‘Hocus Pocus’ Is a Classic, But Is It Really the Best Disney Halloween Movie?


“Halloweentown” is a lesser-known Disney Halloween venture that stands as a love letter to those who feel like outcasts. The film, celebrating its 25th anniversary, offers a deeper, more resonant experience for kids compared to the popular “Hocus Pocus.” It’s a story about acceptance, self-discovery, and non-conformity, wrapped in a family-friendly package with an autumnal charm.

The protagonist, Marnie Piper, is a devotee of all things supernatural, but her family doesn’t understand her fascination. Her journey takes a turn when she discovers her lineage of powerful witches and learns that she must embrace her powers before it’s too late. Marnie’s character resonates deeply with those who have felt misunderstood or different, especially for those who found solace in unconventional interests like horror movies and Halloween.

Marnie is headstrong yet unsure, combative yet on the cusp of adolescence. She embodies the passion and enthusiasm of a nerd, unapologetically embracing her interests. Her journey mirrors the universal struggle of growing up and coming to terms with one’s identity. For those who didn’t conform to societal norms, Marnie becomes a relatable and reassuring figure.


The film’s narrative also touches on themes of acceptance, celebrating differences, and the power of autonomy. It encourages viewers to embrace their individuality rather than conforming to societal expectations. The quirky and imaginative world of Halloweentown, brought to life with inventive production design, adds an extra layer of charm to the story.

Debbie Reynolds’ portrayal of Aggie, Marnie’s grandmother, is a highlight of the film. Reynolds brings a warm, guiding, and occasionally mischievous energy to the character, elevating the entire experience. Her presence alone makes “Halloweentown” a worthwhile watch.

While “Halloweentown” may not have achieved the cult status of “Hocus Pocus,” it holds a special place for those who have felt like outcasts. It provides a message of acceptance, self-empowerment, and the magic of embracing one’s true self. For many, including the author, “Halloweentown” was not just a movie but a source of comfort and affirmation during their formative years.