Tales of magic, adventure, and romance. Each of these films is perfect for a chilly fall afternoon. October is the perfect time to watch these flicks with the whole family.

October is for scary stories and picnics in the moonlight. October is the month of Halloween, when we transform into princesses, heroines, witches, mummies, astronauts, superheroes, and more. It’s a month full of fun, and for many little ones, it’s their favorite month of the year. 

In the days leading up to Halloween, I love snuggling up with my kids on the couch with a bucket of popcorn (or my beloved Takis) and enjoying a Halloween-themed movie. There are so many great options, like lighter films like The Goonies (1985) or Gremlins (1984), or more chilling options like Beetlejuice (1988) or The Addams Family (1991). I understand how hard it can be to choose, so I’ll share some of my favorite spooky movies to enjoy with the whole family.

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

This animated stop-motion film directed by Tim Burton is beloved by younger and older crowds alike. The story follows Jack Skellington, the king of Halloween Town, in his efforts to celebrate Christmas. The story is entertaining for children, but also has a strong message about our search for identity, self-acceptance and romance. The animation, characters, and soundtrack make this film a must for the month of October.

Where to watch: Disney+

Hocus Pocus (1993)

This classic Disney feature film focuses on the Sanderson sisters and their adventures terrorizing the small town of Salem. It’s a film full of action and adventure in which the protagonists must face off with a trio of witches and stop them before the end of Halloween night. This film was so successful that a sequel will be released next year starring the talented Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy.

Where to watch: Disney+

Casper (1995)

In this story we meet Kathleen, or “Kat” as Casper fondly calls her, and her father James Harvey, a paranormal therapist, who have just moved to Whipstaff Mansion, which is haunted by the friendly ghost Casper and his three uncles. Whip, Gordi, and Tufo. The film is full of emotions, laughter, action, and even some suspense as the protagonists confront villains and overcome obstacles. It’s an excellent option for movie night with the whole family.

Where to Watch: Netflix

Coco (2017)

Winner of the Oscar for best animated film, this Disney and Pixar movie is a true cinematic gem. Through its moving story, it manages to conquer the heart of anyone who watches it. The animation celebrates the culture around the Day of the Dead, and the music will definitely get you to shed a tear or two. This is a story with a powerful message about fighting for and achieving your dreams, but at the same time it reminds us of the importance of respecting traditions and family.

Where to Watch: Disney+

The Witches (1990)

This is one of the best Halloween movies of all time, and the story also has an excellent moral. This movie is a little too scary for the youngest members of your household, but it’s a great option for anyone who’s a bit older (I’d recommend at least 7 – 10 years old). In my opinion, there is nothing like the original film in which the Grand Witch is played by Anjelica Huston. The special effects are impressive for their time and to this day continue to spook audiences.

Where to Watch: HBO Max

Hotel Transylvania (2012)

This is an animated film that I really love. Normally, we see monsters spending their time scaring villagers and terrorizing small towns, but we never ask ourselves what their lives are really like. Do they have families? Do they go on vacation? Well, this movie answers all those questions. Monsters have ordinary lives, like all of us. This is an original story that I am sure will get you to smile as you watch it with the kids; you might even catch yourself laughing from time to time.

Where to Watch: Netflix

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1996)

There is no more famous Halloween movie than this 30-minute tale featuring the beloved Charlie Brown and friends. The story is about how this group celebrates Halloween, and while most of them go out trick or treating, Linus decides instead to wait for the arrival of the Great Pumpkin, even though his friends don’t believe it exists. This short film is aimed at the little ones, but it will surely provoke a feeling of nostalgia in the older members of your family.

Where to Watch:  AppleTV+

Ghostbusters (1984)

As a child, this movie scared me because I didn’t like ghosts. Then again, it didn’t help that I watched it for the first time at night. Now, it’s one of my favorite ghost stories and I find it pretty funny. The film narrates the adventures of the paranormal detectives, the “Ghostbusters,” on their mission to rid NYC of ghosts. It’s great entertainment for the kids (over 7 years old). Don’t forget the popcorn.

Where to Watch:  Amazon Prime

Scooby-Doo (2002)

This is the tale of how Mystery Incorporated reunites after parting ways to solve the mystery behind a haunted amusement park on Spooky Island. Fred, Vilma, Shaggy, Daphne, and the world’s favorite dog, Scooby-Doo, embark on an adventure full of mystery that teaches us that the best way to get ahead (and solve a case) is with the help of our friends. This movie is full of funny situations, female empowerment, and childhood nostalgia.

Where to Watch:  HBO Max

Spirited Away (2001)

This Japanese tale tells the story of Chihiro, a little girl whose family is moving. In this chaotic moment of her life, she is transported to a parallel universe inhabited by spirits and witches, where magic is real. The heroine must embark on a series of challenges in order to wake up and free her parents who have been put under a spell. The animation is incredible, but the complexity of the story may not be easy for children under 7 to understand.

Where to Watch:  Netflix

XO

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