As October draws closer, the city of St. Helens and numerous community partners and local businesses are already preparing for the annual month-long Spirit of Halloweentown event.
While some entities like the city of St. Helens have already announced major events and celebrity guest appearances, other groups like the South Columbia Chamber of Commerce are gearing up to recruit volunteers in preparation for the festivities.
Costumed volunteers to serve as 'Wayfinding Witches'
The South Columbia County Chamber of Commerce and the St. Helens Economic Development Corp. are planning creative ways to provide information to visitors and residents by launching a program called "Wayfinding Witches."
Volunteers will dress up in costumes and hang out in populated areas of the city during busy times of the month, and will have packets and flyers of information to hand out to visitors and residents.
Amanda Normine, a Scappoose business owner and member of SHEDCO, sent out a letter to local businesses earlier this week seeking input from business owners interested in printing special coupons or event fliers to promote their shops and events, which would be passed out by the volunteers.
Normine described the idea as "Halloweentown meets Disneyland," and said she is hoping enthusiastic residents will be interested in dressing up and helping out throughout October.
"We are letting the volunteers pick their costumes and we aren't limiting them to just witches. Initially that was the idea (thus the name) - but as we have gotten volunteer interest we found that people wanted to come in all types of costumes," Normine explained in an email.
Celebrity guests come to town
Actress Kimberly Brown, who starred in the Disney film "Halloweentown" that was filmed in St. Helens, announced last week that she and several of her co-stars from the movie would visit St. Helens this year. Actors Jay Zimmerman and Judith Hoag will be at a special pumpkin-lighting ceremony on Oct. 14. The trio will also host a special tribute to the actress Debbie Reynolds, who died in December. In the "Halloweentown" film, Reynolds starred as the grandmother to Brown's character.
Actress Diane Franklin, who starred in films like "Better Off Dead" and "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure," will also make a celebrity guest appearance on Saturday, Oct. 21.
Kick things off with a parade
The South Columbia County Chamber of Commerce also announced a kick-off community parade Saturday, Oct. 7 to start the month-long festivities.