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    I Watched Every Single Halloween-Themed Disney Channel Original Movie — Here Are The Best (and Worst) Ones

    If you disagree with the winner, we can't be friends.

    Let's be honest, one of the best parts of celebrating Halloween are the Halloween-themed movies.

    Nickelodeon / Via media.giphy.com

    They're creepy, spooky, and are best enjoyed snuggled under ten blankets with a mug of something warm. 

    Well, with Halloween just a week away, it felt like the right time to watch every single Halloween-themed Disney Channel Original Movie.

    Or DCOM, for short. Grab some friends, carve some pumpkins, and ride a sweet wave of nostalgia, because I am ranking the best of the best:

    10. Return to Halloweentown

    Sara Paxton wears a crown and smiles as Marnie Piper in "Return to Halloween"
    Disney

    This was the first DCOM to ever receive a fourth installment. For reference, High School Musical, one of the biggest Disney franchises ever, only has three films. That's how hard everyone was eating up Halloweentown content, and for good reason.

    This movie is a great addition to your Halloween movie marathon. It's got just the right amount of mystery as Marnie, resident witch of the Piper family and habitual capri pants wearer, uses her recent enrollment to Witch University to fight evil forces and uncover an ancient family prophecy. The only reason it's ranked last is because there's not nearly as much Debbie Reynolds in this movie as I'd like. This film also replaced Kimberly J. Brown as Marnie with Sarah Paxton, giving an eight year old me an existential crisis because I had no idea what 'recasting' was.

    Still, if you're working your way through the Halloweentown series, this film is a high note to end on. #NotMyMarnie tho. 

    9. Twitches 2

    Tia and Tamera Mowry as Alex and Camryn in "Twitches" cheer for themselves while sitting at a table with family.
    Disney

    In case you forgot, twin witches Alex and Camryn are called off to the magical world of Coventry to banish the evil that's been troubling their kingdom since the first film.

    This movie is a great follow up on the first Twitches, and gives an interesting look on how Alex and Camryn are adjusting to their new role as royalty, while still trying to juggle passions in the human world. Also, I guess Alex is trying to go to college now. Why do we keep sending magical kids off to college? No shame in it, but if I found out that I was a princess with magical powers, you would not see me pursuing higher education.

    This movie isn’t necessarily as Halloween-ie as its predecessor, but there are enough eerie moments that you can absolutely justify watching a film like this to get into the Halloween spirit. The biggest fault is the missed opportunity of calling this movie Twitches 2: The Twitch is Back.

    8. Halloweentown II: Kalabar's Revenge

    Top: Judith Hoag as Gwen Piper discovers that her date is a golem and expresses disbelief in "Halloweentown II: Kalabar's Revenge" Bottom: Peter Wingfield as Alex, dressed as a frog, acquiesces to Gwen's statement in "Halloweentown II: Kalabar's Revenge"
    Disney

    This movie should actually be called Halloweentown II: The Piper Women Settle. Marnie nearly ends up destroying Halloweentown when she accidentally lets Kal, a boy she has a crush on, take her grandmother’s spell book. It turns out that Kal is actually evil, which I absolutely could have told you five minutes into the movie when he did this:


    Daniel Kountz as Kal hands Marnie a rose and expresses satisfaction at meeting her in "Halloweentown II: Kalabar's Revenge"
    Disney

    You're watching Hauntober on Disney Channel, up next is Kal with the most terrifying come on I've ever seen.

    Anyways, it turns out that Kal is actually the son of Kalabar, the antagonist of the first Halloweentown movie. Now it's up to Marnie and her grandmother to save Halloweentown.

    MEANWHILE, Marnie’s mom, Gwen, who is absolutely in the top 5 list of the Hottest Disney Channel Moms (A list for another time), is settling for Kal’s pretend father, who turns out to be A PILE OF FROGS. Insane. 

    This movie is equal parts fun and nostalgic, with some spooky moments, an overall Halloween vibe, and a villain that makes you ask yourself: "Who was having sex with Kalabar?". If you’ve just finished the first Halloweentown and you want to keep the party going, I’d recommend checking this out.

    7. Girl vs. Monster

    Top: Brendan Meyer as Henry stands up to his bully in "Girl vs. Monster" Bottom: Olivia Holt as Skylar sings into a microphone and raises her arm up at an outdoor party as costumed guests dance in the background in "Girl vs. Monster"
    Disney

    This is a newer DCOM, so it’s most likely one that you might have skipped over, which I’d recommend against. Highschooler Skyler discovers her family is full of generations of monster hunters when she accidentally unleashes an ancient evil that feeds on her fear.

    It’s a little cheesy, and a little cliché, but that’s kind of the charm of a Disney Channel Original Movie. I am not watching a DCOM expecting to see "Directed by Martin Scorcese" in the opening credits. I am expecting teens wearing too many accessories to sing at inappropriate times, and that's exactly what this movie gives me.

    It's set on Halloween, and full of monsters that are actually pretty scary for a movie geared towards kids, which makes it a perfect Halloween flick. If you’re looking for something new to watch, this might be it.

    6. Mom's Got a Date With a Vampire

    Charles Shaughnessy as Dimitri Denatos holds the back of his head as he looks away angrily with fangs growing out of his mouth in "Mom's Got a Date with a Vampire"
    Disney

    If you’ve ever wondered “What if the dad from The Nanny was a vampire and tried to seduce and kill one of the aunts from Sabrina the Teenage Witch?”, I’d probably tell you that your fan fiction is getting a little too out of hand, but I’d also tell you to watch this movie.

