Are you scared of scary movies? Here’s my Halloween not-so-scary must watch movie list
Updated: May 26
When I was little my older sister would make me watch scary movies with her. Not just watch them though; she would make sure I saw every part of them by sitting behind me and holding my eyes open!! To this day I can not sit through “classics” like CandyMan, any Freddy Krueger movies, definitely not watching IT (new or old versions), and you sure as heck won’t find me watching anything with dolls that come to life!!
That being said I LOVE all things Halloween. I love decorating, I love feasts, I love dressing in costumes that are never as elaborate as they are in my head, and I love the tradition of watching a new Halloween movie every night of the month. Really, watching holiday movies is one of my favorite family traditions; I have movie lists for almost every holiday!!!
That being said here is a great (albeit long) list of some of my favorite non-scary halloween movies for everyone in your family. I have broken them into categories such as KIDS, TWEENS/TEENS, and ADULTS. However, my groupings are not necessarily based on the movie rating so please use your best judgement on what works for you and your family. I hope this list brings some new favorites into your holiday line-up!!!
Casper – 1995 –live action– this by far is one of my personal favorites. I had one of my first crushes (how you doin Devon Sawa) from this movie and I just love Christina Ricci. Its cute, not too scary, and who doesn’t love Casper the friendly ghost?!
Frankenweenie – 2012 –stop motion– I love a good Tim Burton film so you’ll find quite a few in this list. This is an adorable movie of a boy who lost his dog and brings him back to life. If you want some early Frankenstein fans this is a great introduction! Movie tip: this is a full black and white film.
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown – 1966 –animated– at 25 minutes this is a great short film. Perfect for right before bed, or if you want something to help calm the kiddos down after a fun filled night of trick/trunk or treating.
Scooby Doo and the Ghoul School – 1988 –animated– I remember watching this movie when I was little and it seriously, in my opinion, is the best Scooby doo movie. Scooby Doo and Shaggy are hired as gym teachers at a girls finishing school; only to find out the girls are the daughters of some very famous monsters.
Hotel Transylvania – 2012 –animated– really any of the HT movies , make it a marathon!!! Our favorite by far though would have to be HT3.
The Haunted Mansion – 2003 –live action– such an adorable family film. I would have to say my personal favorite parts are the scenes with Jennifer Tilly, she plays Madame Leota. I won’t ruin the surprise of her character but it is hilarious.
Halloweentown – 1998 –live action– for us Disney Original Movie fans this is just one of those super favorites!! Another set of films that could easily be a marathon. The original follows Marnie, a girl who finds out she is a witch and follows her grandma to halloweentown; where she learns her family has been in an epic fight against the evil looming there.
Paranorman – 2012 –stop motion– we just watched this for the first time last year and it is easily a favorite. Norman can speak to the dead and has to end a witch’s curse all while being grounded.
Where the Wild things Are – 2009 –live action– a beautiful adaptation of the book. If your child is a fan of the story maybe give this a go!
Monster House – 2006 –animated– we LOVE this movie!! Super well made with a creepy old house that’s alive and a not so hidden good message at the end.
Coraline – 2009 –stop motion– I will admit this one is probably the “scariest” in this category. It starts simple enough, Coraline finds herself a secret door that leads her to a better version of her current life (so she thinks) and it just gets creepier and more sinister as the story progresses.
Corpse Bride – 2005 –stop motion– one of my favorite musical numbers is the morbidly funny “Remains of the Day”.
Monsters, Inc. – 2001 –computer animated– who DOESN’T love this tale of Mike Wasowski, Sully, and the adorable Boo? Fun Fact: every time my son watches the scene where boo is in the bathroom, he sings the same song. Apparently he knows the words but I still can’t seem to grasp them!!
Kubo and the Two Strings – 2016 –stop motion– a wonderfully epic tale of Kubo, a story telling, magic origami weaving little boy and his travels to stay hidden from his grandfather. Truly, the story is much more engaging and rich than that and the artistry of the animation is breathtaking.
Little Monsters – 1989 –live action– A little boy befriends the monster under his bed, until all their mischievous adventures start turning the little boy into a monster as well! Super fun movie with a little Fred Savage and Howie Mandel.
The Dark Crystal – 1982 –puppetry– This movie was made two years before I was even born but I remember watching it around 8 years old and just being so wrapped up in it. I am thoroughly enjoying the prequel series on Netflix too!
Edward Scissorhands – 1990 – This really is a cult classic for me. My family and I love this movie about an animated human being with scissors for hands. Starring Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder, seriously such a good movie about acceptance too.
