A Misanthrope’s Guide to the Movies: “Halloweentown”


This Halloweek, I decided to re-watch one of our generation’s all-time favorite Disney Channel Original Movies: Halloweentown. I remembered very little about the actual plot or characters in this movie, but I did remember loving it and believing it to be one of the few films in history with sequels actually worth watching. However, as I sat down to re-watch the film, I was overcome with a deep sense of dread that, like so many of my favorite childhood things before it, revisitation years later would lead me to the recognition that the movie was, in fact, not as cool as I once thought (I’m looking at you, ponchos).

Fortunately, my fears were 100% misplaced. Halloweentown was, and remains, one of the greatest Halloween movies of all time. Sure the plot made little to no sense, but would you really want your Disney Channel Original Movie any other way? For those who don’t remember, check out a brief plot summary after the jump.

It’s Halloween night in the mortal world. Three children (let’s call them Annoying Girl #1, Glasses Boy, and basically Roald Dahl’s Matilda) are home with their mom who never lets them celebrate Halloween. Annoying Girl #1 is upset because ghosts and vampires are only like her favorite thing ever (and this was pre-Twighlight so you just know she’s super stuck-up about that now). Randomly, their grandmother gets off a flying bus super conspicuously and no one notices. Grandma comes to visit and brings Halloween things which obviously upsets mom (Gwen) who makes grandma promise not to tell the kids about their hometown: Halloweentown. Grandma does anyway, mom gets pissed and kicks her out, but kids overhear, realize they have powers, and follow grandma to the flying bus. They end up in Halloweentown where grandma needs help fighting some evil power. Eventually mom realizes kids are missing and travels to Halloweentown to find them, but her and Grandma get frozen by the evil thing just before Annoying Girl #1 was able to start her witch training in honor of her lucky 13th Halloween. Eventually the three children save the day, free Halloweentown, and make it back to the mortal world before the passage between worlds closes until next Halloween.

Now that you’re memory is jogged, let’s talk about the more subtle moments of this film that make it the enjoyable classic we all know and love:

1. The sexual tension between Grandma and her bag.

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2. “Marnie (Weird Girl #1) likes weird stuff so much. She spends her whole math class drawing ghosts in her notebook.” –Marnie’s Oddly Old Friend

What? Why is this being treated so casually? They say you can learn a lot about a person by their doodles, and I can’t help but think that a bunch of dead bodies might indicate something.

3. “Mom, you never let us celebrate Halloween.”–Marnie

Gwen is basically the grinch but for Halloween. Why has that not caught on? “No, honey, you can’t eat that piece of candy.” “Ugh you’re being such a Gwen right now.”

4. “The movies can teach us about life”–Grandma

Obviously. I never knew before that monsters were just like me!

5. That time that Marnie finds herself in this book.

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Oh so do all white girls with long hair look the same to you?

6. “My story is about a magical place where many different people live together in peace.”–Grandma

Glasses Boy then asks, “Like Cleaveland?!”

7. “Hey, Chocolate Bar”–Marnie to the Evil Man.

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….Is she allowed to say that?

8. And finally, this.

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