St. Helens Halloween Towne breaks world record

Saint Helens Councilman Phil Barlow in the foreground
Councilman Phil Barlow - jokingly running for Mayor of Halloween Towne as "Philbuster Blowhard" - gets ready to join the town's annual Little Spooks Parade held as part of the month-long event that included Saturday's record-breaking costume gathering. Photo courtesy of Saint Helens resident Libby Calnon.

ST. HELENS, Ore. – For a day at least, this northern Oregon town holds a world record.

On Saturday, 729 people in costume met at Saint Helens' "Historic Olde Towne District in the Plaza" – where Disney's Halloweentown and scenes from Twilight were reportedly shot. There, 541 in the group gathered in a sectioned-off portion of the plaza to beat the Guinness Book Record for the World's Largest Halloween Gathering.

The previous record was set in 2009, with 508 costumed attendees at a festival in Bloomington, Ind.

As for Saint Helens' record, "it was sanctioned by Guinness, we made sure of that," says Dorene Kirkenburg for the Olde Towne Merchants Association. The photograph of the gathering and registrant documents must still be sent to the record book, but for now the record is set.

On Sunday night, however, the record could fall.

It has been reported that Sunday's New Orleans Saints-Pittsburgh Steelers game at the Louisiana Superdome will have a Guinness Book representative in attendance – judging whether or not this game sets the world’s newest record for a costumed Halloween gathering. Even if the Saints game takes down the record, Kirkenburg doesn't mind.

"We got there first," she tells us, "and on the actual Halloween evening." For her, that's a perfect day for a place dubbed Halloween Towne.

The Oregon gathering was sponsored by the City of Saint Helens and the Olde Towne Merchants Association. This record-breaking event is part of one month of celebrations in what has been dubbed "Halloween Towne." Through October the city brings in a giant pumpkin for the plaza and life-size scarecrows to line the sidewalks. Merchants also dress in Halloween garb.

Halloweentown promo (note that, as homage to this series, St. Helens merchants have slowly been adopting the Disney spelling of "Halloweentown" for October events):