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Film / Halloweentown

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"Being normal is vastly overrated."
Aggie Cromwell

A series of Disney Channel Original Movies, starring a young woman of both witch and mortal heritage, who maintains peace in a Quirky Town populated by mystical beings and creatures, with help from her magically-gifted grandmother. The first aired in October 1998.

13-year-old Marnie Piper (Kimberly J. Brown) has always been fascinated by the strange and unusual, but for some reason her mother, Gwen (Judith Hoag), disapproves. Marnie would love to go out for Halloween, but her mother makes her and her siblings Sophie (Emily Roeske) and Dylan (Joey Zimmerman) stay home every year. Her only explanation is that "there are things about Halloween you don't understand."

Since this year marks Marnie's 13th birthday, her grandmother Agatha (Debbie Reynolds) shows up on Halloween, and reads Marnie and her siblings a book titled Halloweentown. With its pictures of the supernatural living everyday lives, including one showing a witch who resembles Marnie, Marnie becomes entranced by the thoughts of Halloweentown. Later, Marnie sneaks downstairs to overhear her mom and grandmother discussing Marnie's future. Grandma Aggie wants to train Marnie as a witch; Gwen wants nothing of the sort. Grandma Aggie also says something is wrong in Halloweentown, and that she could use Gwen's help, but Gwen refuses.

Eager at the thoughts of being trained as a witch, Marnie follows Grandma Aggie back to Halloweentown... and so do Sophie and Dylan. There, they must stop an evil warlock from taking over.

Three sequels have been made: Halloweentown II: Kalabar's Revenge (2001), Halloweentown High (2004), and Return to Halloweentown (2006).

Not to be confused with the setting of The Nightmare Before Christmas.

This film tetraology has examples of:

    open/close all folders 

  • Aborted Arc: Kalabar's Revenge ends with Kal escaping in a furious huff, with Marnie ready to face him again should he return. That being said, he doesn't appear in either of the following sequels.
  • Aesop Amnesia: Gwen, could you please make up your mind whether you like magic or not? This is lampshaded when Gwen uses magic for a trivial thing in the third movie (as opposed to in emergencies, which is what she did in the previous two movies), and remarks "Remind me why I don't like magic again?"
  • All-Ghouls School: Halloweentown High and, of course, Witch University.
  • Another Dimension: Halloweentown is located in one because it was either relocate or go to war with the humans.
  • Badass Family: According to Aggie, the Cromwells (that is, Marnie's maternal family line) have been the most powerful witch clan since the beginning of time. Considering their actions in the first film, the second film, the Big Bad's eagerness to take their powers in the third film, and Aggie herself sitting as the ruler of Halloween town in the fourth film, she wasn't exaggerating.
  • Bag of Holding: Grandma Aggie's carpet bag is magically connected to her house in Halloweentown, explaining how it can contain so much stuff.
  • Bewitched Amphibians:
    • In Halloweentown, Sophie unlocks Aggie's gate by changing its frog-engraved lock into a frog.
    • In Kalabar's Revenge, after Gwen discovers that her Halloween date is actually an amphibious golem, she delivers a chant that reverts him to a pile of frogs.
  • Bigger on the Inside: Grandma Aggie's bag—specifically, it allows her to pull out anything currently at her house in Halloweentown.
  • Broken Masquerade: Originally, Halloweentown was created to keep supernatural creatures safe from humans. At the end of the third film, humans (or at least the students and faculty at Marnie's school) find out about Halloweentown and its inhabitants. In the fourth film, it's stated that some of Halloweentown's citizens are going to college on Earth.
  • Butt-Monkey: Dylan. His sisters give him grief, odd things happen to him, and the alpha bitch trio treat him like a slave.
  • Cheerful Child: Sophie, contrasting with Dylan's cynicism.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Luke was never seen or mentioned after the second film. It's really striking since given his age he could've easily been featured in the third movie or given a mention.
  • Color Motif: The Cromwells typically wear orange, red, and black, the staple colors of Halloween.
  • Conflict Ball: Gwen, Gwen, Gwen, why do you hate magic so?
  • Cool Old Lady: Aggie. Even children who don't realize she's an immortal witch enjoy her encouraging their fascination with Halloween and the supernatural, despite Gwen's objections.
  • Cute Monster Girl: There are a few, such as a troll.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Most of the inhabitants of Halloween are practically the weird monster world-version of normal non-scary people living normal lives.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Dylan regularly snarks at his sisters about magic or some other zany scheme.
