The Scarecrows of Halloweentown!


Clown Scarecrow, Halloweentown, St. Helens, OR

One of my favorite things about living in Halloweentown (AKA St. Helens, OR) are the scarecrows you will see around town.  The month long celebration of Halloween stemmed from the movie “Halloweentown”, which was filmed in the sleepy town of St. Helens, Oregon.


Scary witch scarecrow, Halloweentown, St. Helens, OR

Each year, starting on October 1st, the town comes alive with all different kinds of scarecrows.  Some are silly, some are funny and some are a touch scary!  It helps build the spirit of Hallowentown and adds to the month long festivities.


Pumpkin Scarecrow, Halloweentown, St. Helens, OR

There is a voting period and at the end winners are announced for prizes!


Corpse bride scarecrow, Halloweentown, St. Helens, OR

St. Helens is only 25 miles north of Portland, Oregon so it is an easy destination for a weekend trip to explore and have some fun!


Owl scarecrow outside Houlton Bakery, Halloweentown, St. Helens, OR

The town also offers may other festivities: such as Halloween cake decorating contests, face painting, haunted hay rides, a haunted house, bloody mary brunches, tarot card readings and much more!


Bertucci’s scarecrow, Halloweentown, St. Helens, OR

In addition to the scarecrows that are spread around town, there is also a display of the Great Pumpkin in the town square!  You will find all kinds of cute displays there and activities to do.  It’s a great place for the whole family to celebrate Halloween!


Bunny scarecrow, Halloweentown, St. Helens, OR

If you’re a true, die hard Halloween fan, I’d say start planning your trip to St. Helens, OR to experience the real, live Halloweentown!

Pumpkin – Its Versatility in Savory Recipes

autumn-pumpkinPumpkins are not just for making pumpkin pies and carving into scary faces at Halloween. In fact, there are lots of savory pumpkin recipes including classic pumpkin soup, pumpkin stew and you can even use this tasty squash family vegetable in salad recipes.

The next time you make a salad, why not chop some small cubes of pumpkin and boil them until they are soft, then incorporate them into your rice or macaroni salad for a splash of color and for their nutritional benefits?

Pumpkins and squashes are used all over the world. They are used to make curries and braises in India, risottos in Italy, oriental pumpkin soup recipes in China and Vietnam, and stuffed pumpkin dishes in the Middle East.

The best pumpkin seed oil comes from Austria and this dark green oil, which is nicknamed “black gold,” is drizzled over salad recipes for a nutty, sweet flavor, or whipped into soft cheese.

Different Types of Pumpkins

You can get great pumpkins from grocery stores or farmers’ markets. If a pumpkin recipe calls for one type of pumpkin and you cannot find it, you can usually use a different variety instead.

Baby Bear is a good variety of pumpkin for cooking. It is firm fleshed, sweet, and suitable for sweet or savory recipes. Delicata is a small white pumpkin with green stripes. This pumpkin has a nutty taste and it dries out when you cook it.

Crown Prince is a bluish gray pumpkin, which is golden inside. It is great for making vegetarian kabobs or roasting. Sweet Mama is richly orange and it is great if you cut off the top, scoop out the seeds, and then bake it whole.

Small Sugar is a medium sized pumpkin with orange flesh. Its high sugar content is the reason it caramelizes so wonderfully. Small Sugar pumpkins are great for making pie fillings. Sweet Dumpling is a small green and white squash, which has a sweet flavor when you cook it and its flesh tastes slightly like chestnuts.

How to Use Pumpkin in a Salad Recipe

The following recipe for Japanese pumpkin salad shows that you can do more with pumpkin that save it for classic pumpkin soup and pumpkin pie fillings.

This recipe is healthy and very tasty. You can use any type of small pumpkin for it. This recipe serves six to eight people.

Healthy Japanese Pumpkin Salad

What you will need:

  • 1 small pumpkin, de-seeded and quartered
  • 9 oz frozen chestnuts
  • 1/3 cucumber, diced
  • 5 oz sliced mushrooms
  • 2 sticks celery
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, sliced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil

For the Dressing:

  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 inch piece fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 crushed cloves garlic

How to make it:Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Sprinkle salt and pepper on the pumpkin and drizzle it with olive oil. Bake it on a roasting tray for 20 minutes, then add the frozen chestnuts and bake it for another 15 minutes.

Let the pumpkin and chestnuts cool. Chop the pumpkin into bite-sized pieces and mix it with the chestnuts and the other vegetables.

Whisk the dressing ingredients together and pour them over the pumpkin salad. Toss well and serve.


