Halloween is now deeply ingrained in many cultures as a night of fun. Given it’s roots in all sorts of pagan nastiness, it’s odd that it’s perfectly acceptable to wish someone a Happy Halloween. And because Halloween is fun these days, it’s as much about the kids as anything. Here are a selection of movies that are completely family friendly and can be watched in safety from the comfort of a warm home while the ghosts and ghouls are at work outside…
Monster Family -2017
Directed by: Holger Tappe
Starring: Emily Watson, Jason Isaacs, Nick Frost
Running time: 1 hr 33mins
Whatever life throws at you and how ever many problems you might have, family life is the most important thing you have. Or so Moster Family would have you believe. Frankly, there are better ways of learning this lesson than watching Monster Family. But the kids will enjoy it.
Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween – 2018
Directed by: Ari Sandel
Starring: Wendi McLendon-Covey, Madison Iseman, Jeremy Ray Taylor
Running time: 1hr 30mins
After the success of Goosebumps, it was ineviable that there should be a sequel. The star of the movie is, undoubtedly, the ventriloquists dummy and the cheesy humour works for the younger audience. Look out for the surprise cameo just beofre the titles. No parental guidance required here.
Igor – 2008
Directed by: Tony Leondis
Starring: John Cusack, Eddie Izzard, Steve Buscemi
Running time: 1hr 27mins
Igor is a pleasant departure from the current tidal wave of comic book superheroes. The cast is an excellent blend of US and UK talent; a strong taleent at that. The idea that the mad scientists apprentice wants to be the mad scientist works well and the overall result is a highly entertaining movie.
Hotel Transylvania 3: A Monster Vacation – 2018
Directed by: Genndy Tartakovsky
Starring: Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez
Running time: 1hr 37mins
What started life as a Summer Vacation, the subtitle was changed to be a bit more, er, scary. This isn’t a scary movie. The characters are well formed, the story hangs together and the comedy works for adults and kids alike. Of course, it has a moral to deliver but that’s pretty much unavoidable these days.
Little Monsters – 1989
Directed by: Richard Greenberg
Starring: Fred Savage, Howie Mandel, Daniel Stern
Running time: 1hr 40mins
With more mature content than the other offering in this list, Little Monsters is a much underated movie. There’s a creepy atmosphere to the film which is approprate fopr Halloween and the cruel under current might not be enitrely appropriate for the very young. Otherwise, this is a highly watchable movie.
Dreamworks Spooky Stories – 2009
Directed by: Patrick Graham and others
Starring: Mike Myers, Dean Edwards, Cameron Diaz
Running time: 1hr 7mins
This is a collection of four animated short stories starring the wonderful ogre Shrek and other characters from the Dreamworks series. A second batch was released in 2012. And, being shorts, there’s no concern about attention spans.
The Dark Crystal – 1982
Directed by: Jim Henson, Frank Oz
Jim Henson, Kathryn Mullen, Frank Oz’Starring:
Running time: 1hr 33mins
Jim Henson was the genius creator of the Muppets and Sesame Street. The Dark Crystal is set in an imaginary world a long time ago (sound familiar?) and, while a strong movie in it’s own right, has enjoyed added credibility after the Success of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. At the highest level, it’s a story of Good versus Evil but there is plenty of depth beyond that.
Spookley the Square Pumpkin – 2005
Directed by: Bernie Denk
Starring: Sonja Ball, Craig Francis, Rick Jones
Running time: 0hr 45min
Spookley the Square Pumpkin is short enough to keep your kids attention but long enough to deliver it’s message. Never judge a pumpkin by it’s looks! Actually, the message is important and a good one for kids to learn. There are very few films aimed at the under 5s and this movie deals with the spooky idea of halloween with no fear factor at all.
Super Monsters – 2017
Created by: Avi Arad
Starring: Erin Mathews, Alessandro Juliani, Vincent Tong
Running time: 3 seasons, 38 episodes
Super Monsters is definitely one for the pre-schoolers and is delivered in bite size chunks. The idea is clever and the theme tune is a complete ear-worm. The monsters are decidedly not scary and their adventures are decidedly fun. It would be nice if this series keeps coming and coming.
A Witches Ball – 2017
Directed by: Justin G. Dyck
Starring: Morgan Neundorf, Joey Fatone, Karen Slater
Running time: 1hr 30mins
You can’t beat a little bit of gentle toilet humor when it comes to entertaining kids. A Witches Ball has a running (sorry) toilet joke but there’s none of the violence or scariness that you would normally associate with witches. Whoever heard of talking animals?