"Wastrel youth of benighted hours, be thee vanquished by my powers!" - Gwen hitting Luke with a spell that binds him tightly in ropes of flowers
"Keep your brother and sister back!" - Gwen telling Marnie to keep Dylan and Sophie back before shoving her mother Aggie out of the way, getting herself hit by Kalabar's (disguised as a shadow hooded creature) magical fire, freezing her in time at the abandoned movie theater
Gwendolyn "Gwen" Piper (née Cromwell) is the daughter of Aggie, mother of Marnie, Dylan, and Sophie, and widow of William Piper. She was born as a witch but moved to the human world after she married her husband, William Piper. Although she reminds her children not to let magic go to their heads, she grows more relaxed about magic as the movies go on.
Gwen was born in Halloweentown to a bloodline of one of the most powerful witch families in existence, the Cromwells. At some point, she dated the powerful warlock, Kalabar. One Halloween, Gwen chose to visit the human world and went to a costume party, where she met William Piper. He liked her witch costume and the two hit it off, eventually dating and after some time marrying. Soon after, their daughter Marnie was born, then their son Dylan, and finally they had Sophie. Sometime after the birth of his children William died from causes unknown. Although there was technically nothing to keep her in the human world after her husband's death, Gwen found that she preferred living as a human and decided to raise her children in the human world.
Because Gwen wants to raise her children as humans, she has never allowed them to participate in Halloween, fearing that they may discover their true magical ancestry if they did. Her eldest daughter, Marnie, however has a fascination with everything to do with Halloween, and this year Marnie is begging to be allowed to go to a costume party with her friends. Gwen refuses, however, to Marnie's frustration. Although her daughter tries to argue, pointing out that her mother's reasoning is vague at best, Gwen tells her that she will explain her reasons when Marnie is taller. Dylan chimes in by lecturing Marnie on the dangers of Halloween, and Gwen leaves them to their bickering in order to prepare dinner. Meanwhile, Sophie is tempted by a large plate of cookies and almost manages to grab one when Gwen takes the plate away, telling her youngest daughter that she may have one after dinner. Sophie, pouting, turns away and grumbles that she really wants those cookies. Behind her back, a cookie begins to magically rise and gently float towards her. Gwen, muttering "not again", quickly snatches the cookie out of the air and stuff it in her mouth before her little girl can notice. At that moment, Aggie arrives, joking that it's lucky that Sophie doesn't like liver. Although happy to see her mother, Gwen worries that they will argue once again about Marnie's witch training.
Shortly after dinner, the kids ask if their grandmother can tell them a bedtime story. Gwen hesitates, but ultimately allows it. Before Aggie can follow her grandchildren upstairs, Gwen asks her to refrain from mentioning anything about Halloweentown or the kids' magical heritage. Eager to connect with her grandchildren, Aggie agrees. But as she talks with the kids, the temptation to tell them the truth about their heritage proves too great to resist. Before she can tell them anything though, Gwen interrupts, saying that their grandmother will have to leave soon if she is to catch her bus home. Before she leaves, however, Gwen asks to have a word with her. As they put away leftovers, Gwen is furious that Aggie was about to tell her children about Halloweentown after Gwen expressly asked her not to. Aggie in turn complains that this is Marnie's thirteenth Halloween, an important date that should signal the end of a witch's training. Instead, the half-human Marnie is at risk for losing her powers permanently because her training hasn't even begun. Gwen argues that Halloweentown is not her nor her children's world; they belong in the human one. Gwen snaps that she knows Aggie is only visiting to badger her again about starting Marnie's training, but Aggie insists that isn't true: she has come to ask for Gwen's help. Something isn't right in Halloweentown; neighbors who are usually kind and gentle are suddenly turning hostile and wild before disappearing altogether. Aggie claims she cannot tackle this alone, she needs another Cromwell witch to help her. Gwen, reluctant to believe that anything could be so wrong as to require her to return to Halloweentown again, insists that it must be Aggie's imagination. A frustrated Aggie turns their chicken leftovers back into a live chicken, pointing out that a witch like Gwen shouldn't have to fiddle around with Tupperware containers. Marnie, who has crept downstairs, witnesses this magical exchange and immediately wakes her brother to tell him. Although he thinks she's crazy, they end up following their grandmother to her bus stop. Gwen, who is watching TV while cleaning up, doesn't notice them sneak out.