  • Defanged Horrors: Most werewolves are vegetarian and vampires are just as squeamish at the dentist as everyone else.
    Aggie: You can't tell what's in a monster's heart just by looking at them. I mean, sometimes, some of the slimiest, raunchiest, ugliest little monsters turn out to be the nicest.
  • Dem Bones: The Taxi in Halloweentown is driven by a wisecracking skeleton, Benny.
  • Disappeared Dad: The kids' father, William, had apparently died before the first movie's events.
  • Does Not Like Magic: Gwen and Dylan. See also: I Just Want to Be Normal.
    • Gwen because she admired her muggle husband for getting by without magic. Eventually she gets over it.
    • Dylan because he likes pretending he is a muggle. Eventually he gets over it and uses magic to read faster.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • In the first film, Gwen trying to make an irreversible and life-altering decision to take away her daughters' magic so that they can adhere to cultural expectations (before they reach puberty and without their knowledge or consent) may remind some viewers of the practice of female genital mutilation.
    • Gwen's insistence that her children are normal, and if they aren't, she'll make them be normal even when they are telling her that they don't want to be and she's making them unhappy, is very reminiscent of parents attempting to "straighten" children who are queer, or "correcting" a disability.
    • Multiple aspects of Halloweentown, how it came to be, and the challenges faced by the residents might remind viewers of the gentrification of minority communities.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Kalabar in the first film, his son, Kal in the second and Silas Sinister in the fourth.
  • Evil Plan: Kalibar in the first film, his son in the second, the Dominion in the third and fourth films. All of them except the second were Take Over the World plans; that one was Revenge.
  • Flying Broomstick: Sold by a zombie who talks like Elvis. There are different models from the classic broomstick to something that looks like a motorcycle without wheels.
  • For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself: Halloweentown denizens sometimes pull this in order to visit the mortal world. Marnie also dresses as a witch to attend a party in Kalabar's Revenge.
  • Foreign Queasine: A reference is made to maggot cookies in Halloweentown High, and the college cafeteria serves some rather odd-looking dishes in Return to Halloweentown.
  • Geeky Turn-On:
    • In the third movie, Dylan and Natalie bond over their AP classes. His glasses fog up when she gets a high score on his favorite arcade game.
    • In the fourth movie, he is interested in Scarlet Sinister not just for her looks, but also because she speaks Latin the first time he meets her.
  • Halloweentown: Natch.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Luke in the first film and the school principal in the third.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: As seen in the first movie, this is how Gwen wants her family to be and tries to prevent Aggie from training Marnie as a witch like her. Only Dylan agrees with her and even he uses magic sometimes.
  • Ironic Name: A family of witches named Cromwell. The most famous historical person to bear that surname, Oliver Cromwell, was notoriously not a fan of witches, to the point where he made "Witchfinder General" a prestigious position within the English government.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler:
    • The first movie confirms gradually that Aggie's grandchildren inherited her magic, with Dylan in particular taking until the final battle to show any signs of powers. Now, someone who saw an ad for a sequel before watching Halloweentown would come in already knowing that the kids perform magic.
    • Want to be surprised by the reveal of who's the Big Bad in the first film? Don't look at the title of the second film!
  • Made-for-TV Movie: All have premiered on Disney Channel. The original was such a surprise hit that it started off the "Movie-a-Month" series that the channel ran for several years.
  • Mage Species: Witch powers are passed from parent to child and they live much longer than non-powered humans.
  • Magic Mirror: Witches can use any reflective surface to communicate with each other. Also, witches' mirrors (which are usually used for communication) can be used to imprison people.
  • Magical Foreign Words: Several of the spells are spoken in Welsh. The spell used to bring Merlin's Talisman to life in Halloweentown is a stanza from a medieval poem.
  • Masquerade: Halloweentown is kept a secret from humans until the end of the third film.
  • Monster Mash: Almost everyone in Halloweentown are monsters. Witches, vampires, ghosts, werewolves, and the like.
  • Nay-Theist: Gwen and Dylan fully believe in, and are capable of, magic but neither of them likes it. Both waffle in and out of a love/hate relationship with it.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • In the first film, Marnie, Gwen, and the others following Aggie to the movie theater to protect her ends up distracting her enough to get caught in Kalabar's freezing spell. Otherwise, based on Aggie's comment that Cromwells tend to be quick, she may have escaped fine.
