If you did Halloween even remotely right, you will have watched Casper Meets Wendy last night. This supernatural straight-to-video Casper sequel wasn’t even critically panned; it seems to have just been critically ignored. Bringing it some much-deserved attention is basically my sole mission in life—not least because it introduced the world to Hilary Duff. And Hilary Duff movies have been behind everything I have ever loved.
“Yikes, my pyjamas!” is how micro-witch Wendy adorably bursts onto the scene in Casper Meets Wendy, firmly cementing it as the only film you need to watch each 31 October (sorry, Hocus Pocus). And with those three words, an icon was born; Hilary Duff had officially made her screen debut. Unfortunately, I think only two people ever saw the movie—and those two people were me and my sister.
By the way, despite the hatred for Halloween I’ve made perfectly clear, my sister and I actually did embrace this spooky holiday last night by carving our first ever pumpkin. Pedro was grown in our garden, and carved with our own hands. Isn’t he cute?
And we were so proud of ourselves that we went on to carve faces into the rest of our delicious vegan feast.
Anyway, back to Hilary Duff movies. After delightfully stealing my heart in Casper Meets Wendy (and giving me serious wardrobe envy with her witchy red romper), Duff went on to perfectly encapsulate all my pre-teen angst in Lizzie McGuire. I defy a single one of you to pretend Lizzie’s cartoon subconscious wasn’t totally relatable well into your early twenties.
Then there was A Cinderella Story, in which I fully credit Duff for introducing me to the word “LOL”. Who knows where I would be today if I was still having to actually laugh at everything. I mean, I’d be exhausted, that’s where I’d be.
And of course, there’s the music. Hilary Duff’s pop career is basically unrivalled; the girl provided the soundtrack to literally all that crap we were watching in the early 00s. Thanks to Hilary, break-ups felt “So Yesterday”, rainstorms just felt like “Coming Clean”, and therefore nothing ever sucked.
These days, Duff has a new album, a starring role in a TV show, a drama-free ex-husband with whom she co-parents a three-year-old—and she’s on Tinder. In Younger, Duff plays career-driven party girl Kelsey, whom I seriously want to do shots with while she drily drops hilarious soundbites like “I have a huge vagina. I don’t know why I bother carrying a purse.” (Younger Season 2 starts in January, and you need to be watching it.) And Duff’s latest album is a slice of pop perfection every bit as catchy and binge-able as a Carly Rae Jepsen record. Seriously, I’ve been listening to the title track Breathe In. Breathe Out. on repeat since June.
In other words, looking back on my pop culture life, it seems Hilary Duff has been responsible for everything I’ve ever loved—and it all started with Casper Meets Wendy.
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