Parental Guidance

10 Family-Friendly Movies to Watch for Halloween

Some spooky Samhain selections to share with your spawn.

by | October 26, 2016 | Comments

Halloween is coming. Perhaps you were aware of that. What better way to celebrate the holiday than with some family-friendly horror movies? Take a break from stressing out over costumes and shopping for candy with any of these great choices. Or you could just watch all eight Harry Potter movies, in order, all over again. Enjoy!


 

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) 89%

My husband and I took our son, Nicolas, to see this at the New Beverly Cinema, the Los Angeles repertory theater Quentin Tarantino owns, when he was a little over 6 years old. He laughed the whole way through – and he especially enjoyed the Invisible Man, voiced by Vincent Price. Abbott and Costello’s classic brand of slapstick comedy is perfect for kids, and the clever integration of Universal’s iconic movie monsters into their zany world will amuse grown-ups, as well.

Watch Trailer | Available on: Amazon, FandangoNOW


 

Beetlejuice (1988) 85%

This entire list could consist of nothing but Tim Burton movies, in theory – at least, his earlier ones. But I’m limiting myself to just a handful, and this one’s a must. Beetlejuice finds Burton in his sweet spot with a mix that’s weird and whimsical, giddy and ghoulish. The macabre details, the off-kilter humor, the Danny Elfman score: They all blend brilliantly to create one of Burton’s absolute best works. And Michael Keaton is in peak form as the title character: a fast-talking, flatulent spirit who’s been hired to scare a family of yuppies out of their new house.

Watch Trailer | Available on: Amazon, FandangoNOW


 

The Blob (1958) 68%

This is just straight-up silly – a pure, unabashed B-movie with a ridiculous premise and cheesy special effects. If your kids are savvy moviegoers (like mine is), and they’ve grown up enjoying blockbusters with the highest of high-tech computer-generated visuals, they’ll be struck by how cheap and simplistic The Blob looks by comparison. But that’s what makes it such a blast to watch. A meteor crashes to Earth and emits a reddish, gooey ooze that starts sucking the life out of people, increasing in size with each new victim. Pandemonium ensues. It’s a hoot. And it gave Steve McQueen his first starring role.

Watch Trailer | Available on: Amazon


 

Tim Burton's Corpse Bride (2005) 84%

We’re back with Burton again, this time in stop-motion animation mode. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) is also a great — and popular — Halloween choice along these lines, but I’ve got a soft spot for the melancholy sweetness of this one. With an all-star voice cast led by Burton regulars Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter, the film follows the romantic troubles of a shy young man torn between the woman his parents have arranged for him to marry and the woman who rises from the Land of the Dead and accidentally becomes his wife. It’s as gorgeous as it is poignant.

Watch Trailer | Available on: Amazon, FandangoNOW, Netflix


 

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) 98%

This may not seem like the most traditional pick. But if you’ll recall, a crucial scene in E.T. takes place on Halloween night: when the boys smuggle their alien friend out of the house by pretending he’s Gertie, dressed as a ghost for trick-or-treating. As always, Steven Spielberg works wonders with perspective here, as an awestruck E.T. surveys the landscape of ghouls and goblins and struggles to make sense of it all. And come on – this is one of Spielberg’s greatest films ever. Any excuse to watch it will do.

Watch Trailer |  Available on: Amazon, FandangoNOW, Netflix


 

Frankenweenie (2012) 87%

Tim Burton reminds us of why we love Tim Burton with this feature-length version of the 1984 short that revealed early glimmers of the veteran director’s darkly humorous style. The story of a little boy who brings his beloved, deceased dog back to life felt like the purest expression of Burton’s ethos that we’d seen in a while. His love of classic monster movies is infectious. And it’s just gorgeous in crisp black and white. I recently showed this to my son and I cried all over again, and he made fun of me for crying, so a good Friday night was had by all.

