Ranking Our Top 10 Classic Halloween DCOMs
This article was written by The Zillennial Zine’s fall editorial intern Raven Minyard. Find her on Instagram at @raven.minyard. If you would like to share an article with The Zillennial, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy October, Zillennials! Or should I say Happy Monstober? If you were a Disney Channel kid, that phrase probably brings back memories of Halloween DCOMs and spooky episodes of your favorite Disney Channel shows. There was nothing better than counting down the days until Halloween with movies like Halloweentown and Twitches. But which Halloween DCOM was the best? Which movies stood the test of time to become seasonal classics? We decided to find out. We had a DCOM Halloween marathon to definitively rank the top ten Halloween Disney Channel original movies. Keep reading to find out what’s number one.
10. Phantom of the Megaplex
Starting off our list at number 10 is Phantom of the Megaplex. This may be one of the lesser-known DCOMs these days, but I was obsessed with it as a kid. Plus, it featured Hollywood legend Mickey Rooney, something that doesn’t seem to happen with newer Disney Channel movies. The story follows 17-year-old Pete who is the assistant manager at his local cinema, which has rumors of being haunted by a mysterious phantom. When things begin going wrong on the night of an important movie premiere, it’s up to Pete and his siblings to save the day and find out if the phantom is real. This is a fun reimagined version of the Phantom of the Opera, but the beginning is kind of slow and it takes a while for the plot to really get going. Plus, what kind of 17-year-old cares about his part-time job that much?
9. Twitches Too
Twitches Too follows the events of the first movie as Alex and Camryn learn to live with each other and their powers. When the girls begin receiving signs that their father might still be alive, they return to Coventry to fight the returning darkness once more. In this sequel, we get to see a lot more of the hijinks from the first movie, and Tia and Tamera Mowry are incredible as usual. But like a lot of sequels, this one simply wasn’t as good as the first.
8. Mom’s Got a Date With a Vampire
Landing at number 8 is Mom’s Got a Date With a Vampire. When the Hanson kids get grounded right before their big plans, they decide to take matters into their own hands by setting their mom up on a blind date. Things don’t go exactly as planned, however, as the date in question ends up being a vampire. Now the kids have to team up to save their mom. As a vampire lover (yes, I had a Twilight phase), it’s no surprise that this movie made it on the list. There’s just something about a good sibling team-up that makes a Halloween DCOM perfect. Plus, the fact that an eight-year-old is working with an actual vampire hunter is hilarious. Still, this movie could be slow at times, so it ranks lower on the list than movies that keep the pace up from the get-go.
7. Halloweentown High
Spoiler alert: this is the first of three Halloweentown movies on this list (and no, Return to Halloweentown did not make it. I still feel betrayed by the recasting of Marnie). In Halloweentown High, Marnie wants to bridge the gap between Halloweentown and the regular world by organizing an exchange program for a group of Halloweentown high school students to attend her school. One of my favorite things about this movie growing up was getting to see all the cool Halloweentown creatures and how they interacted with humans. But since it takes place in the mortal realm instead of Halloweentown, it lacks some of the whimsy of the earlier movies.
Twitches is one of the most iconic DCOM Halloween classics. I also just learned it’s based on a book series, so I will be reading those to satisfy my inner Halloween-loving child. Alex and Camryn have led very different lives, but on their 21st birthday, everything changes; not only do they find out they’re long-lost twins, but they’re also witches. When the girls discover they’re actually princesses from another dimension called Coventry, they must work together to defeat the Darkness to save themselves and their world. Disney knew what they were doing when they cast Tia and Tamera in this movie. The way they interact with each other makes this so fun to watch. There’s a reason this is one of the first films to come to mind when you think of Disney Channel and Halloween.
5. The Scream Team
Featuring Halloween icon Kathy Najimy (aka Mary Sanderson from Hocus Pocus), this movie had to make the list. The Scream Team follows the brother-sister duo Ian and Claire (played by a young Kat Dennings) after their grandfather’s funeral. When they discover his house is a gateway for ghosts, they team up with some unlikely ghostly friends to defeat an angry spirit and help the spirits he’s trapped cross over into the next life. When I think of Halloween, I still see it in terms of ‘90s and early 2000s fall. This movie captures that aesthetic perfectly and manages to feel cozy and nostalgic even when the characters are actively fighting evil ghosts. If you want to relive the Halloweens of your childhood, give this a watch.
4. Now You See It…
Okay, this may be my most controversial pick because I never hear anyone talking about this movie, but I was OBSESSED. Now You See It… follows teen producer Allyson as she searches for the next big kid magician to land a spot on a new reality show contest. When she finds Danny Sinclair, his magic tricks seem impossibly real. Even he doesn’t seem to understand how he does them, something that could land him in life-threatening danger. If this was just a general DCOM ranking rather than a Halloween one, this would definitely be higher on my list because it’s still one of my favorite Disney Channel movies to this day. The plot feels entirely unique, especially compared to some later DCOMs. But even though this was aired every October, it wasn’t set during Halloween, so it lacks some of the seasonal vibes of the other movies on this list.
3. Halloweentown II: Kalabar’s Revenge
Set two years after the events of the first Halloweentown, Halloweentown II: Kalabar’s Revenge follows Marnie and Aggie as they discover Halloweentown has been drained of all its color and its residents have turned into dull humans. Together, they have to find out who’s responsible and put a stop to it before both Halloweentown and the mortal world are destroyed. While not quite as good as the original, this movie still has the same whimsy and nostalgia as the first Halloweentown. Many of our favorite characters from the first movie return for the sequel, and now this movie is viewed as a classic just like the original.
2. Don’t Look Under the Bed
Frances has always been levelheaded – until she starts running into a boy called Larry Houdini, who no one else can see, and gets blamed for several “pranks” happening around her town. Larry turns out to be an imaginary friend, which explains why most people can’t see him, and he tells Frances that she’s being framed by the Boogeyman. Now Frances must stop the Boogeyman to clear her name and save her little brother before it’s too late. This is another seriously underrated movie. It tackles serious issues like Frances’s brother’s battle with leukemia, addresses the strange feelings of growing up, and still manages to be spooky and scary. Seriously, I’m surprised the Boogeyman didn’t give me nightmares as a kid. This is a nostalgic film that can definitely still be enjoyed as an adult.
Was there really any doubt this would be number one? Halloweentown is the DCOM Halloween classic. It follows thirteen-year-old Marnie as she discovers she and her family are witches. When her grandmother Aggie comes to town for her annual Halloween visit, Marnie decides to follow her and ends up in Halloweentown, a world where all kinds of Halloween creatures live. As Marnie begins learning about her powers, she discovers an evil being is trying to take over Halloweentown and she must team up with her siblings to save the day. Halloweentown has everything you could want in a Halloween movie. It’s cozy and whimsical while still having spooky moments. The set and costume design is impeccable, and everyone is perfectly cast – especially Debbie Reynolds as Aggie Cromwell. There’s a reason this movie got three sequels and is often regarded as one of the best DCOMs of all time.
Do you agree with our DCOM Halloween ranking? Are there any movies that didn’t make the list that you think should have? Let us know in the comments!