The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

Print Edition
Letter to the editor submissions
Have a strong opinion about something happening on campus or in Fort Collins? Want to respond to an article written on The Collegian? Write a Letter to the Editor by following the guidelines here.
Follow Us on Twitter
Why Online Education is a Game-Changer for Nurses
September 25, 2023

Online education has revolutionized the way nurses acquire knowledge and skills by providing them with a flexible and accessible learning...

Ranking the ridiculous but iconic ‘Halloweentown’ movies

(Graphic Illustration by Lee Billiot | The Collegian)

For all the ’90s and early-2000s kids, the Halloweentown franchise was the ultimate movie series to watch in October. If you didn’t own the DVDs, you may have been like me and taped each movie when it came on what is now Freeform’s 31 Nights of Halloween. 

Before jumping into ranking the movies, it’s time for a little synopsis of Halloweentown. Marnie Piper finds out she and her family are witches in the first movie. Her mother, Gwen Piper, has kept this a secret in order to protect her children. 


However, Gwen’s mother, Aggie Cromwell, has her heart set on training Marnie as a witch. Aggie is inarguably the coolest grandmother due to her chaotic and whimsical nature. Her home is in Halloweentown, which is a world for monsters, witches and other immortal creatures to live happily and without the judgment of mortals. 

As an older sibling, I really wish I could say Marnie is the smart one — but she is not. This series would have ended halfway through the first movie if she didn’t have help from her younger siblings, Dylan and Sophie Piper. 

Now that we are caught up, let’s hop into ranking and reviewing this iconic franchise. Beware of the many spoilers this review contains. 

1. ‘Halloweentown II: Kalabar’s Revenge’ (2001)

It is rare that a sequel surpasses the original movie, but “Halloweentown II: Kalabar’s Revenge” is simply the most iconic of the Halloweentown films due to its elite level of humor.

To start, it is absolutely hilarious how quickly Marnie gives away her family secrets to the cute boy, “Kal,” she met a few minutes ago. After just defeating Kalabar, you would think she would not let a stranger named Kal — short for Kalabar Jr., but Marnie doesn’t know that — enter her grandmother’s room and definitely be careful not to let him steal Aggie’s spell book. 

However, the spell book is stolen, and somehow, Marnie does not even suspect Kal, so they travel to Halloweentown to investigate and discover the whole town is under the “gray spell.” This spell basically just turns everyone into humans and makes them very, very boring. 

Then, we get introduced to the best Halloweentown character of all time: Gort. Gort and his crankiness are essential to the movie despite not being at all essential to the plot. All lost items from both worlds end up in his smelly, messy house. Neither of Aggie’s spell books are there, though.

We then have another iconic moment when the spell is reversed because Marnie accidentally says the spell backward. We soon learn the spell is simply “apart” and she had said “trap a.” I hope the writers felt really proud of themselves for that one.

To top the movie off, we learn that Kal’s dad is Kalabar (duh), and the dad he has in the mortal world who has been flirting with Gwen the entire movie is a golem made out of frogs, which explains the frog costume, and lime ice cream. Peak comedy. 


2. ‘Halloweentown’ (1998)

The reason “Halloweentown” falls short of its sequel is simply because our characters are just starting their adventures. They don’t know how to use their powers much beyond Sophie’s legendary floating cookie moment as an accidental act of rebellion to no cookies before dinner.

I cannot ignore the superiority of Dylan’s jokes and questioning of Halloweentown as a whole. The movie would lack all comedy if Dylan was not there to question the logic of this illogical place. 

After sneaking off to Halloweentown, the kids soon discover the town is in danger and it’s up to them to save it. The best part of this movie is exploring Halloweentown for the first time with Marnie, Dylan and Sophie.

It’s also important to note that the demon threatening Halloweentown ends up being Kalabar, the mayor of the town and Gwen’s ex-boyfriend. It comes as no surprise to viewers but somehow a huge surprise to most of Halloweentown. 

3. ‘Halloweentown High’ (2004)

The cast of “Halloweentown High” is absolutely iconic. Not only do we have Lucas Grabeel, best known for playing Ryan Evans in “High School Musical,” as Ethan Dalloway, but the absolute smokeshow Finn Wittrock made his film debut as Cody in this movie. 

