Violence, gore and horror is not everybody’s cup of tea. Some people shriek at all the jump scares, cowering behind their blanket, only peeking out when they think the ghost has gone. However, even us scaredy-cats deserve to watch some fun Halloween films! These movies stray away from the terror and trepidation of a usual horror, and embrace the wacky, goofy, and completely eccentric parts of this spooky holiday instead!
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Possibly one of the only movies that is both a Halloween and Christmas film at the same time – this animated adventure has all the usual spookiness we expect from a Tim Burton flick. Jack Skellington is the king of Halloween Town who uncovers the holiday of Christmas, and wants to celebrate it in his own, eerie way. Because it features a hybrid of holidays, The Nightmare Before Christmas is an acceptable film to watch all the way to the end of the year.
Practical Magic (1998)
The perfect Halloween movie for a rom-com lover, Practical Magic is about sisterly bonds rather than spooky stories. Starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman as sisters, who also happen to be witches. It’s not all double, double, toil and trouble – the sisters have to fight a family curse in order to fall in love. With Stevie Nicks headlining the soundtrack, Practical Magic has the cosiest autumnal atmosphere.
Hotel Transylvania (2012)
One of the best fun Halloween movies to watch if you’re in the company of children, Hotel Transylvania is an animated comedy film involving Count Dracula (voiced by Adam Sandler) and his teenage daughter (Selena Gomez) who run a hotel for monsters. That is until a bumbling human named Jonathan (Andy Samberg) accidentally stumbles upon this monstrous hotel, threatening to reveal this well-kept secret to the world. If this wasn’t enough for Drac, he also has to keep his daughter from falling in love with the human. Hotel Transylvania is a fun film for all ages, poking fun at many tropes and conventions of usual Halloween movies.
A wacky, fantasy comedy that has cemented itself as a Halloween classic, Beetlejuice is another Tim Burton flick about a couple who have recently died and are tricked into releasing the dreaded Beetlejuice, played by Michael Keaton. Beetlejuice’s soundtrack also became a firm Halloween favourite after its release, with songs such as ‘Jump in the Line (Shake Senora)’ and ‘Day-o (Banana Boat Song)’ guaranteed to play at any Halloween party – with the dance moves to match!
Young Frankenstein (1974)
Young Frankenstein is guaranteed to make you howl with laughter, starring the brilliant Gene Wilder, it parodies famous horror films and turns their clichés upside down. The film centres on Wilder as the young Frankenstein, a descendant Mary Shelley’s famous protagonist, however he doesn’t learn from his ancestor’s mistakes. Shot entirely in black and white, Young Frankenstein has the atmosphere and ambience of a classic horror, but all the jokes too!
Hocus Pocus (1993)
This Disney cult classic is an amalgamation of fantasy, comedy and horror, but is suitable for the entire family. Starring Sarah Jessica Parker, Bette Midler and Kathy Najimy as a trio of witches who have been resurrected on Halloween. Whilst the film didn’t make much of an impression in cinemas in 1993, this story of sorceresses became a Halloween cult classic after home video sales skyrocketed around October 31st each year. Now famed for its iconic outfits and glamorous malevolency, there might even be a Hocus Pocus sequel arriving on Disney+ in the future!
Gremlins, along with Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, breathed life into a new genre of film. With parents unhappy about the amount of violence in each movie, Steven Spielberg suggested the answer of a ‘PG-13’ rating, which consequently created a new style of film aimed at teenagers. They were no longer resigned to ‘PG’ children’s films, longing for those ‘R’ rated flicks that they were too young to be allowed into. With just enough horror and violence for a 15-year-old, Gremlins is perfect for this list of Halloween films that aren’t too scary!
Let us know in the comments what your favourite fun Halloween film is!
Caitlin Hall is a freelance writer who is currently studying for an English Literature degree at the University of York. A film enthusiast whose favourite film is Zodiac (2007), primarily because she loves Jake Gyllenhaal. More of her reviews can be found at https://caitsfilms.wordpress.com and her twitter account is @caitonfilm.