Not Only Is 'Halloweentown' The Perfect Halloween Movie, You Can Visit IRL, Too
Anyone who's seen it can attest to the fact that Halloweentown is great. (And if you haven’t seen it, we strongly recommend you check it out on Disney+.) Since the Disney Channel Original Movie first aired in 1998, the seasonal favorite has become nothing short of a classic, mainly because the movie takes a novel approach to the usual creepy-crawlies and blood-and-guts of most All Hallow's Eve-themed films. It's actually a feel-good story about a place where it's October 31 24/7, 365 days a year. Like other Halloween movies for kids, it mixes a tiny bit of creepiness with a whole lot of heart.
What you may not know is that you can visit Halloweentown for real. The movie was filmed in the small town of St. Helens, OR, and the community has embraced their place in film history and popular culture. Every year for Halloween, the people of St. Helens recreate the atmosphere of the film and hold a festival celebrating both the holiday and the movie that made the town famous.
In 2018, they decided to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Halloweentown with even more festivities, including a Festival of the Fairies. Let's take a tour of St. Helens, OR, and its Halloweentown revelry.
The Spirit Of Halloweentown Draws A Lot Of Visitors
If you think that St. Helens' Halloweentown brouhaha is only a small town festival that draws a couple hundred locals, you couldn't be more wrong. On a single October night, the celebration can pull in as many as 10,000 visitors - a tribute both to local spirit and the enduring appeal of the Disney film.
There's A Haunted House
While the movie wasn't really anyone's idea of scary, it did have its share of witches and magic and lighthearted devilishness. So, it should come as no surprise that St. Helens hosts a haunted house every year for its Halloweentown festival.
But since there's both a grown-up version and a kid's version, we can safely assume that the haunted house, called the CMC Scare Factory, is far scarier than the original movie. They even warn you that the house isn't safe for those who have asthma, heart conditions, seizures, or any type of mental, physical, or respiratory issues.
There's A Ghostly Walk Around Town
What would Halloweentown be without at least a few ghosts? Every evening, you can stroll along the streets of downtown St. Helens and watch specters and apparitions cavort in store windows.
The special effects extravaganza is the perfect way to wind down a day in the real Halloweentown.
There's A Great Pumpkin Lighting
No, not that great pumpkin. During the Spirit of Halloweentown, the festivities commence with the lighting of the Great Pumpkin of Olde Town.
The towering gourd is at the center of the monthlong celebration; consider it the Halloweentown version of a Christmas tree lighting.
There's A Hearse Car Rally
Car rallies usually focus on hot rods and muscle cars, and those are certainly on display during the Spirit of Halloweentown - but they also have a hearse rally. Cash prizes are given to the most standout vehicles.
Oh, and haunted cars are also eligible.
The 2018 Celebration Boasts A Festival Of Fairies
To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Halloweentown movie, St. Helens plans to hold some special events not normally part of their Halloweentown celebrations.
The biggest is the Festival of the Fairies. Held on the waterfront, the festival is an homage to those winged little creatures who have sparked the creative imagination of children over the millennia. Stonehenge-type boulders and dragons accompany the fairies at the festival site, and there are games, scavenger hunts, hula-hoops, treasure-digging, maypole dancing, s'mores, and more. And on Saturdays, you can meet and get a photo with Tinkerbell!