Confession: Halloween scares me. I’m the mom running from the creepy house while trick or treating — you know, the one with the sucker ghosts in the trees? Even THAT is too much for me, sort of. My kids stand there taking it all in: spiders, creepy eyeballs, skeletons, witches, just, please, let me stop! My sweet littles love Halloween- either the creepy or the fun- while I’m over here just wanting it to be OVER and time for Christmas, wreaths, red berries and glitter. Because Halloween isn’t my thing, I try to find ways to enjoy it with the kids (other than walking through the aisles at Menards looking at the decorations we won’t ever own) and so we have MOVIES! And not-too-spooky ones at that; so join me on my quest to be a cool mom and watch Halloween movies with my kids without totally freaking out.
For the younger crowd (ages 3-5/preschool):
Pooh’s Heffalump Halloween Movie is a sweet introduction to Halloween. Children will giggle with the characters as they encounter spooky trees, ‘jaggedy’ lanterns and try to stay away from the Gobloon who will surely turn them into jaggedy lanterns if he catches them! I loved this tender tale of Lumpy’s first time out trick-or-treating to bring a gentle spook to the Halloween season but mostly just fun!
Toy Story of Terror! is worth your time and attention; plus, it is a super short film at that (little-to-no mommy guilt here!). Our favorite characters are back as a mystery unfolds: where are these magical friends disappearing to? This movie is set to remind parents of the old horror/suspense flicks of our youth shot in black and white, using smoke, etc … you know, the ones I didn’t watch? Anyway, it is up to Jessie to conquer her own biggest fear- claustrophobia (guilty!) to solve the mystery of the disappearing friends. I jumped and giggled with my kids as we didn’t feel ‘too scared’ to go to sleep. They wanted to watch this again and again.
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is a classic! If you haven’t shared with your kids, get on it! Adorable Linus awaits the Great Pumpkin (like Santa, YAY!) while his friends go out enjoying trick or treating. In typical Peanuts fashion, nothing is perfect yet everything is just as it should be with little ones- a ‘too hole-y ghost’ and rocks instead of candy will leave your children giggling. The gang shows themes of friendship, hope, disappointment and, most of all makes a spooky holiday a really fun night!
For a longer feature, not-too-spooky for little ones:
Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit is worth pulling out this Halloween season. It is not spooky nor gory, but creative and different! A vegetable eating monster has turned the town upside down as they prepare for the Giant Vegetable Competition! Wallace and Gromit have already captured all of the rabbits in town- how can they humanely catch the were-rabbit? Victor hopes to shoot the threatening beast, but could this create a bigger problem? I loved sharing this with my kids as it was a sweet tale and the artistic talents and abilities that went into creating this must be discussed!
Book of Life is a story focused on the Day of the Dead (Mexican holiday, Nov 1/2) and is so clever and charming, it made this Mexican holiday so much less creepy to me. Now I ‘get’ it! The story follows two men in love with the same girl. Each one is burdened by the expectations of their family to fill particular roles until some mythological gods step in and place a wager to see which man will marry the beautiful Maria. Some lively bull fights, a significant amount of death and snake bites couldn’t take this off my list. The movie is playful, beautiful and wasn’t spooky to my crew at all. (But we totally felt all ‘Halloween!’).
Hotel Transylvania brings my kids to tears every time we watch it. They are little and they find the potty humor hilarious. The strange Halloween monsters and beasts (which are cartoons, so I can handle) are intriguing, especially when they can’t be killed or when they lose limbs and walk around as if nothing has happened. We love the story of Mavis and her dad (her mom died, because what kid movie doesn’t have a dead parent?) on his quest to keep her, along with all other monsters safe from the outside world at their oasis, Hotel Transylvania! As Mavis’s coming-of-age birthday arrives, her father struggles to find ways to scare her away from her dream to go out into the world, but, of course, his plan backfires as a HUMAN arrives at his hotel … and naturally falls in love with his daughter. The fast-paced movie keeps us all entertained over and over again, and we can’t wait to go check out the sequel … but no word on that…. yet! *Note, a repeated angry face of the father takes over the screen in red a few times during the movie; the first time my kids jumped, then they all laughed! So just be forewarned!
Intended for older kids, but still not too spooky:
Casper is a relatively safe introductory movie to ghosts, one I wasn’t able to see until I was an adult probably because of a kissing scene or something, and I was at the impressionable age of 9 when this film came out. My 5 year old loves this movie; it spooks her enough with the abstract idea of ghosts but isn’t too scary at all. I promise even I can handle it! Kat and her father move into an abandoned house … except for the four ghosts who live there! The sneaky antics of three ghosts make living in the mansion less than perfect all while two ‘bad guys’ try to seek out a fabled treasure in the home. Casper, a friendly ghost of a boy who died too young, befriends Kat and twists a beautiful tale of friendship and hope. We love this movie at our house and pull it out often!
Halloweentown was one of the first Halloween movies I watched (on Disney, how bad could it be?). I watched this every single time it came on! Marnie’s family ignores Halloween until this year when Grandmother Aggie arrives and the children find out they all have magical powers. Marnie must be trained in her gifts to be a witch by her 13th birthday or she will lose them forever! The family is pulled through a portal (on a school bus!) as a battle of good versus evil wages on in Halloweentown. The family must work together to defeat Kalabar. This fun movie is a great introduction to Halloween movies that aren’t going to send visitors in your room at night.
Did I miss your favorite, not-too-spooky Halloween movie? Tell us in the comments!
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