Disney+ Suggestions for Halloween Season
October has arrived, and Halloween is around the corner!
You’ll want to put your Disney+ account to good use this month by picking the most frightful stories Disney has ever told.
Here are ten of the best programs to watch on Disney+ this Halloween season.
The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad
Have you ever wondered about the origin of the darkest of Disney’s dark rides?
In 1949, Walt Disney adapted the classic Kenneth Grahame story, The Wind in the Willows, into half a movie.
That decision would pay additional dividends a few years later when Disneyland debuted Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.
Those of you familiar with the ride know that it doesn’t end well for Mr. Toad, which differentiates it from the Disney film, The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad.
You can and should watch the movie to learn what’s different. And then you should keep watching for Ichabod’s tale.
In case you haven’t guessed, that’s Disney’s take on the legend of Sleepy Hollow. You didn’t realize that Disney did beheadings, did you?
While the concept may not be very Disney, it’s decidedly Halloween-ish, isn’t it?
Let’s not forget a second spooky holiday in the offing!
On November 1st and 2nd each year, Día de los Muertos occurs, and Pixar created a film celebrating the season.
In Coco, a boy guitarist named Miguel accidentally leaves his home of Santa Cecilia and crosses over to the Land of the Dead.
A magical journey unfolds as Miguel learns an unexpected truth about his family.
I presume that you’ve watched the story by now. Those who haven’t should stop what they’re doing and start Coco on Disney+ ASAP!
Even those of us who have seen it several times should watch it again at this time of year.
Coco exemplifies the best of Pixar and is one of the highest-rated releases of the past decade.
R.L. Stine has sold 400 million books in his career. Putting that in simplest terms, one out of every 20 people has bought an R.L. Stine book.
Goosebumps qualifies as far and away Stine’s most successful franchise, and it has already earned multiple adaptations.
The first of them goes all the way back to Fox Kids in the 1990s. Since then, two films have debuted in theaters as well.
Now, Disney+ will host a new adaptation of Goosebumps as a television series. The first episode airs on October 13th.
You can be one of the first to fall in love with Stine’s supernatural universe all over again!
Okay, there’s no way to sugarcoat the box office performance of Haunted Mansion.
The summer 2023 release cost $150 million to make but has earned only $110 million as I type this.
Fans of the Haunted Mansion franchise won’t care, though. I say this because director Justin Simien is obviously a Haunted Mansion superfan.
Simien imbues the story with all sorts of Haunted Mansion Easter eggs and references that only fans will get.
Also, star LaKeith Stanfield seems like he was born for the role of a begrudging paranormal investigator.
In watching this film in theaters, I got a distinct “Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean” vibe from him.
Disney will save you the money for a theater ticket by allowing you to watch this film on Disney+ on October 4th.
Do I even need to explain this one?
At some point, the Sanderson Sisters became synonymous with Halloween, at least for Disney fans.
While I hold the minority opinion that the sequel, Hocus Pocus 2, tells a tighter, more cohesive story, nobody wants to hear it.
The reality is that Disney fans associate Halloween with Hocus Pocus. So, you’re going to watch it!
Still, I vote that you make it a double bill with Hocus Pocus 2.
You get more Hannah Waddingham that way, as the Ted Lasso actress mentors the sisters…when she’s being evil to them.
Muppets Haunted Mansion
Here’s the thing about Disney’s 2023 version of Haunted Mansion.
I can’t shake the feeling that despite the joy of the film and the star turn of Stanfield, I’ve seen it done better recently.
Specifically, I like the Disney+ exclusive, Muppets Haunted Mansion, at least as well as the theatrical release and possibly even more.
I won’t know until I watch both of them consecutively, which is something I plan to do this month.
When you only have half the time to watch something, take a chance on Muppets Haunted Mansion. It perfectly encapsulates the whimsy of the ride!
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Again, some of these aren’t rocket science.
You should have all the dialogue in Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas memorized by now.
Similarly, I’d be disappointed in you if you couldn’t name at least ten characters from the film and describe them in detail!
There’s a reason why Disneyland has built its entire Halloween party around Oogie Boogie, just as Disney’s Hollywood Studios will do something similar with Jollywood Nights.
All glory to the Pumpkin King!
Return to Halloweentown
I’ve got a soft spot for the Halloweentown franchise.
Back when DVRs were new and their storage space was at a premium, I kept all the Halloweentown films on my TiVo.
To me, they’re exactly what a Disney teen Halloween film should be in that they’re silly rather than scary. Nobody is ever in danger for a second.
Return to Halloweentown proved divisive at the time, as Disney played hardball during negotiations and refused to meet actress Kimberly Brown’s price.
So, Disney recast with Sara Paxton instead. The star of Aquamarine was a big get at the time, but nobody ever really forgave Disney for getting cheap.
As such, this is probably the Halloweentown film you haven’t seen, which is a shame.
Paxton is very good in the role, and the Sinister Sisters are basically Disney’s first acknowledgment that Hocus Pocus deserved a better box office fate.
The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror
Sometimes, I look at the hundreds of episodes of The Simpsons available on Disney+, and I nearly weep with joy.
I used to record this show on VHS tapes that I probably still have in the attic somewhere. Now, I can just direct-dial any episode on Disney+.
Treehouse of Horror has evolved into a kind of television institution, and I’d accidentally start a knife fight by saying which ones are best.
Instead, I’ll simply suggest that my favorite episodes are the ones from seasons 4, 5, 8, 11, and 28.
If I had to choose just one, it’d be 11 (Treehouse of Horror X) because the werewolf segment is as funny as television can be.
As Halloween approaches, Disney may add a Treehouse of Horror section. If so, just autoplay that from now through November 1st!
Toy Story of Terror!
A decade ago, Disney liked the idea of creating 30-minute holiday specials as original ABC programming.
While I’m a Prep and Landing fanatic, many fans would argue that this trend peaked with the arrival of Toy Story of Terror!
Yes, the show is exactly what it sounds like. The cast of Toy Story finds itself trapped in an admittedly unlikely horror setting.Thankfully, Sid isn’t involved this time, though. It’s good, simple Toy Story fun, and it only takes 20 minutes to watch!
Werewolf by Night
I’m gonna keep screaming this one from the rafters until people believe me.
Marvel might not have done anything better than Werewolf by Night since Avengers: Endgame. And I’m including Spider-Man: No Way Home in that.
For fans of classic monster movies, this mini-movie delivers a gripping, stunningly well-executed take on survival horror.
A group of proven killers try to best one another in the hope of attaining a priceless prize.
One of them harbors a secret, though. He’s a lycanthrope, which makes him the true predator of the bunch. Oh, and he’s the Marvel hero here.
Disney+ has upped the ante this year by adding a colorized version of Werewolf by Night, which I can’t wait to watch.
By the way, if you’re interested in this story, you can also watch it on Hulu+ right now, too.
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Feature Photo: NY Post