Tom Santilli is a professional film critic, TV personality, host and the Executive Producer of Movie Show Plus.
Halloween is right around the corner, but there are several movies available to watch this October that won't scare the bejeezus out of your and/or your kids. It's tough enough to find family-friendly films in general, let alone Halloween-themed ones.
Well we've got you covered, with 13 movies that would be a perfect treat — no tricks — for the whole family this Halloween.
But be warned, these are just suggestions and some of the films on this list do come with a PG-13 rating, so if you're looking for the perfect film for your infant or super little ones, just beware and use your own judgment.
Now, here are 13 hauntingly perfect movies for your family to enjoy this Halloween (in no particular order):
1. "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" (1966) (Not Rated)
It's the staple Halloween film now celebrating its 50-year anniversary, and it still holds up as one of the best. Sure it's technically a TV special and sure it's only 25 minutes long, but how do you have a family-friendly Halloween movie list and not include this?
2. "Bedknobs and Broomsticks" (1971) (Rated G)
One of the best, and most over-looked, of the Walt Disney collection of films, this movie mixes live-action and animation and is an absolute delight. Angela Lansbury and David Tomlinson star in this whimsical musical adventure that features spells, sorcerers and magic amulets.
3. "ParaNorman" (2012) (Rated PG)
This may be one of the best animated Halloween films of all-time, yes, even over some of the others on this list. Not for super-small children, "ParaNorman" still qualifies as family-friendly fare, since the animation takes the edge off of what is otherwise some pretty scary stuff. Read the full review here.
4. "The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad" (1949) (Rated G)
It's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and "The Wind in the Willows" as told by Disney, and featuring Mr. Toad, the character that inspired the now defunct but wildly popular "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride" at Walt Disney World. Your kids will be frightened just enough by the headless horseman, and old Ichabod Crane, voiced by Bing Crosby, in this animated classic.
5. "The Addams Family" (1991) (Rated PG-13)
Based on the popular TV show, the movie version was a surprise hit when it was released back in 1991. It features the late Raul Julia as Gomez opposite Anjelica Huston as Morticia and Christopher Lloyd as Uncle Fester. The scariest part of this movie might be when you listen to the soundtrack, which featured the smash-hit song "The Addams Family Groove," by MC Hammer.
6. "Ernest Scared Stupid" (1991) (Rated PG)
Good ole' Jim Varney...they don't make 'em like that anymore. Ernest P. Warrel accidentally releases an evil troll from the ground and then, as he does, tries to set everything straight again. This is definitely not the creme of the Ernest movie crop, but it's always good to keep the memory of Ernest alive. KnowwhutImean?
7. "Hocus Pocus" (1993) (Rated PG)
Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy are three witches that are — what else? — hell-bent on destroying the world and turning everything evil. It's a comedic tale of witchcraft, meant for consumption by children and adults alike, and it's become a cult-classic over the years. It's popularity led to a sequel, Hocus Pocus 2, released in 2022.
8. "The Nightmare Before Christmas" (1993) (Rated PG)
Man, the early 90s were like a Golden Age of the family Halloween film. Tim Burton's classic story (actually directed by Henry Selick) has Jack Skellington, the King of Halloween Town, discovering nearby Christmas Town, and an unexpected PG-rated nightmare ensues.
9. "Beetlejuice" (1988) (Rated PG-13)
We all know how to summon Michael Keaton's iconic, bizarre, magically weird being from the beyond...just repeat his name three times. There is an actual sequel in the works for this PG-13 rated movie, so many families will want to catch up on this one soon anyways.
10. "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" (2005) (Rated G)
British Clay-mation buffoon Wallace and his savvy dog, Gromit, are huge overseas, but it wasn't until this film landed stateside that they became a global success. This movie actually won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature, and well-deserved.
11. "The Monster Squad" (1987) (Rated PG-13)
Any kid growing up in the 80s remembers "The Monster Squad," where a group of teenage boys have to take down iconic horror monsters like Dracula, The Mummy and Wolfman. Sure, there are some moments of bad language and even more overtones of political incorrectness when watched again nearly 30 years later, but this is mostly a Halloween movie that young kids and tweens will love.
12. "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" (2001) (Rated PG)
It's the greatest fantasy story of our time, so why not relive the series from the beginning this Halloween? The movies become increasingly dark, with more adult themes and scary moments as they go on, but this — the first film in the series — is age appropriate.
13. "Arsenic and Old Lace" (1944) (Not Rated)
In the mood for a real Halloween classic? Seek out this Frank Capra gem, starring Cary Grant, who plays a drama critic who on Halloween, discovers that his new bride's entire family is completely insane. There is some drinking and several murders, but nothing that is shown on-screen. If you've never seen this, please make this part of your Halloween plans. This — and pretty much every movie on this list — is now available on Amazon Instant Video or on other On Demand services.