It seems that in recent years Halloween has been getting bigger and bigger in England. We certainly seem to put more effort into it each year. This year, we’ve wanted to get excited by watching Halloween TV shows and films but have found it difficult to find stuff suitable for our whole family which comprises of 2 34 year olds, a 7-year-old boy and 3-year-old girl. Our son in particular is quite sensitive so we don’t want the films to be too scary.
This week, I’ve been asking my followers what are their family favourites on my social media. I’ve taken our favourites and their favourites and compiled a go to list for spooky showtime in October. For your convenience, where possible I’ve noted the year they were released, their age rating, their IMDB rating and a link to buy them if they are on Amazon. I haven’t included any films above a PG rating. If it’s available on Netflix, I’ve mentioned it.
Dreamwork Spooky Stories (2012); IMDb 6.8; PG; 1h 24min
My daughter calls this ‘Halloween Shrek’ but it’s four spooky Dreamworks stories, including three Shrek shorts and one Monsters vs Aliens short. All four shorts together last 1 hour 24 minutes but you can watch each separately too which is great for young kids who lack concentration. (Available on Netflix).
Curious George – a Halloween Boo Fest (2013); IMDb 6.9; U; 58min
A cutesy Curious George Halloween special with lots of pumpkins, some songs and the legend of ‘no noggin’. This is a family favourite in our house each year and is especially good for toddlers or those easily scared.
A Nightmare Before Christmas (1993); IMDb 8.0; PG; 1h 16min
‘Jack Skellington, king of Halloween Town discovers Christmas Town but his attempts to bring Christmas to his home causes confusion.’ My sensitive 6-year-old hates it, my dark 3-year-old loves it.
Super Monsters Save Halloween (2018); IMDb 5.8; U; 24min
Super Monsters is a cute Netflix show that is perfect for toddlers and above for Halloween. This episode is a Halloween special where the ‘Super Monsters use their powers to get their neighbours in the Halloween spirit, then help a nervous friend see there’s nothing to be afraid of’.
Doc McStuffins – Boo-Hoo to you (2012); IMDb 8.1; U; 25min
Doc helps a scared pumpkin toy on Halloween. Cutesy episode great for toddlers and above – especially if you are trying to teach them what the hell Halloween actually is!
Trollhunters (2016); IMDb 8.4; PG; 23min per episode
This show is SO GOOD. If you aren’t watching this with your kids then you are missing out. By Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy, the Shape of Water, Pacific Rim), this is a kids show that adults can truly enjoy too. It’s excellent and we all look forward to new episodes. It’s about ‘an ordinary boy who finds a magic amulet that chooses him to be a Trollhunter, a guardian that defends the world of humans from the secret world of Trolls’. Just enough monsters and scare to make it perfect for Halloween.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001); IMDb 7.6; PG; 2h 32min
Do I need to say anymore? Everyone knows what these are about by this point. Magic, wizards and scares. Nothing beats HP, ever.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002); IMDb 7.4; PG; 2h 41min
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004); IMDb 7.9; PG; 2h 22min
Sabrina, the Teenage Witch (1996); IMDb 6.6, U, 1h 31min
The movie that came before the show and is worth watching alone for the old school (think pre-swan duckling) Ryan Reynolds! ‘Sent by her parents to live with her two eccentric aunts, Sabrina Sawyer discovers on her 16th birthday that she’s a witch’.
Hocus Pocus (1993); IMDb 6.8; PG; 1h 36min
This film was by far the most mentioned film by my followers. Though I am a little worried it might be a bit too scary for my kids at 3 and 6. ‘A curious youngster moves to Salem, where he struggles to fit in, before awakening a trio of diabolical witches that were executed in the 17th century.’
The Witches (1990); IMDb 6.8; PG; 1h 31min
I’m pretty sure this would be too scary for my son but there is no denying it’s a Halloween classic. ‘A young boy stumbles onto a witch convention and must stop them, even after he has been turned into a mouse’. I think I’ll save this one until my children are older.
