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Halloween-themed houses draw locals to the dark side of Gresham, East Multnomah County.

OUTLOOK PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Becky Newman and Troy Crivellone are responsible for Witch Creek Cemetery, one of the most prominent Halloween haunts in East Multnomah County. Crivellone also publishes a local guide to Halloween displays. "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.

OUTLOOK PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Karen Olsen and Scott Tangen's Pumpkin Acres features a darker sense of humor and plenty of LED-lit ghosts and ghouls. "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.

OUTLOOK PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Jack Skellington of A Nightmare Before Christmas is a prominent feature of Pumpkin Acres. "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.

OUTLOOK PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Pumpkin Acres features an elaborate gate and wall comprising 32 separate pieces that bolt together. Behind the wall one can view the demonic glow of Halloween displays. 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.

OUTLOOK PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Karen Olsen and Scott Tangen of Southeast Portland have been showing off their Pumpkin Acres Halloween display for 10 years now. This year, it includes hundreds of pumpkins and an array of frightening apparitions. 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.

OUTLOOK PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Linda and Rick Paz of Troutdale have been entertaining area residents for years with their colorful Halloween and Christmas displays. This year, the retired couple remains as ghoulish as ever as they prepare for trick or treaters.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.

OUTLOOK PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - The Rick and Linda Paz Halloween display off 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."

OUTLOOK PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - A visit to Pumpkin Acres would not be complete without seeing this animatronic doll take off her face.
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:

GRESHAM

OUTLOOK PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - These Dante-esque skeletons are a trademark of Becky Newman's Witch Creek Cemetery Halloween display. • 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

TROUTDALE

• 3610 S.E. Helen Court

• 1722 S.W. Hensley Road

PORTLAND

• The Old Burial Ground — 12537 S.E. Salmon St.

• Pumpkin Acres — 13922 S.E. Schiller St.

• East Ridge Manor — 7828 S.E. 140th Drive

OUTLOOK PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Witch Creek Cemetery, like other Halloween displays, features dark humor on its realistic tombstones.

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