Christine Szalay-Kudra is an author, food expert and mom of four boys. She is the owner of the Recipe Publishing Network, a group of sites dedicated to fine food and information for cooks. When not busy with her business you can find her sharing on one of these social networks at her own URL:

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Haunted Gettysburg – A Beginner’s Guide

Ohio's Tribute monument to Carroll's Brigade on East Cemetery Hill

Ohio’s Tribute monument to Carroll’s Brigade on East Cemetery Hill

Is Gettysburg haunted? It’s sure hard to ignore the large number ghostly encounters that visitors and residents of this historic Pennsylvania town claim to have experienced over the years. Of course, skeptics will always find other explanations for the phenomena but the sheer number of reported experiences certainly lends support to those convinced that something unusual is happening here.

The idea of a haunted Gettysburg doesn’t really seem so ridiculous when you consider the magnitude of the events that took place on this soil for 3 days in July, 1863.

In the sweltering, summer heat, two deadly armies – over 165,000 soldiers – met in Gettysburg and fought what history would record as the bloodiest battle of the Civil War. When the horrific haze of battle had cleared, there were 51,000 casualties and many believe that those involved in this epic battle still linger, eternally bound by ties forged in the agony and trauma of war.

Where is all this haunted activity taking place? Basically, any place the battle was fought is a likely place to encounter something paranormal. Many visitors to Gettysburg look for the “official” battlefield–the 6000 acres of federally maintained battlefield just outside of town–not realizing that much of the town also saw action from sharpshooters, skirmishes, field hospitals and tactical occupations. This abundance of battle-worn real estate makes it easy for even the beginner to stumble upon places that are linked to some type of haunted activity.

What should you do if you wish to see a bit of haunted history? Naturally, no one can guarantee that you will have a paranormal experience when you visit Gettysburg but there are guides, locations, and times to visit that can greatly improve your chances. Below, I have gathered together enough information to get you well on your way to your first “haunted Gettysburg” experience.


The Best Times to Visit

For those wishing to experience the haunted side of Gettysburg, there are a few things to consider when timing your visit:

Some have noticed more reported paranormal activity at Gettysburg during the anniversary of the battle – July 1, 2, 3. However, since this is a peak tourist time, it’s hard to say for sure if there’s more paranormal activity or just ore people around to experience it.

Night time, starting with dusk, seems to be the best time – but not the only time – to have paranormal encounters. There are many ghost tours in town that offer candlelight tours for this reason but more on the tours in a minute.

Some paranormal investigators see a connection between the energy produced by thunderstorms and the manifestation of ghosts so, being in the right place just before or after a thunderstorm, could improve your chances significantly.

Taking a Ghost Tour

There are several companies doing ghost tours in Gettysburg, so take some time to check them out before you go. People reviewing the Gettysburg ghost tours on Yahoo Travel gave them mixed reviews. It seems that skill level of the guide is of vital importance so I would suggest asking a lot of questions about your guide’s experience and popularity before you sign up. Another sticking point for a lot of people was the fact that, with some tour companies, the guides aren’t paid and they ask for tips at the end of the walk. If that doesn’t bother you, great, otherwise check before you go.

Here’s a list of tour companies:

The Ghosts of Gettysburg Tours

These are the only ghost tours based on the excellent, best-selling books, Ghosts of Gettysburg, by Mark Nesbitt and include four different tours–one is a bus tour and the rest are walking tours. Contact Info: 271 Baltimore Street, Gettysburg, PA 17325 Phone: (717) 337-0445, Toll Free: 888-337-0445, Fax: 717-337-9673

Historic Farnsworth House Candlelight Ghost Walks

This group is connected to the very historic and haunted Farnsworth House. According to them, they have the “most unique walks,” and are “not confined to scripted and printed stories of recent years.” They have received press coverage on TV, and in books and magazines. Contact Info: 401 Baltimore Street, Gettysburg, PA 17325 Phone: 717-334-8838, Fax: 717-334-5862 |

Sleepy Hollow of Gettysburg Candlelight Ghost Tours

Owned and operated by a 6th generation Gettysburg resident, Sleepy Hollow says it “features storytellers with over 50 Years combined storytelling experience.” Their tours combine first hand experiences with tales and legends, human interest and historical facts. Contact Info: Phone: 717-337-9322 Fax: 717-337-9327

Ghostly Images Tours

This company offers four tours, one of which is a bus tour. The tours from this company often include a visit inside a haunted building but it would be a good idea to check just to be sure. Contact Info: 778 Baltimore Street, Gettysburg, PA 17325, Phone:(717) 334-6296

Some Haunted Places to Visit

1) Haunted Places in Town

This is by no means a complete list of places reputed to be haunted in town–consider it just something to get you started:

The Farnsworth House Inn, Pennsylvania Hall and Brua Hall in Gettysburg College, The Wills House – Lincoln Room Museum, Herr Tavern and Public House, General Lee’s Headquarters Museum, The Jenny Wade House, and the Cashtown Inn.

