Movie night with your teen this halloween? Here are our family-friendly film recommendations

Halloween is right around the corner, but with a global pandemic in the mix, the plans this year will require some adjustments. More than 37 states have already canceled public events for this spooky season. 


Aside from states canceling public events like trick-or-treating and haunted houses, a lot of parents are unsure if they should let their teens attend costume parties or other gatherings this Halloween. For parents who have declined halloween outings this year, experts recommend communicating your reasons to your teens clearly. Jed Magen, Department of Psychiatry chair at Michigan State University advised that you could tell your teens that “there will be other times they can go, but that this is a special year.”


Just because the traditional halloween plans have fallen through, doesn’t mean that you cannot plan other activities to lift your kids spirits. In fact, Jacqueline Rhew, a licensed therapist and pediatric clinical consultant with AMITA Health’s Behavioral Medicine Institute said, "We’re teaching our children to be flexible, and sometimes different is even better. It's about creating new traditions.”


This is a perfect opportunity to plan a new tradition in the safety of your own home. In everyone’s hectic day-to-day life, it can be hard to set aside time to bond as a family. Doing activities together can help family members regain connection and refocus your teens attention from their stress or fomo. 


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There are a lot of great activities your family can do together this halloween, all while maintaining the guidelines of social distancing.


The activity you plan for halloween does not have to be the next big adventure, in fact, it can be as simple as a movie night. Imagine having the family curled up on the couch together with some hot beverages and snacks while watching some classic halloween movies. Of course, in the category of halloween movies, many parents are concerned about graphic horror movies. Many parents question whether slasher horrors and psychological thrillers are appropriate for teens. Teenagers are at the stage to become more interested in horror movies and there are ample psychology and development reasons behind this. (Look out for an article about this on our blog soon!)


If you’re still on the fence about letting your teens watch horror movies, or perhaps there are younger children in your household, here are 5 great Halloween classics that combine fantasy, humor, spookiness, and have valuable lessons surrounding friendship and family:


1. Corpse Bride (2005)

What better movie to celebrate halloween than this Tim Burton classic? This stop-motion animation was even nominated for the 78th Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature. This movie is perfect if you also have younger children in your household. The core concept of hope, love, and closure in this plot will certainly apply to your teens, while your younger kids can fall to love the relatable animated characters in Corpse Bride. “The central characters are intensely well-meaning. They are thoughtful, caring and, for the most part, unselfish.” According to reviews on Common Sense Media, a site which parents can find reviews on how age-appropriate films and shows are.


2. Ghostbusters (1988)

Yet another cult classic! If your teens have yet to watch this movie, halloween is the perfect time to introduce them to it. There’s spookiness, there’s action, and there’s humor. This movie remains an essential part of pop culture with the jokes and references. Aside from the movie itself, you can also introduce your teens to the spin off tv show: The Real Ghostbusters. Or, if they prefer something more modern, there is also an all-female remake of Ghostbusters in 2016. Either way, you cannot go wrong with this beloved American classic.



3. Harry Potter Series (2001-2011)

Since halloween is all about celebrating the unknown, the world renowned fantasy film series, Harry Potter, should definitely be recommended. The Harry Potter series remains to be one of the most successful franchises, but especially to your teens who grew up during the time Harry Potter received all its fame. If your teens are “Potterheads'' (The name diehard fans of the series call themselves), you can suggest a little costume fun. Everyone in the family can dress up as their favorite character or represent each of your Hogwart houses. In addition, if you want to movie-marathon or do movie nights the whole Halloween weekend, Harry Potter’s total of 8 movies is perfect for you. Time to put on a Harry Potter movie and experience the magic.


3. Halloweentown (1998)

Speaking of witches and wizards, Halloweentown is another great movie surrounding wizardry. As one of the Disney Original, this movie is nothing but family friendly. This film is so widely loved, over 30,000 people reviewed it on Rotten Tomatoes. Recieving in a 72% audience score and an 80% from critics. "I love this movie so much, I grew up with it, and it is the best Halloween movie ever," one reviewer commented, with many others echoing this sentiment.


5. The House With a Clock in Its Walls (2014)

This one is perfect for your teens and tweens! In the world of magic and sorcery, this movie provides some unexpected twists. Though categorized as a scary movie, the plot surrounds a child and his warlock uncle attempting at saving the world from evil. 


Enjoying movie nights is always a great way to spend time together and reconnect as a family. Moreover, movies can sometimes help get the conversation rolling by projecting an example of an important issue or lesson. Many of these halloween movies are as not scary as they are spooky, and they emphasize heavily on the power of endless imagination. These fiction films can certainly cultivate great creativity for your children. 


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