Halloween is almost upon us, and with the day of spooks and trick or treating falling on an unlucky year, there’s every chance you’ll struggle to find family appropriate films on the TV this year. Luckily you can prepare and bring together a collection of scary classics which will not frighten your kids (or you) too much.
So what kind of films do you think are suited for younger audiences? Well, over the years even films which have been targeted towards children have been accused of being too scary, even for adults. It all depends on the age group recommended, and the sensitivity of each individual.
For those of you who want to keep with the theme of Halloween without losing sleep, our list of ten Halloween movies should put you on the right track. Invite all your friends over to hang out for a cheap Halloween movie night-in.
Witches, un-dead corpses, wacky families, ghosts, treasure hunting and talking skeletons. We’ve got it all covered.
Hocus Pocus: Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Majimy are the Sanderson Sisters, witches who were hung 300 years ago for crimes against children. Brought back to life by an idiot teenager in a bid to scare his little sister and impress a girl, the reborn threesome have until sunrise to brew a potion and suck the life out of the children of Salem. If only the three kids and their talking cat hadn't stolen the book which contains the dreaded recipe. I still shiver a little when Sarah Sanderson flies over Salem singing “Come little children I'll take thee away...” but for a Halloween movie, Hocus Pocus is pretty tame.
The Witches: The Witches is based on the book of the same name by Roald Dahl, and tells the story of a young boy who moves in with his Norwegian grandmother when his parents are killed. While on vacation, he is horrified to discover that a whole congregation of witches have gathered in their hotel, and have been given instructions by the Grand High Witch (Anjelica Huston) to turn the world's children into mice. The last of Roald Dahl's works to be adapted before his death, (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The BFG came before), it's a very faithful adaptation. Warning: The Grand High Witch is pretty gruesome to look at.
The Nightmare Before Christmas: It's difficult to know when to watch Tim Burton's classic. At Halloween, over Christmas, or in between? Jack Skellington is the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town, but he's bored of the same routine. When he stumbles across Christmas Town, he falls in love with it and tries to share the Christmas Cheer with his fellow ghouls. They just don't understand though. There's only one solution: kidnap Sandy Claws and take over Christmas for one year. A stop-motion fairytale of sorts, and the songs are a delight to sing along to.
Corpse Bride: Another stop-motion wonder from Tim Burton. Johnny Depp voices Victor, a man of the 19th century who has agreed to marry his Victoria at the insistence of his parents. Practising his vows in the woods at night, he places the ring on a branch, only to realise it's actually the finger of the Corpse Bride. She takes him away from the land of the living and into the underworld. Can Victor escape back to the real world and back to his fiancée? Kids will love this spooky animation. Helena Bonham Carter voices the Corpse Bride.
Casper: A real classic starring Christina Ricci, about a young girl named Kat who moves into an abandoned mansion and befriends a ghost called Casper. All Casper wants is a friend away from his insane uncles Fatso, Stretch and Stinky, but when Ms Carrigan inherits his house, she employs a 'ghost psychiatrist' to rid the place of the pesky ghosts. Kat is lonely, having been dragged across the country by her father who is in search of her mother's ghost, and finds a kindred spirit in Casper. I dare you not to sniffle a little at this one.
Beetlejuice: The last of the Tim Burton movies on this list, Barbara and Adam Maitland are killed in a car crash and find themselves trapped as ghosts in their farmhouse in New England. Things are peaceful until the loud and disruptive Deetz family buy their house. Too harmless to scare the intruders away from their home, they decide to enlist the help of a much scarier ghost by the name of Beetlejuice. Just say his name three times and he'll appear. Geena Davis and Winona Ryder star in this 80s classic.
Ghostbusters: “I ain't afraid of no ghosts!” Ghostbuster is possibly the classic to end all classics. Which is hilarious because there are so many ways this movie could have been a joke. Bill Murray and co are scientists who have been kicked out of their jobs in a New York university. So they decide to set up as a unique ghost removal service called Ghostbusters. Accidentally stumbling across a gateway to another dimension that will release pure evil upon the city, the Ghostbusters must save the Big Apple. Sigourney Weaver co-stars.
The Addams Family: Possibly the wackiest family of all time, the Addams family are brought to life by the likes of Anjelica Huston, Christina Ricci and Christopher Lloyd. When Gomez and Morticia Addams' accountant needs money to pay off Mrs Craven, he sets her and her son Gordon on the wealthy Addams family, convinced Gordon has an uncanny likeness to the long lost brother Fester. Can the false Fester gain them access to the vault and steal the Addams fortune undetected? The sequel the Addams Family Values is also pretty hysterical.
The Goonies: Steven Spielberg's The Goonies is an 80s classic that all children should see at least once. And when better than Halloween? After finding a pirate treasure map which will lead them to 'One-Eyed' Willy's hidden fortune, a group of misfits which include Sean Astin and Josh Brolin go in search of the buried treasure in hopes of saving their neighbourhood. Shame the entrance to the treasure cavern is under the house of the evil Mama Fratelli and sons. Booby traps, skeletons and magic await them.
The Harry Potter series: In all honesty, you could watch any of the eight Harry Potter movies, and they'd be in-keeping with Halloween. Harry Potter discovers he is a wizard on his eleventh birthday and that he has been accepted into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Over the course of the next seven years, the boy wizard alongside his best friends Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley, battle basilisks, death eaters, escaped criminals, werewolves, trolls, giant spiders, the Ministry of Magic and Harry's arch nemesis himself, Lord Voldemort. Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson star.