The Halloween season is marked with the presence of pumpkins on porches, candy in stores and kids in costumes. While all of these things are essential to creating the Halloween spirit, they aren't all that the season has to offer. Halloween boasts a variety of must-see films. Whether you are looking for a not-so-frightening family film, a creepy classic or a super scary horror or suspense film, Halloween offers thrills and chills to all movie-lovers.
Not-so-frightening Family Films
Despite Halloween's tradition of terror, there are many not-so-scary movies that are still full of holiday spirit. Check out these must-see Halloween family films.
It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown © 1966 Lee Mendelson Film Productions, Bill Melendez Productions, United Feature Syndicate (UFS)
This 1966 TV movie chronicles Charles M. Schultz's Peanuts characters as they celebrate Halloween and await the arrival of the Great Pumpkin. This animated family comedy is appropriate for all ages, and with just a 25 minute run time, "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" is great for younger children.
ParaNorman © 2012 Focus Features, Laika Entertainment
Follow Norman, a young boy with the ability to speak to ghosts, on a journey to save his cursed town. Norman's mission is complicated by the fact that no one but his best friend believes in his ability. This Animated adventure comedy is rated PG for some scary content and mild rude humor and language.
Monster House © 2006 Columbia Pictures, Relativity Media, ImageMovers, Amblin Entertainment, Sony Pictures Animation
In "Monster House," three teenage friends are determined to find the source of their neighbor's mean spirited actions towards neighborhood children only to discover a much bigger problem: the house that the neighbor lives in is a monster. This animated family comedy is rated PG for scary content, brief language and some crude humor.
Scooby Doo on Zombie Island
Scooby Doo on Zombie Island © 1998 Hanna Barbera Productions, Warner Bros. Animation
Follow Scooby, Shaggy and the rest of the gang to Zombie Island. This movie is unrated, but has a suggested Y7 (for seven years and older) rating primarily for scary content.
Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet the Wolfman
Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet the Wolf Man © 2000 Universal Cartoon Studios, Bagdasarian Productions
In "Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet the Wolfman," Alvin has convinced himself that his neighbor is a werewolf. Is he right? Watch the movie to find out! This animated family film is rated G, but some content may be scary for young children.
The Nightmare Before Christmas
In a world where Halloween and Christmas cross paths, watch Jack Skellington and the other Halloween Town natives try to comprehend a new holiday. Rated PG for some scary images, "The Nightmare Before Christmas" is an animated family fantasy appropriate for most ages.
Rated TV-G, Disney Channel's "Halloweentown" tells the story of Marnie Piper. Upon discovering that she is a witch, Marnie finds that her witch training could not have come at a better time, as she must use her powers to save Halloweentown.
If you're feeling a more traditional approach to Halloween, Check out these classically creepy Halloween films. These movies are also family friendly, but some may be too spooky for smaller children, so parent discretion is advised.
when three professors at a New York university lose their jobs, they go into business together as "Ghostbusters." "Ghostbusters" is rated PG.
A classic vampire film, Universal's 1931 "Dracula" depicts the Count himself as he arrives in England. This film contains violence and gore, some of which is implied or off-screen.
Also from Universal in 1931, "Frankenstein" tells the age old story of Dr. Frankenstein and his creation-- a monster made from the body parts of various corpses. This film is not rated, but the suggested rating is PG for unsettling moments and mild violence.
The Wolf Man
The Wolf Man © 1941 Universal Pictures
"The Wolf Man" depicts Lawrence Stewart Talbot's transformation from man into wolf man after being bitten by a werewolf. The film includes mild violence and frightening scenes.
Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man
Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man © 1943 Universal Pictures
This film is exactly what it sounds like: an epic battle between Frankenstein and the Wolf Man. This film, too, contains violence and scary content.
Proceed only if you dare, the remaining films will give you a scare.
If you like to be scared, and I mean really scared, these next movies might be for you. Prepare for Halloween with these horror and suspense movies.
Note that these movies are not suitable for children.
Halloween © 1978 Compass International Pictures, Falcon international Productions
Michael Myers has lived for the past 15 years, after stabbed his sister to death when he was six. On the night before Halloween Myers escapes, and he's out for blood. This film is rated R.
Psycho © 1960 Shamley Productions
Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 classic, "Psycho," features Marion Crane, a secretary who steals $40,000 and leaves for California to start a new life. On the way, she stops at the eerie Bates Motel, which is run by Norman Bates. This film is rated R.
The Shining © 1980 Warner Bros., Hawk Films, Peregrine, Producers Circle
In this R-rated drama/horror film, a hotel with a violent history seems to be haunted by an ominous evil presence. When Jack agrees to maintain the hotel, he is driven to violence. Jack's son Danny has a psychic ability that allows him to see the past as well as the future.
Tim Burton's 1999 "Sleepy Hollow" starring Johnny Depp is a retelling of Washington Irving's story of Ichabod Crane. In the film, Crane is a constable called upon to investigate murders by the legendary headless horseman. This film is rated R.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre © 2003 New Line Cinema, Focus Features, Radar Pictures
In 2003's "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre," a group of friends are on a road trip find themselves in a small town in Texas, where they are attacked by a man with a chainsaw. This film is rated R.
Scream © 1996 Dimension Films, Woods Entertainment
In "Scream," when two students are found dead just a year after the death of Sidney Prescott's mother, Sidney questions if these deaths are more than a coincidence. A killer is on the loose, and no one is safe. "Scream" is rated R.
The Woman in Black
The Woman in Black © 2012 Cross Creek Pictures, Hammer Films, Alliance Films, UK Film Council, Talisman Production, Exclusive Media Group, Film i Väst, Filmgate Films, Filmgate
Rated PG-13, "The Woman in Black" depicts Daniel Radcliffe as a lawyer who is sent to collect documents from an abandoned house in a small village. Radcliffe, as Arthur Kipps, finds that a ghost haunts the village.
What are your favorite Halloween movies?
There are hundreds of haunting Halloween films, and it would take until next year to list them all. What are some of you favorite Halloween movies that aren't on our list?