Spooky season is officially here, and that means lots of pumpkins, apples, candy, ghosts, bats, and other things that go bump in the night. There will be Halloween parties going on or you may be taking little ones trick-or-treating the night of Halloween. Regardless, there are plenty of spooks to go around!
One of the best ways to celebrate Halloween is also by watching Halloween-themed movies. But typically those involve scary or horror movies, which not everyone is a fan of. If you want to watch a Halloween movie that’s a bit more tame and enjoyable for everyone, including little ones, here are some great options.
One of Tim Burton’s most beloved classics, The Nightmare Before Christmas is one of my (and many others) personal favorites. It’s the story about Jack Skellington, the “Pumpkin King,” of Halloween Town, who has grown tired of the annual Halloween celebrations and wants to do something new. He discovers a mysterious door that leads to Christmas Town, where he is captivated by what he’s seen and wants to bring the idea of Christmas back to Halloween Town to “improve” it, rather than understand it.
This is a classic Halloween movie that can also be watched up through Christmas.
Another classic Halloween movie is Hocus Pocus. This movie follows the Sanderson sisters, a trio of witches, who are resurrected by accident by a teenage boy in Salem, Massachusetts, on Halloween night.
Hocus Pocus is full of good, campy fun. The Sanderson sisters each have their own distinctive traits and personalities that add charm to the movie, and of course, there’s a talking black cat named Binx, as well as a magical monster book and zombies. It’s everything you’d want for a Halloween movie, and it’s a great family film.
Now, we can’t mention the original Hocus Pocus and not make mention of the sequel, Hocus Pocus 2, which came out 29 years after the first movie. The original actresses for the Sanderson sisters (Bette Midler as Winnifred, Sarah Jessica Parker as Sarah, and Kathy Najimy as Mary) reprise their roles and bring the same comedic charm from the first movie.
Hocus Pocus 2 dives a bit more into the backstory of the Sanderson sisters, with most of the focus on Winnifred Sanderson. A group of teenage girls accidentally resurrect the Sanderson sisters with the Black Flame Candle, and Winnifred wants to get revenge on a direct descendant of Reverend Traske, who banished Winnifred in 1653 Salem.
While Hocus Pocus 2 may not be as much of a cult classic as the original film, it’s still a fun and silly family movie that fits in perfectly for the Halloween season.
Another stop-motion animated film that’s good for the season is Coraline, which was also produced by Tim Burton but directed by Henry Selick.
In Coraline, the story involves a young girl named Coraline who ends up discovering an ideal alternate universe just behind a secret door in her new home. However, while it seems perfect at first, it actually hides something more dark and sinister.
Coraline is also based on Neil Gaiman’s novella, though there are some differences between the two.
While it isn’t quite Halloween, the Mexican holiday Day of the Dead is pretty much Halloween-adjacent, and Coco is an excellent movie about it.
In Coco, a 12-year-old boy named Miguel is accidentally transported to the Land of the Dead. In order to get back to his family in the world of the living and reverse his family’s ban on music, he needs to seek help from his deceased great-great-grandfather. But his great-great-grandfather may not be who he claims to be.
Coco is a beautiful movie, and it will certainly pull on your heartstrings too.
Another good animated film about the Day of the Dead is The Book of Life produced by Guillermo del Toro and directed by Jorge Gutierrez.
In The Book of Life, you’ll follow the story of a man named Manolo, who must decide between following his heart or going along with the expectations of his family. But before he can choose his path, he’ll need to go on an adventure across three unique worlds and face his biggest fears.
The Book of Life is a beautifully animated film that the entire family can enjoy.
If you’re a fan of The Haunted Mansion attraction at several Disney Parks, including Disneyland in Anaheim, California, then The Haunted Mansion (2023) is a fun film. While it was released in theaters in the middle of summer, it’s a movie that is much more fitting this time of year.
In The Haunted Mansion, a doctor named Gabbie (played by Rosario Dawson) and her son, Travis (Chase W. Dillon) move to Gracey Manor in order to turn it into a bed and breakfast. However, they soon discover that the entire place is haunted by ghosts. In order to exorcise the ghosts, Gabbie brings together a team of misfits. However, it turns out that it’s not just regular ghosts in the house, as there’s the evil entity, the Hatbox Ghost.
The Haunted Mansion is a fun and campy movie that’s also filled with references to The Haunted Mansion ride at Disneyland. It also gives the popular Hatbox Ghost some backstory, which should delight Haunted Mansion fans.
You can’t have a Halloween movie list without including the Addams family, can you? While the fictional family has been around since the 1930s, they didn’t have a movie until 1991 with The Addams Family.
In the 1991 The Addams Family movie, we follow along with the bizarre and macabre, yet aristocratic Addams family who reconnect with who they believe to be a long-lost relative, Gomez’s brother, Fester Addams. However, it turns out that an evil doctor who learned Fester Addams had been missing for 25 years created a fake Fester to infiltrate the Addams family in order to steal the Addams family fortune.
The Addams Family has been around for a long time, as they’ve become a staple in pop culture. The Addams Family movie is a good classic film to pop on for some spooks without being too scary. And if you’re still craving more of this kooky, spooky family, check out the Netflix series sequel Wednesday, starring Scream VI‘s Jenna Ortega as the titular heroine.
Everyone’s heard the story of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, right? It’s a classic that spawned the green Frankenstein monster that we traditionally think of every Halloween season. Well, Frankenweenie (2012) pays homage to that while also being a parody at the same time.
In Frankenweenie, we follow the tale of a boy named Victor Frankenstein who lost his best friend, Sparky, a bull terrier. He uses electricity to resurrect his dog, but his peers soon discover what he’s done and want him to resurrect their dead pets as well. The result of reviving everyone’s dead animal friends? Spooky mayhem!
It should be noted that Frankenweenie (2012) is a full-length remake of a Tim Burton short film that came out in 1984.
Johnny Depp and Tim Burton pretty much go hand-in-hand, and Edward Scissorhands was the film that started it all.
Edward Scissorhands is considered a fantasy gothic romance film, which makes it a good pick for Halloween. The story revolves around Edward Scissorhands, an unfinished artificial humanoid with scissor blades instead of actual hands since his creator died before he could complete him. Edward gets taken in by a suburban family and eventually falls in love with the teenage daughter.
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