10 Shows to Stream on Disney Plus This Halloween
Hocus Pocus is a given, but these are our other top picks out of more than 100 options.
Nobody does Halloween like Disney. There are more Disney Channel Original Movies (DCOMs) dedicated to this holiday than anything else, including Christmas and high school musicals. Disney Plus has added a Halloween collection for October. For some reason, Under Wraps, considered to be the first DCOM, is not available, which is a shame, but otherwise the "Hallowstream" is extensive.
In addition to content specifically about All Hallows' Eve, the list includes anything vaguely spooky (Maleficent? James and the Giant Peach?). If you don't have time to watch all 106 items, but you want to get into the fall spirit (or you're just looking for something to watch until the second season of The Mandalorian starts streaming on October 30), here are our top 10 picks.
1. Halloweentown and Halloweentown High
By all means, watch the Halloweentown tetralogy if you've never seen it, but the first and third are the best installments. Marnie (Kimberly J. Brown) finds out on her 13th Halloween that her mother has been hiding the fact that she comes from a family of witches, so she runs away to join her grandmother in Halloweentown and start her training. That grandmother is played by none other than Singin' in the Rain's Debbie Reynolds. The second movie makes little sense, but one crucial development leads to the plot of Halloweentown High, in which a dozen students from Halloweentown go to school in the human realm. This sequel is important because it introduced us to Finn Wittrock, who would later star in Broadway revivals of Death of a Salesman and The Glass Menagerie, and to a pre-High School Musical Lucas Grabeel.
2. Trick or Treat
Before they were solving mysteries and rewriting history in DuckTales, Huey, Dewey, and Louie appeared in many shorts alongside Donald Duck, including this 1952 cartoon in which their Uncle terrorizes his nephews with cruel tricks. Shakespeare fans will enjoy the Macbeth references and musical fans will love the catchy title tune composed by Cinderella songwriters Mack David, Al Hoffman, and Jerry Livingston.
3. So Weird, "Boo" (Season 2, Episode 7)
Disney lists the entire series in the Halloween collection, probably because Fi (Cara DeLizia) is obsessed with the supernatural. She dedicates a website to her findings while on the road with her mom's rock tour. But this is the only actual Halloween episode. Fi doesn't even like the holiday because it makes fun of everything she tries to get the world to take seriously. The show is at its best when it deals with Fi's grief over her father, but this is just a silly, fun episode. Henry Winkler was one of show's executive producers, and this is the only episode in which he appears.
4. Phantom of the Megaplex
If you've always wanted to see The Phantom of the Opera set at a 26-screen movie theater, this film is for you. It doesn't take place during Halloween (it was released in November 2000), but Disney Channel always lumps it in with its Halloween DCOMs. Like Halloweentown, it stars a legend, in this case, Mickey Rooney, and it is worth watching for the fact that at one point he sings "Hooray for Hollywood."
5. Gravity Falls, "Summerween" (Season 1, Episode 12)
This series takes place during the summer, but that didn't stop the writers from doing one of the funniest Halloween episodes of any show ever. The locals of Gravity Falls love Halloween so much they celebrate it twice a year, once in October and once in June, with some fun twists like jack-o'-melons. Dipper wants to go to a party instead of trick-or-treating with his twin sister Mabel, so in addition to the laughs, there is a touching story about growing up.
6. The Scream Team
This 2002 DCOM stars Kat Dennings in one of her first roles. The subject matter is really dark, involving arson, a burning at the stake, ghosts who can't cross over, and complicated relationships between fathers and sons. Once again the adult actors — Eric Idle, Kathy Najimy, and Tommy Davidson — elevate the film to a higher comedic plane.
You might have noticed that this list is pretty white. This 2005 movie and its sequel are the only Disney Halloween movies with Black leads — Tia and Tamera Mowry. Like in their TV show Sister, Sister, they play twins who were separated at birth and put up for adoption. But in this case they also happen to be witches from another dimension called Coventry. For any Schitt's Creek fans, Jennifer Robertson (Jocelyn Schitt), plays Ileana, one of the protectors of the twins.
8. Mom's Got a Date With a Vampire
The title of this 2000 DCOM is quite literal. The Hansen siblings are grounded, so they set their mom (Caroline Rhea) on a date so they can sneak out. But they've actually set her up with a vampire. Oops. Charles Shaughnessy plays the debonair Dimitri Denatos. A young Jake Epstein, who would go on to play Gerry Goffin in the original Broadway cast of Beautiful, also appears.
9. The Proud Family, "A Hero for Halloween" (Season 2, Episode 2)
New episodes will be coming to Disney under the title The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder, so now is a good time to rewatch or introduce yourself to this animated sitcom. In this episode, Penny Proud, the teen protagonist, dresses up as a superhero and actually gains powers. It also has appearances from the best recurring characters, Uncle Bobby and Wizard Kelly, as well as Lil' Romeo.
10. Hocus Pocus
No Halloween is complete without a viewing of arguably the best Halloween movie of all time and Kenny Ortega's finest achievement as a director. All you need to know is that Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy play a trio of witches and that Midler sings "I Put a Spell on You." For hardcore fans, if you go to "extras" under Hocus Pocus and click on We Heart Hocus Pocus: Trivia and Treats Edition, you can watch the film with trivia, commentary, deleted scenes, and more.