With the month of October starting today, it’s also time for the spooky season. Let’s take a look at some of the best spooky and scary movies available on Disney+.
HAUNTED MANSION – 2023
Inspired by the classic theme park attraction, Walt Disney Pictures’ “Haunted Mansion” is about a woman and her son who enlist a motley crew of so-called spiritual experts to help rid their home of supernatural squatters.
Released in July 2023, this updated take on the film based on the ride hits Disney+ globally on October 4th.
THE HAUNTED MANSION – 2003
A realtor and his wife and children are summoned to a mansion, which they soon discover is haunted, and while they attempt to escape, he learns an important lesson about the family he has neglected.
I’ve watched this one a few times, and I’m not really a fan of it. But, for those who do love it, there are some connections to the Haunted Mansion ride at Disney Parks just like the remake.
A curious youngster moves to Salem, where he struggles to fit in before awakening a trio of diabolical witches that were executed in the 17th century. Now, the sisters have one night to suck the souls of children and fully return to life or else they will die.
This is an all-time favorite of mine that I recommend for any one looking for a fun and spooky time without being too scary.
HOCUS POCUS 2
Three young women accidentally bring back the Sanderson Sisters to modern day Salem and must figure out how to stop the child-hungry witches from wreaking havoc on the world.
This film became the most streamed movie on Disney+ when it was released in 2022. It’s a cute sequel to the cult classic, even though there are parts of it that can take the viewer out of the film.
THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS
Jack Skellington, king of Halloween Town, discovers Christmas Town, but his attempts to bring Christmas to his home causes confusion.
This is a classic film that has developed a cult following over the years. Plus, it works for two holidays, so fans of both Halloween and Christmas can enjoy it.
12-year-old friends, Marshall, Gilbert and Amy accidentally revive a mummy they discover in a neighbor’s basement. They affectionately name the mummy Harold, and must rush to return him to his resting place before midnight on Halloween.
This is a remake of the very first Disney Channel Original Movie released in 1997. It’s another cute, fun and spooky kids movie that’s perfect for the pre-teen and early teenage audience.
UNDER WRAPS 2
While Amy is preparing for her father’s Halloween-themed wedding, she, Gilbert and Marshall discover that Harold and Rose may be in danger. An evil mummy is unexpectedly awakened and out for revenge.
Following in the footsteps of “High School Musical” and “The Descendants,” “Under Wraps” became the most recent Disney Channel Original Movie to get a sequel that brought back more mummies.
The puppies go on a spooky adventure through a haunted mansion. The Buddies films have been an interesting story as they are an unusual spinoff from the “Air Bud” franchise that follows a group of Golden Retriever puppies. This one features some spooky fun that’s not scary.
When a boy’s beloved dog passes away suddenly, he attempts to bring the animal back to life through a powerful science experiment. This films is basically the story of Frankenstein’s monster with a dog.
This, like “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” comes from the mind of Tim Burton which can lead to a lot of crazy scenarios that can still be a lot of fun. I enjoyed this more than I thought I would when it was released.
THE ADVENTURES OF ICHABOD AND MR. TOAD
An animated adaptation of “The Wind in the Willows” followed by an adaptation of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”. While the first half focuses on the story of Mr. Toad, which isn’t bad, but has no connection to Halloween, the second half focuses on the story of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman.
The Headless Horseman has become a Halloween staple since “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” was first released and it’s always interesting to see Disney’s take on it.
Students from Zombietown are transferred to a high school in a suburban town preoccupied with uniformity, traditions and pep rallies.
This film is one of many Disney Channel Original Movies perfect for younger audiences for Halloween. It features zombies and high school. What more does a pre-teen audience need?
The continuing adventures of Seabrook High students Addison and Zed, whose budding romance is threatened by the arrival of werewolves.
It’s a typical Disney Channel Original Movie sequel as werewolves are added to the zombie high school drama. This is another film that I enjoyed far more than I was expecting when I first watched it.
Zed anticipates an athletic scholarship while Addison is gearing up for Seabrook’s international cheer-off competition. Then suddenly, extraterrestrial beings appear around Seabrook, causing more than friendly competition.
