One of the best Halloween celebrations in the nation is held in Oregon.

One event from Oregon made the list of the top 16 Halloween events in the United States, according to the travel website Trips to Discover. The award is given to the annual month-long festival “Spirit of Halloweentown,” which takes place approximately 25 miles outside of Portland in the Columbia River town of St. Helens.

The 1998 Disney Channel film “Halloweentown,” which was filmed on site in St. Helens, served as the basis for the celebration. Debbie Reynolds plays a witch who teaches her 13-year-old granddaughter the family’s magical practices while defending the residents of Halloweentown in the film. Three sequels were produced, and the film went on to become a treasured Christmas TV classic.


Midway through September, downtown St. Helens begins to take on the appearance of “Halloweentown,” complete with a courthouse square full of eerie sculptures and a massive jack-o-lantern sculpture (just like in the movie) that is ignited to usher in the month of October. An extra-special homage to the film’s 25th anniversary of release will be included in this year’s celebrations.

Additionally, St. Helens can boast of another eerie distinction: it served as one of the principal filming sites for the vampire movie “Twilight.” Despite the fact that the film is set in Forks, Washington, many of the locations, including Bella Swan’s house, are in St. Helens. (And, sure, you can book a room there through Airbnb.) Actors from the “Twilight” movie series have sometimes appeared at “Spirit of Halloweentown” events over the years.


The St. Helens Merchant’s Association, Chamber of Commerce, and neighbourhood civic groups organised the inaugural “Spirit of Halloweentown” parade in 1998 to mark the film’s debut. For the following several years, nothing happened until the City of St. Helens Tourism Committee brought “Spirit of Halloweentown” back as a single-day celebration. The event was managed by the City of St. Helens when the Tourism Committee collapsed.


In 2015, actress Kimberly J. Brown, who played the 13-year-old heroine Marnie in the Disney Channel movie, returned to host festivities and greet fans, and the event went viral. “Spirit of Halloweentown” is now bigger than ever, and the city contracts with E2C Productions to manage festivities.

The free Halloween Parade begins at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 7, travels along Columbia Boulevard, and ends at the downtown plaza for the lighting of the Big Pumpkin at 7:30 p.m.

The actors who played Sophie, Dylan, Luke, and Marnie will be available for paid photos and autographs, and there will be special screenings of the movie at The Columbia Theatre, which is seen in the climactic scene of the movie, during the weekend of October 21–22.

Oct. 27–29 is “Witches Weekend,” with an appearance by paddleboarding witches along the Columbia River. Kids are invited to join the Little Trick or Treats Parade starting at 12:30 p.m. on Oct. 28 at 1st and St. Helens streets.

Every weekend in October, Spirit of Halloweentown will include a variety of street entertainers and businesses. (Note that guests are required to pay for parking at 1810 Old Portland Road and use a complimentary shuttle downtown due to construction downtown.) For a complete schedule of activities and musician appearances, as well as to buy tickets for different meet-and-greets, spooky attractions, parking permits, and experiences.

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