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City eyes cab as 'Spirit of Halloweentown' prop

Event planners already prepping for Spirit of Halloweentown decorations

PHOTO COURTESY OF JOHN WALSH - The city of St. Helens could purchase this old-fashioned style cab from a seller in Washington. The cab would be used to recreate a prop from the 1990s Disney Channel film 'Halloweentown' which was filmed in St. Helens.While summer may have just begun, planning for fall festivities in St. Helens is already on the minds of many who are hoping to liven up Spirit of Halloweentown events in October.

In late June, the St. Helens City Council gave event planner Tina Curry the go-ahead to purchase an old fashioned New York City-style cab for $7,500 to use as a prop for photos during the city’s month-long festival. The funding for the purchase will largely come out of the city’s tourism budget.

“The Spirit of Halloweentown is becoming a signature event in St. Helens and we’re trying to ramp it up so when people come here from all across the country, we’ll have something memorable for photo opportunities,” City Administrator John Walsh said.

The cab itself is meant to look like the taxi in the “Halloweentown” film that is driven by a skeleton named “Benny,” making it ideal for photo opportunities and interactive events, Walsh explained.

In the film, Benny drives a late 1940s model taxi cab which features a curved back end and trunk space, similar to a hatchback sedan. The taxi cab the city is pursuing is a later-model vehicle with a protruding trunk, giving it the appearance of a more modern vehicle. Walsh and Curry were uncertain of the make, model or year of the vehicle under consideration.

In the 1990s, a Disney Channel movie titled “Halloweentown” was filmed in St. Helens, which many have touted is a claim to fame for the city. Social media posts connecting the city to the pop-culture film peaked as a trending topic on Facebook and national media outlets last fall, culminating in a guest appearance by actress Kimberly Brown, who played the young witch “Marnie” in the film.

An estimated 5,000 people packed the St. Helens Courthouse Plaza for the pumpkin lighting ceremony, which featured Brown.

Curry, who invited Brown to the ceremony last year after hyped media attention got the ball rolling, wants to make this year’s Spirit of Halloweentown event just as successful.

“The cab would be a grand Halloween prop and part of our effort to put some of the bigger objects that played a part in the movie into real life size for our guests to experience,” Curry stated in an email to the Spotlight. “We would also anticipate it being a component of future fund raising for nonprofits throughout the year.”

The car won’t be purchased until a mechanic from the city’s Public Works Department can inspect the vehicle, which is being sold by Corwin Beverage, a family-owned beverage company in Ridgeview, Wash., Walsh said. If all goes well,

the vehicle will likely be purchased within the month, he added.