds to Bend breweries. This year, the celebration kicks off early with a special October event.

On Saturday, October 29, Beers from the Dead launches Bend Ale Trail Month by bringing classic Oregon microbrews back from the grave.

See, lots of Bend breweries began decades ago with beers they’ve long since retired. But for one special day, they’re resurrecting the recipes for you to try between noon and 6 p.m. on October 29 at Midtown Yacht Club. 

No ticket is required, and all beers can be purchased a la carte in full or half-pints. Best of all, the first 200 customers will get a free Bend Ale Trail passport and a Beers of the Dead pint glass. 

It’s a family-friendly event with free pumpkin painting and treats for kids, plus a portion of the proceeds will go to the Bend Sustainability Fund

Wondering what’s on tap? You’ll have a chance to taste Cascade Golden Ale, which was Deschutes Brewery’s debut release born in 1986. McMenamins is resurrecting their Mars Ale, a 1985 pastry stout they crafted 30 years before the term “pastry stout” was even a thing. Boneyard Beer is bringing Black 13 back from the dead, while Silver Moon Brewing resuscitates Voodoo Dog India Red Ale. Plenty more beers are in the lineup, so show up early to try them all.

A child cuts a pumpkin from the vine near Bend, Oregon.

Pick the perfect pumpkin right off the vine at Smith Rock Ranch.

Pick a pumpkin

It’s that time of year when several Central Oregon ranches transform into Halloween wonderlands, with pumpkin picking just the tip of the freaky-fun iceberg. While most of these Halloween hotspots are out toward Terrebonne, that’s a great excuse to visit breweries in the Bend Ale Trail’s Far North Territory, or maybe do a hike at Steelhead Falls.

At Smith Rock Ranch, their on-site pumpkin patch is free to enter, though you’ll pay based on size to take one home. They also offer activities including a shooting gallery, pumpkin cannon, pony rides, face painting, zoo train, wagon rides, live music, and more. Their legendary corn maize has a Flintstones theme this year, so plan extra time for exploring. 

Just a small drive from there, you’ll find the DD Ranch Pumpkin Patch. This year’s activity lineup includes pony rides, a petting zoo, hayrides to feed the cattle herd, a kids’ korral hay maze and play structure, pedal GoKarts, and a cowboy arcade with archery, BB guns, and a giant slingshot. There’s also a u-pick pumpkin patch with free entry and a pay-by-diameter pricing structure for any you take home.

Parent tip: If you make this a Halloween tradition, there will come a time when your kiddos tell you they’re “too old” for pumpkin cannons and pony rides. Swallow that bitty bit of heartbreak and be patient. Two days ago, my now-21-year-old texted our family group chat begging to return to the tradition we ceased during those too-cool-for-school years. The giddy 16-year-old replied “YESSS!” and that’s how we find ourselves heading for the pumpkin patch tomorrow for some nostalgic family fun.

A group plays laser tag in Bend, Oregon.

Immerse yourself in a VR world of zombie-slaying fun.

Slay some zombies

While I don’t suggest running through Bend streets with a zombie-slaying AK-47 strapped to your chest, get the closest thing at Zero Latency Bend. It’s a free-roam virtual reality experience that leaves you utterly convinced you’re fighting zombies like a champ.

My first visit here blew me away with how realistic it seems. Participants get geared up with roughly $6,000 worth of equipment, including headset, goggles, microphone, and a wireless backpack containing all your techy goods. The system basically takes over all your senses from hearing to sight, and you’ll spend 30 breathless minutes racing around utterly convinced you’re saving humanity from zombie invasion. 

Real talk for a sec, guys: This business is struggling a bit to keep up its lease. Now’s the time to book that corporate event or family bonding adventure, and to make it easier, they’re doing discount days throughout October. On Wednesdays and Thursdays, you pay just $35 per person for your zombie slaying experience. Friday through Sunday is $45 a person, but enter the discount code “nm5off” when you book online and get $5 off per ticket.

Oh, and did I mention these guys love Halloween? Swing by this month to scope out their truly epic seasonal decor!

A group prepares to throw axes at a business in Bend, Oregon.

There is no better way to celebrate Bend’s logging history than with a little hatchet throwing contest.

Embrace your inner ax murderer

Er, I feel like I should to start this with a disclaimer that you should absolutely not visit Unofficial Logging Company if you have any real murderous inclinations. Seek help immediately, okay?

But if you’re just looking to throw some hatchets at a target to kinda-sorta pretend you’re hacking the face off an enemy, there’s no better place to do it than Bend’s premier hatchet throwing bar and restaurant. 

Their large space is great for big groups with 18 rotating taps and tasty food ranging from wings to burgers to their mouthwatering chicken and waffle sando.

Get personalized coaching from the staff to have you sinking bullseyes in no time. It’s tons of fun, and makes a truly unique family activity. 

But if I catch you humming the theme from “Lizzie Borden Took an Ax,” we may need to have a talk.

Event Poster from Out Central Oregon.

The event calendar is filled with spooky themed events happening all across Bend.

Did someone say party?

No Halloween season is complete without a party or two, so scan our Event Calendar to see what’s going down this year.

On Saturday, October 22, Out Central Oregon is offering a Halloween Youth Night geared toward LGBTQIA2S+ friends. There’s music by DJ EYEMC, drinks from Spork, and tons of fun going down from 6-9 p.m. at the Boys & Girls Club. Go here to RSVP. 

The following weekend, swing by McMenamins St. Francis on Saturday, October 29 for a Halloween bash themed for the “Decadent ‘80s.” The party kicks off at 8 p.m. with live music happening all around the property. The cost is $10 at the door for this 21 and older event, and you can learn more on their event calendar.

Now get out there and get your ghoulish vibe going!

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