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.


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.


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) 76%

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

YouTube Red composers Comedy Central The CW GIFs APB Starz Tomatazos Tumblr PaleyFest Sci-Fi Brie Larson dramedy LGBTQ Anna Paquin Calendar TNT Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Emmys Ellie Kemper FOX MSNBC Countdown Captain marvel CW Seed NBC Comics on TV police drama Martial Arts miniseries Superheroe ABC hist sitcom San Diego Comic-Con Interview zombie SDCC Shondaland Trivia VICE NYCC Disney Channel 2019 Apple AMC Horror Photos DC streaming service IFC singing competition TBS romance BBC America diversity golden globes BBC Showtime Drama Crackle Adult Swim Mary poppins History El Rey Video Games Hulu Mindy Kaling mutant Superheroes OWN facebook ABC Family DGA medical drama Action Country what to watch war Paramount President cinemax travel Cartoon Network crime drama Syfy TruTV cops PBS Mystery Winners cults WGN doctor who Box Office Musical Star Trek 2017 Sundance Now DC Universe Podcast FXX sports X-Men VH1 Warner Bros. First Look Paramount Network Rom-Com TIFF Lionsgate Mary Tyler Moore Nat Geo ITV See It Skip It blaxploitation Bravo political drama Certified Fresh Oscars Awards Tour IFC Films boxoffice GLAAD Reality Competition Ghostbusters Best and Worst finale comic Fox News TLC Mary Poppins Returns thriller CNN USA YA Teen USA Network robots Amazon historical drama television Opinion 21st Century Fox Set visit CMT spider-man Extras CBS Schedule American Society of Cinematographers Sneak Peek Spike BET jamie lee curtis Disney Dark Horse Comics docudrama Infographic Walt Disney Pictures cats Super Bowl Spring TV casting zombies period drama harry potter biography Comedy ratings science fiction Columbia Pictures binge anime talk show Sundance Animation Fall TV Winter TV Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt The Arrangement Premiere Dates GoT YouTube Premium Cosplay politics Holidays TCA cooking Freeform aliens dceu Election Trailer Nominations TCM Lifetime Western Sony Pictures technology Polls and Games 2015 award winner crime Reality Pop Music green book Christmas 20th Century Fox Quiz Character Guide Biopics Trophy Talk Marathons comiccon Pirates unscripted Awards Masterpiece supernatural Red Carpet Pixar crossover Thanksgiving Fantasy serial killer Kids & Family Food Network Comic Book Summer psycho CBS All Access Rock Nickelodeon 007 Grammys transformers Universal Song of Ice and Fire MCU Amazon Prime discovery Ovation 24 frames MTV adventure Creative Arts Emmys Year in Review Britbox Black Mirror TV Land Valentine's Day TV Toys social media based on movie A&E dc Musicals Writers Guild of America Lucasfilm Acorn TV 45 Marvel justice league DirecTV Shudder TCA 2017 Netflix Epix spy thriller National Geographic Star Wars New York Comic Con 2016 Logo festivals FX Esquire vampires 2018 E! streaming DC Comics Watching Series crime thriller HBO SundanceTV ESPN RT History SXSW E3 Rocky