Even though it’s been 20 years since Disney Channel’s fourth original movie Halloweentown first aired, ’90s kids still look forward to watching the Cromwell kids get into some supernatural mischief once October rolls around.
And though you might consider yourself a wiz when it comes to Halloweentown trivia, there are some behind-the-scenes secrets not even the most loyal of fans know about the film. To brush up on your facts, here are 12 things you definitely didn’t know about the magic behind this cult-favorite movie.
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The movie didn’t have a large budget.
The first installment of the Halloweentown franchise was presented to director Duwayne Dunham as a $20 to $30 million project. But they were only given $4 million to film with.
“I liked the story of the kids and their grandmother and the mother and the secret and all of that stuff. But it was like a $20 to $30 million movie when they presented it to me, and at that time, Disney Channel had just started production on their first movie, which was “Brink,” and we were the second one,” Dunham said in an interview with MTV.
“Our concept was great, but the scope was too much for us and our budget. So the trick was how do you keep the tone and the concept intact, and pare it down so we could afford to do this?”
Obviously hey made it work. The film was shot in full over the course of a quick, 24-day span, with actors doubling up costumes on set to create the illusion of a busy town.
You can visit Halloweentown in real life.
The original Halloweentown was filmed in the town square of St. Helens, Oregon, and every year since its release in 1998, the town celebrates All Hallows’ Eve by hosting the Spirit Of Halloweentown Festival from mid-September through October 31.
“They kick off the festival every year with an annual lighting ceremony. We say a spell from the movie, and the jack-o-lantern is lit. It’s lit you guys,” Brown said of the festival in a YouTube video.
The month-long event also features activities like family-friendly haunted houses, photos with the original orange pumpkin from the film, a museum of peculiarities and oddities, pumpkin picking, a costume contest, and more.
Benny, the sassy skeleton taxi driver, was actually a robot.
Benny the taxi driver wasn’t an actor dressed as a skeleton, nor was his character completely digitized. During a Q&A with Baltimore Media Blog, Kimberly J. Brown who played 13-year-old Marnie Cromwell outed the man behind the curtain — or, I should say, the robot behind the skeleton — for what he truly was.
“One specific memory [I have from filming Halloweentown is] of the character Benny,” Brown told the blog. “The actor dubbed his lines after filming, so we actually worked with a robot. I’ll always remember the ‘errr err’ sound it made.”