Family-Friendly Halloween Movies
Christmas may be the most popular time to visit the Disney parks, but in my opinion, Halloween is the best Disney holiday. From spooky theme park rides to TV specials and tons of character costumes for kids and adults, Disney makes it easy to get in the holiday spirit.
If your family loves to cozy up together and for a post-trick-or-treat Halloween movie fest, there are several Disney films with just enough chills and thrills for the whole family to enjoy. Recommended holiday movies are below!
The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949) – One of the two films that make up Disney’s 11th animated classic is The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, an animated retelling of the Washington Irving story about a school teacher who moves to a small New England town haunted by the Headless Horseman.
The Watcher in the Woods (1980) – Shortly after a family moves into an old country manor, they are besieged by spooky, paranormal happenings, especially the teenage daughter Jan who bears a striking resemblance to a young girl who disappeared from the village thirty years before during a mysterious solar eclipse.
Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983) – Based on the 1962 Ray Bradbury novel, the film is about two young boys from a small town and their encounters with a sinister carnival. The carnival’s proprietor promises to fulfill the townsfolk’s childhood desires, but of course, the wish fulfillment comes at a horrific price.
Hocus Pocus (1993) – One of my childhood favorites, the film is set in Salem, Massachusetts, where disbelieving California transplant Max Dennison lights the Black Flamed Candle on Halloween, despite the legend that warns the candle will bring back to life three witches who died during the Salem witch trials. The witches return to life with a vengeance and a plan to gain immortal life by feeding on the souls of children if Max, his young sister Dani, and a talking cat can’t stop them first.
Tower of Terror (TV, 1997) – A newspaper reporter Buzzy Crocker and his niece Anna investigate the mysterious disappearance of five people who vanished in 1939 while riding an elevator to a Hollywood party on the top floor of the Hollywood Tower Hotel. Buzzy and Anna discover that the spirits of the passengers are trapped in limbo and they must break the curse to finally set them free.
Under Wraps (TV, 1997) – Three pre-teens accidentally reanimate a mummy, but lucky for them, the mummy is friendly and fun. The trio name the mummy Harold and manage to keep him a secret (even while he’s living in one of their bedrooms), but soon discover that the only way to save Harold from ceasing to exist is to return him to his crypt before midnight on Halloween.
Halloweentown (TV, 1998) – In the first film of the Halloweentown series, Marnie Piper begins her training as a witch just before her 13th birthday and helps her grandmother save Halloweentown from the town’s sinister mayor, Kalabar. In Halloween Town II: Kalabar’s Revenge (TV, 2001), Kalabar returns one year later and plots to transform Halloweentown into a miserable, dreary echo of the real world while transforming the people of the real world into horrible monsters. In Halloweentown High (TV, 2004), an eclectic group of magical teens are disguised as “normal” people and join Marnie in a real world high school, and in Return to Halloweentown (TV, 2006), Marnie and her brother attend Witch University where dark forces try to control Marnie’s power.
The Scream Team (TV, 2002) – After moving to a new town, two kids discover that a society of spirits is looking for their grandfather’s lost soul which has been stolen by an evil ghost. To rescue their grandfather’s soul, the siblings join forces with the Soul Patrol to hunt and destroy the evil ghost.
The Haunted Mansion (2003) – In the Eddie Murphy-starring film inspired by the spooky theme park ride, a family moves into Gracey Manor, a mansion haunted by the spirits of hundreds of ghosts, and in order to free the spirits from the curse that has trapped them in the mansion, the family must solve the mystery of a woman’s untimely death.
Twitches (TV, 2005) – Twins Tia and Tamera Mowry star as magical sisters who are separated at birth and who reunite on their 21st birthday when they discover that they are witches from the magical land of Coventry who must combine their powers to save their kingdom and their birth mother from the Darkness. In the sequel Twitches Too (TV, 2007), the sisters learn to master their powers and discover that their long-missing father is still alive in the Shadowlands and must be saved so they can once again defeat the evil Thantos.
Pooh’s Heffalump Halloween Movie (2005) – It’s Halloween in the Hundred Acre Wood and Tigger tells Roo and Lumpy the Heffalump the legend of the Gobloon, a Halloween monster that will grant one wish to whoever captures it. Roo, Lumpy, and friends go on a hunt for the Gobloon and after a few spooky adventures, they go trick-or-treating and join Kanga for a special Halloween party.
Spooky Buddies (2011) – In Disney’s newest Halloween-themed film and the 10th film in the Air Bud/Disney Buddies series, the talking Buddies must travel to the Spooky Manor, a mysterious old mansion so they can stop the Howlloween Hound and Warwick the Warlock from destroying the world.