I Rewatched Halloweentown as an Adult, and the Storyline Is So Much Darker Than I Realized

The entire month of October is my excuse to breeze through as many Halloween movies as possible, and among the cheesy horror films and truly frightening thrillers lies a heartwarming gem: Halloweentown. The first in a four-part series of Halloween classics, Halloweentown is easily one of the best Disney Channel movies. While iconic lines like, "Mom, I'm 13. I'm practically a grown-up," have been stuck in the back of my head for years, I realized it's been over a decade since I actually sat down and watched the movie all the way through. So, armed with a bowl full of candy and some festive childlike wonder, I set out to see if the film really holds up to my memories of it.

As an adult, I'm proud to announce that Grandma Aggie is still just as badass as ever and the wholesome nature of Halloweentown itself has only gotten more magical over the years. But along with the treats came a few tricks, and I definitely had to look away from the TV for a second when Kalabar came on screen. (Do you remember those glowing yellow eyes?!) In addition to his absolutely monstrous appearance (yes, 3-year-old me had a valid reason to be terrified), the warlock is bent on a mission to destroy the entire human race and take over the world.

As someone who's idolized this movie for years, this was a truly haunting revelation, but there are so many nostalgic parts of the movie that make it worthy of watching on a crisp fall evening with a warm cup of tea. Please enjoy my candid thoughts while watching Halloweentown for the first time in 10 years ahead.

Disney Channel

  • Ohhh, this is gonna be spooky.
  • *singing along to intro* ahhhhh ahhhh aahhh aaaaah
  • This intro music is giving me some major Beetlejuice vibes.
  • Did I just feel a chill? A slight breeze, perhaps? *clutches mug of tea*
  • OK, trick-or-treating was fun, but did anyone actually ever get full-size candy bars?
  • I see you with those flower clips, Sophie!
  • "Mom, I'm 13. I'm practically a grown-up. I'm certainly old enough to make my own choices." *ponytail flip* Such a middle school mood!
  • Where can I get that rainbow scrunchie?
  • Also, I totally had those bangs!
  • "Moooom!"
Disney Channel

  • Dang, Dylan is such . . .
  • "How are we supposed to grow up and explore the world, try new stuff if we can't take some risks?" Um, this is such a good point, Marnie!
  • Also, that eye roll was me 24/7 in middle school, hahaha.
  • So, nobody saw that flying bus, huh?
  • Cue Debbie Reynolds looking stunning in a star-covered hooded cape. Finally, the spirit of Halloween is here.
  • It was always a mystery to me how that bag moved on its own, but now I know the truth: magic.
Disney Channel

  • Sophie is giving off some serious Matilda energy. If I could make cookies levitate as a kid, I would've done it all of the time.
  • The bag is full of candy?!
  • OMG, wait, is the movie about Marnie turning 13 because of the "unlucky number 13" superstition?!
  • Can I be Aggie for Halloween? But also in real life?
  • So, the mom really couldn't have at least let them have some pumpkin-shaped cookies and watch It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown?
  • "Being normal is vastly overrated" — say it, Aggie!
  • Why didn't she babysit me growing up?!
  • What is a . . . dog man? Are they like superchill werewolves?
  • I would've read the heck out of that Halloweentown book as a kid.
  • "This is from a guy who could win an ugly contest." Dang, sick burn, Marnie!
  • Cromwell is such a cool last name.
  • Wait, the dark times? I do not like the sound of that.
  • How do kids get away with snooping on their parents? When I was a kid, no one could walk down the hall to the bathroom without waking up the whole house.
  • So, um, they're just casually flying through a portal to another dimension? Where even is Halloweentown?!
  • Hey, it was just nighttime in the mortal world and now it's daytime in Halloweentown. What is going on?
Disney Channel

