11 Freaky Family Halloween Movies to Watch this Ocotober
These classic Halloween movies for kids will deliver plenty of chills and thrills for mom and dad, too. Just don't be surprised if there's a sleepover party in your bed afterward.
A young couple dies in a car accident and discovers unwelcome pests in their home: the new owners. They summon supernatural help to scare the pesky newcomers away, but then need help getting rid of the hired hand.
What Parents Like: And you thought calling the exterminator was a chore! Baldwin and Davis shine as a happily married couple in life and in death.
What Kids Like: Lavishly surreal sets and a devilish Keaton make this a breathlessly quirky and edgy film. Ryder is a Goth girl who wears her gloom like a charm bracelet.
Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein
Rated: Not rated
It's a monster mash when Abbott and Costello meet Count Dracula, Frankenstein, and the Wolfman. The hapless duo are baggage handlers who encounter more than one classic screen monster in McDougal's House of Horrors and become part of a plot to give Frankenstein a new and feebler brain -- Costello's.
What Parents Like: Look for vintage performances from Bela Lugosi, Lon Chaney Jr., Glenn Strange, and the voice of Vincent Price as the Invisible Man.
What Kids Like: It's fun to see a grown man cry. Kids will relate to the hysteric antics of scaredy-cat Costello: "ABBOTT!"
Animaniacs: Spooky Stuff
Rated: Not rated
Inkblot sibs Wakko, Yakko, and Dot run amok in six skits featuring Frankenstein, the Grim Reaper, and the big baddie himself, Satan.
What Parents Like: You've gotta love a cartoon that intones: "Beyond these doors is an agony worse than all others...whiny protest songs from the 60s!"
What Kids Like: Zany slapstick that pokes fun at typical fright-night fare. In one scene, the kids ask Count Dracula, "Didn't you used to teach math on Sesame Street?"
Casper, Casper Meets Wendy
Rated: PG, G
Ghost for tweens: Ghost meets girl, ghost saves girl. Can ghosts and girls, or ghosts and witches, really be friends, or (gulp) more? In the first film, Ricci is the daughter of a paranormal psychiatrist who makes house calls to the mansion where Casper and his uncles haunt. In the second, Duff is a fledgling witch, who must flee to a Catskills resort with her three aunts to escape a warlock.
What Parents Like: Parents may cringe at the filmy dialogue until they see their preteen staring dreamily at the screen. Ghosts really do get the best girls, especially with Ricci and Duff along for the ride.
What Kids Like: It's an otherworldly little romance with special effects and screwball relatives.
It's bedlam in the Big Apple when ghosts run amok in New York City. A ragtag team of professors-turned-exterminators sets out to capture the unruly haunters and prevent a disaster of Biblical proportions. Think "Old Testament" with "fire and brimstone coming down from the skies."
What Parents Like: Murray and company are in high comedic form and spirits as the wisecracking scientists. Weaver is a sultry demon.
What Kids Like: Get your proton guns ready. These phantoms pop up faster than the ghostbusters can zap and bottle them. The biggest demon turns out to be all fluff: the Sta-Puft Marshmallow Man.
Max is a California teen whose family relocates in Salem, Massachusetts, where local lore has it that the three Sanderson sisters will return to wreak havoc. The three witches are intent on getting eternal youth and beauty the old-fashioned way -- by sucking the life force out of children.
What Parents Like: As one character says, "Aren't you broads a little too old to be out trick-or-treating?" Well, yes and no. Midler is a treat as campy, oldest sister Winifred. Too bad there isn't more of the divine diva, or over-the-top musical numbers like "I Put a Spell on You." Parker is fetching as a nymph-like enchantress.
What Kids Like: Twitchy fun that's not too scary, thanks to clever one-liners and diverting subplots involving a zombie, a talking cat, a spellbook, and a cute but bratty kid sister.
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It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
Rated: Not rated
Oh, nothing compares to the breathless suspense of Halloween, except for maybe Christmas. Linus and Sally wait all night in the pumpkin patch for the Great Pumpkin to appear, Snoopy is in high-flying form as an ace pilot, and the gang compares their Halloween loot.
What Parents Like: Expectations and frustrations are a part of life. Thankfully, the animation is never dizzyingly hyper or distracting, especially when accompanied by Vince Guaraldi's subtle jazz score.
What Kids Like: Disappointment is finding a rock in your sack. After the original broadcast, children all over the country mailed in candy for Charlie Brown in sympathy.
The Little Vampire
Tormented souls can be sweet, or at least they are to Tony, a lonely American boy who dreams of vampires. In Scotland he finds a soulful family of bloodsuckers who harbor a secret craving: to become human. Magic amulets, comets, vampire hunters, and a herd of flying vampire cows add clever and startling mischief to an entertaining yarn.
What Parents Like: Meeting the neighbors can be fun. Even vampire moms worry about their kids, and tenderly wipe off their mouths after a messy meal.
What Kids Like: Thrilling flying sequences show the unathletic Tony soaring in the night sky with his new nocturnal best friend, Rudolph.
A family's house becomes the site of eerie paranormal activity and visitations. It's amazing how quickly ordinary household objects -- chairs, television sets, the tree outside your window -- can become ominous and terrifying.
What Parents Like: Suburbia is scary, but overdevelopment is the worst.
What Kids Like: Be warned. Youngsters will be running to turn on the light.
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Huston is the Grand High Witch who presides over a convention of cackling, scheming witches in a sleepy seaside British hotel. It's up to Luke, a brave 6-year-old, to stop their evil plan to turn the world's children into mice, using chocolate as the lure.
What Parents Like: Based on the Roald Dahl book, the film reinforces that there are unseen dangers and evils in the world that innocent eyes can't see. Luke's grandmother, Helga, is a stalwart and wise protector.
What Kids Like: Witches can be tricky to spot, but underneath the stylish wigs, dresses, and masks, they have gleaming purple eyes, square toes, and bald, warty heads.
The Worst Witch
Mildred is the new student at a very proper British boarding school for witches, where the lesson plans include flying in formation and concocting laughing potions.
What Parents Like: With Rae playing both the dean and her dastardly twin, Haggis, this is the The Facts of Life for cute covens. Curry hams it up as the Grand Wizard, complete with musical numbers.
What Kids Like: Mildred gets off to a rough start but she soon passes with flying colors, especially when she transforms the snobby bully into a pig and saves the school.