The Addams Family -1991 – I’m a huge Anjelica Huston fan and I just love her portrayal of Morticia in this adaptation. Who can forget Wednesdays Thanksgiving pageant fiasco: so hey it’s also a holiday crossover movie!! Bonus, the new animated movie comes out this month too!!
Ghostbusters – 2016 – Now don’t hate me for not putting the original 1984 up here because this franchise is definitely marathon worthy ; however I feel this adaptation was super underrated! Its hilarious, and the subtle comedic genius of some of today’s funniest comedians was not given as much appreciation as they deserved.
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial – 1982 – if you have never seen this movie, you yourself must be an extra-terrestrial. A classic in any form and a must watch for everybody at one point in their lives. Also, Drew Barrymore couldn’t be more adorable; be prepared with tissues at the end though!
The Witches -1990 – I’m not entirely convinced this movie didn’t scar me in some way but I LOVE this Roald Dahl reimagining. I just found out that Octavia Spencer will be playing the Grandmother in the 2020 adaptation and Anne Hathaway will be playing the Grand Witch!!
Labyrinth – 1986 – if you were to ask my husband what my favorite movie of all time was he would probably say Labyrinth. This movie is fantastical, funny, and that ballroom scene?! Plus, David Bowie is probably the hottest he has ever been as the Goblin King.
Hocus Pocus – 1993 – Now if you were to ask my husband what my favorite HALLOWEEN movie was, he would most definitely say this! I quote this movie all the time and just like Hallmark will play ELF every other day during Christmas; you will almost always see this movie on at my house the whole month of October.
Teen Witch – 1989 – I’m obsessed with movie musicals and this hidden gem has some great songs along with its very predictable storyline about a teenager who finds a centuries old amulet and develops powers on her sixteenth birthday. I was obsessed with this movie and would always sing “TOP THAT”. Also, if by chance your a fan of Poltergeist you’ll get a kick out of seeing Zelda Rubinstein as Madame Serena!! I do believe there is very mature seduction scene so it might be worth a viewing to see if you need to censor for your children.
The Worst Witch – 1986 – before I ever discovered the world of Harry Potter; I would follow the misadventures of Mildred Hubble and her time at Miss Cackle’s International Academy for Witches. Also, Tim Currys halloween song was CGI genius at the time!! There is also a current series of this on Netflix.
The Nightmare Before Christmas – 1993 – this is undoubtedly one of my husbands favorite movies and as an added bonus a Christmas crossover! If you only ever watch one Tim Burton film I would recommend this one.
A Series of Unfortunate Events – 2019 – So this is the Netflix series and it is worth the marathon/binge session for the whole season; if you prefer adaptations that are closely related to original canon material. However, if you “ain’t got time for that” you can always watch the Jim Carey-Meryl Streep version, I just don’t think the movie is as good as the Neil Patrick Harris series. Fun Fact the opening credits and lyrics to the theme song change for each episode!
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – 2016 – I absolutely love Eva Green, maybe it’s the dark raspy voice or just the way she moves her mouth when speaking….I’m not sure. Sometimes our peculiarities are the things that make us most strong and while this movie delves into the fantastical element of that; the sentiment rings true for everyday life!
The Craft – 1996 – What happens to Mildred Hubble when she grows up! JUST KIDDING; if you follow my writings on MMB you’ll know I am a huge fan of this movie. Seriously, love all the actresses in this movie but Fairuza Balk was definitely a scene stealer.
Beautiful Creatures -2013 – so the movie didn’t feel as flushed out as the novel but if your a fan of the Twilight series I would still say give this a go. Typical teen fantasy movie, boy meets girl, girl has super powers, girl must choose between good or evil on her sixteenth birthday. What is it about the sixteenth birthday?
Warm Bodies – 2013 – as a whole I am not a fan of the zombie genre but this was one of the first movies that drew me in. Maybe because I am a rom-com fan and this really is the perfect premise for romantic comedy fodder.
Fun Size – 2012 – If your kids are Victoria Justice fans then this is a no brainer. The hilarious misadventures of a sister who loses her little brother on the night of halloween. A group of friends on an adventure and outlandish hijinx ensue: throw in some teen angst a few “love” stories and its a perfect mix of teenage drama.
Practical Magic – 1998 – Another film that plays pretty much all month long in my house. I love the scene where little sally dreams up her perfect man, because “if he is just a dream then he can never be real”. Just another example of being careful what you put in the universe, AKA be careful what you wish for!!!
