While scary costumes, spooky crafts and ghostly activities all have their place at this time of year, sometimes the best thing you can do is stock the kids up with tasty seasonal treats and sit them down in front of their favourite Halloween movies.
Remember, the trick (to get the treat) here is to find something spooky, but not so scary that it’ll give them nightmares!
It would be plain rude to start a list of Halloween movies without going straight for the quintessential seasonal classic that is Hocus Pocus. Starring Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker, Hocus Pocus sees a trio of witchy sisters brought back from the dead to wreak havoc on an unsuspecting world.
Hocus Pocus is the perfect blend of laughs, scares and movie magic. It’s just dark enough to keep adults excited, while kids will delight in the mild peril and overall spookiness. The show stopping moment? Bette Midler’s enchanting performance of “I Put A Spell On You”!
Speaking of witches, Roald Dahl’s classic book The Witches was recently made into a film starring Anne Hathaway. But for those of us of a certain vintage, 1990’s version will never be beaten.
Anjelica Huston steals the show here as the superbly evil Grand High Witch who has hatched a sinister scheme to get rid of every last child in Britain. She’s truly terrifying, even before she transforms into her ‘real witch’ form! The make up and puppetry are an absolute triumph of special effects.
The Addams Family
They’re creepy and their kooky, mysterious and spooky. They’re all together ookie, the Addams family! There have been many versions of the Addams Family down through the years, but the favourite for many is the 1991 movie featuring Anjelica Huston (she’s got serious Halloween game!), Raul Julia and Christopher Lloyd (and its, arguably, even better sequel, The Addams Family Values).
What makes the Addams Family movies so much fun is just how grim they truly are. Kids will adore the spooky frolics, while their parents will howl at the moon with laughter when they hear some of the more dark jokes that will fly over the kids’ heads.
They really are a scree-um!
Director Genndy Tartakovsky, the genius visual storyteller who brought us such classic cartoons as Dexter’s Lab and The Powerpuff Girls, turned his hand to making a kids-friendly movie about classic horror characters. The result was Hotel Transylvania, a story about a place where all sorts of friendly monsters can gather, away from the prying eyes of us humans, and have a great big party!
Starring the vocal talents of Adam Sandler (he makes a surprisingly good Dracula!), Selena Gomez and many more, Hotel Transylvania features a blend of wacky characters that kids will love and enough classic horror references for us old timers to enjoy. The movie was so good that it got sequels, short spin-offs and a tie-in TV series, so there’ll be plenty for your kids to binge on!
Dracula: Dead And Loving It
Speaking of funny vampires, older kids are bound to get a kick out of Mel Brooks’ Dracula: Dead And Loving It. A fascial take on Bram Stoker’s classic novel, Dead And Loving It features Lesley Nielsen on top form as our famous Count, while Peter MacNicol puts in an amazing turn as an utterly insane Reinfield!
The playful, yet risqué (don’t worry, it’ll go way over the heads of your smallies), style of humour will delight youngsters who might think they’re too old to watch Halloween movies with their parents.
Jurassic World: Battle at Big Rock
For those kids (smaller versions of adults) who love dinosaurs, but have maybe outgrown their Land Before Time DVDs, Battle at Big Rock is a short Jurassic World film that can be used to test the water to see if they’re ready to join their parents watching the big Jurassic Park films.
Filmed here in Ireland, Battle at Big Rock sees a peaceful camping trip rudely interrupted when a herd of dinosaurs are attracted to the campfire. It’s all “oooh, ahhh” at first, as we watch a baby Nasutoceratops (a ‘cousin’ of the famous Triceratops) frolicking about, but the running and screaming begins when a hungry Allosaurus (imagine a T. rex that had a REALLY bad day) arrives on the scene – he is in no mood to share the chicken wings, that’s for sure!
Jurassic World: Battle at Big Rock can be watched in full on YouTube, or below:
Whatever you decide to watch, be sure to enjoy a terrifyingly good time with your younglings!