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The annual event, celebrating Disney's 'Halloweentown,' begins Sept. 17 and runs through Halloween day.

COURTESY PHOTO: CITY OF ST. HELENS - The giant pumpkin is a top attraction at the annual Spirit of Halloweentown in St. HelensIt may be 24 years since Disney's "Halloweentown" premiered in theaters, but in St. Helens, the Spirit of Halloweentown is still very much alive.

The city's largest annual community event celebrates the 1998 cult classic movie, which was mostly filmed in and around St. Helens. It draws visitors from across Oregon and beyond, with some even coming from overseas.

This year, the Spirit of Halloweentown celebration takes place Sept. 17 through Oct. 31.

Spirit of Halloweentown events include the popular lighting of the pumpkins Saturday, Oct. 1, at Courthouse Plaza. The pumpkin decorations to be lit up include a replica of the giant pumpkin featured in "Halloweentown," organizers say.

The weeks-long festival will also feature many other spooky attractions, including a haunted house, now with upgraded features and animatronic props.

Visitors to this season's Spirit of Halloweentown will witness the only visiting "holographic alien" on Earth. This extraterrestrial visitor will be answering pressing questions about visitations, abductions, and intentions.

"This state-of-the-art visual and audio effect will be seen for the first time worldwide exclusively at Spirit of Halloweentown," city officials stated in an announcement.

A brand-new "trackless train" will take visitors to and from Whispers in the Woods nature trail, where visitors will find tree-dwelling elves and friends. There are also evening tours to Nightmare on Fourth Street, a row of decorated houses.

That's not all.

St. Helens' new water taxi will ferry people to Sand Island, where they can search for the mythical Bigfoot, as well as enjoy a scavenger hunt, games, fireside marshmallows and stories.

Spirit of Halloweentown will also see the return of the "Spooky Shuttle," which will take visitors to uptown St. Helens for ghost stories, scarecrows and more.

The Dark Market will be offering Spirit of Halloweentown merchandise.

The giant pumpkins, towering over 6 feet in height, are available for photo opportunities every day until the end of October.

St. Helens has achieved some notoriety as a filming destination for stories of the supernatural. The haunts around town were featured not only in "Halloweentown," but also in the 2008 vampire movie "Twilight."

General admission tickets to Spirit of Halloweentown, along with special celebrity engagement tickets and a full list of events, can be found at the festival's website, spiritofhalloweentown.com.


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