    • In the second film, Marnie bringing Kal to her grandma's room kicks off the whole plot, allowing him to steal her spell book and curse both Halloweentown and the mortal world. Justified, since Kal manipulated her into doing this.
    • In the third film, Marnie accidentally bets the family magic that humans have changed, not counting on the Halloweentown Council taking her figure of speech literally. Dalloway takes advantage of this while tending to support her effort.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Marnie. In the first movie, she excitedly asks if the spell her grandmother will cast will "bring forth the powers of darkness?" When Aggie says it won't, Marnie is visibly disappointed.
  • Odd Name Out: Gwen seems like the only surviving witch in Marnie's family whose alias doesn't end with "-ie".
  • Our Monsters Are Different: All over the place; in particular they're usually Lighter and Softer.
    • Our Elves Are Different: Astrid, an elf from the second movie, looks and acts pretty human, except for the obligatory ears. She dresses in bright, whimsical outfits and is constantly upbeat.
    • Our Fairies Are Different: A human-sized one with wings appears in the last movie. One of the kids in the third movie looks like a tiny, glowing fairy, but is apparently a wood nymph.
    • Our Genies Are Different: In the fourth movie, one of the college students is a genie who lives in a lamp, but it doesn't appear that she's obligated to grant wishes to anyone. When her lamp is destroyed, Marnie offers to share her dorm with her.
    • Our Ghosts Are Different: They can be very depressed creatures and let out ghostly moans. For one, they can sweat and lose weight. Dylan Lampshades how little sense this makes.
    • Our Goblins Are Different: They're pretty human-looking, though pretty ugly. (Oddly, Luke seems to consider himself ugly, even though most other monsters don't use a human standard for appearances.) One goblin in the last movie has a name made up of burps and snorts and drools a lot.
    • Our Ogres Are Hungrier: Actually, they seem pretty indifferent to food. Gort from the second movie looks basically like a Scary Black Man with pointy ears; in contrast, Chester from the third has bright blue skin.
    • All Trolls Are Different: Natalie the troll in Halloweentown High has bright pink skin, a lot of pink hair, and a kind of large nose. Other than that, she looks pretty human. She looks more like a pink-skinned troll doll than a hugely muscled mountain beast.
    • Our Werewolves Are Different: They seem to be permanently in "wolfman" form rather than transforming back and forth; also, most are vegetarians.
  • Posthumous Character: Gwen's husband, who motivated her to try and live a normal life without magic, has been dead for some time by the beginning of the series.
  • Robe and Wizard Hat: Mostly robes, but Marnie wears a robe and hat in the second movie.
  • Shared Family Quirks:
    • Kalabar and his son Kal both flirt by presenting their intended with a rose—and, for added similarity, the respective girls are a mother and daughter.
      Marnie: The rose... I should have known when he gave me the rose! Kal... you're Kalabar's son!
    • In the final movie, Gwen knows that Marnie will do her laundry on Wednesday because she did laundry on Wednesday when she was in college.
  • Ship Tease: Marnie and Luke in the first two films, Dylan and Natalie in the third.
  • Single Line of Descent: The Cromwell family of witches has been around since the beginning of time, and yet Aggie says that if Gwen keeps her children from becoming witches, it will be the end of their magical bloodline.
  • Spell Book: Grandma Aggie has two.
  • Spider-Sense: Sophie tends to realize more quickly than the others when someone evil is nearby, though she can't always figure out who exactly sets this realization off.
  • Stopped Numbering Sequels: The third and fourth movies don't have their numbers in their names.
  • Time Travel: Marnie does this in the even-numbered movies.
  • Villainous Breakdown:
    • Kal in the second film looses his cool when his spell is broken, rants about his superiority, and devolves into screams of frustration.
    • His father also had one briefly in the first movie when he bemoans the fact that Gwen chose a mortal man over him, the most powerful sorcerer in Halloweentown. You can tell this really gets to him because this breakdown is actually quiet and subdued, in stark contrast to his usual evil demeanor.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Sophie in Halloweentown High. She was in the beginning of the film, but when the three left for school, she appeared in maybe one other scene. She didn't even get to do any magic or get involved with the fact that her family's powers could be taken away.
    • Also Kal from the second film. He apparently escapes and Luke remarks that "he'll be back." But he never reappears in either of the sequels.
  • When the Clock Strikes Twelve: The portal to Halloweentown closes at midnight on October 31st when Halloween is over. Once Marnie and her family opened a permanent portal, this is no longer a concern.
