THE GIST: The Cromwell kids aren’t allowed out for Halloween. They’ve never been allowed. Why not? That old parental excuse: “Just because.” One Halloween, grandma comes to visit. To the kids, it’s a surprise visit but later, Marnie (Kimberly J. Brown) overhears Grandma Aggie (Debbie Reynolds) telling Marnie’s mom (Judith Hoag) that she’s actually stopped by because if Marnie doesn’t start her magic training before midnight on Halloween she’ll lose her potential powers forever. That’s right, Aggie and Marnie’s mom are witches from Halloweentown; the kids are half-mortals. Marnie’s mom refuses to let Marnie train. But Aggie has something else to ask her daughter: that she come back home. Something odd has been going on; people (and goblins and ghouls and the sort) have been disappearing and Aggie needs the help of another Cromwell to put an end to it. Marnie’s mom refuses. But at night when Aggie leaves to catch her bus back home, Marnie, her brother and sister decide to follow… landing in Halloweentown and getting tangled up in the mysterious mess.
TRICK OR TREAT?: All-Disney, Family Channel treat, complete with happy ending.
WHY IT GETS US IN THE SPIRIT: Aside from airing on the Family Channel every Halloween and becoming a tradition at my house (even though we’re well past trick or treating age), Halloweentown brings out the Halloween you’ve always remembered as a child. Witches, vampires, werewolves, skeletons…
SCENE TO DIE FOR: The scene at the gym where the cat-woman aerobics instructor is teaching her class of hags and uglies. She’s way too into it. And they’re all way too hideous.
SUGGESTED SWEET: Candy corn. It’s traditional. It’s rare. It’s corny (by name).