With spooky season here, it’s time to break out some of my favorite films to get me into the spirit of Samhain and Halloween. If you love horror and haven’t seen my list of favorite horror films to watch during Samhain/Halloween, go check that out. This list is for folks that want to watch movies that capture the spirit of the season without the scares. Most of these movies are also kid/family-friendly, with parental guidance.
The Addams Family
When Aurora and I got married on Halloween, The Addams Family was a huge inspiration for our wedding. This movie takes the original concept of Charles Addams’ classic comic strip and the show from the 60s and turns it into something even creepier, kookier, and all together ookier.
It’s amazing how this movie still holds up today and has truly become a timeless classic, in my opinion.
Ernest Scared Stupid
This movie is probably one of the strangest yet most nostalgic movies for me on this list. I grew up as a huge Ernest fan, and this movie is my absolute favorite of the bunch. I mean, what’s not to love? Ernest is absolutely ridiculous while fighting off a troll that’s terrorizing the town.
That’s a huge win in my book.
If you didn’t grow up with the Ernest movies, this is the perfect place to start if you want an introduction to the character’s silliness plus the brilliance of the actor, Jim Varney.
The Halloween Tree
The Halloween Tree is an animated adaptation of the Ray Bradbury children’s novel of the same name. Not only does this movie have absolutely incredible animation and acting by the likes of Leonard Nemoy, but it also provides insights into cultural traditions from around the world for the Samhain/Halloween season.
This one is great for kiddos to introduce them to “the reason of the season.”
While some in the witchcraft community might feel this movie misrepresents witches, I think if you take it at face value, it is an excellent movie for the Samhain/Halloween season.
Not only is it a fun watch, but there is also no way you can not have Bette Midler’s rendition of “I Put a Spell on You” stuck in your head after watching.
While Hocus Pocus 2 is currently in production at the time of writing this, there is also an official novelization that includes a sequel story. I highly recommend checking that out as well if you are a fan of this movie.
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Some will debate if this movie is actually a Halloween/Samhain watch or if you should wait until Christmas/Yule.
For me, I take the “por que no los dos” approach and basically just keep this movie playing for the rest of the year.
If you know me, you will know that this is one of my absolute favorite movies ever. In high school, I was actually known for the Jack Skellington beanie I would constantly wear year-round. I’ve even taken to reading the book to my daughter during the month of December.
The second, but not the last Tim Burton entry on this list (I know he didn’t direct The Nightmare Before Christmas; it’s just his concept.) Beetlejuice is an absolute must for this time of year.
Not only does it have incredible spooky vibes, but it also gives an incredibly interesting viewpoint on death.
Since Samhain is the time of year when the veil between the living and the dead is the thinnest, this movie just makes sense for frequent viewings.
A word of caution, this film does have a few sensitive themes regarding death and does drop one f-bomb so it’s probably not the most family-friendly.
So, just be aware before you put this one on for the kiddos.
In the late 90s and early 2000s, The Disney Channel would crank out some incredible Halloween-themed movies.
With the introduction of Disney+, these movies have totally made a comeback into my October movie-watching rotation. Halloweentown especially.
This movie takes a very positive approach to witches and all things spooky by creating an entire town the movie is centered around that is the absolute dream home of all the spooky folks of this world that grew up with the movie. It’s almost like the alternate reality version of Salem, but without the tainted history.
“Halloween is cool!”
When I was a kid, I dealt with a lot of death very early in my life. I think before I was 6 years old I had already been to 5 funerals. This movie came out around that time in my life and kind of became an obsession for me.
I assume it kind of helped me process death as best I could at that age and how it’s probably not so scary. If you find that you enjoy this movie, definitely check out the original cartoon, which you can find on a couple of different free streaming services.
As a fun bonus fact, before playing Lizzy McGuire, Hillary Duff starred in the sequel to this movie as Casper’s friend Wendy the Witch.
It’s not that easy to find to watch now but it’s a great one if you can find it.
While I’m not the biggest fan of CGI animation, this movie is incredible. It’s very stylized and has a super interesting story to go with it. I’ve also always appreciated that this movie, while staying family-friendly, still has a creepy vibe that some could even put into the category of “scary.”
Well, look at that, another Tim Burton movie on this list.
While a lot of folks say this was their introduction to Johnny Depp, for me this movie was my introduction to the legendary Vincent Price. It’s not necessarily a Halloween/Samhain-themed movie but the aesthetic this carries with it makes it perfect for the season.
There are also some Christmas themes towards the end of the movie so you could totally throw it into that part of the year.
This is the last Tim Burton movie on this list, I promise.
While not my favorite film on this list, the themes of death and the underworld of this movie make it the perfect addition to any Halloween/Samhain movie list. I’ve always liked how the human world in this movie is so drab and boring while the afterlife is incredibly vibrant.
Plus, the songs are incredibly catchy.
Much like The Halloween Tree, I really enjoyed Coco because it added a layer of learning about the tradition of Día de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) which is actually the day after Samhain/Halloween.
I like that this movie puts a huge emphasis on remembering your ancestors and communing with them during this time of year while the veil is at its thinnest.
As witches, I think this is a very important part of our celebration and find this movie inspiring to my practice.
I can almost guarantee that any Halloween/Samhain party you go to this season will have the theme song to this movie on the playlist (and probably The Time Warp from Rocky Horror Picture Show).
That alone makes it a perfect addition to this list.
Safe and Spooky
This Samhain/Halloween, make sure that you stay safe, especially as the pandemic is still going strong in some areas of the world. I hope this list allows you to keep the spirit of the season going if you can’t go out to celebrate in public (and if you do please stay safe).
Tag @plentiful_earth on Twitter and use #peHalloween with your lists or what your favorite movie from this list is.