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

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