Watch Trailer | Available on: Amazon, FandangoNOW


 

Ghostbusters (1984 Original) (1984) 97%

You could watch either version – the original or this summer’s remake with a cast of stellar comediennes. But I’d steer you and (more importantly) your kids toward this one first, for cultural perspective, if nothing else. You know what it’s about: It’s Ghostbusters. A group of scientists try to explain and eliminate a paranormal invasion that’s terrorized New York City. A comedy classic starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson, but one with some genuine scares and thrills, too.

Watch Trailer | Available on: Amazon, FandangoNOW


 

Goosebumps (2015) 78%

A really fun big-screen version of the R.L. Stine Goosebumps books, starring Jack Black as the real-life author. If your kids love the books, they’ll have a blast watching this – but even if they’re not familiar with the series (as my son wasn’t when he saw the movie), they’re still in for some thrills. A teenager moves to a new town and finds his next-door neighbor is the creepy and reclusive Stine. Soon afterward, the monsters trapped inside Stine’s bound books spring to life and wreak havoc. Some of the images here may be a bit too scary for very young kids, but the tone is mostly playful.

Watch Trailer | Available on: Amazon, FandangoNOW, Netflix


 

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966) 94%

THE Halloween classic, of course. You’ve probably seen it a million times and can recite Linus’ Great Pumpkin speech right along with him. But if it’s been a while, or if your kids have never seen it, this is a great one to watch together – regardless of their age. Charlie Brown’s trick-or-treating lament – “I got a rock” – never gets old. And Linus’ unshakable faith that the Great Pumpkin not only exists but also will rise up and bring presents to all the good boys and girls has a charming innocence.

Watch Trailer | Available on: Amazon, FandangoNOW


 

Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005) 95%

Another dazzling example of stop-motion animation – in the same year, as Corpse Bride, no less – from the geniuses at Aardman. Mild-mannered Wallace and his trusty dog, Gromit, come to the rescue when a mutant rabbit attacks a village right before its annual vegetable competition. Winner of the Academy Award for best animated feature, Curse of the Were-Rabbit is irresistibly sweet and slyly subversive. A great choice for viewers of all ages and an excellent entry into the Wallace & Gromit world.

