I'm Lindsay Ferrier, a Nashville writer with a passion for family travel, exploring Tennessee, and raising kids without losing my mind in the process. This is where I share my discoveries, along with occasional deep thoughts, pop culture tangents and a sprinkling of snark. Want to get in touch? Use the CONTACT form at the top of the page.
October 17, 2011
I love Halloween, largely because it really ushers in the holiday season. We go all out celebrating it here at the Ferrier house, from the decorating to the after-school snacks to the bedtime storybooks… to the movies.
I’ve spent the last ten years raising kids and watching pretty much every family Halloween movie ever made, and a few (a VERY few) really stand out. Here are our ten favorites.
Hocus Pocus isn’t the least bit scary and it’s funny and entertaining. My daughter watched it for the first time last year at age six and loved it. You will, too.
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is a true Halloween staple. It’s only 30 minutes, so you can watch it with the kids on a school night, and for me, it really ushers in the holiday season. I love the memories it brings back of tuning in to watch it each year on network television. Those were the days…
Monster House was a surprise favorite of ours — It’s scary enough to keep little ones riveted (although I wouldn’t recommend it for children who are easily terrified) without giving them a sleepless night. Both my children have seen it (Punky has seen it several times) and they were riveted. The adults of the house had fun watching it as well.
Nothing, NOTHING will ever top Something Wicked This Way Comes, which is the best scary movie for kids ever made. We watch it every single Halloween and it never, ever gets old!
Sure it has Christmas in the title, but y’all, The Nightmare Before Christmas has a lot of Halloween goodness in it, too, and it’s another great one to kick off the start of the Halloween season. Our entire family adores this movie.
This was a surprise hit — Casper the Friendly Ghost, The Complete Collection has just been released on DVD. My kids scored a copy and they’ve been watching it every chance they get. Friends who come over to play are drawn into it, too. It’s a perfect non-scary Halloween watch for little ones. Check it out for yourself and you will be AMAZED by how much your kids love a cartoon that aired back in the 50s!
All of the Wallace and Gromit cartoons are wonderfully entertaining, and The Curse of the Were-Rabbit is no exception. This movie is another good non-spooky option that will keep your whole family enthralled.
Beetlejuice is a great one for older kids, and Halloween is a perfect time to watch it! As one commenter noted, there is an F-bomb toward the beginning (I didn’t catch it the last time I saw it) and a few minor curse words.
If you haven’t seen The Witches, starring Anjelica Huston, you need to! It’s fantastic- The book by Roald Dahl was one of my favorites as a kid, and I have to say the movie is just as good!
The Watcher in the Woods is another great Disney film that has just the right amount of “scare” in it. (How can an elderly Bette Davis NOT be terrifying?!) If you haven’t seen this one, you will be pleasantly surprised.
What are your Halloween family movie faves?
Top image via Delilah Jenkins/Flickr
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I reread Something Wicked almost every October – Bradbury so very perfectly describes a small town in October, the setting and the feelings of the boys, the yearnings of the adults and makes us believe the carnival could really exist. I’ll have to check out the movie!
Have you read Dandelion Wine? Bradbury wrote it about his boyhood and I LOVED it! Love Something Wicked, too. 🙂
Great post! We’ve been wanting to watch some spooky stuff but wasn’t sure what was appropriate for the 5&6yo.
Be warned – Beetlejuice does have one F-bomb towards the beginning (graveyard scene when BJ is resurrected), and a few hells and damns. It didn’t prevent us from watching but it might some.
Thanks for the note! I totally didn’t catch that when I saw it (Hubs watched it with the kids- I was in and out of the room) and it’s good to note. Anyway, added it to the post. 🙂
A friend sent us a copy of Spooky Buddies and my kids have watched it 5 times in the last week.
I love Something Wicked!
My kids loved Spooky Buddies, too. It’s not something I’d reserve for a “Family Night,” though! LOL Halloweentown and the Goosebumps movies fall in the same category. My kids LOVE them… Me? NOT SO MUCH. ;D
Oh my- Witches brings back memories…. We loved the Garfield Halloween special that aired w the Charlie Brown one– and not Halloween, but we LOVE Monsters, Inc and it’s on Disney this month!
Monsters Inc is a great one!!
Hocus Pocus and BeetleJuice are two of my favorite movies! SJP and Kathy Nijimy and Bette Midler are hysterical and (young) Alec Baldwin is (still) hot!
I know practically nothing of Ray Bradbury’s works. I will definitely look for that book!
AHHH! I’m so happy that my son is getting older so he can participate in all the crazy traditions I want to celebrate. I’m actually laughing because I said we’re gonna watch Hocus Pocus (MY FAVE!!) and Nightmare before Christmas, but we’re watching that one again for Christmas too. It serves as a double holiday movie. I’m going to download the other movies to add to my new collection. Thanx!!
I absolutely love It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. My girls love Hocus Pocus (which they first watched at my in-laws house). My only problem with it is that after watching it a few times, my oldest started asking me what a virgin was! At one point in the movie, I believe they are looking for a male virgin to sacrifice. When asked, I originally said that it was someone who wasn’t married yet. It’s been a few years and I have now clarified the definition for her!
I see all of my favorite on here too! Hocus Pocus is a no brainer. What a good movie. Also, Beetlejuice was a staple at my house. I loved Witches too. Nightmare Before Christmas reminds me of my brother. When we were little my parents let us put a tv in my room on Halloween and Christmas Eve. My brother and I would lay in bed and watch that movie both of those nights up until we were in college! I think I’m going to have to rent Something Wicked this year because I haven’t seen that one yet!
Where is Walt Disney’s classic, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow? Oh my, I finally replaced my VHS copy this past summer with the DVD and bonus! I also got The Adventures of Todd on it as well. Great movies to watch! Love all of them but I don’t think I have watched Something Wicked This Way Comes in a long time.
Ooh, good one- I haven’t seen that one since they showed it on the reel in elementary school!
I love Something Wicked! I bought it last year and my 10 year old was appropriately spooked! There’s nothing like that last scene where the carousel goes around backwards! I remember watching it as a kid and being scared too! It truly is a classic. We also love Halloween…used to decorate the yard…haven’t been able to for a year or two. Just a smal cemetary out there now. 🙂
The Great Pumpkin is a classic. The Halloweentown series is a favorite of my daughter. While they’re not as good as some of what you listed, she likes them a lot. Spookybuddies, which is new this year, is good, other than B-Dog who is the Jar Jar Binks of the -buddies series of movies.
Oh, yeah, our who family LOVES Corpse Bride.
Corpse Bride is one of my favorites. It was number 11 on this list.
Oh. My. Gosh. I’ve never met anyone who has ever heard of The Watcher in the Woods besides me and a few friends! I was actually terrified by it when I was younger (it still gets me a bit now. I’m 26.) The Worst Witch is also a good one. A young Fairuza Balk plays Mildred, the witch who just couldn’t quite grasp her spells. Tim Curry also makes an appearances. The songs are fun to sing along to and it’s not scary in the least. I’d recommend it to anyone. Mr. Boogedy was a good one too. Not too scary, but just enough for a little Halloween fright.
I wish my new job afforded me as much blog-reading time as my last, then you would have heard of these fabulous Halloween movies BEFORE Halloween!