Halloween Films for the Whole Family: My Personal Picks

It is that time of year again: Halloween. That time of tricks and treats, where people enjoy a good helping of candy along with a dose of chills and thrills. Now, for some, a go-to way to celebrate the holiday is to watch a horror movie. It makes sense, of course, considering the nature of the holiday. However, that approach might cut out a big audience to Halloween: kids. After all, most horror films are the sort that would probably be best saved for when they’re a bit older. So, what to do if a family wants to watch something for the holiday? Well, today I’m offering a list of films that the whole family could watch for Halloween. Now, before I list my choices, let me be clear that this listing is in no particular order or ranking. Now, with that out of the way, time to list my recommendations for Halloween movies for the whole family.

1. Coraline

Coraline Jones is tired of her boring life and her parents constantly ignoring her to work on a gardening catalog. So, when she discovers a parallel world with versions of her parents who adore her, she can’t help but get caught up. However, this seeming paradise might in fact be a trap to ensnare her for good. With its haunting atmosphere, this may be one of the few movies that I would consider to be a children’s horror film.

2. Goosebumps

The Goosebumps series of books were a big hit back in the ’90s, so what better way to make a movie than what feels like a throwback to the family films of the era? Centered around a group of teens having to take down a horde of monsters released from writer R. L. Stine’s original manuscripts, the film captures the spooky charm of the original series while using its meta plotline as a way to pay tribute to the series in general and use monsters from throughout the books.

3. ParaNorman

Norman Babcock is a boy picked on by his peers and treated like an outcast because he claims that he can see and speak with ghosts. When he takes on his uncle’s mission to prevent a witch’s curse that would bring destruction, he finds himself and others as the targets of zombies risen as a result of the curse. However, there may be more at play here in this story about the dangers of misunderstanding and hatred.

4. The Addams Family

They’re creepy, kooky, scary, spooky, and altogether ooky, but the Addams Family are always a delight to watch. This film delivers on that appeal, with the playfully morbid Addams Family welcoming in who they believe to be long-lost Uncle Fester. However, even as con artists try to swindle their fortune and the rest of society looks down upon the family, they remain all smiles and happy to help anyone out…even if their passions may seem a little creepy.

5. Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

The Wallace and Gromit franchise, centered around a bumbling inventor named Wallace and his beleaguered dog Gromit, has played around with parodies of genres like thrillers and heists. It is only fitting, then, that their feature film might take a turn at making a playful parody of the Hammer horror films. Taking the tropes and formulas present from the legendary series of British horror, the movie twists them on their head with a story that concerns a town terrorized by a man-sized rabbit that threatens to destroy the town’s annual vegetable festival.

6. Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein

Two baggages clerks named Wilbur and Chick find themselves thrown into a monster mash when a job to transport two crates to a House of Horrors brings them face to face with Count Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, and even the Wolf Man. The result is a fun time that affectionately pokes fun at Universal Studios’s classic horror films, while also serving as a good introduction to the classic comedy duo of Abbot and Costello.

7. Frankenweenie

When a young boy named Victor Frankenstein finds that his dog Sparky has been run over by a car, he turns to the power of science and electricity to bring Sparky back to life. Unfortunately, his classmates find out about Sparky and decide to revive their own dead pets in experiements that go awry. This results in a populace threatened by a hodge-podge of monstrous pets in a film that is Tim Burton’s spirited stop-motion homage to classic horror films.

8. Ghostbusters

Though the remake did come out this year, it’s the original that is my recommendation for this list. After all, the original movie’s tale of three scientists forming a business to hunt down and capture ghosts still holds up with its dry wit and memorable characters. It also features some good frights from the ghosts and monsters within, befitting the Halloween season.

9. Beetlejuice

When the recently deceased Maitlands find a new family moving into their former home and tearing it apart, they decide to turn to a self-described “bio-exorcist” named Betelgeuse as they key to getting them out. However, Beetlejuice turns out to be a rather crude troublemaker, one with schemes of his own to get out and really cause some trouble for the living and the dead. This was one of director Tim Burton’s first big hits, and it’s clear why. There’s an inventive playfulness on display with the supernatural subject matter, along with a willingness to embrace the morbid with that same sense of fun.

Well, those are my recommendation for movies that the family might enjoy this Halloween. Perhaps before or after a good round of trick or treating, you might put on these films on and enjoy a cinematic treat of your own. In the meantime, Happy Halloween, everyone.

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