Labyrinth (1986); IMDb 7.4; U; 1h 41min
‘A 16 year old girl is given 13 hours to solve a labyrinth and rescue her baby brother when her wish for him to be taken away is granted by the Goblin King’. (Side note, it wasn’t until I had children myself that I found Toby’s distressed crying in the cot too much to handle. That’s a real baby that the director is allowing to get distressed for the scene y’all, someone pick him up and cuddle him. Gah!)
A little scary but not too much so. Lots of goblins, Jennifer Connelly’s brows and David Bowie with his amazing songs and epic bulge, what’s not to love?! Dance baby dance. Available on Netflix.
Coraline (2009); IMDb 7.7; PG; 1h 40min
Creepy tale about an ’11 year old girl who finds another world that is a strangely idealised version of her frustrating home, but it has sinister secrets’. Pretty creepy IMO.
Corpse bride (2005); IMDb 7.4; PG; 1h 17min
By Tim Burton – ‘when a shy groom practices his wedding vows in the inadvertent presence of a deceased young woman, she rises from the grave, assuming he has married her’.
Coco (2017); IMDb 8.4; PG; 1h 45min
We all loved Coco in our house and it’s well worth a watch at Halloween or any other time. ‘Aspiring musician Miguel, confronted with his family’s ancestral ban on music, enters the Land of the Dead to find his great-great-grandfather, a legendary singer.’
Toy Story of Terror (2013); IMDb 7.6; U; 22min
A great one for Toy Story lovers and toddlers. ‘Woody and the gang are held up at a roadside motel and members of the group start to disappear from everywhere.’
Monster House (2006); IMDb 6.6; PG; 1h 31min
An animated film in which ‘three teens discover that their neighbour’s house is really a living, breathing, scary monster’. We’ve not seen this one yet but it was mentioned by a number of my followers. Available on Netflix.
Casper (1995); IMDb 6.1; PG; 1h 40min
A classic. A paranormal expert (obvs) and his daughter (90s Christina Ricci was everything) bunk in an abandoned house populated by three mischievous ghosts and one friendly one.
Hotel Transylvania films 1-3 (2012, 2015, 2018); U
Count Dracula and friends get up to animated hijinks in these 3 modern animated films.
Monster High Movies
Some of my followers have recommended these. However, I’m not sure if I can bring myself to show my kids it based on the overtly skinny, sexualised female monsters style on the images. I’m expecting it to reinforce lots of negative gender stereotypes but those who have watched it could comment below and let me know if I’m in the wrong? Is it ok? Some available on Netflix.
Goosebumps (2015); IMDb 6.3; PG; 1h 43min
‘A teenager teams up with the daughter of the young adult horror writer R.L.Stine after the writer’s imaginary demons are set free on their town’. Starring the fabulous Dylan Minnette pre ’13 Reasons Why’.
Paranorman (2012); IMDb 7.0; PG; 1h 32min
By the makers of Coraline – ‘a misunderstood boy takes on ghosts, zombies and grown-ups to save his town from a centuries-old curse’.
Oz the Great and the Powerful (2013); IMBb 6.3; PG; 2h 10min
‘A frustrated circus magician from Kansas (James Franco) is transported to a magical land called Oz, where he will have to fulfill a prophecy to become the king, and release the land from the Wicked Witches using his great (but fake) powers’. Might be a bit too long for younger kids.
The Worst Witch (2017); IMDb 7.5; U; 30min
The 1986 series staring GoT Olenna Tyrell and Tim Curry has had a modern remake for today’s youth. ‘Mildred Hubble lives an ordinary life with her mum Julie until the day that Maud Spellbody crashes her broomstick into their balcony and nothing is ever the same again. Maud introduces Mildred to Cackle’s Academy – a school for young witches set high on a mountaintop.’
Mickey’s Monster Musical (2015); IMDb 8.3; U; 44min
A Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Halloween special: ‘When the toon car breaks down, Mickie and Minnie meet a cast of characters at a nearby castle. While they are there, they help their new friends solve a mystery in this Halloween themed musical episode.
Mickey’s House of Villains (2001); IMDb 6.6; U; 1h 10min
‘The villains from the popular animated Disney films are gathered at the House of Mouse with plans to take over.’
