Definitive 'Halloweentown' Movie Rankings

It’s mid-October, which means Disney Channel is airing a constant loop of the first Halloweentown movie all month. 

The 1998 DCOM classic and its three sequels follow Marnie Piper as she harnesses her magical powers and saves Halloweentown time and time again. Each movie has a crazy twist, some romance and, of course, prevailing Cromwell magic. Here’s my definitive ranking of the Halloweentown movies (but Return to Halloweentown is automatically last because Marnie is played by a different actress):

  1. 1. Halloweentown High

    Or as I say, "Halloweentown High School Musical," because Ryan and Kelsie have arrived (as a warlock and a troll). Grandma Aggie pulls up to school in the mortal realm with a clown car full of students from Halloweentown, attending school with humans for the first time and hiding their true identities as trolls, fairies, ogres, witches and warlocks. The stakes are high in this one with the introduction of the Iron Dagger as a threat to magic and magical creatures everywhere. Marnie has to prove that humans and magical creatures can live together in harmony, or her family’s magic will be gone forever. After two movies taking place largely in Halloweentown, we finally have a glimpse of Marnie’s life at home and in school. Plus, Finn Wittrock is introduced as Marnie’s love interest. After chaos in malls, classrooms and the school-wide Halloween festival, everyone learns that we can set aside our differences and coexist no matter how different we may look or seem. The plot in this one is clear, the characters are goofy and relatable and the moral of the story is the foundation of Halloweentown’s spirit

  2. 2. Halloweentown

    I could rewatch this one again and again, and I might end up doing just that on the YouTube live stream. Marnie, her brother Dylan, and sister Sophie finally discover why they could never go trick-or-treating on Halloween. They sneak away to Halloweentown and encounter immense turmoil, or might I say, bubble, bubble, toil and trouble. An evil entity is cursing citizens of Halloweentown one by one, turning them into gray statues in an abandoned movie theatre. While the graphics may not have held up (see GIF below), the rivalry between the Cromwells and this evil magic is fierce. We watch Marnie understand her powers, fearlessly defend her mother and grandmother, and explore this magical world she had only seen in storybooks. This film really sets up a franchise, focusing more on exposition and less on plot, and introducing our fiery protagonist, who would be SUCH a Gryffindor if she went to Hogwarts (but no, she goes to Witch University instead, we’ll get to that mess). 

  3. 3. Halloweentown 2: Kalabar’s Revenge

    When Marnie leads her boy-next-door crush Kal to Grandma Aggie’s spellbook, he steals it and uses it to condemn both Halloweentown and the mortal realm, changing humans into creatures and creatures into humans. Marnie, Aggie, and Luke the goblin go on a time travel mission to find the lost copy of the spellbook and bring Halloweentown back to color. The story has its twists (Kal’s identity! The portal closing!), we get to see Marnie and Luke time travel together (awwww), and the cross-dimensional Cromwell family magic is epic. However, none of it would have happened if Marnie weren’t distracted by a boy. For that reason, Kalabar’s Revenge is No. 3 on this list. And ironically, Kalabar wasn’t even in it

  4. 4. Return to Halloweentown

    The Sinister Sisters are just plain mean, Sophie has disappeared, and, most importantly, Sara Paxton has replaced Kimberley J. Brown in the role of Marnie Piper. Our new Marnie, who gives off more Slytherin vibes than Gryffindor, is in trouble at the forefront of a conspiracy on campus. While Lucas Grabeel and Marnie’s new genie best friend steal the show, it has more evil within it than the other three movies. Watch the other three to get into the Halloween spirit, and if you have time, maybe give this one a watch, just maybe.

Gifs Courtesy of Giphy