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Halloween Disney Movies: Hocus Pocus VS Halloweentown

VO: Emily Brayton WRITTEN BY: Savannah Sher
Which one will you be watching this Halloween? For this list, we’re comparing two iconic family Halloween movies: “Hocus Pocus” and “Halloweentown”.For this battle, we’ll be considering a variety of different aspects of these couples’ relationships, and trying to pick a winner. Round 1: Spookiness. Both of these movies are made by Disney, though “Hocus Pocus” had a theatrical release and “Halloweentown” aired on the Disney Channel. Neither of these films are horror movies by any stretch, but “Hocus Pocus” does feature some moments that can creep us out even now. While the main villains are the three witches whose constant jokes and general ridiculousness keep them from being truly frightening, though the threat of danger does feel more real in this movie. It’s even rated PG rather than G, but we have a feeling that’s for the sexual innuendo more than anything else! We’re also looking at costumes, the cast and which movie is overall most iconic!
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Hocus Pocus vs. Halloweentown


Which one will you be watching this Halloween? Welcome to MsMojo and today we’re comparing two iconic family Halloween movies: “Hocus Pocus” and “Halloweentown”.

For this battle, we’ll be considering the good and bad points of both movies from a variety of perspectives, and trying to pick a winner.

Round 1: Spookiness


Both of these are Disney movies, although “Hocus Pocus” had a theatrical release and “Halloweentown” aired on the Disney Channel. As such, neither are horror movies by any stretch, but “Hocus Pocus” does feature some moments that creep us out even now. While the constant jokes and general ridiculousness of the movie’s three witches keep them from being truly frightening, their plan to suck out children’s souls is pretty sinister. That may have something to do with the higher PG rating, although the silly sexual innuendo might also play a role.

In contrast, “Halloweentown” is an all-round tamer affair, a journey through a magical, Halloween-themed world that could probably only freak out very young audiences. While you may remember it scaring you as a kid, there’s relatively littler fodder for nightmares here. Okay, except maybe for Kalabar’s demonic face, which admittedly still gives us the willies. Sure, there are skeletons and goblins, but they all seem pretty good natured and unthreatening.

This one was pretty easy, “Hocus Pocus” is definitely the scarier film.

WINNER: Hocus Pocus 1 / Halloweentown 0


Round 2: Costumes


In “Hocus Pocus”, the three Sanderson Sisters, Winifred, Sarah and Mary, each have a distinctive style, and as a trio, their ensembles have become iconic. From Sarah’s corset and ample makeup to Winifred’s bouffant hairdo and buck teeth, their looks were clearly carefully thought out and expertly executed. All three resemble variations of the stereotypical witch, and the rich textures of the garments make you almost believe they’re actually from 1693.

The costumes in “Halloweentown” on the other hand kind of look like they were made for a TV movie, which to be fair, they were. Aggie, a powerful witch, wears an ensemble that could honestly belong to almost any somewhat eccentric woman of a certain age, apart from the cloak. Overall, the movie’s costumes seem distinctly lower budget, and aren’t nearly as memorable or remarkable as those in “Hocus Pocus”. If you decided to dress as Aggie or Marnie for Halloween, we have a feeling not many people would recognize you.

There’s a reason there are more people dressing up as the Sanderson sisters for Halloween. This one has to go to “Hocus Pocus”!

WINNER: Hocus Pocus 2 / Halloweentown 0


Round 3: Plot


The plot of “Hocus Pocus” is unique and does a good job drawing us into the movie’s world. It begins in 1693 when three witches kill a young girl to harness her youth, before being caught ang hanged. What the townspeople don’t know is that the witches have cast a spell allowing them to be resurrected when a virgin lights the Black Flame Candle on Halloween. In 1993 this finally happens, and a group of modern-day kids in Salem have to deal with the witches.

The plot of “Halloweentown” is much simpler, but also more heartwarming. Marnie Piper is a 13 year old living in the modern day whose grandmother decides that she should be trained as a witch. Marnie and her brother Dylan follow their grandmother to Halloweentown, where they help solve a dark mystery and set things in the town right. The story is lighthearted, and made us feel like there was a chance that someone would arrive one day to tell us that we were really witches or wizards. Who wouldn’t want that?

Because of the feeling of magic and hope it gave us, we’re giving this point to “Halloweentown”, though it was definitely a close one.

WINNER: Hocus Pocus 2 / Halloweentown 1

Round 4: Cast


“Hocus Pocus” had a budget of $28 million, which is probably why it was able to snag some big name stars to help the film. Though Sarah Jessica Parker wouldn’t have her breakout role on “Sex and the City” for another few years, she had still starred in several major films. Bette Midler was an Academy Award nominated actress when she was cast in “Hocus Pocus”, and perfectly inhabits the role of a wicked witch. Even young Thora Birch who plays Dani would go on to do major things. Across the board, the caliber of acting is excellent here.

“Halloweentown” had a much lower budget, made for the Disney Channel rather than a theatrical release, but Disney still managed to get the late and great Debbie Reynolds to take a starring role. Reynolds first became famous after her role in “Singin' in the Rain”, and has been nominated for numerous Golden Globe Awards and an Oscar. Aside from Reynolds, however, the rest of the cast is relatively unknown, and don’t bring quite the same panache to their performances.

This one is tricky, but we have to give the point to “Hocus Pocus”.

WINNER: Hocus Pocus 3 / Halloweentown 1


Round 5: Most Iconic


Your age when these movies came out could have a significant effect on which was more a staple in your childhood. Released five years apart, “Hocus Pocus” and “Halloweentown” both have their devoted followings. In today’s pop culture, we’ve gotta say that “Hocus Pocus” gets more air time, with countless memes about the movie making their way around social media as soon as Halloween approaches each year. Older millennials likely relate to this movie more, because it was released at the peak of their childhood.

“Halloweentown” has younger fans but they’re no less dedicated. In fact, every year St. Helens, Oregon, where the movie was filmed, hosts a month-long festival where the town is transformed again into Halloweentown. Actors from the movie and its sequels sometimes make appearances, and in 2017 they paid tribute to the recently deceased Debbie Reynolds.

Both of these movies are iconic and to be honest, they make for a great double feature come Halloween. So we’re giving a point to both of them!

WINNER: Hocus Pocus 4 / Halloweentown 2

That means “Hocus Pocus” takes this one!

Which movie is your favorite? Be sure to debate it in the comments and of course, don’t forget to subscribe to MsMojo for more divisive versus battles.
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