Halloween Town (1998); IMDb 6.9; PG; 1h 24min
‘After learning she is a witch, a girl helps save a town full of other supernatural creatures.’
The Book of Life (2014): IMDb 7.3; U; 1h 35min
Also by Guillermo del Toro, this animated movie is about ‘Manolo, a young man who is torn between the expectations of his family and following his heart, embarks on an adventure that spans three fantastic worlds where he must face his greatest fears’. We’ve not seen it yet but it sounds like Coco ripped it off?! We’ll give it a try and make our own minds up though.
Ghostbusters (1984); IMDb 7.8; PG; 1h 45min
Last but not least, I couldn’t leave off Ghostbusters. ‘Three former parapsychology (it’s a thing alright) professors set up shop as a unique ghost removal service’.
Dear Dracula (2012); IMDb 5.5; U; 42min
‘Dracula has a great opportunity to try his brand new skills at the neighbourhood Halloween party where he realises that self-confidence is enough to make him as scary as he ever was’.
Room on the Broom (2012); IMDb 7.5; U; 25min
‘To the annoyance of her cat a kindly witch allows a dog, a bird and a frog who have helped her retrieve things she has lost to ride on her broomstick, making it top-heavy. The broom is destroyed by a fire-breathing dragon who threatens to eat the with but the creatures band together to impersonate a monster and save her. As a result, she fashions a luxurious new broom with seats on which they can all ride comfortably’. We haven’t watch this but we do have the book so this is next on our list to watch.
Scooby-Doo (2002); IMDb 5.0; PG; 1h 26min
Low on the IMDb score but popular with kids. ‘After an acrimonious break up, the Mystery Inc. gang are individually brought to an island resort to investigate strange goings on.’
The Addams Family (1991); IMDb 6.9; PG; 1h 39min
‘Con artists plan to fleece an eccentric family using an accomplice who claims to be their long-lost uncle’.
Monsters vs Aliens (2009); IMDb 6.5; PG; 1h 34min
‘A woman is transformed into a giant after she is struck by a meteorite on her wedding day. She becomes part of a team of monsters sent in by the US government to defeat an alien mastermind trying to take over the earth.’ Available on Netflix.
Monster Family (2017); IMDb 4.7; PG; 1h 33min
An evil witch curses a family and turns them into monsters.
The Little Vampire (2000); IMDb 5.8; U; 1h 35min
A lonely boy becomes best friends with a vampire.
The Little Vampire (2017); IMDb 5.4; U; 1h 23min
‘The story of Rudolph, a thirteen year old vampire whose clan is threatened by a notorious vampire hunter. He meets Tony, a mortal of the same age, who is fascinated by vampires. Tony helps Rudolph in a battle against their adversaries and together they save Rudolph’s family’.
Spookley: the Square Pumpkin (2005); IMDb 5.2; U; 45min
‘Poor Spookley is a pumpkin whose shape is square rather than round. He’s tease and taunted by the other mean round pumpkins. But he receives help from a scarecrow and his 2 bat side kicks and 3 very funny spiders’.
Frankenweenie (2012); IMDb 7.0; PG; 1h 27min
‘When a boy’s beloved dog passes away suddenly, he attempts to bring the animal back to life through a powerful experiment.’
Wallace and Gromit – The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005); IMDb 7.5; U; 1h 25min
‘Wallace and his loyal dog, Gromit, set out to discover the mystery behind the garden sabotage that plagues their village and threatens the annual giant vegetable growing contest’. Available on Netflix.
Pooh’s Heffalump Halloween Movie (2005); IMDb 6.6; U; 1h 7min
‘Roo’s best new pal, Lumpy is all excited to trick-or-treat for the first time. That is, until Tigger warns them about the dreaded Gobloon who’ll turn you into a jaggedy lantern if he catches you. But if they catch the Gobloon before it catches them, they get to make a wish’.
So, that’s 52 films or shows for you to watch so I’m going to stop there. Have I missed one of your faves? Let me know if the comments!
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