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) 84%

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) 66%

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

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