The night Scarecrows came to McCormick Park

It was late October of 2016. The month long celebration honoring the filming of “Halloweentown” in St. Helens had been growing in excitement every weekend. With Halloween itself around the corner, the energetic pulse of the city was escalating to fever pitch – combining local enthusiasm, waves of tourist attention, family friendly events, and creepy shapes moving in the night. If you recall 2016 was the year that hundreds of eerie clown sightings were happening across the nation, with a number spotted here in town. The Autumn chill carried hints of other dark things being shaken loose beneath the surface.

With this atmosphere around town, people were paying more attention to their surroundings than ever. Reports began of strange shapes moving among the trees in McCormick Park; of creatures watching cars and pedestrians along Old Portland Rd.


More than just movement in the dark was being reported. Ghostly lights and inhuman calls were coming from deep in the undergrowth. A mysterious fog oozed out once the sun was down, and covered the nearby bridge.

Nights in the park had been quiet for months, after the city began closing McCormick Park’s campgrounds at sunset earlier that summer. But as late October approached this nighttime quiet began to change.

It was eventually discovered that ShoeString Community Players was hosting an extremely unique tour of the park after hours, introducing guests to “Scarecrows! Tales in the Dark”. This adventure into the darkest trails of St. Helens took courageous souls among the spindly trees and swampy ground. On this tour travelers  were able to uncover the twisted history behind the town’s scarecrow decorations. Along the darkened trails, the bravest among us could learn the true & forgotten purpose of why the scarecrows are put up every October. Those bold enough to take this tour last year came face-to-face with the hungry forces that the scarecrows protect us from…  and hear from previous residents of St. Helens who were not lucky enough to make it out alive.

We find ourselves here again. Once more it grows late in the month of October. The scarecrow decorations are in place all around town, as is tradition. The excitement and haunting atmosphere has returned to St. Helens, and Halloween is right around the corner.  Shapes are moving in McCormick Park after dark again. Haunted spirits and a more malevolent presence.

Gather your courage, gather your friends & your loved ones, and check out ShoeString Community Players’ presentation of the Haunted Tours in McCormick Park – “Scarecrows! Tales in the Dark”. An outdoor scare experience, unique to one of our city’s creepiest parks, with tales to be told on October 27 & 28. First tour at 7pm, and last tour at 10pm. Tours take place every 30 minutes – please arrive 30 minutes before your scheduled time.

Will you brave the damp & cold of McCormick Park’s trails this year?
Are you willing to learn what hides behind the festive and sometimes silly decorations put up all across the city?
Will the scarecrows protect you, or take you to join them in the dark?

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Scarecrows! Tales in the Dark

Please check out ShoeString Community Players present  our Haunted Tours in McCormick Park, “Scarecrows! Tales in the Dark” the ultimate outdoor creepy haunted scare experience & tales to be told on October 27 & 28, First tour at 7pm to  and last tour at 10pm.  Tours ever 30 minutes.   Please arrive 30 minutes before your scheduled tour.

They told us to, “beware of the scarecrows!”   This October, ShoeString Community Players will be presenting our 2nd annual scary haunted walk thru the forest experience, “Scarecrows! Tales in the Dark…”  Be a part of the deep and dark mystery of why St. Helens has scarecrows put out every October.  We will immerse you in the story that you come apart of the tour.  Children maybe very uneasy with this performance so guardians please use your best judgment.  Scarecrows can be scary.  Perfect for date night.  Plan for wet conditions, but the weather outlook is pretty good so far, knock on wood, if you are superstitious.  Keep up with your tour guide, or you just might become what you fear in this dark forest with a few special effects thrown in.

Check out this page for ticket sales, show status, updates.  Expect the unexpected. Remember to get show tickets early as they tend to sell out.  Have a safe and happy October and Halloween.

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Announcing the Official Sponsors for the ShoeString Community Players October Events

We are all so grateful to the support from our volunteers and community business, they are the true heroes.   Please help us thank; Comcast, Dockside Steak & Pasta, Emmert Motors, Ace Hardware, Richardson’s Furniture, State Farm – Kevin Iverson, SunShine Pizza, Advantage Printing, Bertucci’s Chocolates, Columbia Funeral Home Inc, Gamepath Arcade, CRPUD, D.R. Garrison, CPA, PC, Don’s Rental, Fibers & Stitches, Heller Enterprises, Hudson Garbage, Les Schwab Tire, Oregon Trail Lanes, SCI – Semling Construction Inc, St. Helens Computer Center,  St Helens Liquor Store, St. Helens Market Fresh, St. Helens Physical Therapy, Sunset Auto Parts, St. Helens Rotary, Bobbie’s Cuts+, Nob Hill Inn, Pacific Athletic Club, St. Helens Credit Union, Vonnie’s Dog House, 2Cs, and to all the residents that have allowed us to share our town with the rest of the community.  Interested in being a sponsor?

The ShoeString Community Players has been producing plays and other performances in Columbia County for over 30 years. Formed from a dedicated group of “Reader’s Theater” performers, SSCP was officially founded in 1982.  The first production was Brigadoon, performed at the St.  Helens High School Olmscheid Auditorium.  SSCP has consistently produced productions and performances since that time, tapping into the rich and “undiscovered” talent Columbia County and its surrounding areas have to offer.  We perform Revues, Musicals, Dramas, Comedies, Children’s Theater, and any other type of production that captures the attention of the community.  In fact SSCP is recognized in the Cultural Inventory of St. Helens in the Columbia County Cultural Coalition Summary.  ShoeString was also recently recognized by the National Endowment of the Arts for it participation in the “Big Read” with its performance of “The Persian” a Sam Spade radio play.  We have been a long-standing, well-respected community group.  SSCP is a fully non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, relying on volunteers for every aspect of our operation.  Our mission is to support theater and arts through successful productions and participation of the community.