The leaves are starting to turn and there is a familiar chill in the air. Halloween must be right around the corner! Here are some great Halloween movies that your children might enjoy. They’re just scary enough to get them into the Halloween spirit
Hocus Pocus tells the story of the Sanderson sisters who were sentenced to death by hanging in 17th century Salem, Massachusetts. The sisters, who were actually witches, were caught by the town’s people after they killed (or were believed to have killed) Thackery Binx. The witches were hanged to death but not before casting a spell that will bring them back to life. The spell requires a virgin (of course) to light the black flame candle.
In present time, Max (said virgin) lights the candle to impress Allison his unrequited crush. The witches are brought back to life on Halloween night and have only a few hours to steal the souls of as many children as possible so that they might live forever. If they fail to gather the souls, they will be turned to stone at dawn and be dead forever. Max, along with his younger sister Dani, his soon to be girlfriend Allison and Binx the talking cat spend the evening running around Salem trying to stop the Sanderson witches.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
The first of the Harry Potter books and films, this story follows, well, I won’t rehash it because I can’t imagine anyone reading this does not know the story of Harry Potter and the boy who won the genetic lottery. What makes this a great Halloween movie for children is the Halloween dinner scene with the floating pumpkins in the Great Hall and the Troll attack that follows shortly after that. If you haven’t seen Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in awhile it is worth a re-watch, just to remember why you love Harry Potter or even why you hate him!
The Nightmare before Christmas
This Tim Burton stop-motion clay-mation film is one of the very best children’s films of all time. This is one movie that can be enjoyed year round not just at Halloween or Christmas for that matter. The Nightmare before Christmas follows the Pumpkin King, Jack Skellington, who has grown tired of Halloween and wishes that he might have Santa Claus’ job instead. He enlists the help of his fellow citizens of Halloween Town to take over Christmas for that year. Of course the toys that are made are very ghoulish and not appreciated by the children of the world. In an effort to save Christmas Jack must rescue Santa Claus, or Santy Claws as Jack refers to him, from the evil Oogie Man (who comes complete with crawling maggots) so that Santa might save Christmas.
It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown
No Halloween is complete for kids or adults without a viewing of It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. Poor Linus with his little blue blanket is determined to prove to everyone that the Great Pumpkin is real. So he and Sally spend Halloween evening in a pumpkin patch waiting for the Great Pumpkin all the while missing the entire trick or treating goodness that comes with the holiday.
Meanwhile poor Charlie Brown gets no candy in his trick or treating bag, only rocks and Snoopy is off determined to shoot down the Red Baron. Charles Schultz should have created a Peanuts comic strip with an adult Charlie Brown going postal on Lucy and the others because you know, thanks to a childhood of always being third or fourth best, this would have surely been the outcome.
The Adventures of Ichabod Crane
While the Adventure of Ichabod Crane and Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride always come bundled together rather it is on television or on DVD, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride pretty much blows (while else did Disney replace the ride with the Winnie the Pooh ride at Disney World) so I am not including it on this list.
The Story of Ichabod Crane follows that of Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hallow, once again a story that everyone knows. Children will enjoy this short movie for the beautiful hand drawn animation (it was created in 1949) and the catchy songs. The scenes with Ichabod and the Headless Horseman are enough to scare children (in an enjoyable way of course) and send a chill down any adults spine.
If you are looking for more scary films that your child might enjoy you may want to read this article on the scary children’s movies that are not Halloween related.