If you’re like me, you just love to get into the spirit of this season. My husband knows that he can’t put up a fight once October rolls around, so he was happily hanging spiderwebs and skeletons from our porch along with me last weekend. Now that we have little kids, we get to experience the wonder of the holidays again through them, and it’s just as exciting as it was the first time.
But since our oldest is only three, it can be tricky to find appropriate movies and shows for him that are “spooky” for Halloween. Clearly slasher films will have to wait a few years. And since my little guy even got frightened by the shark at the beginning of Finding Nemo (he is pretty scary if you think about it), we have to be really careful about what we let him watch.
To that end, I have dug around to find some great movie options for the little people in your home. Save Freddy and Michael for after the kids are in bed. Pop up a big batch of popcorn, get under the covers, and enjoy some of these very kid-friendly Halloween movies.
CURIOUS GEORGE: A Halloween Boo Fest
This is definitely for the younger kids in your family, but it is so adorable you actually won’t mind watching it along with them. It was originally produced for PBS, but you can find it on Netflix Kids. George goes to his first Halloween in the country, where he learns about the “Legend of No Noggin” — get it? A guy with no head. My son actually belly laughs out loud when he watches this, so it is a kid-tested and approved hit.
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
You no doubt will want to watch this just as much as your kids to get a little bit of nostalgia mixed in with your holiday. Can you believe that this first aired over 50 years ago? While much of the gang wants to go trick or treating, Linus decides to wait in the pumpkin patch in the hopes that he will be visited by the Great Pumpkin.
Your kids will love watching Coraline’s adventure through an alternate world that she discovers behind a secret door. And you will love the impressive stop-motion animation. Bonus points for being based on Neil Gaiman’s 2002 novel. Who doesn’t love Neil Gaiman? The story is especially compelling: it deals with bravery as Coraline tries to get back to her own family.
The Addams Family
It’s hard to believe that this classic had its 25th anniversary last year. Your family can enjoy the wacky antics of the members of the Addams family without worrying about anything getting too scary. Perhaps the best part of sharing this movie with your loved ones is the list of on-screen legends that round out the cast: Anjelica Huston, Raul Julia, and Christopher Lloyd. If you really want to blow your kids’ minds, show them the series from the ’60s on which the movie was based.
Your children have no doubt enjoyed countless movies starring Johnny Depp — Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Alice in Wonderland, and all the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. But with Edward Scissorhands, you can show them where he (arguably) took on his first truly kooky role. And it’s just such a good movie, you’ll welcome the chance to re-watch it. Plus, director Tim Burton is practically the definition of Halloween.
Full disclosure: I’ve saved my favorite for last. The Witches was based on the novel of the same name by Roald Dahl. You and your kids can accompany young Luke as he tries to get the Grand High Witch (Anjelica Huston) after he is turned into a mouse at a witch convention. There are some creepy moments, so this might be better for middle school-aged children and older. It’s a fantastic film, with wonderful character work by Huston, and it will undoubtedly usher in the Halloween spirit.