I am the biggest wuss when it comes to scary movies. Let me tell you why. When I was six or seven I was laying on our pull out couch with my mom, my sister and her best friend who was there for a sleepover. I can’t remember what we were watching, but it couldn’t of been too scary because my mom is a bigger wuss than me.
Anyways there we were watching a movie eating popcorn when the door to the garage, which was next to the tv, slammed open and out came my father wearing a scary Halloween mask as he started up his chainsaw. Yeah. I know. I think we all peed our pants a little and to this day I get super jumpy if anyone sneaks up on me. Even if someone just comes up behind me at work and if I don’t hear them I shriek. Thanks dad.
Needless to say, I’m so not in to scary movies. I spent months recovering from seeing the Exorcist at a slumber party and It in my band class of all places (but only the first half as too many parents complained- if I had seen that the damned clown was only a spider than I probably would of been okay). I had to walk in middle of the street when walking home from the bus stop because the sewer drains scared the crap out of me.
Recently I decided to watch a scary movie called “Mama” by myself because it had Jessica Chastain and Jaime from Game of Thrones. Bad news. I couldn’t shut stand in a room after shutting the lights of by myself for ages.
So when Halloween comes around, which is one of my favourite holidays, I opt for family friendly movies instead. Here is a list of my favourite films to watch at this time of year. There are some spoilers in there, but most of the films are at least a decade old.
The Worst Witch (1986)
I remember one Halloween I can home from school and was helping my mom put candy into Halloween bags (these made it so all the kids got the same amount so no one would complain- it was also my genius idea!). I kept waiting for my favourite movie to come on tv. Finally it was 6pm and I turned on the channel only to find it wasn’t on! I was devastated (or as devastated a kid can be when their expectations are blown).
I learned a hard lesson that day. TV shows in the late 80’s and early 90’s would advertise their timings as 5pm/6pm. I found out that that meant the programme was on at 5pm Eastern Standard Time and 6pm central standard time that didn’t apply to me in my family room in Florida. So I had missed the bloody thing.
I always think of that when I watch The Worst Witch and I think the deprivation may of caused it to become a favourite of mine. It really is a terrible 80’s film but in a way it makes it better.
It stars Fairuza Balk (who went on to be the evil witch teen in The Craft) as Mildred Hubble, Mrs Garrett from The Facts of Life times 2 (she plays twins- one good, one evil) and best of all- Tim Curry as the Grand Wizard! Oh Tim Curry is awesome in it and the song he sings is perfection.
There is another later version of this film, which is based on a book series of the same name by Jill Murphy, but this one is by far the best. And even better, the full movie is on youtube.
It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown (1966)
I’ve watched this a million times, but I always get it mixed up with the Christmas special in my head. But needless to say, it’s not Halloween without “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown.” I think my favourite is Snoopy as the World War I flying ace battling the Red Barron. Here are the first couple of minutes.
Hocus Pocus (1993)
Okay I’m going to admit that this is one of my favourite films- ever! I remember I went to the cinema to see it with my mom when it came out and boy did I have a crush on the kid that (spoilers) becomes the cat. That same kid is now a chubby cast member of NCIS and that crush is no more.
The movie stars Omri Katz from Eerie, Indiana fame (see the Eerie entry down below) as a city kid who moves to Salem Massachusetts just in time for Halloween. He sneaks into the house of witches, who cursed the town when they were hung in the 1700’s, with his cute love interest and unknowingly unleashes the witches. Little Thora Burch adds the comic element (she’s also in one of my favourite Christmas films ever) along with Kathy Najimi as the clumsy witch sister.
I think the worst part of the movie is when Carrie Bradshaw sings a song to lure out all the children. She totally needs to stick to dating Mr Big and away from Broadway like her husband. But seriously if you’ve never seen Hocus Pocus watch it now! Unfortunately I could only find the trailer on youtube.
Casper is the last movie I remember watching with my father. I don’t know why we watched it, my dad wasn’t really into films, but we had a nice father daughter moment. I always love seeing the young character’s rooms the most and I can remember Christina Ricci’s room in the haunted mansion being pretty awesome.
This is just a cute film to watch that does have a Halloween seen towards the end when (*spoilers*) Casper comes down as a super hot kid that totally didn’t match his personality at all. I found the whole movie but there are annoying subs.
The Lady in White (1988)
This is the only scary movie on my list. And when you watch it to the end its actually not as scary as it seemed. Its kind of more like a thriller instead staring Lucas Haas as a kid who (*spoilers*) gets locked inside a closet in his school on Halloween when he sees the ghost of a little girl and then gets attacked by the girl’s real life murderer. I remember watching this by myself when I was 11 or 12 and being a bit scared, but not too much so you should watch it if you want a good ghost story. And best of all, the whole movie is on youtube.
This movie came out around the time my dad died in September 1998. When Halloween came around I wasn’t in the mood for Trick or Treaters as that was usually my dad’s role so instead I sat in the family room and binge watched whatever I could find on tv.
This movie is bad. It really is, but I think it came at a time when I wanted harmless, non-gory films. Now I think about it fondly and will make an effort to watch it every couple of years. There were several sequels to this movie, which are even worse than the original, but if you want a simple tween kind of film, then this is your movie.
The Monster Squad (1987)
Unlike the other movies in my list, this one isn’t about Halloween. But it does contain all of the characters to make the ultimate monster movie. Dracula leads this rag tag gang of monsters like the mummy, Frankenstein’s monster and the swamp thing that terrorises this small town. Luckily there is another rag tag group of misfit Tweens chock-a-block full of monster facts that are the only ones who see whats going and fight to take back their town.
The heart warming turn by Frankenstein’s monster will warm your heart just long enough for the creepy as hell Dracula to tear it out of you. This movie is the perfect amount of scary for a 13 year-old kid and has loads of 80’s nostalgia for us 30-somethings. Here’s the full movie.
Fun Size (2012)
This is a fun little movie starring Victoria Justice and Tessa from Suburgatory, who are trying to get to a party but lose a little brother in the process. Said little brother teams up with the guy from Silicon Valley and shenanigans ensue. Here’s the trailer:
HALLOWEEN TV SHOWS
Eerie Indiana- America’s Scariest HomeVideos (1991)
Eerie, Indiana was one of my favourite tv shows. I’m pretty sure it was on Saturday mornings, once Saturday started being less about cartoons (I really mourned the loss of Saturday morning cartoons). In this episode Marshall Teller and his best friend, and the only other normal person in town, Simon are heading out to hunt monsters when Marshall’s mother tells them to watch Simon’s little brother as she has to go rescue Mr Teller who’s car broke down.
While watching a monster programme on tv Simon’s brother gets sucked into the show and if he’s in there, where did the mummy go? I loved this show and was really bummed it only lasted a couple of seasons.
Suburgatory Season 2 Halloween Episode (2012)
I love this tv show so much and I’m super bummed it got cancelled. This is a great Halloween episode where Tessa and the gang dress up as Scooby Doo characters. Me and my friend Meg did that our senior year of uni- I was Velma- so it makes me nostalgic. I can’t find the whole episode on youtube, but its totally worth downloading all the episodes and have a binge.