Halloweentown

Movie review by
Ellen Dendy, Common Sense Media
Halloweentown Movie Poster Image
Tween brew: Witchy fun, a pinch of fright.
  • NR
  • 1998
  • 84 minutes
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 6+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 12 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive messages

Family members learn to trust one another and work together toward a positive goal.

Positive role models & representations

An impressionable teen falls in with the bad guy, but realizes his error and changes his ways by defecting to the good side; the main character argues with and defies her mom but also demonstrates her growing independence.

Violence & scariness

Non-graphic scenes in which the good witches battle the evil warlock using their magic powers; an intense but non-graphic scene in which the mean warlock zaps two of the main characters into a zombie-like state.

Sexy stuff
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, drugs & smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this made-for-TV movie contains some mildly scary scenes involving a nasty warlock who's just as scary to look at as he is to listen to; his reptilian-like face and bellowing, angry voice are a frightful combination. In the most intense scene, the evil warlock zaps Mom and Grandma in front of the kids, who are forced to leave their loved ones behind in order to save themselves. The quaint village of Halloweentown is populated with mildly scary-looking creatures of all sorts. On more than one occasion, the main character (who's 13 years old) breaks her mother's rules, and there are a few brief scenes in which family members argue (one mother-daughter squabble is quite realistic and may distress younger kids).

User Reviews

Educator and Parent of a 9 year old Written byRunesong October 13, 2011

Family fun that's appropriate for everyone in the family!

Great alternative to the typical cartoon Halloween fare. We look forward to all the Halloweentown movies year after year. Definitely not high budget films, bu...
Parent Written byshadowjayne October 9, 2011

Familt Tradition

This movie is one of the greatest Halloween movies. Now that my kids are gone, I still put it on, even threw out the year. Now my grandchildren come and watch i...
Teen, 14 years old Written byzackaback September 23, 2009
Kid, 12 years old April 9, 2008

Special affects can't hide the dull story and weak plot.

I seemed to enjoy Halloweentown at first.The characters were charming and the mom and grandma while cliched were enjoyable as well.But toward the middle of the...

What's the story?

Life changes forever for 13-year-old Marnie Cromwell (Kimberly J. Brown) when she discovers she's a witch. It's Halloween night, and Marnie begs to go out, but her over-protective mom Gwen (Judith Hoag) never lets her kids celebrate the holiday. When Grandma Aggie (Debbie Reynolds) shows up with candy, costumes, and a big secret, Marnie learns that she's a witch and that a dark force is threatening Halloweentown, where Aggie lives and Gwen was raised. But Gwen doesn't want anything to do with magic or witches, and sends Aggie back to Halloweentown. Marnie decides to follow Aggie to Halloweentown, along with brainiac brother Dylan (Joey Zimmerman) and little sis Sophie (Emily Roeske). In Halloweentown -- a cheery-looking village populated with monsters, goblins, witches, ghosts, vampires, and other freakish creatures – the Cromwell kids decide to help their grandmother track down and eliminate the dark force that's turning the citizens of Halloweentown into zombies. Marnie, Dylan, Sophie, and Aggie work together to uncover the mystery, a hunt that leads them to a terrifying warlock with plans to destroy not only Halloweentown, but the normal (mortal) world as well. Of course, when the kids' mom shows up, she threatens to put a wrench in their plans and send them home again.

Is it any good?

While some scenes fall a little flat and the storyline is nothing new, this made-for-TV movie still offers a satisfying brew. It's a fun combo of festive Halloween sets, creative costumes, and family adventure, all rolled up into one tween-safe feature. Reynolds, Hoag, and Brown are especially good in their roles as grandmother, mother, and daughter. This Halloween adventure is mostly pure entertainment, but the storyline does include some valuable messages. Compared to other tween-targeted productions, this Disney feature is downright wholesome, but parents of younger or more sensitive children should note that it includes a couple of mildly scary scenes.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the Cromwell family grows closer together as the movie progresses, and why. 

  • Why did the mom want to shield her kids from their magical heritage and special powers?

  • Why did the main character argue with her mom, and break her mom's rules?

  • What makes the evil warlock a "bad guy"?

  • Who's your favorite magical character from books, TV, or movies?

Movie details

For kids who love magic

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate