This Oregon Town Is the Real-life Halloweentown — and It Goes All Out for Spooky Season

This year, St. Helens, Oregon is celebrating the Disney film's 25th anniversary.

<p>Courtesy of City of St. Helens</p>

Courtesy of City of St. Helens

The spookiest season is finally here, and no one is more ready than the citizens of Halloweentown. In 1998, as every millennial will likely remember, Disney dropped the ultimate fall movie with its instant-classic flick, “Halloweentown.” The film follows Marnie Piper, a young girl who finds out she comes from a lineage of witches. And the tale doesn’t end there; the newly minted witch must fight off an evil force attempting to take over Halloweentown, a fantastical land where goblins, witches, and other monsters live.

The quiet community of St. Helens, Oregon played the role of this kooky town in the film and hosted the cast and crew for about a month in 1998. Home to fewer than 15,000 full-time residents, the town was then inundated by fans of the film in the late ‘90s and early 2000s. And rather than let its 15 minutes of fame go by, St. Helens transforms itself into a spooktacular destination each year, hosting family-friendly Spirit of Halloweentown events in September and October.

If you haven’t seen the film, make a date to watch it on Disney+ this fall. Then, start plotting a visit to the real Halloweentown. This year, the town is celebrating 25 years since the movie's release with a celebratory event schedule, including special screenings hosted by D23, the official Disney fan club.

Related: 13 Best Places to Visit for Halloween Around the World

<p>Courtesy of City of St. Helens</p>

Courtesy of City of St. Helens

Top Spirit of Halloweentown Events

25 Years of Halloweentown With D23: The official Disney fan club will be hosting screenings of the film and more for its members on Oct. 21. Members can visit the D23 website to purchase tickets.

The Big Halloween Parade: One of the season's biggest events takes place on Saturday, Oct. 7, when visitors line the streets for the Big Halloween Parade. Expect excellent costumes, floats, and spooky displays.

Pumpkin Lighting Ceremony: Head to the Courthouse Plaza to see the big pumpkin all lit up for the festivities. This will occur on several nights this season; check the event schedule for details.

Haunted House: Halloweentown’s haunted house is open every weekend and some weekdays until 8 p.m. This attraction has some rather scary elements, so it may not be best for young kids (or scaredy-cats).

Haunted Hot Rods: On Oct. 14, guests can visit the Haunted Hot Rods car show from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and enjoy other special events throughout the day.

Practical Information

This year, St. Helens officially transforms into Halloweentown from Sept. 16 to Oct. 31, with key events (like parades and celebrity appearances) taking place in October. Find the official schedule of events on the Spirit of Halloweentown website. Guests can also expect lovely fall weather — and peak fall foliage — during this time, with average highs ranging from the mid-70s in September to the low 60s in October. There are several lodges, home rentals, and chain hotels in the area. The town is a 40-minute drive from Portland and about a 2.5-hour drive from Seattle. You can purchase a range of event tickets (which include various attractions and add-ons) on the Spirit of Halloweentown website.

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