  • Wizards Live Longer: Unless they've had their powers removed. How long do they live? Grandma Aggie was a young woman 1,000 years ago.
  • Wolf Man: In the first movie, a werewolf works as a barber. In the third, one of the transfer students from Halloweentown is a werewolf.
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: Time passes more slowly in Halloweentown than in the mortal world, though exactly how much more slowly seems to vary between movies.

  • 13 Is Unlucky: According to Aggie, a witch's 13th Halloween is supposed to mark the completion of her training, and a witch who doesn't at least start it by then loses her powers forever.
  • Accidental Misnaming: Kalabar mishears Sophie's name as, "Soapy", and consequently calls her such whenever they meet.
  • Ambiguously Gay: The werewolf barber has an effeminate manner and tone of voice but he is never seen to be attracted to men.
  • Apathetic Citizens: During the villain's New Era Speech, several people in the crowd are seen nodding and most of the crowd cheers at his defeat, but not a single bystander moves to help either side throughout the final fight.
  • Bait the Dog: Kalabar appears to be the well intentioned mayor at first, until it turns out he wants to forcefully take Earth back from the humans.
  • "Be Quiet!" Nudge: Marnie does this several times to Dylan in frustration whenever he boosts his ego and cynicism.
  • Big "NO!": Kalabar, when defeated.
  • But Now I Must Go: The film ends with Marnie and her family departing on the bus for the mortal world.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The giant carved pumpkin in Town Square spends most of the movie as a background prop, with the kids commenting that it doesn't look as nice as the one in the book. After Marnie and Sophie light Merlin's Talisman, Marnie realizes in order to free Kalabar's captives, she must install the talisman inside the pumpkin.
  • Company Cross References: Dylan, in denial, thinks Benny must be an animatronic, like in Disneyland.
    Marnie: (sarcastic) Yeah. When Mr. Lincoln drives me to the store, we'll talk.
  • Conflict Ball: Why would it be so terrible if Marnie went out trick-or-treating? Fortunately, she does get to attend some Halloween parties in the sequels.
  • Déjà Vu: Marnie admits experiencing this sometimes, and wondering if it has anything to do with magic.
  • Eye of Newt: The potion used to power Merlin's Talisman calls for ingredients like the hair of a werewolf, a vampire's fang, and a drop of ghost sweat.
  • Flat-Earth Atheist: Dylan refuses to believe in witches, ghosts, werewolves, and the like, even when he's in Halloweentown, and insists he's dreaming. He gets better in the next film.
  • Ghostly Wail: Discussed. Grandma Aggie says ghosts are "very depressed creatures" and mimics their signature moaning so her granddaughter Sophie will know how to properly make the sound.
  • I Just Want to Be Beautiful: The reason Luke allied himself with Kalabar; he received a spell from him that turned him into a teenage Pretty Boy. It wears off after Kalabar is defeated, but Marnie has no problem with his regular appearance.
  • Incoming Ham: Kalabar loves making a Big Entrance.
  • Internal Reveal: The audience is shown in the opening scene that Sophie has fully developed magical powers, but her siblings don't find out until she helps Marnie cast a spell about an hour into the film.
  • Magic Bus: Characters travel between Halloweentown and the mortal world on a flying bus.
  • Magic Music: Sort of. Sophie makes a song out of the incantation used to activate Merlin's Talisman.
  • No Ontological Inertia: After the defeat of Kalabar, the spell he cast on Luke to turn him handsome becomes reversed.
  • Not Good with Rejection: Kalabar's Motive Rant includes spiteful disbelief that his ex-girlfriend Gwen chose to marry a mortal man rather than become queen to the world's most powerful warlock.
  • Obviously Evil: The villain is a ghoul in a black robe. Subverted in that it's only a costume being worn by the town's mayor, Kalabar, who does not seem evil at first glance.
  • Obliviously Superpowered:** Exploited. While Sophie can do things like sense when someone is coming to the house or unconsciously levitate a cookie towards her, her mother purposely makes sure Sophie doesn't realize it's magic, either by hiding the evidence or insisting it's nothing, since she is trying to hide her magical heritage from the kids until the girls lose their powers permanently at 13. Also discussed — Marnie later learns from her mother that she used to use accidental magic without realizing it as well, since Gwen hid it the same way she is doing with Sophie.
    • Played straight with Dylan, who only realizes he has magic in the climax when Marnie points out his fingers are glowing.
  • Painful Rhyme: Invoked on the writers' part, and lampshaded by Dylan, during Marnie's failed attempt to unlock Aggie's gate:
    Big iron lock that keeps us out, open up your big iron mouth!
