News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Alternative Halloween activities

What to do this Halloween, without normal trick-or-treating, parades, or firehouse fun? The following are considered low- to moderate-risk in terms of Covid, except where noted:

Socially Distanced Trick-or-Treat

Public health experts say no to regular trick-or-treating. If you must indulge in the traditional sweets-fest, try “one-way trick-or-treating where individually wrapped goodie bags are lined up for families to grab and go while continuing to social distance (such as at the end of a driveway or at the edge of a yard).” No to trunk-or-treats, incidentally. If you’re preparing bags, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after.

Drive-Thru Halloween at The Lodge in Sisters

On October 31, families can drive through the front entrance area of The Lodge in Sisters, just across from the post office. From 1 to 3 p.m., The Lodge will “provide a safe experience” and hand out treats;

Online Costume Sharing

One local family plans to make their own costumes, then upload photos for their church’s costume contest. Second-grader Ophelia will be dressing up as Ursula the sea witch; her brother Max, in 5th grade, will transform into a refrigerator. Kids ages 0-12 can also send in photos to win prizes at

Blue Moon Howl

As storyteller Susan Strauss recently shared with local kids in a beautiful performance, wolves were heroes and helpers in the old stories. This Halloween, a full Blue Moon illuminates the night. When the moon becomes clearly visible around 7 p.m., step outside and howl like a wolf! Six feet away from the other wolves, of course.

Cozy Halloween at Home

“We are going to play a sort of spooky game called ‘Mysterium’ and make some fun Halloween recipes the evening of,” says Sisters mom Nicole. Her family plans to carve pumpkins a few days before. Other families plan to watch scary movies, decorate their homes, and make their own Halloween music videos to share with relatives.

Library Activities

Grab a Creepy Craft kit at Deschutes Public Library starting at 10 a.m. on Saturdays in October — including Halloween Day. Kits available while supplies last. On October 31 at 10 a.m., wear your costume for an online Halloween Story Time for ages 0 to 5 at Join community librarians for Halloween songs, rhymes, stories and fun.

Celebrate the Ancestors

Many contemporary Halloween themes derive from Gaelic culture, which calls this time of year Samhain (pronounced SAW-wenn).

Some believe you should stay indoors on All Hallow’s Eve or the Sídhe might kidnap you.

During Samhain, the veil between the worlds is thin, they say — a good time to honor those who have come before us.

Say a prayer or blessing.

Assemble an altar of photos, meaningful objects, poems, and candles celebrating friends, family, and ancestors who have passed.

Mexican culture’s famed Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) occurs on November 1, also known as All Souls’ Day or All Saints’ Day.

People of Mexican ancestry often set up ofrendas to departed souls, adorned with sugar skulls, photos, food, drink, copal incense, and other traditional items.

Modified Costume Parade

With a handful of friends, plan an open-air costume parade with safe social distance. Make sure people wear protective masks — you can buy or decorate them to be part of a costume. Oregon Health Authority notes that costume masks are no substitute for COVID-safe masks.

“If screaming will likely occur, greater distancing is advised,” says OHA.

DD Ranch

Folks in Sisters know DD Ranch for their grass-finished beef. This time of year, the Terrebonne ranch also offers pumpkin patch fun, hay maze, hay rides*, petting zoo, pony rides, and the DD Dirt Express Train*. The cowboy arcade features a BB gun range, giant slingshot, and archery. Pumpkin patch is open daily. Other activities are open weekends, along with beer garden, food booths, and vendor booths selling local goods. Free entry. Activity tickets start at $2.50. Info at

Smith Rock Ranch

A working farm in Terrebonne producing seeds, wheat, hay, pumpkins, and squash, Smith Rock Ranch looks more like a carnival this time of year.

Genuine corn maze, pumpkin patch, petting zoo, pony rides, carriage horse rides*, food booths, safari tractor ride*, and mini golf are among the offerings.

A pumpkin cannon lets folks splat squashes at a battered old truck.

(Note: On a recent visit, social distancing, masks, and disinfecting appeared to be observed only roughly.) Ticket required; online reservation recommended.

Entry fee of $30 includes admission to The Maize plus five activity tickets.

Information available at

Crescent Moon Ranch

Heading out to the Terrebonne pumpkin patches? Stop by the alpaca farm north of the turnoff to Smith Rock on Highway 97. Feed alpacas in the field, then peruse alpaca-wool yarns and hats and mittens in their boutique, built in an antique potato cellar. Learn more at

* Going on hayrides or tractor rides with people who are not in your household are considered high risk by Oregon Health Authority.


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