Ghosts, ghouls, witches, oh my! It’s October, which means we have 31 reasons to celebrate Halloween and what better way to celebrate than by sitting on the couch to watch all of Disney Channel’s original Halloween movies. To get you into the spooky spirit, we broke down DCOM’s Halloween classics. From the late 90’s to the late 00’s, you can’t help but howl at the moon with excitement at these Halloween masterpieces.
9. Can of Worms (1999)
Talk about a weird one. Can of Worms is one many forget about not because of the bad 90’s graphics, but because it was just plain creepy. Mike sends a message to space because he feels he doesn’t belong on earth. Unbeknownst to him, aliens receive his message and an alien dog Barnabus appears to let Mike know aliens aren’t too happy with him. Apparently his message proved to aliens people have developed technology strong enough to reach them. While he decides that Earth is pretty cool after all, he fights to protect the mother planet from bad aliens including one named Thoad, who wants to add Mike to his zoo of creatures. One can say that when Mike sent that message, he opens one big can of worms.
8. The Scream Team (2002)
One DCOM that gets a little too real about the afterlife (but in a funny way) is The Scream Team. It revolves around the story of Ian and Care (hi, young Kat Dennings), who look into their recently deceased grandfather’s home as their father settles the inheritance. Quickly, they learn it is full of spirits who have yet to cross over. After the duo discovers a mirror that leads to the afterlife, they learn their grandfather never reached the other side. With the help of three friendly ghosts, they work together to save their grandfather’s spirit from an evil ghost so he can finally begin his afterlife.
7. Twitches 1 & 2 (2005)
What can get better than Sister, Sister you might ask? It’s Twitches, the magical take on the hit show. Twitches is the reincarnation of Sister, Sister, as Tia and Tamera Mowry’s characters Apolla and Artemis are magical twins separated at birth who must come together to save their magical realm from destruction. Not only do the two get to reunite with their birth mother, but over the span of two films the teen witches learn more about their power and how to control it in the perfect Mowry twins sort-of-way.
6. Tower of Terror (1997)
Straight from Disney World itself, Tower of Terror is the story about a haunted hotel with a faulty elevator. As a kid, and still to this day, elevators make me nervous because of this Disney Original. A young Kirsten Dunst, who plays Anna, travels with her uncle to the Hollywood Tower Hotel that is said to be haunted by five guests who disappeared in an elevator in 1939 and were never seen again. The uncle is basically a 90’s myth buster and they quickly learn the ghosts are anything but a myth. Anna and her uncle have to race against time to break the curse before they join the five souls in the hotel forever. If you’re weary of elevators, this is a thriller you might want to stay away from.
5. Under Wraps (1997)
One of the oldest Halloween DCOMs, Under Wraps is a classic that many forget about. It follows the story of three friends who discover a mummy in the basement of their dead neighbor’s house. When they accidentally bring Harold the mummy to life, they have to help him find his way back to his sarcophagus before midnight on Halloween. You have the goof-ups of three 12-year-olds, along with the hijinks that brings with an actual mummy who can barely communicate. I mean, who wouldn’t be down for an adventure like that on Halloween? It is definitely peak #HalloweenGoals.
4. Phantom of the Megaplex (2000)
You have haunted houses, haunted hotels, but what about a haunted movie theater? A DCOM take on Phantom of the Opera, Phantom of the Megaplex brings together the world of movies with a dash of mystery as Pete, along with his friends and younger siblings, try to figure out who the phantom is and stop him from tormenting their Megaplex during one of the biggest movie premieres in the theater’s history. This flick is a great mix of Halloween spookiness with a Scooby Doo “whodunnit” flare. After many pranks and the discovery of the original theater owner “Movie Mason,” the gang figures out the senior manager was behind it all and he did it to just get noticed by the boss. If this haunted mystery taught you one thing, it’s that a group of kids can figure out any mystery.
3. Mom’s Got a Date with a Vampire (2000)
Kids will do anything to get out of being grounded, but would you go as far as setting your mom up on a date? With a vampire nonetheless? That is the premise of Mom’s Got a Date with a Vampire, a turn-of-the-century Halloween classic. When Adam and Chelsea get grounded and can’t go out with their friends, the only logical thing to do is get their mom out of the house so they can sneak out. That turns out to be bad as they set their mom up with a vampire by accident. When their younger brother, Taylor, discovers their mother’s date-from-literal-hell has put her in a trance, the trio sets out to save her. In the most perfect DCOM way, true love breaks their mother’s trance and they lock Dimitri in his casket and ship him away. A happy ending to one of DCOM’s greatest Halloween flicks.
2. Don’t Look Under the Bed (1999)
One of the more overlooked Disney Channel Original Movies (it was always one of the ones they aired the least during Halloween), Don’t Look Under the Bed still holds steady as one of the best DCOM movies to date. It’s fun, smart, and gets to the heart of growing up and forgetting about the things you used to believe in so strongly. Francis, in trying to be more mature, no longer believes in imaginary friends and this becomes the reason behind the boogeyman (or, boogeyperson) terrorizing the local town. It’s a wonderful film that evaluates how growing up can change you and how leaving behind parts of your childhood can affect your perspective as you grow up. A true Disney Channel Original Movie Halloween classic that’s always a must-watch.
1 Halloweentown 1-4 (1998)
No Disney Halloween movie ranking list can be a true list without including the Halloweentown films. They’re primary viewing during the month of October and, based on where it landed on the list, the very best of the DCOM Halloween films. From Marnie’s enthusiasm to finding out she’s a witch, to her occasionally tense relationship with her mother, Halloweentown and its sequels have a knack for exploring the supernatural while keeping the film grounded with the fantastic familial relationships. It also helps to have the late Debbie Reynolds playing Aggie, the ever exuberant grandmother. The Cromwell clan is certainly memorable and the adventures they get into are fun and can parallel society in some ways–the films touch upon the discrimination non-magic folk face in Halloweentown. The first two films are the best of the four (it’s still weird that Marnie was replaced by another actress), but the series as a whole is simply an example of what good Disney Channel Original Movies can be.
Special Acknowledgement: Hocus Pocus (1993)
Special acknowledgment must be made for the mother of all Halloween films, Hocus Pocus. Hocus Pocus was originally written as a DCOM, but ended up opening in theaters. While it originally didn’t do very well at the box office, that doesn’t stop us from loving it and having it on repeat during the month of October. And it’s since become a classic must-watch. We just can’t get enough of the Sanderson sisters as they wreak havoc throughout Salem.