  • The Paralyzer: Kalabar freezes several Halloweentown denizens, including Aggie, inside the seemingly-closed movie theater.
  • Parasol Parachute: Aggie uses one to descend from the Magic Bus.
  • Planes, Trains, and Imbeciles: Gwen, when trying to get the kids home, ends up having to deal with the two-headed ticket person at the depot, whose heads are too busy arguing to be of much help. The bus itself is delayed due to engine trouble, to Marnie's delight, until Dylan suggests they talk to the mayor, leading to Gwen's reunion with Kalabar.
  • The Power of Family: The Cromwell witches, which is the protagonist, her two siblings, her mother, and her grandmother, are only able to defeat Kalabar and save Halloweentown when all five of them are standing together, holding hands, combining their magical abilities. It's notable that, until Dylan decided to join in and help the rest of his family, the others could barely summon any magic.
  • Revealing Continuity Lapse: There are subtle changes around Halloweentown that signify something is going wrong. Marnie and her siblings first notice the big town pumpkin isn't looking the same as it does in their grandmother's book, and the grandmother notices her friends changing in appearance and personality before vanishing altogether. This is all due to the villain's magic.
  • Rewatch Bonus: After Sophie unsuccessfully begs Gwen to let her have a chocolate chip cookie before dinner, a cookie floats towards Sophie, until Gwen gobbles it up. A first-time viewer would probably assume that Aggie, the only character to perform any magic onscreen beforehand, levitated the cookie. However, a repeat watch would turn it into an early sign of Sophie developing her own magic.
  • Shout-Out:
    • When Aggie gives Marnie a medallion with a pentagram, Marnie comments that Lon Chaney [Jr.] also received one in The Wolf Man (1941).
    • Dylan and Marine respectively mention Disneyland, and the eponymous Audio-Animatronic of its Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln show, after Dylan calls Benny an animatronic.
    • Aggie's microwave has buttons for "Toil" and "Trouble".
    • Aggie mentions It's a Wonderful Death as a movie that plays at Halloweentown's theater.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Kalabar, although he was never revealed as the villain until the movie's climax.
    • Arguably subverted when he does reveal himself, as the town's residents seem completely turned off by his declaration of war on the mortal realm that nobody agrees to join him and they all back away.
  • 13th Birthday Milestone: A variant. A witch or warlock's 13th Halloween is meant to signal the end of their training. For 13-year-old Marnie, who has been kept from training her whole life, her 13th Halloween is her last chance to learn magic before she loses it forever.
  • Waxing Lyrical: Benny jokes about driving Aggie's grandchildren "over the river and through the woods" to go to her house.
  • Weakened by the Light: Kalabar's powers seem their strongest in darkened areas, such as the inside of the movie theater. The maximum radiance of Merlin's Talisman destroys him.
  • You Won't Feel a Thing!: The Tooth Fairy says it before he pulls out one of a vampire's fangs; the one Marnie needs to enchant Merlin's talisman. Actually subverted; the vampire says it really was painless.

    Halloweentown II: Kalabar's Revenge 
  • Accidental Incantation: The way to undo a spell is to say the incantation in reverse. The Big Bad's "Gray Spell" has afflicted the entire town, stripping them of magic, memory, and personality, and he's trapped the good guys there while he turns his attention to the mortal world. At one point, Marnie is racking her brains for how they can "get out of this trap, a spell or a—" which unexpectedly results in a cursed person nearby returning to normal. Initially, they think that the curse just wore off, but when the evidence against that piles too high, they review what happened and realize the truth: she said "trap a," and the curse's incantation is simply "Apart!"
  • Alone with the Psycho: During her attempts with the time travel spell, Marnie gets caught up in a limbo spell that Kal performs, leading to this sinister confrontation:
    Marnie: You better stop breaking in on my spells, Kal. It's against the code of Merlin.
    Kal: Nobody cares about the code of Merlin anymore, Marnie. You need an update. And besides, what do you wanna hang around a bunch of moldy old creatures for, anyway?
    Marnie: These creatures are my friends.
    Kal: Your mom's about to become a really moldy old creature.
    Marnie: Leave my mother alone!
    Kal: Oh yeah, that reminds me, bye.
  • Becoming the Costume: Kal can use the Creature Spell to transform Cindy, the announcer of the Halloween party, and even Gwen into a vampire, a cyclops, and a goblin respectively as part of the Evil Plan as well as transforming everyone dressed as monsters into said monsters.
