Check out these neighborhood scares
"I like to be scared."
Fog coils around Becky Newman, a bat-embellished orange scarf the only hint of color in her jet-black attire. Behind her, a boardwalk bridge leads to the facade of her homemade haunted house.
Tombstones protrude like broken teeth. Grim statuary keep the night watch.
"I feel pretty lame over here," yells a neighbor, skulking past her single plastic pumpkin.
Newman, the proprietor of Witch Creek Cemetery, at 2886 N.E. 22nd Court in Gresham, represents just one of the dozens of devilish domiciles popping up across East Multnomah County in anticipation of Halloween.
Patrons of Newman's terrifying tour — which runs from dusk to 10 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 27, through Halloween night — can certainly expect a few surprises and things that go bump in the night.But the littlest trick-or-treaters will get flashlights, and nobody walks away without a bag of candy. In fact, a peak into Gresham's creepy underbelly shows that members embrace scares while mostly avoiding the gore found in today's horror movies.
"It's like a sickness, and there's no cure for it. There's no vaccine for the Halloween bug," warns Newman, 47, who works as a daycare provider. "I like the serious side of Halloween. The dark side."
Beside her stands Troy Crivellone, a master of the macabre and local linchpin for the "haunter" community, as the cabal calls itself. The 35-year-old shipping manager who runs the Northwest Haunters Association updates a haunting map that spans six states. He operates Northwest Terror Tour, which showcases the best of the bunch.
Haunters are a tight-knit family, Crivellone explains, attending "make-n-takes" where members swap tips for wiring LEDs or aging styrofoam grave markers with a wire brush. There's also an annual convention at the DoubleTree hotel in Portland, planned this year for April 13 to 15.
His family is moving into a new house, so Crivellone took a break from haunting this year. His kids — who are accustomed to dispensing scares, not demanding sweets — will have to make do with a "normal" Halloween. But not for long.
"When I was looking for a (new home), it was like, 'We can put the pool here, and the graveyard over there,'" he says.
Just then, Crivellone's two children run up bearing sugar cookies shaped like a coffin and other eldritch objects. They were delicious, one news reporter can attest.Other haunters take an analytical approach, like Scott Tangen of Pumpkin Acres at 13922 S.E. Schiller St., just west of Powell Butte.
Tangen, 53, rattles off the specs of his three fog machines, four stereos, six 100-watt floodlights and 200-plus pumpkins.
Then there's the eight 10- and 14-foot hand-crafted arachnids nestled in the eaves. Their legs, Tangen reveals, are actually disguised swimming noodles. Their bodies are sculpted foam.
"Ninety percent (of the decorations) are in the garage on Nov. 1," he notes, "because Nov. 2 we start stringing up Christmas lights."
Scott and his partner, Karen Olson, 48, both work as X-ray technicians for Precision Castparts in Portland. They try to spend no more than $500 a year on the creepy collection, which also includes animatronic dolls, woolen webs and faux animal skeletons.
Hair-raising runs in the family. When Scott's daughter, Christina, was preparing to tie the knot, she wanted a "The Nightmare Before Christmas" themed wedding. Now several mannequin characters from the stop-motion classic by Tim Burton adorn the house.Of course, no overview of residents' Halloween houses would be complete without a stop at Linda and Rick Paz' home at 11722 S.W. Hensley Road in Troutdale.
The retired couple — both of them are 73 — have been featured before in The Outlook pages. This year, they're outdone themselves with an array that includes inflatable pumpkins, a witches' hut, spiders, a mad scientist and scarecrows all over.
Inside their home, strands of holiday lights run through the tasteful displays of keepsake dolls, antiques and plush ghosts.
"I've been collecting for quite a few years," Linda concedes. "Hubby — he just goes to the 90 percent off sales (the day) afterwards."
Time to get spooky
Dozens of Gresham and East Portland homes will be decked out on All Hallow's Eve.
Here's a list of paranormal houses compiled by local haunter Scott Tangen:
• Witch Creek — 2886 N.E. 22nd Court — Open Oct. 27-31
• 2137 N.W. 16th St.
• Rockwood Rot — 922 S.E. 179th Ave.
• Maple Shade Cemetery — Southeast Ninth Street and Liberty Avenue
• Dead End Stakes — 28 N.E. 219th Lane
• 3610 S.E. Helen Court
• 1722 S.W. Hensley Road
• The Old Burial Ground — 12537 S.E. Salmon St.
• Pumpkin Acres — 13922 S.E. Schiller St.
• East Ridge Manor — 7828 S.E. 140th Drive