While the Halloween season has been upon us since the first few minutes of October, this week we will reach the peak and end of the season as we enter “Halloweek.” Although Halloween celebrations have changed as we have gotten older, one thing that remains constant are the spooky, sometimes laughably scary movies that accompany the season. These outrageous representations of mystical towns and dark magic were my favorite part of the season growing up. Every year, Disney Channel and its competitors treated us to a new comically scary movie that managed to both amuse and, admittedly on occasion, terrify me. As a person who prefers not to be traumatized by actual horror films, I use the Halloween season as an excuse to get nostalgic and re-watch these childhood spooky flicks.
Hocus Pocus, the 22-year-old Disney classic tale of three witches hanged in the 1600’s and their quest for revenge and ever lasting youth, was the first movie that genuinely scared me. The witches’ mannerisms and voices were creepily cringe-worthy all on their own. The fact that they were gallivanting through the town and attempting to suck the souls out of children definitely deemed it the most disturbing plot line in my limited movie experience. Although it no longer has the same scare factor as it did in my younger days, this cult classic is an essential part of getting into the Halloween spirit.
While Hocus Pocus satisfies the scary requirements for a Halloween movie, I was, and remain, a sucker for the more cutesy tales of any season. For the easily frightened and even more easily heart-warmed, Casper is your perfect source of nostalgia this season. The haunted house, evil ghosts and, of course, a ghost therapist who can speak to the evil spirits in the house, allow it to be considered a Halloween movie. The difference with this Halloween flick, however, is Casper, “the friendliest ghost you know,” whose only wish is to be human again. The innocent love story that develops between Casper and the ghost therapist’s daughter, Kat, turns this spooky fall-favorite into a Cinderella spin-off. Casper provides a heartwarming story that is refreshing during a season more focused on nightmares and dark magic. If you need a feel-good film, don’t forget about this friendly ghost.
Finally, what would this season be without a visit to Halloweentown? The world was first introduced to this mystical town back in 1998 as it watched three siblings and their magical grandmother travel to a village that completely embodies the spirit of Halloween. The movie follows the oldest sibling on her quest to save the other supernatural creatures in the town from an evil spirit terrorizing the village. For others, like myself, who were quickly hooked on the world of Halloweentown, Disney did not disappoint and gave us Halloweentown 2, Halloweentown High and Return to Halloweentown. The cheesy editing effects, overload of Halloween decorations and overpowering ‘90s feel is sure to bring out Halloween nostalgia for days of trick or treating, and to revive your belief in magic.
Although tastes in movies and celebrations for Halloween have matured, reliving your childhood with one of these cheesy ‘90s flicks will remind you of the magic of Halloweens past and be sure to get you into the spirit.