Rocky Horror Picture Show – 1975 – I LOVE THIS MOVIE!!! This is the movie I wait to watch until the day of or day before halloween every year. The 2016 version with Victoria Justice and Laverne Cox was good it just didn’t have the same……electricity as the Susan Sarandon and Tim Curry version. I have the sing-along interactive DVD but have yet to actually see a live production of this during halloween!!
Buffy the Vampire Slayer – 1992 – Now Joss Whedon who wrote this movie would go on to remake it into the amazing TV series starring Sarah Michelle Gellar (which I have binged 3 separate times in its entirety) because he didn’t like the direction the movie went in. However, this movie was so freaking funny and kitsch and had a good character arc for Buffy; I still really just love it.Especially the overly long hilarious death in the stairwell scene! Cracks me up every time.
Shaun of the Dead – 2004 – again not a super fan of the zombie genre but my husband dragged me to see this film. I am a fan of British comedy ( I think I’m starting to see a pattern on how my husband gets me to watch “his” movies!) and this movie pokes fun at the zombie genre but still holds true to the zombie movie laws.
Red Riding Hood – 2011 – Amanda Seyfried kicked this roles butt but the rest of the movie was a bit “meh”. Its on my list because who doesn’t love a good ‘B’ movie?!! It’s a great no-brainer, veg on the couch, snuggle under a blanket, eating popcorn and pizza movie. It’s got a few twists and we all like to play the “I know who it is” game on date/movie night!
Interview with a Vampire – 1994 – yes, yes, and more yes!! Smoking hot and long haired: Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt in their prime! Based on the Ann Rice novel of the same name (no movie adaptation is better than the book) this movie was well written, directed well, and had an amazing cast!
Zombieland – 2009 – I think I am a closet not so closeted Woody Harrilson fan! This movie was just genuinely entertaining and funny. The supporting cast of Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin, and Jesse Eisenburg were just as fantastic. Are you excited for the sequel this month?!
Clue – 1985 – a classic case of whodunnit! Murder mystery at its finest! With it’s first theatrical release movie theaters were sent one of 3 endings, so you may not have had the same viewing experience as someone in another state or even another town! How cool was that?!!
Death Becomes Her – 1992 – what do you get when you mix Bruce Willis, Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn? Comedic genius! This movie was so funny and actually won an Academy award for special effects.
Beetlejuice – 1988 – there isn’t a single part of this movie that isn’t iconic. From the sets, to the scenes, the costumes, and the make-up. It is in my opinion a perfect movie.
What We Do in the Shadows – 2014 – right: so when my husband sat me down to watch this with him I was like “what in the hell is this mess”; but this is one of those movies that is so off kilter that it doesn’t hit you how funny it is until after its over. That may be later that night or in my case a few weeks later when I keep replaying scenes in my head and laughing out loud! The premise is a film crew is granted access to follow four vampire roommates. I promise, just give it a go.
Little Shop of Horrors – 1986 – ya’ll didn’t think I would let a whole list of movies go by with out and actual musical, did you? A rock musical comedy horror film……..that’s gold people!! The musical scores are great, the performances are hilarious and at times over the top, but I’m ok with that and you should be too. Just this once, at least.
Nothing But Trouble – 1991 – so you may never have heard of this movie; it’s a bit absurd, a bit dark, and kind of weird. If you really enjoy things that make you go hmmmmmm; then this off kilter movie may be for you. Its so terrible that it just may be…………….. a good wtf did I just watch halloween classic!
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter – 2012 – I didn’t think I would like this movie but I surprisingly did. It was filmed a bit dark for my overall liking (like how they did the Underworld movies, like can I get a spotlight somewhere jeez) but the films vampiric take on the political rise of Abraham Lincoln felt refreshing and interesting to me.
The Goonies – 1985 – not much more can be said except it’s a CLASSIC. However, I did just recently learn that in 2017, the film was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being ” culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”. So there’s that!
The Number 23 – 2007 – a Jim Carey psychological thriller? Yes, this is one of those films where afterwards you swear you start seeing the same thing for like the next week and you trip balls!
Pans Labyrinth – 2006 – This movie introduced me to Guillermo del Torro and has freaked me the ‘F’ out ever since. It’s like Alice in Wonderland, if Alice in Wonderland was in the “Upside Down”.
Get Out – 2017 -There is so much to say and not enough space to say it so I’ll leave you with this paltry attempt: this horror film is hella creepy and has so many wtf moments. You’ll be on the edge of your seat screaming at your screen.