The third film in the franchise builds on the zombies and werewolves by adding aliens. It’s the Halloween trifecta.
When a young girl living with her secret witch mother learns she too is a witch, she must help her witch grandmother save Halloweentown from evil forces.
This is the original Disney Channel Original Movie for Halloween, and one adults of a certain age love to share with their children. It’s all Halloween all the time while being a lot of fun.
HALLOWEENTOWN 2: KALABAR’S REVENGE
A young witch and her grandmother work together to foil the plans of a wicked warlock’s son before he can use powerful spells to create chaos in the world.
It’s the natural sequel that brings Marnie and her family back to Halloweentown as the mayor and his son are now threatening Marnie’s family’s lives.
A girl in a magical world bets her family’s magic that nothing bad will happen when kids from Halloweentown attend high school in the mortal realm.
Admittedly, this one wasn’t as much fun as the other two when re-watching it as an adult, but there still may be an audience for this third film in the series.
RETURN TO HALLOWEENTOWN
Marnie and Dylan are going to follow their dreams to go to college, at Halloweentown University, which is also known as Witch University.
This is viewed as the weakest of the four films in the series. Kimberly J. Brown didn’t return so Marnie was recast. But, for the devoted “Halloweentown” fan, it may be fun to watch, especially if they are a completionist.
Two teen witches who were separated at birth and were adopted by two different families meet on their 21st birthday and must use their powers to save the world in which they were born, where their birth mother still lives.
The Mowry twins were everywhere in the 90s and early 2000s including in their own Disney Channel Original Movie series.
After using their powers to battle the forces of darkness, the sisters settle down to lead normal lives. However, the discovery that their biological father may not be dead, but residing in New York, causes confusion for the pair.
The Mowry twins are back and still reigning supreme as teen witches.
GIRL VS. MONSTER
A teen girl goes on a mission to recapture a dangerous monster that she accidentally released before it can do harm to her parents.
This is the most recent Disney Channel Original Movie I watched for the first time in October 2022. Much like “Z-O-M-B-I-E-S,” I enjoyed this one far more as an adult than I expected. The monster hunting aspect was a lot of fun compared to the traditional monsters just attacking that happens in a lot of children’s Halloween films.
MOM’S GOT A DATE WITH A VAMPIRE
Two kids set their mom up on a date with a vampire! This Disney Channel Original Movie from the 1990s features Caroline Rhea from “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” and Charles Shaughnessy from “The Nanny.”
This movie got a lot of play around Halloween when I was a pre-teen and early teenager. It was enjoyable enough for what it was.
DON’T LOOK UNDER THE BED
A teen enlists the help of an imaginary friend named Larry Houdini to deal with a prank-playing bogeyman, who’s framing her for his dastardly deeds.
When I was young, this was one of the scarier Disney Channel Original Movies. While not nearly as scary as an adult, this could be a good way to introduce horror concepts to a younger viewer who will be into those types of films when they get older.
PHANTOM OF THE MEGAPLEX
A young man working at a cinema on a special premiere night, finds that the films being shown are full of strange and eerie occurrences.
While this one wasn’t nearly as scary as other Disney Channel Original Movies when I was younger, it helped foster my love of campy horror movie.
THE SCREAM TEAM
Eccentric Frank Carlyle owned a hardware store in small town Steeple Falls which takes pride in and profit from its Halloween traditions. Frank’s widower son Richard begrudgingly returns there from Boston with his own kids including the bright Ian and bratty Claire to settle the inheritance. Ian discovers grandpa’s house is really haunted, and not just – as legend holds – by Zachariah Kull who was burned at the stake.
A novelty salesman moves his family into a new house. Initially dismissing incidents as more of their father’s practical jokes, the family soon learns that the house is haunted by people who lived in the house 300 years previously.
I watched this for the first time recently and it was a little too campy for my taste. Still if you want to see some 1980s Disney attempt at horror, check this one out.
BRIDE OF BOOGEDY
A family with a great love for practical jokes is haunted by the family ghost Mr. Boogedy.
Every great horror villain, or cheesy Disney horror villain, needs a bride in the sequel. Disney does better with love stories than they do horror flicks, especially in this timeframe.
