Go inside the real-life ‘Halloweentown’ as Oregon town celebrates movie’s 25th anniversary

Go inside the real-life ‘Halloweentown’ as Oregon town celebrates movie’s 25th anniversary

Anthony Robledo

Debbie Reynolds’ character Aggie Cromwell once said magic is simple. Just “want something and let yourself have it!”

That’s just what St. Helens, Oregon has done to transform the small town into the real-life “Halloweentown” every October. There’s no better place to replicate the mythical community than the city the Disney Channel movie was filmed in.

Since the film’s release in 1998, the city, about 30 minutes north of Portland, has decorated the town from the plaza and Aggie’s house to even the signature giant jack-o’-lantern. However, this year’s celebration is extra special as it marks the 25th anniversary.

Some of the original cast members revisited to celebrate including Kimberly J. Brown (Marnie), Joey Zimmerman (Dylan) and Emily Roeske (Sophie).

“I had no idea when I first filmed the movie, that it would turn into something like this. That 25 years later, people would travel from all over the world to come and see and meet us,” Roeske told USA TODAY. “It just feels really, really special that the movie made such an impact on people’s lives.”

Having turned 7 on the set of the film, Roeske said it was surreal continuing to see the impact the original movie 25 years later. She even uploaded a video on her TikTok page with her movie siblings Brown and Zimmerman as well as Phillip Van Dyke (Luke). The video shows how much the cast has changed since they were kids during production.

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Roeske first returned to Halloweentown in 2017 where she got to relive memories of walking up the steps on St. Helens’ city hall and the town square.

Tina Curry, the executive director for Spirit of Halloweentown, said the annual event is also an exciting moment for many Oregon residents who were worked as extras on the movie set.

“There’s a lot of people in town that remember Debbie Reynolds and talking with her and the cast that was here,” Curry said.

On Saturday and Sunday, the event organized meet and greets where fans got to take pictures with original cast members. Other traditions include a Halloweentown mayor election and a pumpkin lighting ceremony, Curry said.

The town even offers a tours where fans can see props and visit the St. Helens courthouse where the iconic courthouse scene was filmed. People can also had the chance to see the pin cushion lady and the dentist from the movie.

“We try to recreate the movie set as much as we can. And it continues to evolve as we add more things that aren’t necessarily related to directly to the movie,” Curry said. “Although in the movie, they talk about Halloweentown changes all the time. You never know what you’re going to really find there.”

When is the Spirit of Halloweentown?

The Spirit of Halloweentown season in St. Helens, Oregon occurs every year with the 2023 event occurring from Sept. 16 – Oct. 31.

“We are open 24 hours a day to visit just like any other city. You can come walk around any weekday or weekend,” the group said on their website.

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Where was Halloweentown filmed?

Most of Halloweentown was shot in St. Helens, Oregon. The town with a population of around 14,000 people is home to many iconic spots including the town plaza, city hall and the giant jack-o’-lantern.

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