We finally got around to going to Halloweentown in St. Helens! In case you haven’t heard of it, it’s based on the Disney Channel movie of the same name that came out in the late 1990s. I’ll admit that I was a fan back in the day, but the kiddos are not familiar with it. If you haven’t seen it, it is available to rent on Amazon’s movie service. It shows up on Disney Channel a lot during this time of year as well.
Basically, a few blocks of the downtown area are shut down and are turned into a basic recreation of the movie town. There are great photo ops and lots of businesses have themed stores and stands. We went to Fairyland, the haunted house, the Shoestring Community Players skits for kids, the playground, and some of the stands and opportunities.
So, Fairyland. $12 for kids, $15 for adults. The kids really enjoyed it, but I found it overpriced for what it was. The big hit for my kiddos were those inflatable balls you can get inside and roll around in. Fun and unique, to be sure. There was a sand pit with “treasure,” oversized checkers, a hammock area, a recreation of Stonehenge, and characters like Maleficent, Tinkerbell, and some Game of Thrones lady (no, I don’t know her name. Can’t stand the show. Bring on the shock and criticism). My personal favorite part was receiving the s’mores kits and getting to roast them at the fire pit next to the river. That part was pretty cool. Re-entry was allowed, which was nice. We took advantage and went in and out several times. It also includes a $5 gift certificate to the official Halloweentown merchandise store, which sold shirts, hats, coffee mugs, etc. With our $5, we were each able to get a cute reflective tag which will be perfect for trick-or-treating.
We did the all ages haunted house. Kids’ idea. I should have known better. It was labeled all ages, but I would argue that it is not. It is the same haunted house they use to terrify the adults at night, but without the actors jumping out at you- thank heavens! The beginning portion was actually pretty cute, but it got more and more intense as you went. By the time Nugget was crying and Chicken was loudly and emphatically shouting “get me out of here. Now!,” I called it a fail, turned around, and headed out the way we came. Rules schmules. Most of the kids under 12 who made it all the way through came out crying or looking thoroughly scared. There were a few kiddos who loved it, of course. Just not mine. For the three of us it cost $37.
The Shoestring community players read poems and did short skits every 30 minutes. The “show” lasted about 10 minutes each time. Theater nerds that they are, Chicken and Nugget insisted on going to three in a row. Cute and free.
A local real estate agent had a table set up in his office where kids could paint and decorate ‘haunted’ bird houses for free. That was also a hit.
Like I mentioned, lots of cute and free photo ops. Spiderman and friend were wandering around, which Nugget found to be very exciting. There was live music playing (very loudly), and all performers were quite good.
If you are a fan of the movie, there were chances for pictures and autographs with the original cast, which would be cool if that’s your thing. There are also many other activities and move tie-ins that we did not partake in. The pumpkin lighting sounded like a lot of fun, but we took off before that happened.
As the evening progressed and it became darker, more people were coming in more “frightening” costumes. Chicken gave the killer clown a very wide berth and crashed into numerous people and things due to constantly looking over her shoulder to make sure he wasn’t within 100 feet of her.
What it is: a cute community event, mostly kid friendly, a good excuse for the kids to wear their costumes an extra time, easy to spend a lot of money, a great movie tie-in, about an hour from Portland, more depending on where you are starting from, well monitored with community policing (they were everywhere!)
What is is not: cheap if you want to do all of the things
Do we recommend it? Half-heartedly. It probably won’t become a yearly tradition for us. If you love the movie, you should totally go for nostalgia sake. If you have nothing else to do on a beautiful fall day, it is a fun way to spend an afternoon or evening. And the kids really did love Fairyland
Parking is $10, cash only, and close to the event.