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) 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

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