    "With this spell I shall avenge their cruel joke at our expense... Change them into the creature whose guise they have taken!
  • Beyond the Impossible: For the first and second movie the rule has been iron clad: The door between worlds is only open on Halloween. It will close at midnight and CANNOT be opened until the next year. Marnie thinks otherwise and justifies it with this speech:
    "The portal wasn't always there; it was created by magic and no one's magic is stronger than ours!"
  • Color Motif: Kal's "father" loves green.
  • Continuity Nod: There's a bottle of werewolf hair in Grandma Aggie's room. Marnie says that getting it "wasn't easy."
  • Cool Gate: The portal to Halloweentown looks like the entrance to a medieval castle.
  • Covers Always Lie: The synopsis for the digital copy, reused on the back of the 2019 case for the Halloweentown/Kalabar's Revenge 2-Movie Collection DVD, states that Sophie revisits Halloweentown along with Marnie and Aggie. Actually, she spends most of the story in the mortal world, and only visits Halloweentown during the last few minutes.
  • Crystal Ball: Grandma Aggie uses one to see how things are going in Halloweentown.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: Halloweentown becomes a black and white, ordinary town, as it and its denizens fall victim to the "Grey Spell".
  • "Eureka!" Moment: When Marnie discovers that Kal is behind the Grey Spell and stole Agatha's spell book, she confronts him. When he brings up the Halloween party, she suddenly remembers something he did after he asked her to be his date, which brings her to a stunning realization.
    Marnie: You tricked me.
    Kal: You'll get over it. And hey, I still need a date for the Halloween party.
    Marnie: Forget the party. I wanna know why—! (has a memory of Kal giving her a flower) …Kalabar…
    Agatha: What did you say, dear?
    Marnie: The rose... I should have known when he gave me the rose! Kal… you're Kalabar's son!
  • Fantasy Counterpart Appliance: "Skull phones" work exactly like interdimensional walkie-talkies.
  • Golem: One made of frogs, no less. Until he's disassembled, he appears to be a normal human.
  • Humanity Ensues: Victims of the "Grey Spell" undergo a Bit-by-Bit Transformation into a color-drained human with mundane interests.
  • Inconsistent Spelling: In the credits and closed captions of the first film, Kalabar's name was spelled "Calabar". The second film changed the "C" to a "K", and IMDb lists the character as "Kalabar". It's speculated by many fans that the reasoning for spelling the sequel's title with a "K" rather than a "C" is because the person giving the "revenge" isn't actually Calabar... it was Kal (possibly short for Kalabar with a "K"). Either that, or it's just Fan Wank.
  • It's All My Fault: Marnie has moments of this, since if she never brought Kal into Aggie's room, then he wouldn't have stolen her spell book.
  • Last-Second Chance: Marnie offers one to Kal by telling him that he doesn't have to let his father's hatred determine his decisions. Predictably, he refuses and Marnie foils his Evil Plan. However, she doesn't kill him because he escapes.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Woe to whoever watches Halloweentown after seeing Kalabar's Revenge, or at least an ad for it, since it reveals the villain of the first movie.
  • Never Trust a Title: Kalabar doesn't appear in Halloweentown II: Kalabar's Revenge. Subverted by the fact that his son, Kalabar, Jr. (Kal), is the villain.
  • Now Do It Again, Backwards: Any spell can become undone by reciting its incantation backwards. For example, the Grey Spell can become undone with the incantation "Trapa", the word "Apart" spelled backwards.
  • Previously on…: Kalabar's Revenge begins with Marnie recalling her first visit to Halloweentown, as clips from the first movie play for the viewer.
  • Progressively Prettier: In the first film, Luke was not an attractive goblin. In the second film, his prosthetics were toned down drastically; ostensibly to keep him the Ship Tease with Marnie believable. Aggie does have a line toward the start about how Luke has grown more attractive with age to justify it.
  • San Dimas Time: Marnie and Luke have to rush back to the present before the portal between the worlds closes! ...Except they could just travel back a few minutes or even hours earlier and stop the villain before he started his Evil Plan...
  • Scylla and Charybdis: Aggie lampshades that Marnie has to choose between both worlds. Gwen warns her that if she goes to Halloweentown to complete her training, she will be a complete stranger in the mortal world.
  • Sequel Escalation: The villain of this movie threatens both Halloweentown and the mortal world, and Marnie has to make the most of two years' worth of magical training to stop him.
