Halloween is almost upon us! Does everyone have a costume? It’s normal to buy 5 bags of candy when you don’t get trick or treaters, right? Halloween is one of my favorite holidays and I am really excited for it to come this year. In anticipation, I’ve been watching scary movies over the last few weeks. I have also been watching a lot of Halloween movies that aren’t necessarily scary, but are still in the Halloween spirit. That’s not to say that they are all necessarily kid friendly (each child is different and you should choose appropriately) but are good for when you want something with a Halloween vibe that even your friends who hate horror can enjoy. Or, for my purposes, films I can play during my work pumpkin carving lunch that’s appropriate for everyone. Below are a few of my favorite non-scary Halloween movies.
Shaun of the Dead – Ah, this is one of my favorites. A zombie movie that is funny and surprisingly poignant at times. It also introduced me to the magic that is Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. Even my non-zombie loving friends love this movie.
Hocus Pocus – I only watched this classic Halloween movie for the first time about a year ago. Somehow I had managed to miss it during my childhood. So many of my friends love this movie and I can see why. It’s very funny but also kind of scary (they’re trying to eat children!). Kathy Najimy, Sarah Jessica Parker and Bette Midler are a hilariously wicked and bumbling trio of witches resurrected to wreak havoc on Halloween night. Also features an adorably young Thora Birch.
The Nightmare Before Christmas – Is it a Halloween movie or a Christmas movie? Director Harry Selick puts the argument to rest and says that it’s a Halloween movie. This movie has everything – great story, fantastic stop motion animation and amazing music and songs by Danny Elfman. The imagery can be a bit scary for some but it is still very family friendly. This has definitely become a Halloween classic.
Coraline – This is from the same director of The Nightmare Before Christmas and features the same stop motion animation style. Coraline is based on a Neil Gaiman novel and, which the movie is less dark than the original story, it’s still plenty weird and is a great additional to your Halloween lineup. It’s about a girl who discovers a secret world very similar to her own. At first it seems perfect but she soon realizes that something more sinister is going on and she must escape before she is trapped there forever.
The Addams Family – I don’t think I own this on DVD which is a bummer. I am sure most everyone has seen this movie or at least the TV show on which it’s based. I, myself, never watched the TV show so the movie version is my favorite version. It’s about a very strange family that deals in the macabre. They don’t really fit in anywhere but they really don’t care. It’s really just a story about a very unusual family. I still want to be Wednesday Addams for Halloween on year.
It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown – This really isn’t long enough to be called a movie but it’s an animated special featuring the Peanuts gang on Halloween. One of my favorites to watch with the whole family.
Beetlejuice – I love watching this movie all year round but especially around Halloween. If you haven’t seen this yet, you really must. It’s a classic for a reason and is one of (I think) Tim Burton’s best films. It’s about two ghosts (husband and wife) who die suddenly and having a hard time accepting the afterlife. They haunt their old home as a new family movies in. The daughter (Winona Ryder) can see them and they become unexpected friends. Beetlejuice is a meddling ghost who promises the couple he can get their house back, but it comes at a price… Love this one!
Ghostbusters – This is another one that I’ve seen many, many times and it never gets old. The casting in this is brilliant and the effects still look pretty good, given the time period. They are rebooting this series with an all female cast and I am interesting in seeing what they do with the franchise.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer – This movie is generally looked down upon by Buffy fans. The precursor to the television series, it definitely has its fair share of cheese. However, the basic Buffy storyline is still there and I think it’s really fun and entertaining. It’s a sly commentary on high school politics and there are some great lines in it. Writer Joss Whedon went on to create the Buffy television series afterwards, which occurs after the events of the movie.
Warm Bodies – This is based on the book by the same title and features a world that has succumbed to the zombie apocalypse. Fringe groups still roam, trying to survive and take out any zombies that they can. This is unique in that it tells the story from the zombie’s point of view. They aren’t necessarily mindless brain eaters. when one of them saves a young woman, they start a relationship that may change the fate of their world. This one is very funny and sweet. It’s still a bit gory though so I would save it for friends who are not super squeamish.
That’s my list of non-scary Halloween movies. I could have probably listed about 5 more Tim Burton movies, but you get the picture. What are some of your favorites?