    The title of this film is accurate: Three kids create a dating profile for their strict mom, find out that the guy they set her up with is actually a vampire, and have to save their mother before he kills her. Do you know what this movie reminds me of? Those Bailey School Kids books where the middle schoolers were constantly accusing their teachers of being supernatural creatures. This movie is like if the Bailey School Kids were right.

    It’s funny, heartfelt, and definitely delivers if you're looking for a vampire/monster hunting film.

    5. The Scream Team

    Top: Eric Idle as Coffin Ed holds his palms up beside his head while his eyes bulge out and his open mouth reveals the hallway behind him while his tongue sticks out in "The Scream Team" Bottom: Kat Dennings as Claire Carlyle expresses reservations
    Disney

    Full disclosure, I hadn’t seen this film until this year. Call it quarantine boredom, or a new Disney+ subscription and a need to justify it by watching as many movies as possible (Please see: This entire list). Basically, two siblings team up with a trio of ghosts to help stop an evil ghost from capturing the spirit of their grandfather.

    Of all the films on this list, The Scream Team is absolutely the most underrated. It's one of the few DCOM's I've seen to try and cover heavier subject matter like death, loss, and family challenges. It's also a great "small town autumn film". If you love the ambiance in Gilmore Girls' Stars Hollow or the town in Practical Magic, you should really check this film out.

    In terms of general spookiness, this movie never quite makes it to scary, but it makes up for that in mystery and suspenseful moments. Kathy Najimy from Hocus Pocus co-stars in this film too, which is reason enough to watch it.

    4. Twitches

    Top: Tamera Mowry as Camryn Barnes excitedly questions Tia Mowry as Alex Fielding if they are sisters in "Twitches" Bottom: Tia Mowry as Alex Fielding admonishes Tamera Mowry as Camryn Barnes in "Twitches"
    Disney

    The DCOM that made every fourth grader wish that they had a secret twin. This movie follows the basic Tia and Tamera formula: Two twins, one smart and one social (Are twins only allowed to have one personality trait?), are separated at birth and find each other on their twenty-first birthday. Not only do they discover that they're witches, but they're also princesses from a kingdom in a different realm that's being threatened by evil.

    I've been on board with Twitches since I was seven years old, and it still holds up. The acting is great, the chemistry and comedic timing between the Mowry sisters is obviously perfect, and the magical elements and creepy tension make it a must-see this October.

    Watching this movie again is just like seeing it for the first time - by that I mean it'll remind you of all those times as a child when you would try to wiggle your fingers at something to try and make it move to see if you were a witch. If you didn't do that, you're lying, and you were probably no fun at recess either.

    3. Halloweentown High

    Kimberly J. Brown as Marnie Piper wears a wide brim hat and smiles at the night sky with Finn Wittrock as Cody behind her in "Halloweentown High"
    Disney

    Listen, I am also surprised that this movie is this high up on the list. But believe me when I tell you that it is giving me everything I'd ever want in a Halloweentown film. It's a great change of pace to see a group of quirky  Halloweentown high schoolers become exchange students in Marnie's mortal school and try to adjust without their true supernatural forms being discovered. 

    It's fun, it's entertaining, and it looks like the budget for this movie was miles above the previous Halloweentown films, which means loads of fun costumes and makeup for those magical high schoolers. Also, Aggie is a major character in this film! Can you tell that I love Debbie Reynolds? They even give her a funky little love interest - get it, Aggie. 

    Be sure to give this movie a watch this Halloween, and tell them that I sent you.


    2. Don't Look Under the Bed

    Top: Erin Chambers as Frances leaves her bedroom and walks past a mirror in "Don't Look Under the Bed" Bottom: A shriveled pair of hands with long fingernails protrudes the mirror with no one behind it as it reaches out in "Don't Look Under the Bed"
    Disney

    I cannot stress how deeply this film is burned into my childhood. This movie made me terrified to sleep in my room for weeks when I was ten. Sometimes still in the middle of the night, I remember specific scenes. Fourteen-year-old Francis must team up with her brother's imaginary friend to catch a Boogeyman that is terrorizing the neighborhood and framing her for the misdeeds.

    Listen, is this movie as scary to watch as an adult as it was when I was a child? Not really, but it was absolutely terrifying to Disney Channel’s young audience. Seriously, while I was writing this post, I found out that after 2006, Disney literally had to remove this film from its October lineup because so many parents had written to them that it had terrified their kids.

    All that being said, this movie is fun with some really sweet moments, and actually has a fair amount of action in it. I absolutely recommend you watch it, and if it doesn’t at least make you jump a little at certain scenes, I’ll owe you one.

    1. Halloweentown

    Kimberly J. Brown as Marnie Piper smiles and expresses appreciation for Halloween in "Halloweentown"
    Disney

    Are you surprised? This was only Disney Channel’s fourth original movie, and they knocked it out of the park. I'm not even going to bother explaining the plot of this one - if you're reading this list, you know Halloweentown. You livelaughlove Halloweentown.

    Is the camera quality the best? No. Do some of these “monsters” look like they’re wearing the last costumes left on the sale rack in Party City? Of course. But none of that matters to me. This movie is pure nostalgia that gave us incredible lines such as Marnie's "Mom, I'm thirteen, okay? I'm practically a grown up".

    With a great cast of quirky and lovable characters, if this film doesn't rank AT LEAST in the top five in your list of Best Halloween Movies EVER, please call Benny the Skeleton Cab Driver and have him take you home, because I don't think that we can be friends.

    There's my list! Did I miss any of your favorites? Let me know in the comments below! Happy Haunting!