When she finally does turn off the TV, Gwen goes upstairs to check on her children only to find their beds empty. Immediately suspecting her mother, Gwen angrily sets off for Halloweentown. When she arrives she likely sees Aggie and Marnie flying around on a broomstick and reaches them just in time to prevent Sophie from going on a flight two. She gives Sophie a relieved hug, but nevertheless is furious that her mother took her children away without her knowledge. She orders her children to say goodbye and then to come home with her, telling an especially reluctant Marnie that she lives in the human world and human is what she will be. Finding out the bus has been delayed, Gwen takes Dylan's suggestion to ask the mayor for help. It turns out that mayor Kalabar was a childhood friend of Gwen's and the two are surprised but happy to see each other again. He magically brings to life a withered rose for her and suggests that they grab some dinner and catch up, but Gwen tells him that she is trying to leave Halloweentown and asks for his help. Before he can, he is called away on urgent business and Sophie notices that the town punk, Luke, is leading Aggie somewhere. Sensing that Aggie is in trouble, Marnie runs out the building in pursuit, forcing Gwen and her younger siblings to chase after her.
Luke takes Aggie to the abandoned movie theatre, where she discovers all of the people who have disappeared frozen like statues. Noticing a dark, swirling vortex where the movie screen should be, she soon comes face-to-face with the mastermind behind the disappearances, a creature swathed in shadow. He commands that she give him Merlin's Talisman (an ancient magical object that can combat dark magic), but she naturally refuses, instead demanding to know why he has kidnapped all these people. At that moment, her family bursts in. Gwen orders Marnie to keep her siblings back, rushing to help Aggie herself. Luke, uncomfortable with how far the shadow being is willing to go, tries to run away but Gwen intercepts him and hits him with a spell that binds him tightly in ropes of flowers. As the shadow being throws magical fire at Aggie, Gwen shoves her out of the way, getting hit herself in the process. The spell paralyzes Gwen in time, and Aggie, struck with horror, is unable to dodge a second fireball. Struggling against the freezing curse, she tells her grandchildren to escape before she succumbs to the spell. The children come up with a plan to empower the Talisman.
They eventually gather all the potion ingredients that reignites the Talisman and, believing that the Talisman can cure their mother and grandmother, the siblings rush to the abandoned theater and wave the Talisman in vain over their family members, becoming distraught when it fails to do anything. Discouraged, Marnie remembers her grandmother telling her that the Halloween traditions in the human world are merely echoes of Halloweentown's traditions. Gazing at the shining Talisman, Marnie realizes that it's similar to the candles that humans place into their Jack-O-Lanterns. Recalling that there is an enormous, empty Jack-O-Lantern in the center of town, Marnie decides to install the Talisman within its orange depths. Eventually managing to drop the glowing Talisman in the center of the giant pumpkin, the Jack-O-Lantern instantly blazes with a light that forces the shadow creature (revealed to be Kalabar) to cower back and pierces the dark movie theater vortex, restoring everyone who was frozen inside. Aggie and Gwen, each relieved that the other is alright, hasten to rejoin the children, who are equally relieved and happy to see them.
Kalabar, however, overcomes the pain that the Jack-O-Lantern's light has caused him and laughingly faces the Cromwells. Gwen asks him in a hard voice why he has turned to dark magic, to which he replies that she could have had him, the most powerful warlock in Halloweentown, but instead she chose a mere human. His broken heart turned twisted, and he decided to get revenge on all humans by spurring the creatures of Halloweentown to invade and conquer the human world. He magically forces the Talisman to fly into his hand and dares the Cromwells to try their best to stop him. Seeing that Gwen and Aggie alone aren't strong enough to overpower the twisted mayor, Marnie, Sophie, and even Dylan join hands with the two older witches and combine all their powers. Kalabar is no match for five Cromwells and his shroud of shadow ignites, causing him to dissolve into bright, magical light.
As the Cromwell family celebrates with the citizens of Halloweentown, Gwen tells Marnie that she is impressed with Marnie's strength and courage and agrees to train Marnie as a witch. Reconciled at last, mother and daughter embrace. Aggie's grandchildren say that they want to stay with her longer, but the bus between worlds only travels once a year on Halloween. Knowing this, a smiling Gwen asks Aggie to live with them in the human world. Stunned that her daughter would ever make such an offer, but delighted at the prospect of spending more time with her family and training her grandchildren, Aggie happily agrees. All five Cromwells embark on the bus and wave goodbye to Halloweentown as they take off for the human world.
Gwen meets a handsome single father named Alex, but doesn't know that he is actually agolem created to lure her into a trap. He takes her to a Halloween party, where the warlock Kal turns her and everyone at the party into monsters. By combining their magic, her family manage to reverse the spell.
Halloweentown High (2004)
She helps Marnie joggle nine teenage kids of different mythical heritage. When they discover that someone is trying to steal their magic by failing Marnie's project, Gwen teleports herself to Halloweentown to find proof for the Halloweentown Council. In the end Gwen rescues Cassie from her prison and returns to the mortal world in time to help stop the plot.