  • Skewed Priorities: After Aggie succumbs to the Grey Spell, she decides stopping Kal doesn't sound as important as helping the Neat Freak Gort pair his sock collection. Worse, an earlier conversation between Aggie and Sophie revealed that said collection consists of every sock that any mortal or Halloweentown denizen lost while drying his or her laundry.
  • Special Occasions Are Magic: The portal between the mortal world and Halloweentown only opens when it's Halloween in the mortal world. While a bus exists for beings without magic to ferry them back and forth, witches are also able to magically open portals between the worlds on this night, unless other magic gets in the way. This was eventually averted at the end of Halloweentown II, when Marnie and the others were able to open a permanent gate between realms. In addition, a witch's 13th Halloween was meant to mark the end of her training, while a witch who hadn't learned magic by then would lose her powers for good at this time.
  • Stealth Pun:
    • After the Grey Spell turns Benny into a drab, human cabbie, Marnie remarks that last time they met, he was "skin and bones... except for the skin."
    • Aggie asks Marnie if the "World Wide Web" contains any spiders.
  • Strange Secret Entrance: Aggie keeps magical artifacts in a room accessed through a door that only appears when a witch or warlock does a special hand motion.
  • Super-Sargasso Sea: Anything misplaced in either Halloweentown or the mortal world ends up at Gort's house.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The Kalabar's Revenge ads spoiled such plot points as Gwen's date actually being a golem, and Aggie having to free the Halloweentown Pumpkin from a box made of grey bricks.
  • Up the Real Rabbit Hole: Marnie refers to her home dimension, where the muggles live, as the "real world". This is despite the fact that she prefers Halloween Town.
  • We Will Meet Again: At the climax, after Marnie's good magic overpowers Kal's evil magic, allowing her to take back the spell books, he explosively teleports away. The Cromwells remark that he'll be back, and they'll be ready. He's never seen again.

    Halloweentown High 
  • Artistic License – History: Grandma Aggie says that William Shakespeare offered her a role in the original production of one of his plays. In Shakespeare's day, there were no female actors - all of the roles were played by men.
    • Also averted. Aggie mentions people "forgetting to write things down" before the Renaissance, which is remarkably close to the original meaning of the Dark Ages. We literally just didn't have many sources about what had happened during the Dark Ages, hence the name.
  • Better as Friends: Dylan and Natalie. He finds her true form to be strange (though she's considered beautiful where she's from) while she believes that he's the ugly one, leading to a cultural spat.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Everyone has a different color of magic. Marnie's is blue, Grandma Aggie's is pink, and of course, the Big Bad's is red.
  • Demoted to Extra: Sophie. After playing a pivotal role in the first two installments, she's given very minimal screentime here.
  • Enemy Mine: An interesting example, as the Big Bad Duumvirate is made up of an evil warlock and a human who Does Not Like Magic.
  • Fantastic Racism: The Knights of the Iron Dagger are a society of bigoted humans who wish to purge the world of all things magical.
  • Glamour Failure: The disguised students happen to be monsters such as a werewolf, a tiny fairy/pixie girl, a cute troll girl and an ogre.
  • Hard Truth Aesop: Dylan and Natalie deciding they're Better as Friends seems to send the message that while looks aren't the most important thing, physical attraction is a major factor in a romantic relationship.
  • Knight Templar: The Knights of the Iron Dagger were created solely to exterminate magical creatures for the purpose of protecting humans. One of them raises a ruckus in the third film.
  • Never Trust a Title: Halloweentown High is actually about a bunch of kids from Halloweentown temporarily enrolling in a human school, not the other way around.
  • Oddball in the Series: Aside from the scenes when Marnie addresses the town's leaders, Halloweentown is not shown at all in this movie. Also, while the predecessors were set solely on Halloween night, this one has a time frame of at least several weeks (though the sequel would follow suit).
  • The Ogre: Chester is one of these.
  • They Look Like Us Now: The monster exchange students wear human suits to avoid stares.

    Return to Halloweentown 
  • Academy of Adventure: Witch College has a conspiracy and magical relics.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: The Sinister sisters: Scarlet, Sage, and Sapphire.
  • Alpha Bitch: Three - Scarlet, Sage, and Sapphire.
  • Artifact of Doom: The MacGuffin is not inherently evil, but you know what they say about absolute power.