Watch Trailer | Available on: Amazon, FandangoNOW

Tag Cloud

Discovery Channel 2015 Horror TV Holiday canceled Anna Paquin VOD casting Election Brie Larson justice league game show Showtime Pirates DC Comics Photos Pop TV OWN Vudu live action rotten foreign E3 NYCC critics dc child's play concert disaster IFC Films movies spain wonder woman Film Best and Worst 21st Century Fox police drama Food Network festivals political drama cancelled YouTube Premium Comic Book FXX anime Comedy Central ABC Family chucky prank comic Tarantino classics Alien Paramount 24 frames PlayStation new york sag awards Emmys spanish 2016 reviews fast and furious franchise DC Universe ghosts Television Critics Association renewed TV shows revenge toronto heist movie marvel cinematic universe green book Grammys Black Mirror medical drama Oscars Netflix Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Holidays ITV Disney+ Disney Plus toy story E! TLC The Academy The CW adenture 72 Emmy Awards Paramount Plus Lifetime Christmas movies game of thrones what to watch spy thriller Dark Horse Comics Marathons Hulu 2019 name the review Lucasfilm HBO Max Spectrum Originals independent cops Animation Television Academy Polls and Games The Arrangement asian-american high school best south america rom-coms BET TIFF lord of the rings Pacific Islander satire worst werewolf Pet Sematary book Writers Guild of America elevated horror Nickelodeon HBO canceled TV shows 90s The Purge historical drama Reality Avengers TCM target ratings video hollywood sports YA Western fresh a nightmare on elm street RT21 Turner Classic Movies television Biopics ViacomCBS FX on Hulu book adaptation A24 cancelled television Rocky rotten movies we love LGBT Martial Arts TruTV vampires CMT TBS Esquire stoner social media boxing Podcast all-time BBC ESPN Disney Channel 007 Peacock Mindy Kaling Crackle FX Turner Character Guide Tubi ABC Signature olympics dragons singing competition films Marvel Studios New York Comic Con Set visit adaptation Heroines comedies Certified Fresh saw Tomatazos 2020 Spike venice Ovation 2017 Mystery TV One Adult Swim halloween Spring TV Cartoon Network Year in Review mockumentary streaming movies anthology laika PBS DGA 93rd Oscars animated black See It Skip It war Star Trek Pop Creative Arts Emmys Valentine's Day 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards reboot Fantasy golden globe awards Superheroe NBA hist biography Mary Tyler Moore Winners First Look politics CNN binge OneApp Tumblr spider-man based on movie Rocketman facebook Ghostbusters psycho DC streaming service romance NBC cancelled TV shows ID Sneak Peek Comics on TV Disney streaming service discovery nature italian superhero Freeform YouTube Emmy Nominations festival basketball Netflix Christmas movies obituary versus X-Men sequels screen actors guild legend Walt Disney Pictures American Society of Cinematographers miniseries halloween tv 4/20 mission: impossible Fox Searchlight pirates of the caribbean Lionsgate AMC christmas movies joker USA Network LGBTQ Kids & Family latino razzies WarnerMedia Apple TV Plus Nominations Music Super Bowl aliens popular Crunchyroll crime thriller CBS robots Star Wars Pride Month theme song BBC One quibi kids Hallmark Christmas movies TNT APB Binge Guide Trailer SXSW blaxploitation Funimation free movies The Walking Dead Apple National Geographic spanish language Countdown 1990s Pixar TCA 2017 45 batman blockbusters Lifetime documentaries indie golden globes Bravo finale Amazon Prime Video adventure TCA Awards kong thriller Columbia Pictures Amazon Amazon Studios criterion parents Warner Bros. Baby Yoda crossover australia cinemax VICE football Mudbound SundanceTV breaking bad MSNBC GoT cars sequel Chernobyl Tokyo Olympics Logo Opinion Red Carpet Rom-Com james bond Sundance Now movie Song of Ice and Fire comic books cancelled TV series Apple TV+ japan Awards Tour WGN worst movies Shudder Video Games Rock Comedy doctor who science fiction twilight Nat Geo children's TV stop motion Broadway San Diego Comic-Con Trophy Talk Toys VH1 RT History scary movies TV Land Teen die hard new zealand Mary Poppins Returns Elton John video on demand technology remakes Infographic Wes Anderson documentary international cats Mary poppins Universal archives Action dogs Fall TV diversity zombies true crime GIFs telelvision Starz strong female leads space rt archives comiccon Film Festival 20th Century Fox Amazon Prime PaleyFest period drama zombie Sci-Fi GLAAD crime ABC universal monsters Comic-Con@Home 2021 trailers monster movies Awards deadpool Reality Competition BET Awards Interview superman hidden camera unscripted scene in color harry potter mutant composers Paramount Network know your critic TV movies Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Winter TV Hallmark slashers Endgame Fox News El Rey travel Superheroes TCA godzilla comics dceu Ellie Kemper news Summer dark DirecTV Masterpiece Disney President Women's History Month tv talk 99% richard e. Grant Marvel Classic Film cooking emmy awards suspense aapi HBO Go A&E jurassic park History Sundance serial killer Academy Awards Epix Trivia 2021 spinoff nfl natural history Arrowverse dramedy zero dark thirty Extras Drama FOX Country Quiz cults BBC America Stephen King Disney Plus cartoon witnail The Witch kaiju blockbuster BAFTA series streaming Schedule Image Comics Syfy docudrama Christmas 71st Emmy Awards Acorn TV screenings MCU TCA Winter 2020 Musicals crime drama indiana jones Travel Channel hispanic romantic comedy IFC scorecard First Reviews jamie lee curtis talk show boxoffice Black History Month 2018 king kong Sundance TV Sony Pictures sitcom CW Seed award winner Legendary Family TV renewals nbcuniversal Calendar supernatural Cosplay Premiere Dates Captain marvel teaser Britbox directors women YouTube Red Shondaland stand-up comedy docuseries SDCC MTV french Marvel Television Box Office CBS All Access new star wars movies Hear Us Out Watching Series Thanksgiving Musical The Walt Disney Company psychological thriller japanese Cannes Exclusive Video transformers USA