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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – With Halloween season coming in to full swing, it’s time to start combing through your movie collections to find some fun Halloween flicks that are perfect for the whole family. Sure, you can enjoy a scary, gory film once the kids go to bed, but when the little ones are watching it’s best to find something that won’t have them knocking on your bedroom door in the middle of the night. Luckily, there are several fantastic family-friendly films that everyone will enjoy watching together. Watch these over the next few weeks and you’ll be primed and ready for the big day once the end of the month rolls around.
“It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”
This is one of the classics when it comes to Halloween movies. It deserves to be brought back year after year to be introduced to new generations. Originally released on 1966, it tells the story of Linus as he waits in the pumpkin patch for the Great Pumpkin to visit. Linus remains true to his belief in the Great Pumpkin, despite all of his friends’ teasing and disbelief. Included are some great scenes with the kids trick-or-treating, along with Charlie Brown’s classic “I got a rock” lines. This is one of those wonderful Halloween cartoons that are perfect for kids of all ages, since it’s not scary, yet it still gets you in that Halloween mood as soon as you hit the play button.
This film came out in 1993 and took Halloween film fans by storm. If you’ve never seen the flick, it’s about the three Sanderson Sisters, who are a family of witches. The three witches are resurrected by a teenager, his sister and a classmate, who then spend the rest of the film trying to break the curse and to send the witches back into the past where they belong. It features a fantastic cast including Bette Midler, Sara Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy as the Sanderson Sisters, plus lots of great spooky Halloween fun. This one might be a little scary for the younger kids, as there are a few scenes that feature the witches trying to suck the souls out of children in order to stay alive. However, this PG-rated Disney flick is a cult favorite that any family is sure to enjoy for Halloween. Catch a clip of it here.
“The Nightmare Before Christmas”
What better film to get you in the Halloween mood—and then keep it going until Christmas—than Tim Burton’s classic 1993 film “The Nightmare Before Christmas”? Enjoy the take of Jack Skellington, the King of Halloween, as he finds a door to Christmastown and decides to try to celebrate Christmas instead of Halloween. The musical numbers are insanely catchy and the animation is clever and classically Burton. This PG rated movie is a great film for all ages, though the younger kids may find the Oogie Boogie character to be a little frightening. You can catch a clip of the film here.
“Bedknobs and Broomsticks”
A classic Disney film, though sadly often forgotten, “Bedknobs and Broomsticks” is a wonderful Halloween treat for the whole family. The kids will love the story as Angela Lansbury shows off her stuff as an apprentice witch while three kids and a cynical conman try to find the missing components for a magic spell. Their trip on the bed takes them around the world, into an animated wonderland and back again, all while dancing and singing along in perfect Disney fashion. It’s a lot like “Mary Poppins” but with more witches and less sugar. You can watch the full film here for $2.99.
“Halloween is Grinch Night”
Why keep one of the best characters ever created to just one holiday? Bring The Grinch out early and enjoy “Halloween is Grinch Night” with your kids. This prequel to the classic “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” came out in 1977, winning an Emmy and becoming a family favorite, though it’s one of the lesser-known Halloween films today. It’s the similar story about the mean old Grinch who terrorizes Whoville on Grinch Night. There are also lots of great songs, in keeping with these holiday favorites, so you’ll have a lot of reasons to enjoy this one over and over again.
Deborah Flomberg is a theater professional, freelance writer and Denver native. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.