Halloween is one of the biggest American holidays on the calendar. It's a day to dress up, run around in the dark, see the neighbors, and hand out candy to smiling children. But this year will be different. The coronavirus pandemic will most likely put a kibosh on door-to-door candying. Parades and mass gatherings in the pumpkin patch are out. But never fear, there are still other ways to celebrate this October. These
Halloween movies on Disney+ are one way to keep the Halloween spirit alive at home.
Most people don't think of scary or spooky when they think of Disney. The House of Mouse provides plenty of fodder for costumes, from
Star Wars to Marvel to Disney princesses. But the PG nature of the Disney brand causes viewers to write it off when looking for festive movies to watch this time of year.
But one look at Disney+ will prove this false. Disney happens to have some of the best Halloween films ever made, including several Touchstone Pictures classics. The Disney Channel has also spent decades creating Halloween films for all ages. The result is that Disney+ has one of the best film lineups for families looking for at-home ways to celebrate this Halloween.
'The Nightmare Before Christmas'
The one, the only, the original story of Jack Skellington, Tim Burton's famed Halloween cartoon,
The Nightmare Before Christmas, is now a resident on Disney+, and is still as perfect for the season as you remember. Hocus Pocus is still a mainstay of Freeform's Halloween movie countdown. But this Bette Midler-led film from Kenny Ortega (the man behind High School Musical) can be watched anytime on Disney+. (And there's a sequel in the works too.) Coco is Pixar's brilliant story of a little boy transported to the Land of the Dead to seek out his deceased musician great-great-grandfather. It's perfect viewing as part of any Day of the Dead celebrations. 04
'Escape To Witch Mountain'
This 1975 tale of two psychic orphans is usually classified as science fiction. But the haunting story in what has become the long-running
Witch Mountain saga has plenty of spookiness for the Halloween season. Under Wraps, made in 1997, is considered the first Disney Channel original movie. It's also one of the few horror-themed Disney Channel movies in existence. Three 12-year-old kids discover an Egyptian mummy that comes alive with the full moon and they have to get him back in his sarcophagus by the end of Halloween night.
The other Tim Burton comedy animation on the list, the 2012 3D stop motion
Frankenweenie, is a full-length remake of Burton's 1984 short story. In it, Victor Frankenstein uses electricity to resurrect his dead Bull Terrier, Sparky. 07
'Don't Look Under The Bed'
The scariest movie the Disney Channel ever produced,
Don't Look Under the Bed, details Francis' quest to determine if The Boogeyman is real. The film is famous for the House of Mouse pulling it from rotation after parents complained, and it was the last horror-themed film made by the Disney Channel for many years after.
After the success of
High School Musical, it's not surprising Disney Channel went whole hog one Halloween and made a zombie musical. Based on Zombies & Cheerleaders by David Light and Joseph Raso, Zombies stars Milo Manheim and Meg Donnelly as a zombie football player and human cheerleader who fall in love. It was followed by a sequel, Zombies 2.
Based on the series of novels by the same name,
Twitches stars Tia and Tamera Mowry of twin witches separated at birth who rediscover each other on their 21st birthday. The film was so popular, it spawned a sequel, Twitches 2. 10
'Mom's Got A Date With A Vampire'
Mom's Got a Date with a Vampire features a preppy mom in Caroline Rhea, two meddling tweets who discover she's dating a vampire, and Robert Carradine turning up to spoof himself as Malachi Van Helsing.
The first of four
Halloweentown films, this 1998 Disney Channel classic creates an entire alternate universe where all the scaries of Halloween (witches, warlocks, vampires, werewolves, ghosts, trolls, zombies, pumpkin heads, and so forth) have separated themselves from humanity and run their own village called Halloweentown.
Eddie Murphy stars in this 2003 supernatural comedy based on the famed Disney park ride. One of the few big-budget, big-screen films on the list,
The Haunted Mansion was a critical disaster at the time but has since become a fun family-favorite and a so-bad-it's-good cult classic. 13
'The Ghosts Of Buxley Hall'
This 1980 story of an army of ghosts trying to prevent the merger of 100-year-old Buxley Military Academy with a school for girls isn't just a classic: It's a timely tale of the futility of trying to hold back progress.
A tale of colonial ghosts haunting a New England mansion is classic Halloween stuff. The Davis family moves in to find all sorts of haunted house goodies, including "The Boogedy Man." This made-for-TV movie was so popular when it arrived in the 1980s, Disney made a sequel,
Bride of Boogedy.
A 1999 Disney Channel science fiction comedy based on the novel by Kathy Mackel, Michael Shulman stars as Mike Pillsbury. Mike discovers he is an extraterrestrial when The Bom, an alien lawyer, arrives to have him sue for millions of galactic credits due to Earth's substandard living conditions.
'Phantom Of The Megaplex'
The Disney Channel's 2010 take on
Phantom of the Opera, The Phantom of the Multiplex is as funny as it is gently spooky. A haunted megaplex has several suspects who could be the Phantom, and it's up to assistant manager Pete Riley and his younger siblings to figure out who it is while also remembering to value their childhood. Now You See It... is a mockumentary film told from the point of view of Allyson (Aly Michalka). In it, her quest to make a reality show about hunting for "the world's best magician" accidentally turns up real magic.
Based on the book
My Invisible Sister by Beatrice Colin and Sara Pinto, Rowan Blanchard stars as the nerdy Cleo, who accidentally turns her popular older sister Molly (Paris Berelc) invisible.
A 2012 fantasy-comedy,
Girl vs. Monster stars Olivia Holt as Skylar, who discovers one Halloween she is descended from a long line of monster-hunters.
Mark Rendall and Kat Dennings star as Ian and Claire Carlyle, whose late grandfather Frank ran a horror ran a horror shop in Steeple Falls. Frank's spirit is trying to tell them something, which leads them to uncover a group of ghosts known as "The Soul Patrol."