Top 15 Family Halloween Movies
By: Jane Louise Boursaw
Watch the top 15 family Halloween movies to get your family into the spooky spirit this season.Stormy nights, ghosts on the loose, a long night in a pumpkin patch...this is the stuff great Halloween books and movies are made of. And there are tons of them out there, everything from classics to cartoons.
The following, in no particular order, are our to 15 family Halloween movies. So sit back, let the wind howl, and enjoy a scary - or not-so-scary - movie or two. Also, don't forget to check out our excellent Halloween games page, Halloween crafts page, Halloween costumes for adults and kids page, and other awesome Halloween pages.
- Corpse Bride
Ages 7 and up. Rated PG for some scary images and action, and brief mild language. 77 minutes. Released on DVD Jan. 31, 2006.
Victor (voiced by Johnny Depp) is a 19th-century villager who runs out on his wedding rehersal to bride-to-be. When he jokingly places his wedding band on a twig in the woods, he resurects a murdered girl (Helena Bonham-Carter), who returns as a living corpse and insists that SHE is now Victor's lawfully wedded wife. It's a gentle tale of romance, optimism, and holding fast to your dreams when all seems lost.
- Wallace & Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit
All ages. Rated G. 85 minutes. Released on DVD Feb. 7, 2006.
Wallace (voiced by Peter Sallis) and his loyal dog, Gromit are hired by Lady Tottington (Helena Bonham Carter) to catch a beast attacking the town's sacred vegetable plots. But her snobby suitor, Lord Victor Quartermaine (Ralph Fiennes), has a scheme uphis sleeves that could have dire consequences for her...and Wallace & Gromit! There's something for everyone in this movie – gentle, colorful characters for little ones, lots of action for older kids, and cheeky tributes to movies like King Kong for adults. A little slow to start, the plot rolls along quickly in the second half of the movie.
- Halloweentown Series
Ages 6 and up. Rated G.
It’s always Halloween in Halloweentown, an alternative world to our own where ghosts, witches and werewolves co-exist. This Disney Channel series includes four movies – “Halloweentown” (1998), “Halloweentown II: Kalabar’s Revenge” (2001), “Halloweentown High” (2004), and “Return to Halloweentown” (2006) – tell the story of powerful witch Aggie Cromwell (Debbie Reynolds) and her family as they work together to battle evil forces. I can’t say enough good things about Disney Channel movies, and these are no exception. They’re entertaining, imaginative, and filled with family values that modern kids can identify with. The first three movies were released on DVD Sept. 13, 2005, and the fourth movie was released on DVD Aug. 28, 2007.
- Pooh's Heffalump Halloween Movie
Ages 3 and up. Rated G. 67 min. Released on DVD Sept. 13, 2005.
It’s a haunted Halloween in the Hundred Acre Woods, and Roo’s new Heffalump pal, Lumpy, is excited to be trick-or-treating for the first time. That is, until Tigger warns them about the dreaded Gobloon who'll turn them into a “jaggedy lantern” if he catches them! It’s easy to follow, not too scary for tots, and as much fun as “Spookable Pooh,” “Frankenpooh” (DVD), and “Boo to You Too!” (VHS).
- Barney's Halloween Party
Ages 1 to 5. Not rated. 52 min. 1998. Released on DVD Aug. 19, 2003.
Youngsters will delight in seeing Barney, B.J., Baby Bop, and the kids dressed in costume, playing Halloween games, trick-or-treating, and making decorations. You can’t go wrong with the loveable purple dinosaur, and this DVD teaches kids not only about sharing and fun, but also trick-or-treating safety rules.
- Arthur's Scary Stories
Ages 3 - 6. Not rated. 40 min. Released on DVD July 16, 2002.
Things never get too scary in the little aardvark’s world – even in these stories about childhood fears. In “Night Fright,” pal Binky Barnes is afraid of the dark and doesn’t want anyone to know he sleeps with a nightlight. In “What Scared Sue Ellen,” Arthur and his buddies get the jitters when they hear an eerie noise in the woods. And “The Fright Stuff” brings together spooky pranksters just in time for a “Scare Your Pants Off” costume party. These thoughtful stories take a funny, but respectful, look at childhood fears to help youngsters better understand and face them.
- Pumpkin Season
Ages 3 - 6. Not rated. 32 min. Released on DVD June 20, 2004.
Ever wonder what goes on in a pumpkin patch? Now youngsters can find out in this cute story about a little pumpkin named Reggie. He can’t wait to go to the jack-o-lantern auditions and play pumpkin games at the patch parties. But...in pumpkin society, you either qualify to become a jack-o-lantern or you’re made into pie by the Bakerman! DVD includes choice of male or female narrator, picture gallery with a musical track, and colorful, 3D computer-generated pictures not featured in the story.