  • Ascended Extra: A mild version. Ethan (Lucas Grabeel) was a warlock in Halloweentown High who was more of a rival for Marnie (but wasn't on screen any more than any other magical creature), but in the fourth movie, he becomes a love interest for Marnie, probably due to Lucas Grabeel's starring role in High School Musical.
  • Brought Down to Normal: The end of the movie reveals that Ethan renounced his magic after his father (who was stripped of his) was arrested, making them mortals. Due to Silas losing his magic when the leaders of the Dominion are captured, the Sinister sisters suffer this fate as well, serving as Laser-Guided Karma.
  • Character Development: Dylan, who reveals to Marnie the reason he was able to access in school was because he used magic to become proficient in fast reading. Marnie actually ends up being surprised, since throughout the entire franchise, he acted like magic was the worst thing period.
  • Chromatic Arrangement: Scarlet, Sage, and Sapphire.
  • Dangerous Device Disposal Debacle: Only a Cromwell Witch can use the Gift. Splendora doesn't want the Gift and fully intends to destroy it, but she's incapable of doing it herself because it takes 3 Cromwells to destroy the Gift, so she buries it. 1000 years later, Marnie inherits the Gift, but on Splendora's wishes she, Dylan and Gwen destroy it together. This trope is discussed when one of Marnie's friends doesn't believe she would have actually destroyed the Gift, but would secretly give it to someone she trusts.
  • Demoted to Extra: Grandma Aggie, though a younger version of the character does factor into the plot.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": Splendora hates her first name. She eventually decides to go by her middle name, Agatha/Aggie.
  • The End... Or Is It?: The ending reveals that Marnie didn't destroy the Gift, which Dylan finds in one of his books. Dylan, knowing full well what will happen if he takes it, immediately closes the book and shoves it back onto the shelf. There, it's revealed that the book has the Sinister Clan's symbol on its binding, which glows ominously before cutting to the credits.
  • Eternal English: The Halloween Town of from 1,000 years pre-series uses the same kind of English as present.
  • Evil All Along: Marnie discovers Chancellor Goodwin and Dr. Grogg are part of the Dominion, and plot to use her to control Halloweentown.
  • Homage: Marnie tries various methods to open a locked box, including wiggling her nose and crossing her arms and nodding her head.
  • Identical Grandson: Marnie looks just like her grandmother when she was young.
  • Kid from the Future: Marnie goes back in time and meets a young Grandma Aggie.
  • MacGuffin: Splendora's amulet AKA The Gift.
  • The Mole: Marnie becomes one in the climax to defeat the Dominion.
  • More than Mind Control: The Sinister sisters use magic to enhance Dylan's infatuation with them in the fourth film, making him into their veritable slave.
  • Mundane Utility: Dylan only uses magic for one thing: speed-reading.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The title was based on the original name of the script for Halloweentown II.
    • In the first Halloweentown movie, Aggie mentions that she installed the Halloweentown Pumpkin herself. In "Return to Halloweentown," after Marnie goes back in time and meets her grandmother, she tells her that she's got something Aggie will need...and summons up the Pumpkin. When Marnie leaves, Aggie calmly asks the guards to take the Pumpkin outside.
  • Put on a Bus: Sophie is on an adventure of some sort.
  • Requisite Royal Regalia: Splendora and Marnie both wear elaborate royal dresses and a crown. The latter insists upon it.
  • Retcon: Ethan's father was portrayed as a standalone Big Bad in the third movie, but the fourth movie had Ethan claiming that he was a part of that film's council of villains, the Dominion.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Professor Perrywinkle imprisons the Dominion in her mirror following their defeat.
  • Stable Time Loop: Marnie goes to the past to get a missing key from Splendora. She gives the key to Marnie, explaining why it was missing. While there Marnie also creates the magic pumpkin.
  • Super-Speed Reading: Deconstructed — while Dylan Piper was already smart before magic, he later reveals part of the reason he got such good grades all through high school (enough to skip a grade and join his sister in college) was because the one thing he used his magic for was speed reading. This comes in handy to help Marnie find information.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Professor Perrywinkle for Grandma Aggie; both of them old, affable, grandmotherly old ladies that take a shine to Marnie.
  • Undercover Cop Reveal: at the end it turns out that Professor Perrywinkle was an Undercover Agent from the Halloweentown anti Dominion league who worked ten centuries to arrest them.
  • Voice of the Legion: Anyone who uses The Gift will gain a loud, booming voice that's several steps lower than their normal tone.
  • When the Clock Strikes Twelve: Spells cast on the grounds of Witch University become permanent at the stroke of midnight.