The best part about this movie is Aggie’s inability to teach any classes as a substitute teacher. 

Skipping past the entire elaborate plot about the Knights of the Iron Dagger in this movie, the carnival scene allows this sequel to be significantly better than its successor, “Return to Halloweentown.” 

Nothing is more iconic than the transfer students from Halloweentown trying to show the mortals that immortals are peaceful and normal by creating the lamest haunted house of all time. 

To finish it off, Marnie has a happily-ever-after moment with her love interest, Cody, who is not even mentioned in the following and final movie. 

4. ‘Return to Halloweentown’ (2006)

For the sake of reviewing the movie itself, we are going to ignore the incredibly confusing and heartbreaking recasting of Marnie.

“Return to Halloweentown” is basically just a knock-off Harry Potter movie with a bunch of plot holes. Magic is banned on campus, but everyone constantly uses magic. To fully understand the plot of this movie, I would have needed my own copy of Halloweentown’s Witch University handbook — which Marnie clearly did not even skim before attending. 

One of the worst parts of this movie is the undeniable cheesiness of the Sinister Sisters and the Dominion. Despite great outfits, they have no backstory and are obvious plot devices.

Luckily, the movie is saved by the fact that Gwen forced Dylan to attend the university and to keep an eye on his sister. Of course, Gwen’s failing real estate business and bizarre ways of communicating with her kids added to this. I think my favorite moment was when she appeared in the washing machine to talk to Marnie. 

Maddy Erskine can be reached at or on Twitter @maddyerskine_.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributors
Maddy Erskine, Arts and Culture Editor
Maddy Erskine has been the arts & culture editor for The Collegian since January. They began writing for The Collegian in August 2020 and quickly found their passion for journalism, prompting them to switch their major from anthropology to journalism and media communication that year.  Currently, Erskine works with reporters to find events, musicians, artists, restaurants, movies and other stories that should be shared with our community. Additionally, they edit articles for grammatical errors and accurate information before handing it off to the incredible copy team that catches any missed mistakes.  Born and raised in Fort Collins, Erskine was originally not looking forward to attending college in their hometown. However, that attitude changed immediately when they joined Rocky Mountain Student Media and started getting involved with both the radio station, KCSU, and The Collegian Erskine’s favorite part about Fort Collins is the variety of local music and art here. Growing up, their favorite subjects, and often the only classes they attended, were art and band. In the future, they hope to have their own publication that focuses on uplifting underrepresented voices in art and music.
Trin Bonner, Illustration Editor
Trin Bonner, The Collegian's illustration editor this year, is a second-year student studying graphic design and minoring in religious philosophy. She finds inspiration in unique ideas and perspectives and is intrigued and driven by themes of the unknown and the existential. As an artist, she seeks to create works that spark humor and joy in her audience, and she sees it important to utilize her art as a means to make people laugh and smile, inspiring her to create comics and illustrations for anyone to enjoy. When she's not busy drawing, she enjoys playing and listening to music. To Bonner, music carries a sense of happiness, peace and tranquility she values having in her daily life. In the future, she hopes to create her own music that can be a source of peace, tranquility and happiness to someone else. Overall, she feels it is important to spread as much positive energy in the world as she can. Studying philosophy has guided her to value the good in life, and with the importance of that in mind, she goes through life attempting to spark a bit of positivity wherever she can. As illustration editor, Bonner hopes to direct the illustrations found in The Collegian toward having a sense of joy the readers can experience.

Hey, thanks for visiting!
We’d like to ask you to please disable your ad blocker when looking at our site — advertising revenue directly supports our student journalists and allows us to bring you more content like this.

Comments (0)

When commenting on The Collegian’s website, please be respectful of others and their viewpoints. The Collegian reviews all comments and reserves the right to reject comments from the website. Comments including any of the following will not be accepted. 1. No language attacking a protected group, including slurs or other profane language directed at a person’s race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, social class, age, physical or mental disability, ethnicity or nationality. 2. No factually inaccurate information, including misleading statements or incorrect data. 3. No abusive language or harassment of Collegian writers, editors or other commenters. 4. No threatening language that includes but is not limited to language inciting violence against an individual or group of people. 5. No links.
All The Rocky Mountain Collegian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *