I believe I have mentioned this before, but I love (love!) Halloween. I knew my Halloween costume by March of this year, I broke out my decorations the day after Labor Day just to make sure I was ready. But perhaps my favorite pastime is spending all of October watching Halloween themed and scary-lite movies. Getting cozy on the couch with some apple cider and a blanket, or sitting on the floor carving pumpkins with the whole family spending time together watching a classic movie about the greatest holiday. It’s never too early to get your kids interested in Halloween, here’s a few movies that will help you do it!
Let’s get this out of the way now: Hocus Pocus is the greatest movie about Halloween ever made. I stand by that and I will not be convinced otherwise! The cast is perfection, the music is great, there’s a sarcastic talking cat and a different take on zombies than you normally see in movies like this. But of everything, this magical, wonderful, film has given us the best part has to be the brilliant casting of Penny and Gary Marshall as an unhappy married couple mistaken for the gatekeepers of Hell. Genius.
Fun Fact: Bette Midler has said this is her favorite of all her movies. Same, Bette, same.
I was ALL IN on Christina Ricci when I was a kid, and also now. Although the CGI doesn’t totally hold up, the movie was smart in not making special effects the selling point of this movie. I love a ghost with a quip and this movie has three! Plus Bill Pullman as the goofy scientist father and Eric Idle for even more comedy. I’m sold. I didn’t even need the cameo by perfect 90’s heartthrob Devon Sawa, but I am not complaining.
Fun Fact: Brad Garrett actually voices one of the ghosts, Fatso. Good luck not noticing that the next time you watch!
A real underrated gem for this list. The 1987 movie follows a ragtag group of friends, obsessed with scary stories who discover that monsters are, in fact, real. Imagine if the kids from Stand By Me were looking for Dracula… or you could also watch Goonies; Monster Squad took a pretty big hit at the box office after being labeled a copycat of Goonies. Still, I think it stands on its own. It’s the perfect amount of camp with a hint of sincerity.
Fun Fact: Liam Neeson was supposed to make a cameo but the scene was never shot.
The Addams Family
Controversial take: I think of The Addams Family as more of a Christmas movie. Most people will argue as to whether Gremlins is a Christmas or Halloween movie, I don’t really have an opinion on that but I do feel strongly that the original Addams Family is better watched at Christmas, but I am frequently outvoted in my household. As I have mentioned before the Addams Family is such a strange, brilliant, series I’m almost shocked it was made. It’s the perfect family movie, combining enough sight gags for younger kids but some incredibly smart one-liners for teens and adults to enjoy.
Fun Fact: Christina Ricci came up with Wednesday’s sleeping position (with her arms folded across her chest) herself. Because Christina Ricci is the best.
There was no way this movie or anything from the DCOM cannon (DCOM stands for Disney Channe Original Movies for those who may not be in the know). Like a low-key version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, young Marnie learns from her grandmother (Debbie Reynolds!!!) that she is actually a witch and if she doesn’t start using her powers right away she’ll lose them. Oh also, there’s an entire town that needs to be saved from monsters so she kind of needs to get on it asap. It’s classic 90’s Disney, loud fashion, bangs, and some confusing stage blocking but it all works!
Fun Fact: Debbie Reynolds (!!!) was one of the only actors to appear in all four Halloweentown films.