October is the spookiest month of the year, and every year, I find myself looking for more ways to get in the Halloween spirit before October 31. There is no better way than by watching classic Halloween movies, especially the Halloweentown movies (aka the best Halloween movies of all time, sorry Hocus Pocus). They are all great in their own ways, but here is a definitive ranking of the Halloweentown movies from worst to best:
4. Return to HalloweentownThis is a pretty obvious last-place choice because Disney Channel chose to change the actress from our beloved Kimberly J. Brown to Sara Paxton and did not address this whatsoever. As far as the plot itself, Return to Halloweentown follows Marnie and her brother, Dylan, to Witch University, the main college in the wizarding universe, and Marnie discovers a powerful legacy for herself that dark forces are trying to control. Changing the casting makes the entire movie feel weird, and the plot itself, while somewhat interesting, is just okay. We will never know what the last Halloweentown installment could have been with Kimberly J. Brown if she had been allowed to continue the character, but with a different actress and an average plot, Return to Halloweentown feels unnecessary.
3. Halloween II: Kalabar’s Revenge
The sequel to the original Halloweentown used to scare me as a child. This installment is full of suspense and stress: in Halloweentown II, Marnie and her grandmother, Aggie, travel to Halloweentown to realize that Halloweentown is being poisoned by something called the Grey Spell (everything is turning black and white) and it is affecting the magical creatures that call it home. They need to fix the problem before the portal closes at midnight, while in the mortal world, Kalabar’s son (a new cute boy that Marnie likes) is trying to turn mortals into monsters. Kal is definitely a bad boy cutie, and Halloweentown II is a good movie and worthy installment of the series, but it does not have the same wonderment and charm of the original movie (probably because it is much more serious), which makes it third on my list.
The OG Halloweentown has its obvious charms. You get to witness the wonderment and magic of Halloweentown for the first time. Marnie Piper is a normal teenage girl with two siblings, Dylan and Sophie, but Marnie’s mother never wants her children to go out on Halloween. When Grandma Aggie visits, her and Marnie’s mother get into an argument about how Aggie wants Marnie to be raised as a witch and how there are people going missing in Halloweentown. Dylan and Marnie follow Aggie into Halloweentown where the evil Kalabar is trying to seize power. The Piper family must combine forces to save Halloweentown. Like Harry Potter makes you wait for a Hogwarts letter, the OG Halloweentown makes you wish a long-lost grandmother would tell you that you have have magical powers.
1. Halloweentown High
Halloweentown High will always be my favorite movie of the series. In this movie, Marnie is trying to promote unity between the Magic and Mortal World by offering to bring a group of magical students (who are different creatures) into the Mortal World to attend high school. When Marnie accidentally bets all the Cromwell magic (her family’s magic) on this plan working, Marnie is under a lot of pressure to make her plan a success and prove it to the Council by midnight of Halloween, or else she will lose her magic forever. This is a fun movie. It combines the magic of Halloweentown with the idea of being a normal high school student. You get to watch these magical creatures experience the real world for the first time, witness a budding romance between Marnie and new student Cody (played by American Horror Story’s Finn Wittrock) and watch Grandma Aggie hilariously fail as a high school teacher. It does deal with serious issues though, like ideas of discrimination (against magical creatures), not fitting in and the threat of the Knights of the Iron Dagger society threatening the safety of Marnie’s family and her friends throughout the movie. It is the best movie of the series.
There you have it: all of the Halloweentown movies in their definitive order! You can find all of these movies on the Disney Channel website for streaming or make sure to look up their annual Halloweentown marathon! Happy Halloween!