Parental Guidance

3 Family-Friendly Halloween Movie Alternatives to Goosebumps 2

If you can't get to the theaters -- or simply prefer not to go at all -- you can stay comfy at home with these other Halloween flicks for the whole family.

by | October 12, 2018 | Comments

Capitalizing on the success of the 2015 hit Goosebumps, starring Jack Black and based on the popular youth horror novels by R.L. Stine, we have a family-friendly sequel this week in the form of Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween. There’s significantly less Jack Black in this one (aside from his voice), but a lot of familiar small-town mayhem, so Christy Lemire breaks down what may or may not frighten young viewers, then offers a trio of alternatives you can watch at home if you can’t make it to the theaters… or simply prefer not to go at all.


THE MOVIE

Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween (2018) 48%

Rating: PG, for scary creature action and images, some thematic elements, rude humor and language.

The sequel to 2015’s Goosebumps offers more kid-friendly frights in the vein of the long-running R.L. Stine book series. This time, it’s a whole new story with an array of (mostly) new characters. Middle schoolers Sonny and Sam (Jeremy Ray Taylor and Caleel Harris) accidentally summon the scheming ventriloquist dummy Slappy (voiced by Jack Black) while investigating an abandoned house. (Slappy’s screen presence has been expanded significantly from the original film, in which he was a supporting player.) At first, Slappy seems like a friendly and helpful companion, as he uses his magical powers to do away with chores and homework and get revenge on bullies. But it soon becomes clear that he aims to take over Sonny’s family as well as the entire town, which he does by making all the Halloween decorations and costumes come to life. Witches, pumpkins, mummies, you name it – they all rise up to wreak havoc. It can be a little intense, but overall it’s more silly than scary. The best sight gags involve a giant spider composed entirely of balloons and a bowl full of gummy bears that turn vicious. Kids will enjoy the craziness of it all, although the image of the genuinely creepy Slappy might freak out the youngest viewers. Goosebumps 2 is a solid early horror movie for kids around 8 and older.


THE RECOMMENDATIONS

If Goosebumps 2 has you in the Halloween spirit, here are a few more spooky movies you and your family can enjoy together:

Goosebumps (2015) 78%

Rating: PG, for scary and intense creature action and images, and for some rude humor.

As is often the case (and as the Tomatometer can attest), the original Goosebumps movie is better than the sequel. And it has the benefit of more Jack Black, starring as Stine himself, a reclusive horror writer. When the new kid in town (Dylan Minnette) moves in next door to Stine and befriends his sheltered daughter (Odeya Rush), adventures ensue. The two open Stine’s sealed manuscripts, causing the characters to leap from the pages and create chaos in a peaceful, small town. As in the sequel, much of the imagery is silly and playful. There’s a bit involving adorable, angry yard gnomes, and instead of a giant balloon spider, there’s a giant preying mantis. And of course there’s Slappy, whose very presence can send a shiver (as well as a giggle). The original Goosebumps reminded me of great ’80s horror comedies like Gremlins in its good-natured danger. Fine for viewers around 7 or 8 and older.

Watch now on: AmazonFandangoNOW, iTunes


Frankenweenie (2012) 87%

Rating: PG, for thematic elements, scary images and action.

This remains one of my all-time favorite Tim Burton movies, both for its technical complexity and its emotional tenderness. This feature-length version of his 1984 short oozes his cleverly macabre style and it’s a great example of all the director does so well. It’s about a little boy (voiced by Charlie Tahan) who brings his beloved, deceased dog back to life – a kindhearted notion that has unexpected results. The balance Burton strikes here in his twisted tearjerker is a joy to behold. His love of classic monster movies is infectious, and his stop-motion animation imagery is just gorgeous in crisp black and white. Winona Ryder, Martin Landau, Catherine O’Hara and Martin Short make up the strong supporting voice cast. A great choice for viewers around 6 or 7 and older.

Watch now on: AmazonFandangoNOWiTunes


It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966) 94%

Rating: Not Rated

A classic, and one that can be enjoyed year-round. At least that’s how my kid watches it, along with all the other animated Peanuts specials. It is THE Halloween movie for the whole family. 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 belief 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. An excellent choice for all ages.

Watch now on: AmazonFandangoNOWiTunes

Tag Cloud

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