A Tribute to Halloweentown’s Unsung Hero
Halloween is COOL.
The season is upon us once again and, like everyone else, my DVR is set for the Halloweentown movies. Originally released in 1998, the Halloweentown series has become a bit of a cult classic. Why wouldn’t it? The idea of an entire town inhabited by mythical creatures, celebrating Halloween 24/7 is astounding to even the biggest doubters (re: Dylan Piper).
Through her adventures, Marnie Piper – played fabulously by Kimberly J. Brown – became a hero of both the mortal and magical worlds, living up to the Cromwell name. But it’s time we give some proper recognition to Halloweentown’s unsung hero: Sophie Piper.
As Marnie’s kid sister, Sophie added a shot of cuteness to the world of Witches, Warlocks and Monsters. She (unknowingly) used her powers for important things, like having a cookie before dinner. As the series went on, her role became smaller, ending with only a brief mention of her in Return to Halloweentown.
But without Sophie, it’s likely that Marnie could have never begun her hero’s journey. Focusing just on the first installment of the Halloweentown franchise, let’s take a look at the times when Sophie was just as important of a savior as Marnie.
Sophie Piper could often be found looking out a window, and had an incredible sense of the world around her. On our first Halloween night with the Piper/Cromwell family, it’s Sophie that says “Somebody’s coming!” Cue the arrival of Aggie Cromwell, the coolest grandma there ever was.
Always keeping an eye on things, Sophie followed Marnie and Dylan to Halloweentown when they thought she was asleep. She was the one who saw everybody – especially if she was extra curious. Really, Sophie was like the 7-year-old, Halloween version of Gossip Girl. Fast forward to her most important sighting: Luke and Aggie.
During his punk phase, Luke helped Kalabar lure people into his trap, and he even manages to convince Aggie to come with him. Watching from above in Kalabar’s day job office, Sophie points out to the family “Look! Grandma’s going somewhere with the wiener dude.” The Pipers were all set to leave Halloweentown for good. Had Sophie not said anything, it’s likely they would have found their way home, not noticing Grandma had gone missing until the next year, at best.
Unfortunately, Luke and Kalabar succeeded at trapping not only Aggie, but her daughter Gwen too. The kids are left with zero supervision and the bare bones of a plan: finish the homemade witches brew. Thankfully, Marnie copied down the recipe, so they know which ingredients they need. Through a series of hijinks, the kids managed to pull it together and create the brew.
Here’s the snag: Marnie didn’t remember the actual spell to light the talisman. But guess who does? Because Sophie thought the spell sounded cool, she made up a song for it.
Combining their powers, Marnie and Sophie get the talisman lit, officially creating the tool that would destroy Kalabar. Without the 7-year-old’s mnemonic device, they could have been stranded and orphans.
Okay, so Sophie was a witch, not a Jedi. But remember those finely tuned senses we mentioned? Sophie had an especially fine-tuned sense for “the bad thing.” Part of Kalabar’s method was to first turn the residents of Halloweentown into hateful, almost evil versions of themselves, before he froze them in time until he needed them.
One of Kalabar’s last victims was poor Benny, the cab driver with the best awful jokes. Trying to kidnap the kids, Benny offers them a ride to their grandmother’s mansion. Not so fast Benny. The second he pulls up, Sophie starts tugging at Marnie’s sleeve, warning her that “the bad thing” was in the cab. This time Marnie listens, and the kids narrowly avoid being captured.
Shortly after that, Marnie (with a bit of help from Luke) tricks Kalabar, installs the talisman, defeats Kalabar entirely and saves Halloweentown from a terrifying fate. And with that, we are treated to two more epic movies, and one betrayal of a recasting.
When it comes to Halloween, Marnie Piper is absolutely a hero and 100 percent worthy of space on your DVR. But never underestimate or forget Sophie Piper.