Celebrate Halloween this year with a movie night featuring films for the family. We’ve put together a chronologically ordered list of seven not-too-scary picks for kids that adults can enjoy, too. You’ll also learn how to make the evening even more fun and cozy with comfy sweats and yummy snacks.
Pick up a remastered version of this Halloween classic on DVD or catch it on television. “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” tells the tale of the Peanuts gang — featuring Snoopy, of course — on Halloween. The kids head to the pumpkin patch to await the arrival of the Great Pumpkin and have plenty of fun adventures on the way.
Although the film takes place around Christmastime, Gremlins is a classic for Halloween. The movie is filled with cute, furry critters that transform into monsters if they get wet or are fed after dark. Things don’t get too scary, so kids of most ages can watch. This movie is a blast from the past for most adults, who can likely remember the big hair, shoulder pads, and bulky sweaters of the ’80s.
Another classic movie that’s great for watching on Halloween is “Ghostbusters.” This film is heavy on comedy and not too scary for most kids; it features a green sliming ghost and a giant marshmallow man that’s sure to give youngsters a laugh. Adults can appreciate the comedic one-liners from Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and the rest of the cast; make movie night a double-feature by showing the female-led reboot right after the original.
This movie is based on the classic black-and-white TV show and boasts a cast of stars, including Christopher Lloyd, Angelica Huston, Raul Julia, and Christina Ricci. The standout stars? Thing and Cousin It, of course. This cinematic classic is creepy enough to make it a Halloween classic but tame enough for family viewing with teens.
Another movie that older kids can enjoy is “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” This innovative film from the ’90s combines Christmas with Halloween for a movie you can watch from fall to winter and beyond. It features colorful stop-motion animation and a compelling storyline that’s as spellbinding now as it was when the film first came out.
In this cute animated film, Dracula runs a no-humans-allowed resort for monsters to get away from it all. Hijinks ensue when a human boy infiltrates the hotel and falls for Dracula’s daughter. The movie is big on comedy and features a cast you’ll likely recognize, including Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Andy Samberg, and Selena Gomez.
Jack Black and Cate Blanchett stand out in this film, which is based on the YA book of the same name. The story centers around an orphan who goes to stay with his uncle and discovers a magical world of spellcasters. If your kids love Harry Potter, they’re sure to enjoy this similar story.
You can create a theater-worthy ambiance at home with a little planning. Make sure each family member has a comfortable seat, whether you pile onto the couch or give everyone their own beanbag chair. Some kids may even prefer to lie down on the floor with an oversized blanket and personalized pillow. Fleece blankets offer a soft, cozy feel and plenty of warmth.
It’s not necessary to get dressed up for movie night, although there’s nothing wrong with letting kids wear their costumes if they want to set the Halloween mood. Another idea is to let everyone wear comfy pajamas or their favorite loungewear. Sweatpants and T-shirts are always comfortable, and they come in sizes for all ages. There are also women’s yoga pants that offer a comfortable fit with plenty of stretch. Guys can wear track pants or sweatpants and their favorite graphic tee, or even their most comfortable pair of jeans and a boys polo if they’re not the loungewear type.
When it comes to snacks, popcorn is a must-have. Pop your kernels on the stovetop in a pan or use an air-popper for best results, then add whatever toppings you prefer. Butter or margarine is a classic choice, although you can change it up with caramel or even a drizzle of melted peanut butter. Toss some peanuts and chocolate pieces into salted popcorn for a sweet-and-salty treat. It’s also a good idea to provide healthy snacks, like fruit and vegetable slices with a yogurt-based dip.
If you decide to make movie night a regular occurrence, pick up some canvas storage bins for keeping all your DVDs neat and organized. Let a different member of the family choose the film each week so everyone gets to watch what they want.