2) Ghosts on the Battlefield

As you might imagine, the battlefield is extremely active when it comes to experiencing all types of hauntings. While paranormal experiences could occur anywhere, some of the known hot spots include: Devil’s Den, Spangler’s Spring, Iverson’s Pitts, the Triangular field, the fields where Pickett’s Charge took place, Little Round Top, the Peach Orchard, the Wheatfield, the George Weikert House, the Rose Farm, and the Eternal Light Peace Memorial. Information about visiting these places can be found at the National Park Service (


Copyright Natalie Lynn, 2006. Natalie Lynn is a founding member of the Traverse City Paranormal Society (, an artist, and a business owner.

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10 Magical Halloween Decorating Ideas from Instagram

halloween-decorationsIf you’re looking for some Halloween home decorating inspiration, then check out these fun & festive fall Instagram ideas for both inside and outside of the home!

  1. Naturally Enchanting
  2. The Hole in the Pavement
  3. Porch-ready
  4. Cute Halloween
  5. Halloween Party Setup
  6. In case you couldn’t tell from my last post, I’m all about the cutesy, girly, boo-tiful version of Halloween, because momma don’t play with that scary stuff! 💜👻💜 printables by the fab-boo-lous @jentbydesign 📷 cred: my fab ghoul friend @marelaude . . . . . #halloween #halloweenparty #halloweenready #halloweenfun #halloweendecor #halloweenideas #trickortreat #partyideas #party #boobash #partydecor #flashesofdelight #petitejoys #livethelittlethings #abmcrafty #makersgonnamake #diypartydecor #abmhalloween #creativityfound #livecreatively #creativelifehappylife #thatsdarling #celebrateinstyle #nothingisordinary #balloons #partyideasgroup #ihavethisthingwithviolet #livecolorfully #diyitsfallohmy #mypartystyle

    A photo posted by Made of Sugar & Spice (@madeofsugarandspice) on

  7. House Guest
  8. Halloween String Art
  9. This is so cute #boo #halloweendecor #ghost #pumpkins #halloweenstringart #halloween

    A photo posted by @leaves_and_snow on

  10. Minnie Mouse Halloween
  11. What better way to paint your pumpkin for Halloween then a Minnie Mouse tsum tsum way?! 👻🎃

    A photo posted by Sara 🌊🌊🌊🌊🌊🌊🌊🌊🌊🌊🌊 (@saramonster) on

  12. Magical Witch Circle
  13. Halloween Mantle

Halloweentown is St. Helens, Oregon!


Halloweentown in St. Helens, Oregon

Many people are familiar with the movie “Halloweentown”, which is a 1998 Disney Channel movie about a 13 year old girl named Marnie Cromwell, which is a must-see kid and family friendly watch.  In the movie, the main character, Marni learns that she is a witch.  After finding this out, she helps save a town full of other supernatural creatures.  It’s a great movie to watch with younger kids, teens and even adults can enjoy!


Animal graveyard in Halloweentown (St. Helens, Oregon)

However, what you probably do not know, is that the official “Halloweentown” where the movie was filmed is St. Helens, Oregon.  This quaint little town is located in Columbia County about 30 miles north of Portland, Oregon.  I’m quite familiar with St. Helens (AKA Halloweentown) as this is where I live and work!  We take Halloween very seriously here and devote all of October to loads of Halloween activities.


Lighting of the Great Pumpkin! (Halloweentown, St. Helens, Oregon)

Every year in St. Helens, beginning around October 1st, the spirit of Halloween comes alive! St. Helens is a very family-friendly town and loves to throw costume contests, trick or treating celebrations and even has the yearly ceremonial “lighting of the great pumpkin”.


Cab from the movie, Halloweentown

Usually a celebrity or two comes to visit St. Helens during Halloween season and this year I hear it is Xander from Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Nicholas Brendon).  It is a great place to visit in the month of October to get you in a spooky mood! Also, if you’re a “Twilight” fan, Bella’s home is also located in St. Helens, OR.

Witches legs in Halloweentown (St. Helens, Oregon)

Witches legs in Halloweentown (St. Helens, Oregon)

If you’re ever in upstate Oregon, stop by Halloweentown and say hello – I’m sure you’ll have a frightfully wonderful good time!

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