Halloween Television

Pitch for “Halloweentown: The Series”

Judtith Hoag (left), Kimberly J. Brown, Joey Zimmerman, Robin Thomas, and Emily Roeske of "Halloweentown".
Judtith Hoag (left), Kimberly J. Brown, Joey Zimmerman, Robin Thomas, and Emily Roeske (right) of “Halloweentown”.

Disney+ is sitting on a treasure trove of opportunities, some of which they are just starting to dig into. Last month it was announced that the streaming service would be the birthplace of the Under Wraps remake, a new take on the very first DCOM (Disney Channel Original Movie). This begs the question if it’s not on Disney Channel, does that make it a DPOM (Disney+ Original Movie)? These are the thoughts that keep me awake at night. Now that we know that Disney+ doesn’t mind tapping into the old DCOM bank if the correct opportunity arises, we can only look forward to the eventual hope of more Halloweentown in some capacity.

Instead of a fifth film, give audiences a five-part Halloween: The Series TV show that spans all of October. It will follow a 32-year-old Marnie and their siblings as they explore a modern-day Halloweentown and continue to be heroes, using the wisdom and know-how that Grandma Aggie taught them. These characters are so beloved, this could be an annual event with a huge seasonal draw. It’s a tactful move for Disney+ to seriously consider. 

The Pitch, “Halloweentown: The Series”, Episode One

Marnie Piper (Kimberly J. Brown) is both witch and human, thus making her a woman of two very different worlds. As of late, she has found herself exclusively in the mortal realm, shying away from her magical roots. With the ten year anniversary of the Battle of Halloweentown approaching just around the corner, it’s a difficult time for the Piper family. One decade ago, shortly after Marnie graduated from Witch University, the evil Kalabar reemerged one final time and tried to reclaim his power, nearly sending Halloweentown back into the Dark Ages. 

Trying not to focus on the events of the past, Marnie represses the lingering thoughts and helps her mom set up for her opening day. Gwen Piper (Judith Hoag) is leaning into magic without leaving the mortal realm by opening Aggie’s Bed and Breakfast, a secret safe house for creatures seeking a temporary haven in the mortal realm. 

As the ribbon-cutting ceremony approaches, Dylan (Joey Zimmerman) arrives to assist. He’s currently a chemistry teacher for mortals, living a mundane, mostly human life. Sophie (Emily Roeske) enters through the portal from Halloweentown; where she’s a full-time resident. By day, Soph is a famous songwriter for a famous fairy popstar named Zelda (Peyton Elizabeth Lee), who also attends in support of the new establishment.

Gwen begins to give a speech as the crowd watches happily. She reveals that ever since her mother, the Great Splendora Agatha Cromwell gave the ultimate sacrifice ten years ago to stop Kalabar, she has re-thought her role as a witch. Although she still prefers to live among humans, she is now happy to open a place where all citizens from her homeland can feel safe while they venture to the human world. It’s an offering of both togetherness and compassion that her mom would be proud of. 

Just as Gwen begins to cut the ribbon, the open portal to Halloweentown starts glitching. Thunder bellows and winds whip overhead. A twister of magical proportions accumulates, escaping from the breach. Gwen begs her children to come inside as she helps folks into the bed and breakfast, but Marnie knows what she must do. Marnie, Sophie, and Zelda approach the closing portal. Marnie looks back at Gwen and waves goodbye, Gwen knows without question that her kids are off to solve this magical disturbance. Dylan hesitates but comes along at the last moment before the gate shuts with a zap.

Halloweentown is turned upside down as a rally has broken out. Posters cover every storefront. Promotional flags and signs are posted on every available surface. The townspeople are split into two groups, feverishly arguing amongst one another. Marnie, her siblings, and Zelda make their way through the crowd and are almost hit by a cab (the driver couldn’t see because a flyer flew into his face). He removes the piece of paper, and it’s none other than Benny (Richard Side) the skeleton. He reveals that it’s election season and a new candidate for the Mayor of Halloweentown is speaking in front of the city hall. He’s quite a controversial choice. Marnie picks up a flyer off the group, the candidate is none other than Kalabar Jr. (Daniel Kountz). 

