Throwback Thursday: “Halloweentown”

Happy October! For my posts this month, I’m going to focus on a different Halloween movie from my childhood. To kick off the count, here’s a Disney Channel Original Movie that seemed to continually be on a loop when I was a kid: “Halloweentown”!

Spoooooky!
Spoooooky!

Released in 1998, this is about a girl named Marnie who finds out that she, along with her whole family, are actually witches with lineage back in a magical Halloween-y place called (somewhat unoriginally) Halloweentown.

Marnie, played by Kimberly J. Brown. Also known as “Oh yeah, that girl in every Disney movie ever.”

Marnie’s grandmother informs her grandchildren of their powers because the residents have been disappearing from this holiday-specific town and she needs their help. Marnie and her siblings learn about their witch powers, mystery and intrigue ensues, and it turns out the bad guy was the only other prominent character in the movie, just like “Scooby-Doo.”

Thank God for Velma or they never would've gotten anything done.
Thank God for Velma or they never would’ve gotten anything done.

Overall, the movie wasn’t that great. The best part was that Marnie and her siblings found out they were secretly witches, which was a really exciting concept around this time. In the late 90s, we were really desperate for something to make us magical and special. The “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” TV show had been on for a couple years at this point and “Halloweentown” came out just before Harry Potter really exploded in popularity and made us all desperately wish for an acceptance letter to Hogwarts.

I would've traded a kidney for one of these.
I would’ve traded a kidney for one of these.

Despite my not being terribly impressed with “Halloweentown”, it sparked three sequels and I’ll admit, I watched it a lot because the Disney Channel pretty much kept it on a loop in the month of October.

"You must not change the channel!" "I . . . must . . . not . . . change . . . channel. . ."
“You must not change the channel!”
“I . . . must . . . not . . . change . . . channel. . .”

However, if you loved this movie, I have some exciting news for you: Halloweentown is real! Well, kind of. The movie was filmed around St. Helen’s, Oregon, and every year there’s a festival in October dedicated to the movie. They even set up the movie’s giant pumpkin outside city hall and have a ceremonial lighting of the jack-o-lantern.

For real, this is a thing.
For real, this is a thing.

The big news, however, is that this year, when the festival kicks off on October 10th, Kimberley J. Brown, a.k.a. Marnie, is going to be there to light the ceremonial pumpkin! She confirmed it on social media last week and although no specifics have been released, there are rumors for special photo ops if you show up in costume.

I know I spent 90% of this post complaining about this movie but I’m a sucker for nostalgia so I’m already looking up plane tickets–who’s coming with me?

 

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Emily Regan is the author of several books, including "What's an Adult?: No One Knows Anything and We're All Going to Die." She is an avid fan of reality TV, an unironic Hanson fan, and currently resides in Arizona with her family.

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