Halloween Movies Cover Illustrated by Natasha McDonald
Can't stand watching horror movies? Here are some friendly, funny Halloween-themed alternatives. (Illustration by Natasha McDonald, Columbia College Chicago)

7 Halloween-Themed Movies for (and From) the Person Who Scares Easily

Here are a few pleasant alternatives to begrudgingly agreeing to watch a horror movie with a blanket covering your eyes.

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Halloween Movies Cover Illustrated by Natasha McDonald

Here are a few pleasant alternatives to begrudgingly agreeing to watch a horror movie with a blanket covering your eyes.

Spooky season is in full swing folks, and along with it comes corn mazes, pumpkin patches, apple cider, Halloween candy and scary movies. If you are anything like me, everything listed above sounds like the makings of a perfect autumn day — except the scary movies part. Have no fear (pun totally intended), because I am here to provide a list of Halloween movies to all of my fellow horror movie haters that will have you getting into the Halloween spirit sans the nightmares (except “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” of course, which is an iconic movie for scary and non-scary movie fans alike).

1. “BeetleJuice” (1988)

This late ‘80s cult classic from the king of macabre, Tim Burton, is the perfect Halloween movie to get you into the fall mood. The movie follows a newlywed couple, played by Geena Davis and a young Alec Baldwin, and the chaos that ensues after they move into a new home, die in a car accident and come back as ghosts, haunting the new family who lives in their home. Fans of  “Stranger Things” will enjoy seeing Winona Ryder killing it in one of her earliest roles on screen. And it wouldn’t be “BeetleJuice” without the man himself, played by Michael Keaton, who absolutely steals the show upon entering the story. If you are looking for something that will keep you laughing and ever so slightly creeped out, this is the movie for you.

2. “Corpse Bride” (2005)

Another fan favorite from Tim Burton’s repertoire, “Corpse Bride” combines the beloved animation and dark elements seen previously in “Nightmare Before Christmas” to tell the story of Victor, a young man who is arranged to be married to a woman he has never met before. Everything is fine until the plans go awry as Victor is seduced by Emily, a bride of a different variety — the dead variety.  Fellow ‘fraidy cats, whose old standby for the Halloween season is typically “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” should definitely give “Corpse Bride” a go for something different yet still familiar.

3. “Casper” (1995)

If you’re looking for a little bit of everything in one movie, this could be the one for you. The ‘90s film starring Christina Ricci and Bill Pullman is based on the comic books and animated series of “Casper the Friendly Ghost.” The movie begins shortly after the death of a young spoiled girl’s (played by Ricci) father, and documents what happens when she realizes her home is being haunted by a friendly ghost and his uncles, The Ghostly Trio. In addition to being a great film for your spooky season watchlist, the Halloween flick was also a milestone movie upon its release as it was the first feature-length film to have a main character that was done entirely in CGI.

4. “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” (1966)

A Halloween classic that you probably haven’t watched since you were 10, the Charlie Brown Halloween special is an adorably festive 25-minute spectacle. The special consists of the typical Peanuts gang around Halloween time and focuses on Linus waiting for the Great Pumpkin to appear, with skepticism from the other characters regarding whether or not the pumpkin is actually real. When time is not on your side, but you still want something to enjoy while eating candy corn and sipping some spiced cider, turn on “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” and enjoy.

5. “Coraline” (2009)

I’ll be the first to admit that this film completely creeped me out when I watched it as a kid, but I feel like this would be just the right amount of fright and bizarre that would totally be enjoyable to me and many other non-scary movie folks. Coraline is an 11-year-old girl who has just moved into a new apartment with her parents. During a moment of curiosity, she discovers a portal to an alternate world filled with doppelgängers of her whole family and her neighbors. Dying to escape from her dreary life in the real world, Coraline spends more time in the brilliant and vibrant alternate world before quickly realizing that everything there is not as good as it seems.

6. “The Nightmare Before Christmas” (1993)

So, I have begun to realize that I may sound like a Tim Burton superfan after suggesting not one, not two, but three of his movies. What can I say? The man is a genius and continues to put out amazing movies time after time, and “The Nightmare Before Christmas” is  absolutely no exception. The film is versatile in the fact that it isn’t 100% a Halloween or Christmas movie despite what the title may suggest, which makes it a great option no matter what time of year. Set in Halloween Town, the film begins with Jack Skellington (the Pumpkin King) and the townspeople preparing for Halloween. However, all plans are disrupted when Jack finds the portal to Christmas Town, both a place and a holiday completely foreign to him. Those who appreciate a solid soundtrack when watching films are sure to enjoy “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” along with the charm that the stop motion animation brings.

7. “Monsters, Inc.” (2001)

Many would argue that this isn’t a true Halloween movie, and to that I would say I respectfully disagree. I mean, the tagline of “Monsters, Inc.” is “We scare because we care,” for crying out loud — the film has many quintessential Halloween elements like monsters who scare children. The movie centers around two monsters, Mike (played by John Goodman) and Sully (played by Billy Crystal) who are employed to scare kids after they are sound asleep in order to collect screams that will later be turned into energy. The movie is no different from any other Pixar film in that it will have you laughing, crying and feeling all of the feels while enjoying brilliant animation and amazing characters.


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