‘SCAREGROUNDS’ haunts Oaks Amusement Park

INCLUDES VIDEO VIGNETTE | See why families from all over outer East Portland are finding they need not travel far for great Hallowe’en fun, thrills, and chills this October, through the spooky night itself …

Going on thrill rides at night at Oaks Amusement Park is perhaps the least scary activity there right now — through the Hallowe’en night.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

The “spirit” of Hallowe’en returned to historic, nonprofit Oaks Amusement Park on October 8. That was opening night for family activities along their midway – and for the premiere performances at the new walk-through, three-part “haunt” called Scaregrounds PDX.

“Last year, Hallowe’en here was totally different – due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. The rides were dark, and the midway was closed. A drive-through haunted attractions was all that was allowed,” recalled Oaks Park Association Marketing and Events Director Emily McKay.

Putting up a banner for the haunted Hallowe’en attractions were Oaks Park Association Marketing and Events Director Emily McKay, and Scaregrounds PDX Marketing Manager Estelle Fulmor.

“This is the first fully-produced, walk-through haunted houses we’ve had here in 15 years!” McKay told East Portland News. “And, during our regular season, the park closed at 7 p.m., so guests missed seeing the midway illuminated with the dazzling lighting on our rides, that one can now see here after the sun sets during October.”

Take a tour of The Oaks, Hallowe’en style!
Watch this Video Vignette!

Trick-or-Treating along the midway
For families with children too young to appreciate the major thrill rides that The Oaks offers – or are too timid to go through the Scaregrounds PDX attraction – the park offers trick-or-treating along the midway.

Making sure little kids do get candy when they go trick-or-treating along the Oaks Park midway are Games Supervisor Matt Stanger and Games Manager Cookie Safar.

“For the first time, when parents bring their kids for any of the carnival games or arcades, here along the midway, they can also trick-or-treat for candy,” pointed out The Oaks Games Manager Cookie Safar, who joined us on the midway.

“You don’t have to play our games to get free candy from our booths,” say carnival games staffers Nathania Gonzalez and Amelia Haas — both of whom are Cleveland High School juniors.

“It’s free; they don’t have to play the carnival games – they just walk up, and get a piece of candy! One per child, per booth, and also at the Gift Shop and Mini Golf shack,” Safar informed.

On the days the park is open, family trick-or-treating for kids age 12 and under is from 3 until 7 p.m.

“We decided to do this because we’re so glad to be open this season. This is our way of giving back to our community, for all the wonderful support from families this season,” explained Safar.

Come for a free ride on the Oaks Amusement Park’s historic carousel.

Free rides continue
“And also, we’re continuing our season-long “thank you” to our community by offering free rides on the Oaks Park Train, and famous, historic 1912 Herschell-Spillman hand-carved menagerie carousel,” Safar pointed out.

It’s not haunted (as far as we know), but a nighttime ride on AtmosFEAR can be VERY scary!

“And, as Emily noted, for those who didn’t get the opportunity to ride our spectacular attractions, such as AtmosFEAR, this summer – now’s the time to step up and take a ride, if you dare!” she said with an impish grin.

Be entertained – or get terrified
Many thought that the innovative Hallowe’en Drive-Through haunting attraction there last year, created by Vendetta Productions, was the best in town, during the height of the pandemic.

Alex Fulmor, owner of Vendetta Productions and Scaregrounds PDX says they’re ready to entertain everyone – who dares come into their haunts.

As MacKay observed, this year the sinister staff of that haunted attraction company is back at The Oaks, this time with their full-blown Scaregrounds PDX walk-through haunted attraction.

“For 2021 we have three attractions. The first one is the Grimthorne Haunted Manor, a classic ghost and monster story,” said ghoul-master-in-chief Alex Fulmor.

Freaks, creeps and mutants run amuck in Scaregrounds PDX this year.

“Then, we have EViLUTION, which is a ‘mutant monster’ invasion; and finally, and maybe the most creepy, is The Condemned, a compound filled with mutant cannibals.

“We have 35 cast members every evening in our haunts, plus five walk-around characters to work the midway, and a crew of volunteers round out our haunters each evening that we’re open.

“The best part, for me, is seeing it all come together! Our actors scaring people as they walk through the hunts – scaring the daylights out of them, and helping them have lots of good Hallowe’en fun,” grinned Fulmor, as he swung open the gates for the first evening of the season.

The cast of Scaregrounds PDX heads to their haunts, ready to start the scaring season.

All this, and fireworks, too, on Hallowe’en night
To wrap up the season, Oaks Amusement Park is sponsoring a fireworks display on Hallowe’en, October 31, along the Willamette River.

Emily MacKay rejoined us as we concluded our tour, and remarked, “It has been a difficult couple of years, but Portland’s support of Oaks Park has ensured that we’ll continue to be the place ‘Where the fun never ends’ for years to come – and, with the fireworks show, we’ll close the season with a bang!”

The midway, rides, and Scaregrounds PDX are open weekends during October, and every night in the last week of the month. For open dates, operating times, prices, safety information – and to save money by purchasing tickets in advance CLICK HERE to open the official Oaks Amusement Park webpage.

© 2021 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™

 

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