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5 not-so-scary movies to watch with your kids this Halloween

5 not-so-scary movies to watch with your kids this Halloween


Bette Midler as witch Winifred Sanderson from the 1993 film "Hocus Pocus."

We're big Halloween people in my house. The Halloween decorations are out before Oct. 1, and our costumes are decided on and purchased by then, too. 

It's been my favorite holiday since I was a little kid. My birthday is Oct. 3 and every year my mom made sure the Halloween decorations were up and that my cake and wrapping paper followed along the same spooky theme (my all-time favorite birthday cake was an elaborate Frankenstein's monster my mom and dad made all on their own). 

As an adult, I still enjoy dressing up and handing out candy. With kids of my own now, it's been fun to get back out on the streets and go trick-or-treating (though we're taking a break from that this year). My husband and I try and watch a lot of scary movies at night after our kids go to bed. But we've recently looked into a few not-so-scary Halloween movies to watch with our kids, who are also big movie fans like their parents.

So if you're looking for some Halloween movies that are safe to watch with the entire family, check out these ideas below.

1. "Hocus Pocus." OK, who would I even be if I didn't mention my all-time favorite Halloween movie? I loved this as a kid, and to me, it's held up over the years. It's about the Sanderson Sisters, who are brought back from the dead by teenager Max. What follows is a Halloween adventure where Max, his sister, his love interest and a talking cat must try and thwart the witches' evil plot to live forever. It's really funny (because I get some of the "adult" jokes that totally flew over my head as a kid), and everyone in my family loves watching this multiple times every October. (Rated PG; Common Sense Media recommends it for ages 10 and older.)

2. "Curious George: A Halloween Boo Fest." We first watched this when my oldest son, Sam, was 2 and we absolutely loved it. It's still a big hit with Sam, who is 6, and 4-year-old brother, Elliott. I personally think Curious George is the cutest, though, yes, I do wonder why the Man with the Yellow Hat gives him so much freedom. And unlike "Curious George: A Very Monkey Christmas," it has a great story, this one about the legend of a headless scarecrow named No Noggin. The music is also surprisingly catchy. (Not rated; Common Sense Media recommends it for ages 3 and older.)

3. "Hotel Transylvania." My kids thought this movie was hilarious (and bonus: there are two sequels). The premise of the movie focuses Dracula's Hotel Transylvania, a hotel for monsters. And who shows up to stay? A human. Dracula is determined to keep his daughter away from him. It's a story of a father-daughter relationship, and it makes my kids bust out laughing. (Rated PG; Common Sense Media recommends it for ages 7 and older.)

4. "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown." I'm a little biased with this one because, again, it's another beloved movie from my own childhood. It's all about Linus' firm belief in the Great Pumpkin (think Halloween's Santa Claus) and how Linus awaits his arrival in the pumpkin patch. The Peanuts gang also gets into other beloved Halloween activities such as costumes, trick or treating, bobbing for apples and Halloween parties. And while I do love this movie, I had to make sure to tell my kids, "bullying is not OK." There are quite a few bullying incidents and name calling, which might make some parents think twice about this Halloween classic. My kids enjoy the movie in general, and it's a chance for me to point out what bullying is and why it's not OK (and what to do if they see someone being bullied or are being bullied themselves). (Not rated; Common Sense Media recommends it for ages 4 and older.)

5. "The Addams Family." This newest adaptation of this creepy, kooky family is from 2019 and is closer to the original comic strip that debuted in 1938, and you can easily see this movie's close resemblance to the original cartoon. My kids loved this movie. My oldest said, "It's really funny!" There are many laugh-out-loud instances, but parents should know there is still some dark humor and weapon fascination among the kids (much like the '90s live action adaptation, which is PG-13). However, it's still a fun new spin on another classic spooky tale from my own childhood. (Rated PG; Common Sense Media recommends it for ages 7 and older.)

Omaha World-Herald: Momaha

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