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These Disney Halloween classics are far from dead

(Hocus Pocus Official Facebook Page)

If you grew up as a Disney Channel kid, then you’ve likely developed a strong love for all things Disney Channel.

While pumpkin spice everything, the changing leaves and jack-o-lanterns are the draw to this time of year for many, the spotlight should be on what Disney Channel has to offer. With movie classics like the “Halloweentown” series, “Hocus Pocus” and “Twitches,” it’s hard not to get excited about this season.

Halloweentown (1998)

One of the most classic Disney Channel original Halloween-themed movie series is “Halloweentown.” From the very first to the very last film, “Halloweentown” offers the viewers festive imagery of pumpkins, changing leaves and fun costumes. These films also offer a good-old family adventure, involving an evil warlock threatening to destroy both “Halloweentown” and the mortal world. Fear not though, because there is nothing the Cromwell witches can’t accomplish with magic and a little faith. Each “Halloweentown” movie gets better with bigger adventures, improved graphics and sets, as well as a growing love for the Cromwell family. These movies bring together the best parts of Halloween and provide some valuable lessons. From messages about anti-bullying to the acceptance for all people, no matter how spooky they might look, these movies showcase a wholesome and entertaining way to deal with social issues.

Hocus Pocus (1993)

From the broomsticks to the haunted Sanderson sister house, “Hocus Pocus” makes the top of this list for many people’s favorite Halloween-themed movie. It’s hard not to love this movie and the Sanderson sisters. Their witty commentary and hint of spookiness set the tone for the Halloween season. Taking place in Salem, Massachusetts, “Hocus Pocus” puts a modern twist on the rich history of witches in the late 1600s.

Like the “Halloweentown” series, “Hocus Pocus” offers up some social commentary. This is best seen through one of the main characters, Max, who gets bullied upon his arrival at his new school. While the outcome of this bullying is not the focus of the film, Max does get some satisfaction when the bullies, Jay and Ice, get a taste of their own medicine toward the end of the movie.

Twitches (2005)

With Tia and Tamera Mowry as the lead actresses, there is little question why “Twitches” is a truly fantastic Halloween movie. Watching “Twitches” is a rollercoaster ride of emotions. Don’t be surprised if you go from laughing, to scared, to crying as these twins reconnect and discover their true identity. Separated at birth, we follow the main characters as they discover they are princesses in another dimension who were rushed to the mortal world at birth. The cherry on top of this whole premise is the fact that these sisters have magical powers. With the looming ‘darkness’ coming for the sisters and their true home, they must come to conquer ‘the darkness.’ While this movie may lack in the Halloween imagery seen in the other Disney Channel movies discussed, it embodies the Halloween spirit through the almost haunted castle and the threatening darkness.

Both “Halloweentown” and “Hocus Pocus” ooze Halloween spirit through the classic creatures featured in the films. There is everything from witches and warlocks, to zombies and skeletons to black cats and trick-or-treaters.

While “Twitches” doesn’t offer all of these creatures, it rises to the occasion with its ominous and unusual take on a Halloween movie, for Disney Channel at least. Some might call these works of art dated, but any true Disney Channel fan will tell you otherwise, and proceed to make you watch them.

Allison Rizzo can be reached at ajrizzo@umass.edu.

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