Return to Halloweentown (2006)
Her children flew off for college and witch training, and she became a real estate agent and used magic to make the houses look better. When Dylan gets turned into a dog, Marnie calls for her help. She, Marnie, and Dylan combine their magic and "destroy" the Gift together.
Powers and Abilities
Like all witches, Gwen is capable of performing magic. It is implied that Cromwell witches are amongst the most powerful magical beings in Halloweentown and are extremely long lived since her mother is over a thousand years old.
Gwen Piper was portrayed by Judith Hoag in all four movies.
Aggie is Gwen's mother. In the first movie, the two have a rather strained relationship similar to Marnie's relationship with Gwen. Aggie firmly believes that Gwen should train her children as witches, but Gwen wants them to have a normal, human life like their father. When Aggie almost tells the children about Halloweentown and the truth about their heritage, and especially when it appears that she has actually taken the children to her birthplace without her knowledge, Gwen is furious. Even so, when Aggie is attacked by the shadow being Gwen does not hesitate to help her. At the end of the movie, Gwen even offers Aggie to live with them in the human world.
Gwen and William met at a Halloween costume party. They fell in love, and it's presumed that he taught her about the human world. They eventually got married and had three kids together. He died of unknown causes before the first movie and though she doesn't show it, his death affects her greatly. For example, when Marnie mentions how her parents met, Dylan tells her to be quiet because mentioning their father upsets their mother. Perhaps in his honor, Gwen wants to raise her children as humans rather than witches and warlocks. In the first movie, Aggie gently, cautiously tells Gwen that as William has passed on, there's nothing keeping Gwen and her children in the human world. Gwen counters that she likes being human. From these brief moments, it can be surmised that the two shared a great love that made many lasting impacts on Gwen.
Marnie is Gwen's eldest, rebellious daughter. In the first movie, they see very little eye-to-eye. Gwen wants to keep Marnie and her siblings away from all things Halloween, but Marnie loves Halloween and all it stands for. Naturally, this causes friction between the two. Although Marnie typically complains about the injustice of her mother's rules when they are together, Marnie is visibly upset when Gwen is attacked by the shadow being. By the end of the movie, Gwen and Marnie reconcile and thereafter, Gwen helps train Marnie and often warns her not to let magic go to her head.
Dylan is Gwen's son and most obedient child. Dylan seems to idolize his mother and agrees with every word she says, even encouraging his sisters to see things from their mother's point of view. He tries to be the perfect child and earns straight A's, backs his mom up when talking about the dangers of Halloween, and is the most helpful when Gwen is trying to get her family back home. He is the only child who prefers to appear human, most likely because of her teaching.
Sophie is Gwen's youngest child. Since Sophie is so young in the first movie, Gwen has her work cut out for her preventing Sophie from knowing that she is capable of magic. She seems very protective of Sophie and the two seem quite close, as when Gwen first finds them in Halloweentown, Sophie happily runs into her relieved arms. When Gwen was attacked by the shadow being, Sophie almost cried and climbed into the seat next to her mother. Gwen helps Aggie train Sophie as well.
When Gwen was young and still lived in Halloweentown, she dated the powerful warlock Kalabar at some point. She ended the relationship for unknown reasons and eventually married a human and moved to the human world. Many years later, Gwen is forced to return to Halloweentown to seek out her children and is reunited with Kalabar, who has become the mayor. Both are happy and surprised to see each other again and Kalabar immediately starts trying to rekindle their old romance by presenting her with a rose and suggesting they have dinner together. Though flattered, Gwen declines and asks if she can help her return to the human world. Eventually, she discovers that the dark shadow being who has been kidnapping citizens of Halloweentown and freezing them in time is none other than Kalabar. When she demands an explanation from him, he tells her harshly that she could have stayed with him and been his queen, but instead she chose to marry a mere human. Her rejection broke Kalabar's heart and he turned to dark magic to wreak revenge on all humans for stealing Gwen away, urging his fellow citizens to invade and take back the human world. Gwen and her family are forced to combine their powers and defeat Kalabar, dissolving him in light.
Gwen met Alex in Halloweentown II at a Halloween party. He obviously likes her, and she seems to return his affections. They are both single parents and have a certain bond. Unfortunately, he turns out to be nothing more than a golem Kal made out of a heap of frogs.
- In the second movie after the Creature Spell is cast, some of the people affected still appear to remember who they are. Gwen, however, doesn't seem to remember, as she is frightened and even tries to attack her children.
- She suffers from empty-nest syndrome when her children leave for college for the first time.
- She was raised as a witch, and if her children had become human like she wanted, Gwen would have outlived all three of them.