While it seems most people have spent the month of October on a hunt to be scared shitless—be it by watching Jamie Lee Curtis’s character try to kill Michael Myers (again), chilling in cemeteries, or walking through haunted houses—I prefer to stick to less anxiety-inducing traditions during the spooky season. That means that on Halloween night, I curl up in fuzzy socks with my basic AF pumpkin spice candles burning, and settle in to watch the first three Halloweentown movies.
I will never understand why the Disney powers that be thought we needed a fourth Halloweentown movie (and with any actress other than Kimberly J. Brown, who played the original Marnie?!), you can’t tell me that the first three movies in the series aren’t perfect films to watch every year.
If hardcore horror flicks are also not your jam and you want to cater to your inner child, here are all the reasons why the Halloweentown movies are the only things you should watch tonight.
1Grandma Aggie was a badass grandma.
First off, she was a witch, so that right there is enough reason to count her as one of my favorite fictitious grandmothers. She was never painted as feeble or frail, and she defended her town and family throughout the series. Not to mention the fact that she continuously held out hope for harmony between humans and magical creatures—despite the fact that humans and their intolerance were the exact reason why Halloweentown was created.
2Benny the cab driver was actually scary as hell.
I don’t care what anyone says—the scene in which the “bad thing” takes hold of Benny the cab driver in the first Halloweentown was actually terrifying to my 6-year-old self when the film premiered in 1998. Things were all good until the friendly neighborhood animatronic skeleton tried to hem up the Cromwell kids. To this day, I still think this scene is particularly creepy for a Disney movie. But now that I’m an adult, I can laugh at it. I know there are much scarier things out in the world.
3Marnie helped save an entire town at the age of 13.
Early Disney Channel Original Movies were good at depicting young characters who had amazing adventures and more autonomy than most of us. Despite the fact that Marnie’s mother disapproved of her embracing her powers, Marnie still chose to seek out answers for herself, saving her family and Halloweentown in the process. If this 13-year-old character with underdeveloped magical powers managed to believe in herself, then there has to be hope for the rest of us, right?
4Halloweentown was a safe haven for marginalized creatures.
Halloweentown may have been an invention of the Disney imagination, but it was low key a safe haven for marginalized magical folks. When they couldn’t find acceptance in the mortal world, they created their own space. When I rewatched the series as an adult, I realized that Halloweentown was teaching us lessons about far more than witches and broomsticks.
5Witches were depicted in a positive light.
The major villains in the movies happened to be men. Meanwhile, the Cromwell women offered a refreshing depiction of witches as magical people with humanity—unlike other spooky films that paint witches as vengeful and cannibalistic. The Cromwell women triumphed because of their powers, rather than perished. And even though I wasn’t well-versed in gender dynamics as a child, I still knew that watching women save themselves on screen was a positive thing.
Happy Halloween! You know what to do tonight.