“Live people ignore the strange and unusual. I myself am strange and unusual.” – Lydia Deetz (Beetlejuice)
From a very young age I was always fascinated with the strange and unusual (it’s really no surprise that one of my favorite movies is Beetlejuice). You bet I was watching every “In Search Of…” rerun and begging my parents for the Time Life Book series, “Mysteries of the Unknown”, among other things. So it was natural that the holiday of Halloween was my absolute favorite.
Halloween was a night where you could be anything or anyone, but also a night where strange and unusual walked hand-in-hand with spooky and paranormal. Every activity surrounding the holiday was fun to me. I was lucky enough to grow up in a smallish town where there was a yearly Halloween carnival that I have yet to see the likes of anywhere else. I would plan at least a few months out what I wanted to be for Halloween. Then there would be pumpkin carving, Halloween art contests in school, the carnival, and of course trick-or-treating the actual night of Halloween.
Pretty much all we get these days for Halloween activities are what people call “Haunted Attractions”–either locations transformed into haunted houses complete with jump-scares and actors in costume running around with disabled chainsaws or the same sort of thing set up in actual haunted locations (which IMO are the worse variety because I feel it’s rather disrespectful to the actual departed souls who may be hanging out there).
When I first moved to where I am now, there was a haunted barn attraction that was actually the best of that type of thing I’d ever been to. I would love to know how the guy who used to run it came to have all the stuff he did because it was definitely cinema-level props. Sadly it disappeared the year after and the barn was torn down. Then for a couple years we knew someone who threw a Halloween party in a loft space downtown, but that was, all-in-all, pretty boring with just a DJ, refreshments and dancing.
So the years went by here with nothing to really do on my favorite holiday besides decorate, carve pumpkins, hand out candy bars to about 4 trick-or-treaters, and watch old horror movies. Last year, I was determined to find something else fun to do, even if it was just by myself.
Oregon, from what I can tell, is a melting pot of unusual and paranormal activity. The oldest operating Inn, which is also supposedly haunted, is about 40 miles from me. Mario and I always talked about booking a night there and it just ended up being one of the many things we talked about, but never did.
So last year, I remembered that Inn and decided to book a room for the night on Halloween Eve. I was a little disappointed I couldn’t rent the “most haunted” room, but I ended up having a fun time by myself. There were clearly some of the “ghost hunting” types there (probably fans of the TV show that also did an episode there), but the place goes all out in decorating for the holiday, has cute rooms and operates a good restaurant in the downstairs. I even met a very friendly black cat in the back courtyard. I did not encounter any ghostly activity that night and all in all, I thought the overall vibe of the place was rather good and nothing like what the aforementioned tv show depicted it to be.
This year, I managed to get the “most haunted” room and will be heading down there on Sunday. Do I believe the place is actually haunted? Perhaps. But more importantly, it’s something a little fun to do on my favorite holiday.