Family-friendly Halloween

Sara Vechinski, Social Media Editor

No. 5 Beetlejuice

Beetlejuice begins with Barbara and Adam Maitland dying and quickly realizing they are stuck as ghosts in their home, which new unbearable tenants have moved into. Despite their best efforts, they cannot scare the family away, so they invoke the help of Beetlejuice, an obviously unstable free-lance bio-exorcist. Beetlejuice creates more problems, and the spectacle of the paranormal activity leads to meddling by the living, which spells trouble for the Maitlands. 

The unique design of the ghosts in the movie coupled with absurd creatures like sand snakes creates an engaging and intriguing film. The dark themes are broken up with well-placed comedy and the overall tone is a fun but creepy Halloween classic. Beetlejuice stands the test of time as one of the most iconic Halloween movies, however its darker themes prevent it from placing higher on the wholesome list, earning a solid three pumpkins. 

No. 4 The Addams Family

The Addams Family ranks as a solid number four, with delightful characters such as a hand, homicidal children, a Frankenstein’s Monster-esque housekeeper, and a creature covered entirely in long hair. Everything about this movie is wonderfully absurd, as bizarre situations compound until you are left wondering what exactly is going on. 

Gomez Addams longs to reconnect with his brother, who left 25 years prior after a disagreement between the two. When the family lawyer realizes one of the people scamming him for money looks just like the lost brother Fester, they devise a scheme to get close to the family in order to rob them blind. The family suspects the scheme, but as Fester begins to act like his old self they are blind-sided by the restraining order ordered at the command of the lawyer and Fester’s mother.

The plot itself may seem basic and bland, but the execution is flawless. With dynamic characters who, for the most part, have no real supernatural abilities yet manage to baffle and mystify viewers, the storyline is wonderfully amusing and intriguing. Each small detail adds together to create a delightfully horrific film.

No. 3 Nightmare Before Christmas

Despite the fact that the word Christmas is in the title, Nightmare Before Christmas is the third best Halloween movie to watch on your spooky night. 

The movie opens with Halloween Town celebrating another excellently executed Halloween, especially praising the pumpkin king, Jack Skellington, who, despite all this, feels unsatisfied and bored with the monotonous routine of Halloween and all the work associated. He wanders into Christmas Town, and sets out to take control of Christmas for the year. His citizens, once convinced of the change, grew excited and truly did their best to make his visions a reality. Jack returns to Halloween Town to save Sally, his love interest, and Santa Claus from Oogy Boogy, a dangerous outcast who seeks to destroy all who get in his way.

Despite my initial skepticism that this movie would have more Christmas elements than Halloween, this movie was spectacularly spooky. The emphasis of Halloween was wonderfully displayed in a creative manner, which visually enticed the viewer and left them wanting more, and coupled with the amazing soundtrack that created a wonderful mystical tone, created an amazing film.

No. 2 Halloweentown

Not to be confused with Jack Skellington’s Halloween Town, Halloweentown ranks just above with delightfully charming costumes, characters, and themes.

The movie begins with the main protagonist, Marnie, angry at her mother for not letting her or her siblings celebrate Halloween. Viewers quickly learn that Marnie comes from a long line of powerful witches and must begin training tonight or lose her powers forever. Marnie sneaks away to Halloweentown, a separate reality where witches, monsters, and all other creatures can live in peace.

Every character was obviously created with intense care and attention to detail, as even background characters were engaging. The early 90s mixed with mythical creature fashion leaves the viewer feeling just a little nostalgic.

Actress Debbie Reynolds absolutely killed her role and made herself everyone’s grandmother through Aggie Cromwell. The characters learn the bond of family and how to use cool powers, so not much is left to be desired.

No. 1 Hocus Pocus

If you want to watch the most iconic Halloween movie, cozy up with your hot chocolate and put on Hocus Pocus. 

Straight out of 1993, this movie brings in all the best Halloween tropes with witches, black cats, and zombies, all seamlessly working together to bring mayhem and mischief on Halloween night for the protagonists Max, his sister Dani, and friend Allison. 

Max accidentally resurrects three witches, the Sanderson Sisters, who aim to obtain immortality by sucking the soul of a child before the night is over while Max, Dani, and Allison thwart them with the help of a black cat named Thackery Binx, who was a boy cursed by the witches before they were killed the first time and the zombie Billy Butcherson, who initially chased after the protagonists as a supposed ally of the witches, but ultimately reveals his hatred for the sisters.

With songs like “I Put a Spell on You” and “Come, Little Children” breaking up intense scenes, the movie remains light-hearted and fun with suspense sprinkled throughout. Meanwhile visuals such as costumes and effects are eye-catching and pleasing and the character development of Max leaves many satisfied.