The Daily Tar Heel

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Friday February 3rd

'Halloweentown' to 'Hocus Pocus': Students revisit their favorite Halloween movies

DTH Photo Illustration. A student watches "Halloweentown." With COVID-19 forcing students to get creative with their Halloween celebrations, many are opting to stay in and watch spooky movies and TV shows.
Buy Photos DTH Photo Illustration. A student watches "Halloweentown." With COVID-19 forcing students to get creative with their Halloween celebrations, many are opting to stay in and watch spooky movies and TV shows.

There is something special about watching Halloween movies and episodes from one's childhood. From "Hocus Pocus" to "Halloweentown," seasonal movies and TV shows take the audience for a ride through the spooky season with beloved characters on the screen.

The wide variety of Halloween films across genres is a plus for the movie marathons to come this season. Some people love the Halloween spirit but cannot fathom the suspense of horror movies. UNC junior Kayla Dang said she struggles to watch scarier films but continues to celebrate the season. 

“Honestly, I’m not a huge fan of traditional horror movies,” Dang says. “I’m more Disney-friendly when it comes to ‘scary’ movies. 'Snow White' even scares me a little to this day.”

Halloween movies and TV features allow students to safely enjoy this Halloween season, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Many students have already begun watching, while others prepare for their yearly traditions.

While some people are frightened by fantastical creatures and events, others are simply entertained. First-year Ronik Grewal loves celebrating the season and isn’t phased by the typical Halloween plots. 

“I guess the scariest movies to me are the ones that seem like they could happen to anyone,” Grewal said. “Kind of the ones that mess with your mind like 'A Cure for Wellness.'”

Grewal said he celebrates Halloween every year by binge-watching the "Goosebumps" series, which is based on the books written by R. L. Stine. 

First-year Abigail Kessel also loves the Halloween season and always dresses up. She said she has drawn much of the inspiration for her costumes from TV shows and movies. 

Kessel said that one year, she dressed up as a minion from the "Despicable Me" movies. This year, she plans to add an exciting twist to her costume by dressing up with friends as characters from "Avatar: The Last Airbender." 

As another way to get in the Halloween spirit, Kessel recently watched the 1993 Disney movie, "Hocus Pocus," with friends. She said the film was fabulous. 

“You kind of root for the witches,” Kessel said. “I feel like if I were watching it as a little kid, I would think the witches were terrible, but now that I’m older it would be kind of funny if the witches succeeded.” 

Kessel said one of the reasons rewatching Halloween movies is so fun is because it reminds her of her childhood. 

First-year Allie La Barbera also watches Halloween movies as a way to reminisce on the past. She said she watches the "Halloweentown" series, a franchise of Disney Channel Original Movies, every year, and it brings back a special part of her childhood. 

“I watched 'Halloweentown' growing up as a kid when it was on TV, and now I watch it every year, mostly for the tradition of it,” La Barbera said. 

Although La Barbera is sad to see the Halloween season look so different this year with COVID-19 shifting traditions, she said she’s not letting it stop her from making the most of the season. 

La Barbera said she and her roommate created a list of Halloween movies and special episodes to watch throughout October. She said they have had fun so far celebrating from their room. 

Kessel agreed with La Barbera that watching Halloween movies is a good way to celebrate the holiday without putting herself or others at risk. 

“When you can’t go trick-or-treating or to a party, watching a movie seems like a good, COVID-safe activity,” she said. 


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