As the Cromwell family approaches the stage they hear Kalabar bolster to the audience that he’s reformed, running to undo his father’s wrongs and his first campaign promise was to limit the portal to the mortal world, stating that humans are dangerous once again. To prove he was good for his word and powerful enough to follow through – he closed it today and if he wins – he will close it permanently on Halloween night with a sealant spell. Some citizens agree with this notion, others are in protest of the sentiment. This is not the same Halloweentown Marnie left behind.

The crowds grow more volatile as Marnie and the gang try to go backstage to confront Kal. They fail to sneak through until Zelda uses her celebrity status to get them in. Marnie comes face to face with Kal as he comes off stage. He is both deviously delighted and surprised to see her. She insists that he opens up the portal and gets lost, but he deflects. He talks of big plans for Halloweentown with his family back in power. Security trolls briskly escort Marnie, Dylan, Sophie, and Zelda out. 

In total disbelief, the gang retreats to Zelda’s lavish home to reconvene. Marnie’s witches’ glass rings, it’s Gwen. She’s heard about the election from her guests and begs for her kids to come home before the portal closes on Halloween for good. Marnie insists that nothing is closing for good on her watch. Zelda’s scare-curity system blares (loud ghoulish noises). She checks the cameras, it’s Marnie’s old friend Luke (Phillip Van Dyke) outside. He heard she was back in town and had to see her. Marnie and Luke go on a walk – there’s something he has to show her. 

Together, they walk through the streets of Halloweentown, shuffling election debris at their feet. He takes her to a brand-new square, soon to be opened, adjacent to the famous jack-o’-lantern. As they stroll, Marnie laments about feeling lost. She doesn’t feel like the same witch that saved Halloweentown handfuls of times. He knows she has it in her to stop Kal. She’s the only person that stands a fighting chance.

Halloweentown Jack-o'-lantern in St. Helens, Oregon
The Halloweentown jack-o’-lantern in St. Helens, Oregon.

They round the corner and Marnie nearly drops to her knees. She sees the soon-to-be-opened Halloween expansion “Splendora Square”. It’s beautiful, budding gardens, an almost-finished banshee boutique, playgrounds for pixies, and at the center –  a large statue of Agatha Cromwell, the greatest witch Halloweentown has ever known. Marnie happily cries. She misses her grandma. Together they sit at her feet. She and Luke talk for hours until he has to eventually go home. He reassures her that she will figure this out because she always does. Marnie still feels lost as to what comes next.

Marnie wakes up and it’s the morning, she slept through the night. Dylan, Sophie, and Zelda are standing over her. They’ve been looking for Marnie everywhere. Dylan and Sophie are in awe of the statue of their grandmother. Together, the Pipers vow to do as Aggie would and vow to stick together to protect Halloweentown. In the distance they see a crowd forming, Kalabar Jr. is about to speak on stage again. How could someone so hateful be polling so well? In her gut Marnie knew, a dark spell was at play. 

Just as they are about retreat back to Zelda’s, Marnie notices that she was sleeping on a plaque. It reads…

“Magic is really very simple, all you’ve got to do is want something and then let yourself have it.”

– Splendora Agatha Cromwell

Marnie looks forward as Kal takes the stage, she must stop him by any means. It’s as if the answer had been in front of her the whole time. She takes off marching towards the stage with determination, the others follow. Kalabar Jr. is on his megaphone, bragging that his only running opponent didn’t show up today, a likely sign of an early withdrawal. Marnie runs into the crowd with vigor, her siblings immediately lose her. Moments later they spot her, scaling the side of the stage.

“Marnie Piper” Kalabar utters condescendingly. “Do I have your vote?” Marnie outstretches her hand and uses magic – his megaphone flies across the stage and lands perfectly in her hand. Dylan looks at Sophie, “What is she doing?” “Sophie then replies “…I know what she’s doing” and softly smiles. Marnie turns to the crowd “My name is Marnie Piper, daughter of Gwen Piper, granddaughter of Agatha Cromwell, and I am running for mayor of Halloweentown.” 

Did you enjoy my treatment for Episode One of Halloweentown: The Series? Have a different idea? Leave your thoughts in a comment below.

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