Halloween marks the beginning of the holiday movie season. Ah, the warm memories of getting to stay up later than usual on special nights and watch TV programming that only played once a year. Or, maybe your family went to the video store (remember those?) and argued over what theme-appropriate movie to rent. Now that you’re a parent, you’ll want to carry on the tradition of holiday movies with your kids, but this raises a dilemma. You don’t want to give your children zombie nightmare trauma, yet you refuse to suffer through anything mind-numbingly boring. To help you remedy this problem, we’ve put together a list of movies appropriate for Halloween that everyone will find entertaining. We broke the list into two sections. The first is probably movies you’ve heard of and the second part lists movies you may not know.
Movies You Might Be Familiar With
Little Shop Of Horrors
Rick Moranis and Steve Martin star in the fantastic horror/sci-fi/musical Little Shop Of Horrors. This movie is perfect for those kids who love musicals and sing-a-longs. A giant carnivorous plant from space needs human blood instead of water to bloom and grow. Insanity and hilarity ensue. It has a few “mature” scenes, but kids who are early elementary and older should not have any nightmares. There’s a special appearance by another comedian, which really puts the movie over the top. I won’t spoil it, if you haven’t seen it yet.
Ernest Scared Stupid
Jim Varney returns as Ernest in this cheesy classic Halloween film. In this movie, Ernest haphazardly unleashes a troll during Halloween, who threatens to destroy the world. Fortunately, the frenetic Ernest fumbles through a plan to save the planet. Ernest is perfect for kids of all ages, so we’ve decided to add it to the list. Fans of the Chiodo Bros’ (Killer Klowns From Outer Space) will be quite happy they were chosen to design the troll.
We all know who to call when spooky apparitions appear in your refrigerator, but what about when Dracula and his pals come to town? That’s clearly a job for the Monster Squad. This Fred Dekker flick from the ’80s is like Goonies meet Ghostbusters, in which a group of kids form a club to defend their town from the classic Universal monsters. Recommended for kids in early elementary and up, you’ll also enjoy a little nostalgia while viewing the film.
Based on the Neil Gaimon book of the same name, this stop-motion film gives some parents the creeps, but most children seem unfazed by its content. In it, the titular character finds a parallel world, complete with more fun replicas of her parents. Everything is great until she learns the truth about the place, and must outsmart the Other Mother and escape before she gets buttons sewn over her eyes and is trapped in the other world forever. It’s a kind of modern Alice Through the Lookingglass, with an updated gothiness.
Are you looking for a movie that captures the nostalgic feeling of the 80’s, but is modern enough to not bore your children to sleep? Search no more. Monster House is a blast for everyone, especially if you like 80’s kids movies. Most of us grew up with that creepy, abandoned house down the street, and some of us were even brave enough to venture inside it. Fortunately, the house didn’t try to eat us. That’s not the case for the kids in Monster House. This computer animated film is appropriate for most young kids, but does have some moments that might be scary for very young children.
This gem was the last movie ever given the magic touch by that master of imagination Jim Henson. It was also the final work based on a story by Roald Dahl before the writer’s death. A young boy stumbles upon a conference of witches who are plotting to turn all of England’s children into mice. Angelica Houston plays a total fox in the film as the head witch. That is, until she tears off her face to reveal her true nature. The film is rated PG but has a menacing undertone and some grotesque images that may unsettle some kids and adults. It’s also definitely not for anyone with musophobia.
Another kid-friendly Halloween flick about witches, Hocus Pocus stars Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy as sisters who were executed 300 years ago in Salem for practicing dark magic. When a new kid in town accidentally resurrects the three witches on Halloween, it falls to an immortal cat and two teens to stop the evil sisters from stealing a child’s life force before dawn. You and your kids will appreciate the humor in this comedy as the anachronistic witches are constantly befuddled by modern technology and Halloween traditions.
Movies You May Not Know
Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant
Talk about an under appreciated film, The Vampire’s Assistant stars John C. Reilly as a lovable, but stern vampire who takes a teenage boy under his wing. Based on the first book of the popular novel series for young adults The Saga of Darren Shan, this film is a great story that the whole family is going to love. Appropriate for early elementary age and up.
Silver Bullet is a classic man vs. werewolf tale with a slight twist. The main character, a very young and innocent Corey Haim, is paralyzed from the waist down and confined to a wheelchair. The film also stars Gary Busey as an alcoholic uncle, who despite his addiction, loves his nephew to death. The movie, based on Stephen King’s Cycle Of The Werewolf is a little scary, but it is definitely worth watching with your older kids.
The Halloween Tree
This film, narrated by Ray Bradbury (who wrote the novel in 1967), tells the tale of a young boy who stumbles upon the tree of Halloween and travels back in time in a race against life and death. It’s up to his four friends to save him from certain doom as they to learn the origins of of the holiday. We highly recommend this animated classic for anyone who hasn’t seen it.
Something Wicked This Way Comes
Speaking of Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Comes provides the perfect creepy-atmosphere for this time of year. Mr. Dark and his circus have arrived and he’s happy to grant wishes — for a price. Can a couple of young boys save the town and send the devil packing? This movie really has a very creepy mood, but isn’t overly scary or disturbing. It’s dark, but not to violent. Even if your kids don’t get it now, they’ll learn to appreciate this film when they get older.
Halloween Movies You Can Watch On Youtube
Spooky Bats and Scaredy Cats: A Halloween Tale
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1949)
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