One of our favorite ways to get into the spirit of a holiday is by watching movies as a family. I studied filmmaking in college and currently work in post production, so movies are a thing in our house. The kids and I searched netflix the other night and came across an absolutely terrible Halloween film. That acting man. And that storyline. I felt like I was watching Spy Kids 17. It inspired me to make a list of our favorites – these are both kid and mom approved. Some of them are not technically Halloween movies, but due to the presence of ghosts, goblins, and ghouls, they still put us in the Halloween spirit.
The Addams Family
That creepy, gothic, Addams family is up to their normal hijinks. Not technically a Halloween movie, but October seems fitting for a family that has a severed hand for a maid.
Kat and her father move into an old abandoned mansion which ends up being inhabited by 4 ghosts, one of which is the friendly Casper.
Ernest Scared Stupid
Ernest P. Whorrell must save the world from an evil troll on Halloween. Because of course. This movie is so silly, you and your kids will be laughing the entire time.
A young boy child finds a young alien child who is stranded on earth, and he must help him return home. We love this movie any time of year, but since it takes place around Halloween, it is especially perfect in October.
Double Double Toil and Trouble
Identical twin sisters go on a Halloween expedition to save their family’s finances. Of course they also learn the value of sibling love in the process, and vow never to fight with each other again. Gosh those Olsen twins were cute. Admittedly this was my favorite Halloween movie as a child, and I’ve managed to make that rub off on my own kids.
The Halloween Tree
Four friends meet up on Halloween, but their fifth friend, Pip, is missing. While on a search to find Pip, the four children learn several Halloween history lessons. As with many Ray Bradbury stories, there is an eerie quality to this film paired with a really fabulous storyline. Plus I love the way it weaves in the history of Halloween.
A nearly 13 year old girl finds out she is a witch and goes to Halloweentown where she must save an entire community of funny looking Halloween people. I said all the movies on this list got the mom stamp of approval, but think of Halloweentown as that one kid at the high school graduation who walks across the stage while everyone in the audience cocks their head to the side and wonders how in the world that child managed to pass.
Harry Potter Movies
An 11 year old boy finds out he is a wizard. He attends Hogwarts, a school for witches and wizards, where he will inevitably end up fighting dark magic at the end of every movie. Although each Harry Potter book/movie takes place over the course of a school year, the fact that he’s a wizard makes them excellent Halloween time viewing.
Max, the new kid in town, gets roped into taking his little sister trick or treating. While out and about, they accidentally resurrect three evil witches who were executed several hundred years earlier. Guys, when it comes to Halloween movies, it doesn’t get any better than this one.
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
Linus waits for The Great Pumpkin. Spoiler alert: It doesn’t come!
Sarah is stuck babysitting her brother Toby (aka “The Babe With the Power“). The Goblin King comes and takes her brother away, and she must navigate the labyrinth to get him back.
Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas
The Pumpkin King discovers Christmas Town. He kidnaps Santa Claus in an attempt to bring Christmas to Halloween Town. Of course, his attempts fail miserably. Is this a Halloween movie or a Christmas movie? The debate continues. I tend to keep skeletons and vampires away from my Christmas celebrations, so our family deems this film a Halloween classic.
Norman is a normal kid, aside from the fact that he can speak to the dead. He must use his powers to save the town from an evil curse.
Pooh’s Heffalump Halloween Movie
Roo and his friend Lumpy are scared of a Gobloon. Pooh eats all the candy. Typical, sweet, Hundred Acre Woods story. This was a favorite for my older kids a few years back, and I’m looking forward to enjoying it again with my youngest.
A young boy on vacation with his grandmother stumbles across an evil witches convention. Roald Dahl is one of our favorite authors, and although this isn’t technically a Halloween story, the creepy witches definitely give it an October vibe.