Halloween is my favorite holiday. I love that it’s non-religious, non-family based holiday (not that I’m particularly against either) so it feels a little more free and exciting than, say, Christmas or Easter or something. You’re allowed to go a little crazy on Halloween. Although, if I’m being truthful, the extent of my craziness is essentially engaging in 31 nights of horror, or 31 nights of Halloween, leading up to the 31st of October. It’s a month long movie marathon, and I try not to repeat too many movies. As such, I think I’ve come up with at least your first 12 days of horror movie recommendations!
My recommendations range from appropriate for small kids to adult sized kids. There are also recommendations for people who want to engage in the Halloween spirit, but also would prefer their horror cut with a little humor. I’d love to hear what other movies you think could be added!
Halloween Movie Recommendations: Scary Movies for Kids
This Disneyified version of the Washington Irving classic is more fun than scary, making it perfect for younger kids. The actually chase at the end still has some funny elements (Ichabod sitting backwards, etc) so it’s easy to keep kids from being overwhelmed by using your own reactions.
Just a note: when you search for this one, it’s technically listed as The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad!
Originally a book by Ray Bradbury, this movie follows 4 kids who learn about the history of their costumes and that of Halloween. Educational and animated for kids who need a little more sustenance than Bing Crosby-singing Ichabod.
New take on an old classic, this revamped Addams family continues to normalize the spooky stuff, and even takes it head-on with Wednesday dabbling in *gasp* normalcy.
Coraline might a controversial choice for a list of horror movies appropriate for kids. But to be fair, it’s really more like a fairy tale than a horror movie. Another book-based pick (from Neil Gaiman), Coraline teeters on the brink between kids and adolescence.
Funny Horror Movies
Funny zombies might be played out in 2021, but not in the early parts of the last decade. Shaun of the Dead also holds up much better than other efforts, mostly due to Simon Pegg’s 100% commitment to never letting on how silly things are getting.
It’s also an FX series, but my recommendation is the original New Zealanad-based foursome (Petyr counts, right?). It’s vampires but shot like a reality TV series.
Chances are someone has recommended it to you, and you might have thought “Can it really be that funny?” The answer is yes, yes it can be, and it is.
Tucker & Dale does a great job usurping the more inane tropes that make horror movies work. Cabin in the Woods takes it up a notch. Like Coraline, this might be a controversial pick as a “funny horror movie” but there’s enough lessening of the action that it gives viewers a lot to enjoy instead of straight gore.
Horror Movies to Watch on Halloween
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
If I were to choose my embodiment as a Peanuts character… It wouldn’t be Linus, but I can still love the earnestness that Linus brings to the story. Another fun, classic watch for the whole fam on Halloween night.
Hocus Pocus is the movie of my childhood. I adore it so much, and love that it’s become such a cult classic. Once again, based on a single night, it’s a great family watch (albeit for slightly older kids).
Sometimes you stumble across a film that didn’t do great in theatres or went to straight to video, but you check it out and it’s so so good? That’s this one for me. It’s really a series of intertwined vignettes about a town on Halloween, and it’s fun although definitely darker and gorier than anything else on the list so far.
The ultimate Halloween night movie, in my eyes, at least! John Carpenter’s thriller slasher horror is moody and evocative, and I love it so much.