By Tracey Dowdy
Like almost everything else about 2020, Halloween is going to look a little different. The CDC has released its guidelines for Halloween, Día de los Muertos, and Thanksgiving to help protect individuals, families, friends, and communities from COVID-19. Based on these recommendations, many families and communities are looking for Trick or Treating alternatives this year.
One timeless tradition is to get your scare on through a Halloween-themed TV show or spooky movie. Here are a few age-based suggestions to help you make Halloween 2020 memorable for all the right reasons.
Super Monsters Save Halloween (2018) – Netflix
The Super Monsters are preschoolers whose parents just happen to be the world’s most famous monsters. In this 30 minute Netflix special, they show preschoolers how the holiday’s scares are mostly make-believe by explaining the tricks behind haunted houses and spooky decorations. Super Monsters: Vida’s First Halloween is another fun option.
Room on the Broom (2013) – Netflix
Based on a book by Julia Donaldson, Room on the Broom features a friendly witch who’s quick with a smile and kind to the animals who ask her for a ride on her broom.
Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989) – Amazon Prime Video/HBO Max
Kiki is a good witch who uses her broom and her flying ability to start a delivery service. It’s from Studio Ghibli, so you know it’s beautifully animated.
The Addams Family (2019) – Amazon Prime Video
The adorably kooky family moves to the suburbs where Wednesday’s friendship with the daughter of a local reality show host causes problems. There are plenty of jokes for both children and adults to keep everyone entertained throughout the film.
The Worst Witch (2017) – Netflix
Mildred Hubble lives an ordinary life until the day that Maud Spellbody crashes her broomstick into their balcony. Maud introduces Mildred to Cackle’s Academy – a school for young witches where under the watchful eye of friendly headmistress Miss Cackle and scary deputy Miss Hardbroom, Mildred begins her training. But no matter how hard she tries, her spells have a habit of going badly wrong, causing chaos. Will Mildred always be The Worst Witch?
Hotel Transylvania (2012) – Amazon Prime Video/Hulu/Netflix
Dracula, who operates a high-end resort away from the human world, goes into overprotective dad mode when a boy discovers the resort and falls for the count’s teenaged daughter.
The movie is from the POV of the monsters, and they’re the good guys. Plus, if your kids love this one, two sequels follow.
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Is it a Halloween movie or a Christmas movie? The world may never agree, so feel free to start watching Jack Skellington, king of Halloween Town, attempt to bring Christmas to his friends on repeat from now through December 5.
Corpse Bride (2005) – Amazon Prime Video
When a shy groom practices his wedding vows, he accidentally marries a ghost. Written and directed by Tim Burton, the movie is exactly the style you’d expect from a Tim Burton film. Sweet, macabre, and fun for kids and adults alike.
Halloweentown (2004) – Amazon Prime Video/Disney Now
After learning she is a witch, a girl helps save a town full of other supernatural creatures. It’s cute and all-around wholesome entertainment, and a Disney Channel Original Movies classic, as any 90’s kid will tell you.
Hocus Pocus (1993) – Amazon Prime Video/Disney+/Select theatres – check local listings
Max and Thora’s family moves them to Salem, where they struggle to fit in. Max accidentally awakens a trio of diabolical and slightly goofy witches who were executed in the 17th century. There’s a reason this Disney classic is at the top of so many must-watch lists.
The Witches (1990) – Amazon Prime Video
Netflix is promoting a remake with Anne Hathaway as the Grand High Witch, but she’s got big pointy shoes to fill as Angelica Houston is magnificent in the 1990 original. Luke and his grandmother Helga stumble onto a witch convention and must stop them, even after he has been turned into a mouse.
Ghostbusters (1988) – Amazon Prime Video/Disney+/Select theatres – check local listings
IMDb describes Ghostbusters as “Three former parapsychology professors set up shop as a unique ghost removal service,” which may be the lamest description of a classic movie I’ve ever heard. Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson, Rick Moranis, and Sigourney Weaver helm one of Hollywood’s biggest hits.
Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits, and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.