It’s no Legend of Sleepy Hollow or Night of the Living Dead, but one time back in the 1990s, the lovely Oregon town of St. Helens was overrun by something worse than zombies or vampires — a Hollywood movie crew! The peaceful waterfront city just 30 miles (48 km) northwest of Portland has never been the same since.*
Each year, St. Helens, the filming site of the otherwise forgettable Halloweentown, remembers its brush with the dollar DVD bin with The Spirit of Halloweentown, a fun, family-friendly celebration of the spookiest holiday around. Complete with costume contests, trick-or-treating through St. Helens’ Olde Towne District, haunted town tours and scarecrows galore, the celebration of the creepiest day of the year extends into every weekend in October, starting with the lighting of the Great Pumpkin in the city plaza.
On Oct. 18, 2013, the Mayors Ball & Costume Contest offers a $500 prize to the best costume, and the next day, the Haunted Hot Rod Cruise-in and Hearse Rally is sure to rattle some bones in the graveyard. That same weekend, the Paranormal Convention hosts haunted seminars and conducts live investigations into the spirits that are said to still occupy the town.
Local merchants are dying to get you in the spirit, with costume shops stocking everything from frisky vampire getups to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle shells. And with an array of events from ghost talks, tarot card readings and face painting increasing up to the big day, you’ll want to be dressed and ready for action. So be sure not to miss it, or you’ll be haunted with regret — at least until next year.
*Halloweentown wasn’t St. Helens’ only brush with Hollywood: Parts of a little film called Twilight were also shot here in 2008.