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) 99%

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) 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) 95%

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

australia Freeform The Walking Dead Tokyo Olympics Trophy Talk new star wars movies 93rd Oscars Song of Ice and Fire elevated horror Oscar werewolf BET Awards Pride Month movies Comics on TV Lifetime historical drama Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt 2015 disaster strong female leads Thanksgiving USA Network travel Cosplay cancelled TV shows international TV renewals reboot football Holidays Television Critics Association Trailer cops asian-american Cartoon Network what to watch critic resources zombies TNT documentary spinoff dreamworks Exclusive Video Nickelodeon godzilla Avengers docudrama rom-coms slashers comic books king arthur FX PlayStation Captain marvel serial killer new zealand nature stand-up comedy dogs new york hidden camera TBS olympics Funimation MCU Winners cinemax SXSW 2022 BBC America art house spanish CMT ABC award winner james bond all-time rt archives nfl independent SDCC crossover Sundance Now laika rt labs critics edition Comedy Black History Month sports ghosts Elton John Amazon Tomatazos Food Network child's play live action japanese foreign New York Comic Con biopic suspense jamie lee curtis hispanic Martial Arts golden globes facebook Television Academy YouTube Premium Infographic Rock Walt Disney Pictures Paramount Network cats dramedy pirates of the caribbean streaming movies 73rd Emmy Awards theme song Film Vudu MSNBC Election spain sitcom The Purge 99% streamig Pop TV lord of the rings police drama book adaptation Lifetime Christmas movies crime South by Southwest Film Festival Emmy Nominations talk show Disney Channel Marathons name the review Watching Series canceled TruTV supernatural Action superhero telelvision mockumentary Spike medical drama Western Toys rotten movies we love game of thrones Amazon Prime WGN adventure psycho Travel Channel cancelled ID Calendar Set visit venice Holiday Marvel Studios VH1 Instagram Live OWN Brie Larson die hard Broadway CBS crime drama AMC fast and furious Super Bowl Mindy Kaling DC streaming service comedies TLC Cannes richard e. Grant E3 hispanic heritage month A24 The CW Pixar Extras Netflix Christmas Comic-Con@Home 2021 Premiere Dates Reality Esquire monster movies 2017 justice league trailers HBO Max LGBTQ wonder woman comic book movie marvel cinematic universe Music italian basketball young adult zero dark thirty Baby Yoda 71st Emmy Awards Musical indiana jones popular Dark Horse Comics Creative Arts Emmys Comic Book GoT Horror Discovery Channel deadpool toronto know your critic Quiz thriller Mystery Grammys women ViacomCBS HFPA classics Fox News action-comedy parents comic book movies Pirates IFC diversity black comedy renewed TV shows technology Logo Hallmark joker archives BBC One Binge Guide concert Ghostbusters Drama Showtime Marvel Syfy Mary Poppins Returns Tumblr king kong twilight french scary movies mcc scorecard politics rt labs Masterpiece Winter TV Superheroes films cancelled TV series CNN NYCC Mary poppins Chilling Adventures of Sabrina zombie book Musicals IMDb TV sopranos Alien IFC Films latino dc Disney Pet Sematary CBS All Access adenture cancelled television comiccon Universal Pictures scene in color Ovation Best Director Countdown dragons First Look tv talk composers MGM Tags: Comedy Apple Academy Awards Country Prime Video Mudbound halloween video on demand emmy awards Universal 4/20 finale DC Universe ESPN Arrowverse feel good Sundance TV stoner USA streaming aapi Video Games dceu Anna Paquin HBO Go Lionsgate gangster cooking DGA miniseries Comedy Central A&E mission: impossible Valentine's Day YA movie Nat Geo documentaries Columbia Pictures reviews TCM Pop cartoon Fox Searchlight FX on Hulu indie El Rey PaleyFest canceled TV shows Star Trek The Witch prank Family Warner Bros. Wes Anderson satire fresh BAFTA a nightmare on elm street PBS HBO video sag awards Summer natural history science fiction Paramount VOD Epix X-Men adaptation Hulu Turner Classic Movies spy thriller boxing FOX robots 2018 marvel comics Fargo worst ABC Family Tubi rotten genre halloween tv doctor who free movies BBC GLAAD GIFs 94th Oscars Crunchyroll posters nbcuniversal golden globe awards 79th Golden Globes Awards cults witnail Hear Us Out CW Seed Spring TV Chernobyl Sci-Fi Trivia Fall TV Emmys The Arrangement revenge Nominations Biopics stop motion Star Wars 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards President Kids & Family blockbusters Black Mirror Reality Competition Lucasfilm Pacific Islander batman ITV TIFF Amazon Studios 90s Opinion 20th Century Fox Women's History Month Sony Pictures Best and Worst Shudder vampires Awards Tour Rom-Com vs. discovery Teen critics ABC Signature kaiju 24 frames APB WarnerMedia worst movies debate directors OneApp The Academy chucky hollywood jurassic park SundanceTV Peacock romance crime thriller war psychological thriller History MTV 2021 transformers scary social media ratings television Sundance DirecTV based on movie remakes NBC aliens comic 72 Emmy Awards TCA Awards universal monsters biography National Geographic toy story Oscars boxoffice FXX Stephen King slasher superman blaxploitation YouTube true crime 21st Century Fox cars Disney streaming service Interview Heroines 007 BET hist Hallmark Christmas movies heist movie legend anthology christmas movies docuseries Awards target comics Bravo breaking bad American Society of Cinematographers kids 2019 animated Animation DC Comics Neflix Apple TV Plus romantic comedy Ellie Kemper Film Festival RT History Disney+ Disney Plus Schedule San Diego Comic-Con blockbuster franchise screenings saw high school First Reviews spider-verse Disney Plus Adult Swim teaser LGBT Fantasy criterion spanish language Starz trophy children's TV dark kong festival royal family Apple TV+ political drama south america VICE Sneak Peek TV Rocketman 1990s razzies obituary Box Office Red Carpet series festivals Podcast Classic Film Character Guide NBA AMC Plus Year in Review TCA Legendary period drama news anime Netflix Christmas movies sequel Best Actor harry potter game show singing competition Britbox RT21 Writers Guild of America screen actors guild Photos 45 Marvel Television 2016 Crackle SXSW TV movies casting Turner space TV One binge mob Polls and Games TCA 2017 Mary Tyler Moore mutant 2020 quibi Best Picture YouTube Red TCA Winter 2020 black Paramount Plus versus Acorn TV leaderboard Superheroe Rocky Best Actress Hollywood Foreign Press Association green book sequels Tarantino Spectrum Originals Certified Fresh The Walt Disney Company japan See It Skip It Image Comics best obi wan Shondaland live event spider-man unscripted dexter TV Land Amazon Prime Video E! Endgame