Do You Like Disney’s ‘Halloweentown’? Then You’ll Love This Oregon City That Becomes ‘Halloweentown’ Every October

Are you a fan of the 1998 Disney Channel classic movie Halloweentown? Then clear your schedule, because the city of St. Helens, Oregon — where parts of the movie were filmed — transforms itself into Halloweentown every October, and things kick off this coming weekend.

For those not familiar, the original Halloweentown was a Disney Channel original movie starring Kimberly J. Brown as Marnie Piper, a 13-year-old witch who doesn’t know she’s a witch. She and her brother run away to Halloweentown, a city where ghosts, ghouls, and goblins are real and live among regular people. Marnie outwits a villain, embraces her true destiny, and then returns home to the mortal world.

The movie spawned three sequels and, almost 20 years after its original release, still remains one of the most popular original Disney Channel movies.

A few years ago, the town of St. Helens, Oregon (population: about 13,000) decided to capitalize on its claim to fame and embrace its role as the unofficial/official Halloweentown. What began as a one-day children’s fair and parade has now transformed into a month-long party that brings tens of thousands of tourists over the course of a month, according to The St. Helens Chronicle.

Though the “Spirit of Halloweentown” officially lasts the entire month of October, this coming weekend, which officially kicks off the month-long festival, is the high point.

Marnie herself — that is, actress Kimberly J. Brown, who is now an adult woman — is the emcee and the unofficial Queen of Halloweentown. She kicks things off by lighting the Great Pumpkin in the town square, and is on hand for a multiple meet & greets, a cocktail party, as well as readings of her latest book.

Beyond the first weekend, other activities scheduled for the month of October include the Creatures on the Catwalk costume contest; the Very Very Very Good variety show (“a true variety show with artful dancers, magic, songs, awesome performers and a story that you will want to come back to scare yourself silly all over again”); the Nightmare on Main Street Haunted House; and, new to this year, the Bonfires and Bones Goth Extravaganza at the Waterfront (“eat, drink & dance the night away in a setting unlike any other. Costume contest, door prizes and more fun than a grave full of clowns. Get mesmerized by the GIANT fire. Lots of deathly things being planned.”

Another popular attraction harkens back to a much-loved scene in Halloweentown. Those who have seen the movie may remember the scene where Marnie and her brother, Dylan, ride in a cab driven by cantankerous skeleton Benny. Though you can’t go for a ride with a driving skeleton, you can pose for pictures with Marnie in a cab done up to resemble the one from the movie.

Other Halloween-y celebrities making an appearance this year include Emma Caulfield — aka Anya from Buffy the Vampire Slayer — and Nicholas Brendon — aka Xander from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

When you’re not taking in special events, you can just relax and take in the Halloween-ness of it all. The quaint seaside town, about 30 miles from Portland, pulls out all of the stops for Halloween, with just about every house, shop, and other building dressed to the nines in honor of the holiday.

The “Spirit of Halloweentown” event in St. Helens, Oregon, began on October 1 and will run through October 31.

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