Saturday, October 18, 2008


I'll write about kid-friendly Halloween movies in a few parts, as I research, remember and revisit some films that may or may not be appropriate for kids. Mostly what I’ll do here is present you with some lists – including Disney and Pixar titles, since Halloween movies are slim pickins’ for the kiddies – to help you when you’re in a rush out the door, or looking for something on Netflix. (It’s not as easy as you might think to find family-friendly Halloween films grouped together on Netflix.)

I haven’t seen many of these films. The G-rated Halloween movies we can assume are safe for everyone.

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

Monsters, Inc.
Pooh's Heffalump Halloween Movie

My Friends Tigger & Pooh: Hundred Acre Wood Haunt
Blackbeard’s Ghost
Bedknobs and Broomsticks
Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Mickey's Treat
Max & Ruby: Perfect Pumpkin (2008)
Dora the Explorer: Dora's Halloween

The Haunted Pumpkin of Sleepy Hollow (2004)

Arthur's Scary Stories
Hilarious House of Frankenstein (1971): This is a Canadian TV show that aired back in the ‘70s. (See Halloween Films Part II.)

Here are some vintage classics you can get on Netflix, all for the younger set:

Casper: Trick or Treat (1945); Casper & Wendy: Scare Up Some Fun (1945); Best of Casper Vol. 1 & 2 (1952); Scooby-Doo titles such as Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul School, Scooby-Doo and the Reluctant Werewolf; Scooby-Doo Meets the Boo Brothers (and, yes, there are more!).

Next up is a list of movies with a PG rating. I can’t vouch for many of these... in fact, I’ve only seen Monster House and the rather annoying Scooby Doo film from the list below. I have to admit I’ve never seen Ghost Busters or Beetlejuice (I lived in a serious non-commercial bubble in the ‘80s and early ‘90s), so I can’t (yet) give you any details that might help you decide if they’re ok for your eight -or ten-year-old. They’re at the top of my Netflix list, so maybe I’ll get to them soon and can let you know what I think if you haven’t seen them, either. (NOTE: See update on these films in Part II.)

Monster House
The Haunted Mansion (Eddie Murphy)

Ghost Busters

Hocus Pocus
The Witches (1990)
Scooby-Doo (live action, 2002) The gang is confronted with a mysterious force on Spooky Island! This was a bit loud and scary for younger kids, if you haven’t seen it yet.

The Corpse Bride / Nightmare Before Christmas

We recently revisited the Tim Burton films Nightmare Before Christmas and The Corpse Bride. I have to recommend these with reservations, despite their beautiful animation, clever writing, fantastic music and lyrics and so much more. IF you have tougher kids who’ve been around the block, they’re going to be fine. If you have kids that have not been exposed to much beyond the
occasional PG movie, the delightfully quirky yet inarguably macabre imaginations of Burton & Co. might be bit too much. For example, Nightmare starts off with a song calling out all the monsters from our childhood (the ones under the bed, under the stairs, etc) and some kids may not do well to have that idea planted in their heads. It’s a wonderful, catchy song, but it does really set the tone for the creepy, crawly, ghastly faces and wickedness that follows. I loved every minute of it, having not seen it since its original 1993 release, and K enjoyed it, too, but admitted some of the images were pretty nightmarish.

We caught Corpse Bride on a long flight last year. K was 10 and we hesitated to let him watch it but, after some begging on his part, I figured I’d watch it along with him and keep an eye on him.
Corpse Bride is actually a little softer and safer (Nightmare’s whole point, after all, was to play up Halloween as a celebration of all things horrible, with Jack the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town longing for something different – so he tries on Christmas for size, with disastrous results; how clever is that for a story?!). K had no problem with Corpse Bride, and seemed rather captivated by the animation. It’s a surprisingly sweet and touching story about love, and though the music isn’t as strong and the story lags a little here and there, I’ll say it’s a fine movie for kids in the 9-10-year-old range, and if you haven’t seen it, you will enjoy it, too.

I'm sure I've left out some titles that you wish I hadn't! Please let me know what I've missed.

NEXT: Kid-Friendly Halloween Films Part II

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