The Halloween season has long been one of my favorite times of the year. We are officially past the oppressive heat of summer, and a consistent chill is finally in the air. Jeans and sweatshirts make it to the forefront of my weekend wardrobe. Our schedule is packed with visits to apple orchards, hayrides, pumpkin patches, and hikes through the fallen leaves. The arrival of our little pumpkin (my second child) on Halloween Day almost three years ago only solidified our love of the season. And now that both kids are getting a little bigger, we have started to enjoy some other fun this time of year has to offer – Halloween movies! Here are some of my favorite not-too-scary Halloween movies to enjoy with the family this year.
Disclaimer: Every movie listed here may not be appropriate for all ages. Please use your judgment (and maybe the help of Common Sense Media) to determine what is best for your child/family.
We’ll start with an obvious classic. Is the Halloween season really complete without a family viewing of Charlie Brown in his sad little ghost costume? It’s a cute and well-known story, but at a deeper level there are some lessons adults & kids can both take home from this one.
Spookley the Square Pumpkin (2004)
Based on the book The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin by Joe Troiano, this sweet little musical is sure to please the young children in your home. Spookley learns to accept differences in himself and teaches others about tolerance and acceptance of others.
Room on the Broom (2013)
Another adaption of a wonderful book by one of my favorite children’s authors, Julia Donaldson. This 30-minute movie is visually pleasing, such a cute story, and (apart from the appearance of a dragon that may be scary for the most sensitive viewers) should be appropriate for the whole family. We love watching this one year-round.
Toy Story of Terror (2014)
If your children love the Toy Story crew and have enjoyed the original movies, they will likely be able to handle this “horror” film. My kids were asking for this one well past Christmas last year!
Enter nostalgia. I don’t care what anyone says. Give me 1990s Olsen twins all day, any day. My sister and I still get excited about this movie. I’m excited to share it with my almost 6-year-old daughter this year – I’m certain it’s as wonderful as I remember.
Hocus Pocus (1993)
This was the first movie I saw in the theatre that I have a distinct memory of feeling so big (I think I was 7…). A teen brother takes his little sister on Halloween night. They visit the house of the Sanderson sisters, three witches who were executed in the 17th century, and accidentally resurrect them. This one is likely not for the littles but brings me so much Halloween joy.
Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
It appears that 1993 produced the gold mine of not-too-spooky Halloween movies. In this one, the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town discovers Christmas Town and wants to bring some of Christmas home with him. The stop-motion animation is so fun to watch – some younger children may enjoy it, but it may be a too spooky not-too-scary Halloween movie for others.
Another 1990s winner. A young girl and her father move into an old mansion to help rid it of wicked spirits. They meet Casper, the friendly ghost who is, of course, friendly. However, there are other ghosts who are not so nice, and a big focus on death in this one. Funny at times, but sometimes a little spooky.
E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
Stepping back to the ’80s for a family classic. A young boy befriends an alien and helps him escape Earth to return to his home planet. Some scenes may scare the very sensitive, but still may be a good one to watch as a family. Also, baby Drew Barrymore!
Monsters, Inc. (2001)
This one is not truly a Halloween film but still can help get you in that spooky spirit without being too scary.
I hope you and your family can enjoy some of my favorite not-too-scary Halloween movies this season. Snuggle up with a glass of warm cider and get watching!