halloween

Ashton's Ultimate Non-Scary Halloween Movie Guide

4:25:00 PM

If you're like me, scary movies aren't your thing. That can make navigating the Halloween movie scene a little difficult, but never fear! I've put together a list of the ultimate non-scary movies perfect for a Halloween movie marathon. There's a little something for everyone, I think. If your favorite non-scary Halloween movie didn't make my list, share it in the comments!


1. Hocus Pocus (1993 - Rated PG)
This is my favorite Halloween movie of all time. Who couldn't love a comedy about three witch sisters coming back from the grave after 300 years? Their home has been turned into a museum and the boy they turned into a cat (Thackary Binks, played by Sean Murray) before they were hanged is still alive helping Max (Omri Katz), Dani (Thora Birch) and Allison (Vinessa Shaw) send them back to hell. This movie is sure to have everyone-  from your youngest viewer to the oldest - laughing at Winnifred (Bette Midler), Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker) and Mary's (Kathy Najimi) antics from start to finish.


2. Beetlejuice (1988 - Rated PG)
No Halloween movie list would be complete without Beetlejuice on it. Starring Michael Keaton as Beetlegeuse, it centers around the lives of Adam (Alec Baldwin) and Barbara (Geena Davis) Maitland ... after they've died. The couple continues to reside in their home after death and are forced to share it with the Deetz family. After deciding they can't live with the Deetz's, Adam and Barbara set out to scare them away and eventually hire Beetlegeuse, a crazy poltergeist who wants Lydia Deetz (Winona Ryder) as his bride. Trust me when I say the scariest thing about this movie is Beetlegeuse's moldy hair ... or the part where he turns the stair banister into a snake.

3. Casper (1995 - Rated PG)
This is the perfect Halloween movie for kids. A paranormal expert, Dr. James Harvey (Bill Pullman), and his daughter Kat (Christina Ricci), move into a haunted mansion. Dr. Harvey was hired by the mansion's new owner, Carrigan (Cathy Moriarti), to exorcise the ghosts. Her real goal is to find the treasure hidden in the house. Along the way, Kat and Casper form a special friendship, while his uncles - Stinky, Stretch and Fatso - lead Kat's father astray. It's a story about love, family and not judging someone by their ghostly appearance.

4. The Addams Family (1991 - Rated PG-13) & Addams Family Values (1993 - Rated PG-13)
IMDb calls the Addams clan a "comical Gothic, horror-movie type family." Inspired by the cartoons of Charles Addams, the Addams live with all the trappings of the macabre ... right down to Thing, a severed hand servant. They're also quite wealthy. In the first movie, a scam artist tries to steal the family's money by posing as Gomez's (Raul Julia) lost brother, Fester (Christopher Lloyd). In the second, Fester marries Gomez and Morticia's (Angelica Houston) nanny, Debbie (Joan Cusak), who turns out to be a serial killer out to steal Fester's millions. The comedy is dark, no doubt about it, but the actors, including a young Christina Ricci (plays Wednesday), are superbly talented and manage to find the perfect comedic balance to the macabre. The best part about these movies - other than their silliness, of course - is the underlying theme of family.

5. Corpse Bride (2005 - Rated PG)
Corpse Bride is set back in the 1800s. Victor (voiced by Johnny Depp) is all set to marry Victoria (voiced by Emily Watson) to solve her family's money problems, but when he practices his wedding vows in the woods, Emily, the corpse bride (voiced by Helena Bonham Carter), believes he's married her. While Victor is trapped in the afterlife, a newcomer enters the picture vying for Victoria's hand. There's murder, romance and dancing skeletons. And it's directed by Tim Burton, the Halloween master. How could this movie not make my list?

6. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993 - Rated PG)
Another Tim Burton classic, this movie also made my ultimate Christmas movie guide. Jack Skellington (Danny Elfman) becomes bored with Halloween. When he accidentally discovers a door to Christmas town, he falls in love with the holiday and tries to take it over, kidnapping Santa Claus and nearly ruining the holiday.


7. Dark Shadows (2012 - Rated PG-13)
This Tim Burton film is based on the 1960s-era television series bearing the same name. In the film, an imprisoned vampire named Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp) is set free after 200 years. When he returns to his family estate, he finds it in ruins and his family in need of his protection. Also starring Michelle Pfeiffer, Eva Green and Chloe Grace Moretz, Dark Shadows is quirky and fun to watch, but be warned - there is a lot of blood in this movie so it might not be suitable for everyone.


8. Hotel Transylvania (2012 - Rated PG)
This is the perfect Halloween movie for kids. Dracula (Adam Sandler) runs a resort for monsters. When a human teenage boy stumbles into his world and his daughter, Mavis (Selena Gomez), falls for him, Dracula goes into overprotective dad mode, and what ensues can only be described as typical Adam Sandler antics but in cartoon form.


9. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1999)
This movie may have been made for t.v., but it's a Halloween must! If you're a fan of the story of Ichabod Crane but don't want all the blood that comes with Johnny Depp's portrayal, this is the cinematic version for you. Ichabod moves to Sleepy Hollow and becomes the new school teacher, where he meets and falls in love with Katrina Van Tassel. In an attempt to scare Ichabod away, Katrina's suitor Brom Bones dresses as the headless horseman, but the real specter shows up.

10. Halloweentown (1998 - Rated TV-G)
This movie is the epitome of a Disney Channel movie in the '90s. It's cheesy; it's corny; it's teaches life lessons. Marnie (Kimberly Brown) is a teenage girl who's just found out she's a witch and has to learn how to use her powers before her 13th birthday or lose them forever. But there's a bigger problem - her grandmother Aggie's (Debbie Reynolds) hometown, Halloweentown, is turning normal. It's up to Marnie to save it, and along the way bring her family closer together (in true Disney Channel style).


11. Monster House (2006 - Rated PG)
This animated movie gives a whole new meaning to haunted house. DJ, Chowder and Jenny discover that the house across the street is a living, breathing monster. On Halloween, the trio and monster house engage in an epic battle. This one's fun for all ages.


12. The Craft (1996 - Rated R)
This is one of my favorite suspense movies. It centers around four high school girls who form a coven. The girls get a little spell-happy, though, and are soon cursing their high school enemies. It all comes down to a battle between the newest member, Sarah (Robin Tunney) and the self-appointed leader of the coven, Nancy (Fairuza Balk). This movie has some pretty intense moments and may not be right for young children.


13. Practical Magic (1998 - Rated PG-13)
This is one of my favorite movies to watch any time. Practical Magic is the story of the Owens sisters, Sally (Sandra Bullock) and Gillian (Nicole Kidman), and their magical bond. Despite their vastly-different personalities and views when it comes to love, the sisters share a connection that can't be broken. The sisters must also overcome a family curse that dooms any man they fall in love with to death. Warning: the scene where Sally saves Gillian is a real tearjerker.



14. It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)
This tv movie has been around for nearly 50 years, and it doesn't matter if you're 2 or 102, the Peanuts gang is an instant winner. Charlie Brown and his friends celebrate Halloween in traditional ways while Linus hopes he'll finally be visited by the Great Pumpkin. As one IMDb review says, "The complete lack of scariness makes this the classic feel-good movie of the season."

15. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992 - Rated PG-13)
 This movie is everything you'd expect an early '90s movie to be, namely - cheesy. Starring Kristy Swanson as Buffy, this movie has bad fashion, corny acting and lots of vampires. When Buffy learns it's her destiny to be the Slayer, she teams up with Pike (Luke Perry) to save the world.


16. Teen Witch (1989 - Rated PG-13)
 This movie is the epitome of a bad '80s movie, which is probably why it's gained a cult following. Louise is the least popular girl in school until she discovers she's a witch and starts using her powers to change her fate, including casting a love spell on the captain of the football team. The best part of this movie is the ridiculous choreographed dance at the end.

17. Edward Scissorhands (1990 - Rated PG-13)

This Tim Burton romance-horror-gothic-fairy tale hybrid movie is a must on every Halloween movie watch list. It's the story of Edward (Johnny Depp), an artificial man who has scissors for hands. After living in isolation for all of his life, he moves in with a suburban family and falls in love with their daughter, Kim (Winona Ryder).


18. Ghostbusters I & II (1984 & 1989 - Rated PG)
Any Halloween movie list would be remiss if it didn't include Ghostbusters. It's the sci-fi tale of three paranormal scientists who lose their jobs at a NYC university and decide to start a business trapping ghosts, eventually suiting up to save the Big Apple from a giant marshmallow man. Starring Bill Murray, Dan Akroyd, Harold Ramis and Sigourney Weaver, this comedy is guaranteed to bring a giggle or two to your Halloween. Who ya gonna call?


19. Labyrinth (1986 - Rated PG)
A selfish teenager, Sarah (Jennifer Connelly), accidentally conjures up the Goblin King (David Bowie) while reading a story to her baby brother at bedtime. The Goblin King steals the baby and takes him to his castle in a labyrinth. Sarah has to rescue the baby before midnight or he will turn into a goblin. This movie was directed by Jim Henson so you can expect lots of creepy puppets throughout, as well as ridiculous songs like the one featured above. And I would be remiss if I didn't mention the fact that David Bowie's crotch region gets bigger and bigger as the movie progresses. Oh, and be on the lookout for the random chickens.


20. Scooby-Doo (2002 - Rated PG)
This movie is a live action ode to the cartoon series bearing the same name. After splitting up to pursue their own interests, the Mystery Inc. gang is reunited at an island theme park after two years. Spooky Island lives up to its name and Scooby and the gang must band together to get to the bottom of the mysterious goings-on. Jenkies!

Happy Halloween!

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