- It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
Ages 4 and up. Rated G. 25 min. 1966. Released on DVD August 24, 2004.
“I got a rock,” says Charlie Brown, and we all feel badly for the round-headed kid. In fact, after this show first aired, kids from all over sent him candy out of sympathy. The Peanuts gang has definitely earned our respect and admiration after nearly 40 years of ghost costumes with too many holes, pumpkin heroes who never show up, and a canine World War I Flying Ace fighting bravely for his country. No one does it better than Charles Schulz, and this timeless classic shows the influence of faith, failure and hope in our lives. DVD includes a bonus feature, “You’re Not Elected, Charlie Brown”.
- Spongebob Squarepants -- Halloween
Ages 5 and up. Not rated. 1999. Released on DVD May 13, 2003.
When you’ve got an episode titled “I Was a Teenage Gary,” you know you’re dealing with some great writing that appeals to both kids and adults. This DVD includes 10 episodes, five of them with a Halloween theme. From Spongebob attempting to come up with the scariest costume ever to mistaking the grumpy Squidward (covered in talc powder) for a grown-up Casper, this collection serves up the laughs. DVD also includes “Scaredy Pants” music video.
- Bedknobs & Broomsticks
Ages 4 and up. Rated G. 139 min. 1971. Released on DVD March 20, 2001 (30 th Anniversary Edition).
This movie put magical flying beds on the map! When a mail-order apprentice witch (Angela Lansbury) is saddled with three sibling refugees from London during World War II, things look grim. But the kids soon discover her secret and with the aid of a magical flying bed, track down her fraudulent headmaster (David Tomlinson) to find the spell that will aid the Allies. This is a wonderful family movie with an interesting story and fun characters that appeals to all ages.
- The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad
Ages 5 and up. Rated G. 68 min. 1949. Released on DVD Oct. 3, 2000.
This DVD includes two animated classic tales: “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “The Wind in the Willows”. “Willow” features Basil Rathbone as narrator and “Hollow” is the retelling of Washington Irving’s story narrated and sung by Bing Crosby. DVD also includes “Grim Grinning” and “The Headless Horseman” Karaoke, Disney Storybook and Collectible Gallery.
Ages 8 and up. Rated PG. 107 min. Released on DVD Sept. 2, 2003.
“Who ya gonna call?” Ghostbusters, of course! With a snappy theme song and the wisecracking Dan Ackroyd, Bill Murray and the rest, this movie about three unemployed parapsychology profs who set up shop to rid the city of pesky goblins is a must-see for grade-schoolers on up. DVD includes commentary from director and stars, special effects documentary and more.
- The Nightmare Before Christmas
Ages 8 and up. Rated PG. 76 min. 1993. Released on DVD March 2, 2004.
Jack Skellington, the pumpkin king of Halloweentown, is bored and depressed about the same old build-up of Halloween every year. When he stumbles through a magical door leading to Christmastown, a joyful, happy place he tries to convince the bats, ghouls, and goblins of Halloweentown to help him put on Christmas instead of Halloween. While some of the creatures might be too scary for youngsters, kids 8 and up should be fine with it. DVD includes “The Making of...” Documentary, deleted footage, Tim Burton’s short films “Vincent” and “Frankenweenie,” and more.
- Hocus Pocus
Ages 8 and up. Rated PG. 96 min. 1993. Released on DVD Aug. 5, 2003.
Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker play the Sanderson sisters, three resurrected witches who wreak havoc on Salem, Massachusetts, 300 hundred years after they were hung. Ok, so they suck the life force out of a child to rejuvenate themselves - which sounds gruesome - but this movie is surprisingly funny, with a good mix of humor, acting, special effects, music, and a fun plotline.
- Frankenstein -- The Legacy Collection
Ages 8 and up. Not rated (but PG in the UK). 384 min. (five films). 1931. Released on DVD April 27, 2004.
“It's alive!” shouts Colin Clive's triumphant Dr. Frankenstein as electricity buzzes and Boris Karloff lurches forward in the greatest monster makeup of all time. Everyone should see this classic tale – one of the most famous and influential horror movies every made – at least once. It’s dark, but kids 8 and up will likely understand that it’s just a story, because it doesn’t contain the stylized details that make modern films appear “real”. DVD also includes the “Bride of...,” “Son of...,” “Ghost of...,” and “House of Frankenstein,” all oozing with the stuff nightmares are made of <insert evil laugh here>.
Jane Louise Boursaw is a freelance journalist specializing in the movie and television industries. Visit her online at http://www.reellifewithjane.com/.
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