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

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