One of my favorite times of year was Halloween because of all the movies shown on tv and the displays our local one room video store setup. Today families have a plethora of new and old Halloween films to watch, some more kid friendly than others. This list features nearly forgotten classics that anyone can enjoy!
Halloween Is Grinch Night
Premiering in 1977, this prequel to How the Grinch Stole Christmas, won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program. In the story, a young Who named Euchariah faces off against the grinch and his wagon of scares pulled by his dog Max. The films shouldn’t give to many scares to children, but instead entertain them with a variety of colors and sounds all set to music. The 26 minute special is a true classic and a fun watch.
The Halloween Tree
If you want an animated feature that embodies everything you grow up loving about the season, it’s this magnificent film based on the 1972 fantasy novel of the same name by Ray Bradbury. The film tells the story of a group of trick-or-treating children who learn about the origins and influences of Halloween when one of their friends is spirited away by mysterious forces. The Halloween Tree stars Ray Bradbury as the narrator and Leonard Nimoy as the children’s guide, Mr. Moundshroud. Growing up, this was the number one film to watch during the season and was loved for the musical score and classic artwork. Children watching the film will be highly entertained as the characters reconstruct Notre Dam brick by brick and ride gargoyles through the night, but all the while learning where traditions come from and how different cultures celebrate. Adults may find it tad morbid as the story progresses it becomes more and more obvious what has happened to their friend and why the children are chasing his spirit.
Disney’s Legend of Sleepy Hollow (Ichabod Crane)
Packaged as The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, the Tale of Ichabod Crane was produced in 1949 by Walt Disney Productions and is based on the 1820 short story “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” by American author Washington Irving. Set in October 1790, Ichabod Crane arrives in Sleepy Hollow, Yew York, a small town renowned for its ghostly hauntings, to fill the position of the town’s new schoolmaster. At the time of his arrival, Ichabod quickly becomes popular with the ladies which in turn earns him the spite of Brom Bones, the “town hero,” who then does his best to bully Ichabod. Eventually, Brom tells Ichabod the tale of Headless Horseman to scare the superstitious schoolmaster. On his way home form a party, Ichabod is overcome with paranoia until he sees a dark rider with a flaming jack-o’-lantern for a head that begins to chase after him. The story is an american classic and if anything it should be our duty as a society to keep the folklore alive for future generations.
The Flintstones Meet Rockula and Frankenstone
This 1979 animated Halloween television special featuring the Hanna-Barbera produced family of Bedrock, “The Flintstones,” has the titular characters and their neighbors, the Rubbles, face off against parodies of Dracula and Frankenstein. The story starts with with Fred Flintstone winning a game show where he then plans a vacation with his wife, Wilma, and neighbors to Count Rockula’s castle in Rocksylvania which has now been turned into a tourist resort. The Flintstones holiday specials were always a treat to watch each year, but it was when Fred replaced Santa or took the place of Scrooge that got the most attention. Even people who grew up watching the Flintstone reruns in the 90’s may never have seen this Halloween treat.
Scooby-Doo and The Ghoul School
Honestly, all of the Scooby-Doo movies are great to watch anytime of the year, but its the older movies that are sometimes forgotten in favor of newer ones such as Zombie Island or The Witch’s Ghost. In this 1988 film Scooby, Shaggy, and Scrappy have been hired as gym teachers at Miss Grimwood’s Finishing School for Girls. Once they arrive, they are shocked to discover the girls are actual ghouls who’s fathers include the likes of Dracula, Frankenstein, and the Wolfman. This is a fun film because it has Shaggy and Scooby interacting with real monsters in a leadership role instead of running in fear. The characters are interesting and the spooky themed jokes make it a very entertaining take on the Universal Monsters that inspired the characters.