  • Are the pumpkin people at all creeped out by the giant severed pumpkin head in the middle of town . . . or the field of jack-o'-lanterns nearby?
  • OMG, it's Kalabar!
  • But how . . . does the skeleton taxi driver see?
  • Aha! Aggie did know Marnie was listening.
  • "Long-distance calling" between worlds? They're definitely farther away than I thought.
  • OK, so two hours in the mortal world can be two days or two weeks in Halloweentown — noted. This universe is very confusing.
  • Is that Nosferatu in Aggie's cauldron? Voldemort wishes he was as terrifying as Kalabar.
  • Um, I'm immediately getting "bubble," "double," "toil," and "trouble" stickers for my microwave, whether my roommates like it or not.
  • That talisman is so clearly plastic covered in glitter, but I'm going to ignore it for the sake of whimsy.
  • The sweat of a ghost? Um, alrighty then.
  • They didn't even do the old "stuff your pillows under the sheets so it looks like you're asleep" trick? C'mon, guys!
  • The makeup department really had a wild time with those masks, didn't they?
  • I know Kalabar is evil, but he keeps conjuring up candy and ice cream, and that's a power I need to possess ASAP.
  • Oh dang! Harriet (Aggie's friend) really took a turn for the worse.
  • OMG, this broom salesman is definitely related to Beetlejuice. I'm digging his cheesy Elvis vibe.
  • This broom flying scene is a classic, and I don't care that it's so obviously a green screen.
  • Also, should they be wearing helmets and safety goggles? I feel so old.
Disney Channel

  • HOW did the bus get here with the mom if it doesn't leave again until midnight? I'm sensing some inconsistencies.
  • I don't remember this woman dressed like a giant pin cushion, but she will haunt my nightmares from here on out.
  • Yep, Kalabar's office is 100 percent haunted.
  • Hey wait, where IS their dad?
  • This movie is way shorter than I remembered.
  • Quota of spooky cobwebs = met.
  • Yikes, a theater full of the undead is not a fun sight to see.
  • Can I please buy a candelabra to carry around with me after sunset every night?
  • THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA?! Oh, wait, it's just Kalabar putting on a show.
  • But I have to say: that evil laugh is spot-on.
  • Was Kalabar just, like, waiting for someone to walk in so he could fly around with the wind blowing on his cape?
  • Ahem! He can shoot lightning balls?!
Disney Channel

  • Uhhhhh, what the heck is that ominous portal behind him?
  • The smoke, the flickering lights, it's all so '90s, and I love it.
  • Nooooooooo! They got the mom and Aggie!
  • So his weakness is light? Very interesting.
  • A hairdryer that shoots fire? Did Wayde from Kim Possible invent that?
  • I'm loving the monster representation — there are so many different species!
  • Ew, they stole that ghost guy's sweat. That can't be sanitary.
  • Pumpkin people have teeth?!
  • You're telling me that guy is the tooth fairy I used to give my teeth to?
  • I get that they need this stuff for the potion, but collecting all of these body parts is just about the creepiest part of the movie so far.
  • How can Sophie sense the "bad thing" when Marnie can't?
  • I kind of want to heat up all of my holiday drinks in a mini cauldron from now on.
  • Marnie is amazing, but Sophie is the real hero of this movie. Why did she never get her own spinoff?
  • So, Kalabar just left this portal to hell open for the world to stumble across? That's fine. Everything's fine.
  • Oh no! The giant pumpkin is on fire!
  • "Twerp" — these '90s insults are cold.
  • Is, like, nobody concerned that this spooky-looking guy is just chilling on the roof of city hall?
  • OMG, Kalabar needs a manicure immediately.
  • Marnie, no! Just drop it in the freaking pumpkin!
  • New craft idea: Sophie's Halloween witch hat.
Disney Channel

  • And the town is saved!
  • Everyone is OK again! But why are they celebrating? Kalabar is still free!
  • OMG, he was just a jealous boyfriend the whole time? Disney, I'm not loving this message.
  • Ohhh, so Marnie is a half blood like Harry Potter.
  • Has my family been holding out on me this whole time and just not told me that we all secretly have magical powers? *crosses fingers*
  • And now the day is really saved!
  • I really hope that bus home from Halloweentown is still running, because they've been through more than enough for one night. Day?
  • Alright, who else is ready to watch Halloweentown II?!