Sunday, September 27, 2015

10 Great Halloween Movies for Kids

Grown-ups love their scary Halloween movies, but they definitely don't want their children walking in on a Netflix horror movie marathon that will give them nightmares for weeks (and leave them wanting to hide in their parents' beds at night). So if you're a mom or dad looking for a some great Halloween movies for kids that won't bore or annoy you to death, try a few of these fun films:

Monster House
This fun CGI animated film is about a haunted house. I'm not talking a house full of ghosts, here; the house itself is literally haunted and 'alive' (or 'undead'?), and it seems to have an appetite for neighborhood children. I won't reveal too much about what happens, because if you haven't seen it, the ending will probably surprise you a little. I will say that it is a creative, cute film that the whole family will enjoy, and it's one of the few horror films I've ever seen aimed at kids.

Mad Monster Party?
This crazy Halloween movie was an inspiration for another film on this list (see if you can guess which one!). The film is a Rankin/Bass stop motion animation masterpiece from the late 60's that features a lot of Halloween creatures. Frankenstein, the Werewolf, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Dracula, and the Mummy are just a few of the many colorful characters in this camp classic. It's a spoof of many classic horror films, so it fittingly features the voice talent of horror film king Boris Karloff, as well as that of comedienne Phyllis Diller. The script was written by the creator of Mad Magazine, so it does have its risqué moments (that kids definitely won't get), making it just as for adults as it is for children.

Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-rabbit

This claymation duo from England have brought smiles to the faces of many American children with their animated shorts. In their first full-length feature film, they find themselves in a very lucrative business: providing security for vegetables at a vegetable competition. But when Wallace tries to use one of his wacky inventions to control hungry rabbits, something goes horribly wrong. A frightening, monstrous rabbit begins preying upon any vegetable it can get its hands on, and Wallace and Gromit must do everything they can to stop it (which results in many hilarious moments). This is a very charming film, and it's very hard not to love these two characters, no matter how old you are.

The Harry Potter Films
If you really want to keep your kids occupied for a long time around Halloween, rent all of the Harry Potter films and treat them to a Harry Potter film marathon. America's favorite wizard may bewitch you, too, however, so you may end up wasting a good chunk of time yourself. J.K. Rowling's books about the adventures of the young wizard and his friends at Hogwart's have become some of the most popular children's books of all time, and they're just as beloved by adults. The films are no exception to the Harry Potter magic, so munch on some real Halloween candy, like chocolate frogs and Bertie Bott's Jelly Beans, and enjoy.

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
This film is a true Halloween classic, so you have to love it for the memories! When this special came on when I was a child, I knew it was almost candy time. I always felt sorry for Linus, who was persecuted for his belief in the Great Pumpkin, and Charlie Brown, who got rocks when he went trick-or-treating instead of candy. Through the gang's Halloween ups and downs, you can't help but relate to them and remember your own experiences as a kid, and the great thing about the Peanuts is that they're always honest and don't sugar-coat childhood. This film is also great for young audiences with a short attention span because it's only 25 minutes long.

Monsters, Inc.
This is a great animated film for kids who are afraid of monsters. The monster town of Monstropolis is powered by the screams of children (what monsters use for electricity), so they have to teleport to children's rooms at night to scare screams out of them. However, when a child happens to wander into the monsters' world, havoc ensues, and one monster's diabolical plot to kidnap children and forcefully extract their screams is revealed. The ending of the film is incredibly cute, and it might help kids get over their fears of monsters in the closet or under their beds.

Hocus Pocus
Before she starred in 'Sex in the City', Sarah Jessica Parker played one of three evil but dimwitted witches in this film, alongside Bette Midler and Kathy Najimy. The witches are originally from the 17th century and have been resurrected in the 20th, so there are a few funny "wow, the future is weird" moments, and the witches fly around on vacuum cleaners instead of brooms, but mostly the film goes for the exciting suspense of kids trying to outsmart adults (the witches need the soul of a child so they won't disappear forever). It's not the best film in the world, but kids will like all the action and the Halloween theme.

Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas 

This has to be one of the best Halloween films ever made (if not the best), and it can even work as a Christmas film, as well. I don't know of any other movie that can claim that! Jack Skellington is a resident of Halloween Town who stumbles upon the idea of Christmas. He then decides to kidnap 'Sandy Claws' and make Christmas all his own, but the combination of such a creepy holiday and one that's all about giving creates a very unforgettable, terrifying Christmas. Tim Burton's tale is very original, and his dark backdrops and creepy characters all have a very unique, stylized look that creates for an incredibly spooky atmosphere. So if there could be a perfect Halloween film, this one is it.                                                            

The Worst Witch
This film is great for kids who just can't get enough Harry Potter! Like Harry Potter, Mildred is attending a school for witches, but she's, unfortunately, not as talented as he is. The film takes a more comedic approach to attending such a school, and although Mildred is the most untalented witch at her academy, it is ultimately up to her to save the day from the headmistress's evil twin sister. This is a very fun film with a lot of funny moments and bad special effects, so it won't impress as much as the Harry Potter films do, but kids will love it for the similarities.

Tim Burton's Corpse Bride 

This is another Tim Burton tale based on an old legend about a bride that just doesn't want to miss her wedding day no matter what; even if it means overcoming death. A young groom is practicing his wedding vows when he places his bride-to-be's ring on what seems to be a wooden branch resembling a human hand. To his horror, the branch really is a human hand, and it belongs to a jilted, deceased bride. Her corpse springs to life and whisks him away to the Land of the Dead, where she believes they will be wed and live happily ever after. But this twisted love story is not so simple, since the groom already has a living love. This film might be a little spooky and disturbing to some younger viewers, but it's a lot of creepy fun all the same.

These films may not be spooky enough to satisfy the desire to be scared of most adults, but they are a lot of fun to watch and are great choices for family viewing on the spookiest day of the year.

[Image credit: Touchstone Pictures]

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