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20 Best Not Scary Halloween Movies for People Who Are Afraid of Horror Films
Let’s get one thing out of the way: This is a scaredy-cat-friendly zone. This is not a trap. We’re not hiding any gore-fest slasher flicks behind an innocuous description so that you can be jump-scared into oblivion. You can trust us.
Why? Because we’ve been there. We understand the feeling of having a friend tell you a movie “isn’t that scary,” and then needing to keep the lights on at night for the next week after watching it.
But now, we’re taking back Halloween. After all, shouldn’t we be able to enjoy a holiday that is predominantly celebrated by children with some PG-rated fun? Whether you’re looking for a family favorite, or just some horror lite, we’ve got you covered. Don’t worry. The coast is clear.
So, a plot that involves Megan Fox playing a possessed high schooler might seem frightening, but the scare factor behind this flick is actually more from teenaged cringe than any demonic spirits. Not to mention, Fox and Amanda Seyfried’s hot girl and dweeb duo is an iconic one.
This heartwarming rom-com is a perfect middle ground for kids and parents to enjoy. The film follows a post-apocalyptic forbidden love story between a zombie and a human who quickly realize their fates are more intertwined than they could have ever imagined.
Another family-friendly watch, this stop-motion film provides all of the beloved creepiness guaranteed by a Tim Burton-directed film. Burton takes a childlike spin on Mary Shelley’s classic tale by reframing the story to be about a boy who resurrects his deceased dog with electricity. (Don’t let your kids get any ideas about unearthing your deceased furry friends.)
Nothing says classic cinema quite like a Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder-created comedy. Wilder stars as the grandson of Victor Frankenstein who receives word that he has inherited his estate in Transylvania. He travels there to inspect the property, and the film quickly unravels into a nonstop trip of parody and hilarity.
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Call it a Christmas movie, call it a Halloween movie, but just don’t miss out on watching The Nightmare Before Christmas this holiday season. A perfect buffer into the end-of-year festivities, the animated film offers a nice mash-up between creepy and festive as it follows the pumpkin king of Halloweentown on an unexpected trip to Christmastown.
If nothing else, you should stick around for the singing telegram. It’s honestly explosive. Loosely based on the game of the same name, Clue is a cult classic that is a mandatory watch.
Woody Harrelson in a big hat. Emma Stone and Jesse Eisenberg pre-Oscar films. It’s a surprisingly well-made gore fest that doesn’t feel like a gore fest? As one of the most underrated zombie comedies (is this a genre?), Zombieland leads the pack.
Hocus Pocus (1993)
If there’s one fail-proof Halloween movie, it’s Hocus Pocus. The end.
Practical Magic (1998)
You know when your sister’s boyfriend dies and then you use your witchcraft to resurrect him, but accidentally possess him with an evil spirit? Classic! Practical Magic is a new-school favorite and a solid Halloween choice that gives you both Sandy B and Nicole Kidman.
Happy Death Day (2017)
Imagine if Groundhog Day ended in murder every single time. That’s Happy Death Day: a constant retelling of a college student’s murder that ends with an unexpected twist that reveals a surprising murderer.
Death Becomes Her (1992)
Goldie Hawn and Meryl Streep give two of the most hilarious Halloween-level performances in Death Becomes Her, a dark comedy that’s all about death and some weird special effects that sees Meryl Streep’s head do things that even Meryl Streep is incapable of.
You know when you’re dead and someone crashes your home, and they just won’t go away? Well, sometimes you have to call on someone more equipped to deal with it than you are. Sometimes you have to call on him three times… you know, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice.
Speaking of dealing with ghosts, these guys practically invented the job. The ’80s classic is one of the ultimate not-scary, scary movies out there.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
You like weird? We got weird. The Rocky Horror Picture Show is the definition of a cult-Halloween movies with showings almost everywhere that comes with their own inside jokes, but if you want to take in the Tim Curry insanity at home, go for it.
What We Do In The Shadows (2015)
Roommates are the worst, and you know the old saying: When someone gets over 100 years old, they’re set in their ways, or something like that. What We Do in the Shadows is a perfect vampire mockumentary that makes the undead a surprisingly relatable group of guys just trying to get by.
Edward Scissorhands (1990)
Part horror, part fairy tale, Edward Scissorhands strikes a balance between creepy and sweet. When an inventor’s creation is left unfinished with blades for hands, he is taken in by a kind girl and her family.
The Witches of Eastwick (1987)
Like the best of us, things can go awry when you’re looking for love. In The Witches of Eastwick, the three “witches” in question just happen to stumble upon Satan himself in their pursuit for something a bit spicier in a town full of bland suitors.
Shaun of the Dead (2004)
One thing is true: Simon Pegg always delivers. In Shaun of the Dead, lazy-guy Shaun is tasked with taking out some zombies to protect his loved ones. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s one of the most critically acclaimed comedies of 2004.
The Addams Family (1991)
If the name The Addams Family doesn’t immediately make you want to sing along and snap your fingers, then you clearly haven’t seen the movie. The reimagining of the old TV classic is a must-see for any Halloween enthusiast.
It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)
Believe in something. Remember that you don’t always get what you want. Don’t fall asleep in a pumpkin patch. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is the lesson-packed film that you need in life, and it’s 100 percent the official hallmark of the holiday season.
Little Shop of Horrors (1986)
In one of the most underrated musicals ever, Seymour discovers that the flower shop he works in has something a bit more interesting than he originally thought. The problem is, the plant that’s drawing everyone’s attention might cause as many problems as it does good.
In the most important film of Christina Ricci’s career (jokes, but also, seriously), the live-action 1995 version of Casper is the greatest Casper of all time, and this is not up for debate.
When an 11-year-old girl goes on an adventure, she discovers that the world she stumbles into is similar to her own, but it’s also laden with its own set of secrets.
Honestly, Labyrinth is a lot. But in the David Bowie fantasy mindbender, a girl is tasked with saving her brother after he ends up in a world of her own imagination. Also, fun fact? It was directed by Jim Henson.
Childish? Sure. Absolutely wonderful? You bet. Halloweentown is a Disney Channel original movie, but it’s also a super staple of Millennial adolescence, so if you’re looking for something a bit out of the norm, check out Marnie’s adventure with her grandmother (Debbie Reynolds!!) into Halloweentown.
Justin Kirkland is a writer for Esquire, where he focuses on entertainment, television, and pop culture.
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