THE GHOSTS OF BUXLEY HALL
Ghosts and a young cadet try to save a military academy from being closed.
If you love ghosts and the military, check out this Disney horror film.
THE INVISIBLE SISTER
Teenager Cleo’s school science project goes quite awry, causing her popular older sister Molly to go invisible.
Giving the story of the Invisible Man a Disney spin, this Disney Channel Original Movie stars Rowan Blanchard from “Girl Meets World” and makes her older sister invisible.
JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH
An orphan who lives with his two cruel aunts befriends anthropomorphic bugs who live inside a giant peach, and they embark on a journey to New York City.
This is the second and final film released by Skellington Productions after “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” It’s an unusual rendition of the classic tale.
CAN OF WORMS
A teen is visited by aliens after he broadcasts a message into space.
This is generally regarded as the scariest of the Disney Channel Original Movies focused on Halloween-type creatures. It’s still a lot of fun for those who love alien invasion flicks.
A live-action prequel feature film following a young Cruella de Vil.
This film received some backlash because villain origin stories tend to make the villains sympathetic and most people don’t want a woman willing to kidnap and kill dogs to be sympathetic, but it’s been praised a lot since its release.
A vengeful fairy is driven to curse an infant princess, only to discover that the child may be the one person who can restore peace to their troubled land.
Maleficent may be the best villain in the animated Disney canon, and it makes sense that Disney would rather tell her story in live action compared to Aurora’s story. It’s just more interesting.
Not Available on Disney+ in the US
MALEFICENT: MISTRESS OF EVIL
Maleficent and her goddaughter Aurora begin to question the complex family ties that bind them as they are pulled in different directions by impending nuptials, unexpected allies, and dark new forces at play.
Following the success of the first live-action “Maleficent,” Angelina Jolie returns as Disney’s best villain in another adaptation where she does villainous things for a heroic cause.
An artificial man, who was incompletely constructed and has scissors for hands, leads a solitary life. Then one day, a suburban lady meets him and introduces him to her world.
Another Tim Burton film that works for Halloween, Johnny Depp stars as the titular “Edward Scissorhands.”
MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN
When Jacob (Asa Butterfield) discovers clues to a mystery that stretches across time, he finds Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. But the danger deepens after he gets to know the residents and learns about their special powers.
INTO THE WOODS
A witch tasks a childless baker and his wife with procuring magical items from classic fairy tales to reverse the curse put on their family tree.
The teenage son of the king and queen of Auradon offers the trouble-making children of villains a chance to attend prep school in the kingdom.
This is one of the most popular Disney Channel Original Movies of the 2000s and has led to a lot of love from Disney fans. If you love the classic characters, take a chance to see what their kids are doing.
Mal, Evie, Carlos and Jay try to adjust to life in Auradon, but Mal becomes overwhelmed with pressure and returns to her roots.
The children of some of Disney’s iconic villains are back and this time they are following in the footsteps of their villainous parents.
The teenagers of Disney’s most infamous villains return to the Isle of the Lost to recruit a new batch of villainous offspring to join them at Auradon Prep.
After finally being accepted, returning to evil temporarily, and returning to being accepted, the children of Disney’s iconic villains are hoping to help the children of other villains along the way.
UPSIDE DOWN MAGIC
Best friends Elinor “Nory” Boxwood-Horace and Reina Carvajal discover they have magical powers: Nory can transform into animals and Reina can control fire. They enroll at Sage Academy, a prestigious magic school.
WIZARDS OF WAVERLY PLACE: THE MOVIE
A young wizard conjures a spell that puts her family in jeopardy.
“Wizards of Waverly Place” was one of the most popular Disney Channel Original Series, and it makes sense they would make a television movie starring the show’s cast.
WEREWOLF BY NIGHT
Follow a lycanthrope superhero who fights evil using the abilities given to him by a curse brought on by his bloodline.
Marvel introduces some its darker characters with its very first special presentation. Filmed in the same manner of schlocky, horror films of the 1930s and 1940s, this special is the most grown-up version of a horror title on Disney+.
This is not a ranking, just a list of some of the fun Halloween movies available on Disney+. Which one are you excited to check out for the first time? Which ones are yearly favorites?