Movie Guru: The best non-horror Halloween movies |

Movie Guru: The best non-horror Halloween movies

For everyone who’s spending Halloween at home this year, grab a big bag (or two) of trick-or-treat candy and celebrate with a weekend-long playlist of Halloween-ready movies. Horror flicks are the obvious choice for the holiday, but if you’re not a big fan of slasher flicks or late-night screams there are still plenty of options.

Spooky, but no horror

“The Addams Family”

Halloween isn’t Halloween without a visit to the creepiest, kookiest, spookiest family ever. Though there’s a fun 2013 sequel (“Addams Family Values”) and a pretty good 2019 animated film with the same title, my go-to pick is the 1991 Barry Sonnenfeld film. If it’s been awhile since you’ve seen it, or if you’ve somehow missed it entirely, now is the perfect time for a visit.

Available on: Netflix, Amazon, for rent from a variety of other platforms

“Hocus Pocus”

This Halloween classic just keeps getting better with age. There’s some genuine danger here that might leave little kids on the edge of their seats, but the real treat for adults is watching Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy romp around having the time of their witchy lives. Add a cat that’s smarter than all the humans and Doug Jones in an early iconic role, and you have the perfect recipe for giddy, slightly ghoulish Halloween fun.

Available on: Disney+, for rent from a variety of other platforms

“The Nightmare Before Christmas”

“The Nightmare Before Christmas” combines the best parts of Christmas and Halloween.
© Disney

Though there’s some debate on whether it’s a better Christmas or Halloween film, the wisest among us know it’s perfect for both holidays. Jack Skellington may want to add a little Christmas into his life, but he can’t shake the fact that his heart still beats pure Halloween.

Available on: Disney+, for rent from a variety of other platforms

More to watch: “Goosebumps” (for rent from a variety of other platforms), “Hotel Transylvania” (Starz, for rent elsewhere), “Coraline” (Starz, for rent elsewhere), “Corpse Bride” (Hulu premium, for rent elsewhere), “Monster House” (Hulu premium, for rent elsewhere), “Young Frankenstein” (Starz, for rent elsewhere), “What We Do in the Shadows” (Hulu premium, for rent elsewhere)

Maybe a little bit of horror


One of Tim Burton’s earliest movies, this fantasy comedy about a pair of ghosts trying to scare off the new family who’s moved into their house does get a little bit creepy in places. But it’s also weird, slightly gross fun, all anchored by Michael Keaton’s iconic turn as the Ghost With the Most Himself. If you’re looking for something that’s heartwarming and ever so slightly unsettling, “Beetlejuice” is the movie for you.

Available on: For rent from a variety of platforms

“The Lost Boys”

Yes, there are vampires. Yes, they try to eat people. But these are glorious ‘80s vampires with glorious ‘80s hair, and even their menace is pretty enough that it’s more of an aesthetic than it is a nightmare. Add two idiot children who try to overcome the local vampire menace, teen vampire yearning that will go down much more smoothly than “Twilight,” and one of the greatest endings ever seen on the silver screen, and you have a perfect Halloween date even if you’re all on your own.

Available on: FuboTV, Philo, for rent from a variety of platforms

More to watch: “Shaun of the Dead” (Hulu premium, for rent elsewhere), “The Frighteners” (HBOMax, for rent elsewhere”), “The Craft” (Hulu premium, for rent elsewhere), “The Witches” (Netflix, for rent elsewhere), “Practical Magic” (for rent from a variety of locations), “Sleepy Hollow” (Netflix, for rent elsewhere)

Jenniffer Wardell is an award-winning movie critic and member of the Denver Film Critics Society. Find her on Twitter at @wardellwriter or drop her a line at

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