Photo Credit: TriStar/Courtesy Neal Peters Collection
With Halloween falling on a Saturday night this year, slumber parties and post-trick-or-treating festivities are bound to fill living rooms across the country. Nothing goes better with a bag of Halloween candy than a scary movie—but which one? Pooh’s Heffalump Halloween and the Halloween offerings from the Nick/Noggin crew are easy choices for younger kids, and teens will pick their own. But I’m hosting a pack of 8-year-olds who think they’re ready to be scared. I polled my DoubleX colleagues looking for starter-scary flicks and we came up with 10 movies that will give middle-graders just the right dose of Halloween.
1. Casper: It’s got a just-right haunted house, a small dose of grief, and a Gothic mansion. And, according to staffer Torie Bosch, it’s “the most romantic movie ever.” (OK, she was a sixth-grader at the time.)
2. Labyrinth: The David Bowie version of Alice in Wonderland is goblin-filled and impressive, with delicious monster-puppet effects. Don’t tell your kids, but Nina Shen Rastogi claims there will be lessons about appreciating your siblings.
3. Ghostbusters: Worth it for the title song alone, funny and scary in equal parts. If the innuendo about the Keymaster and the Gatekeeper doesn’t go over their heads, then they already know anything this movie would teach them.
4. Monster House: All animated, but this is no cartoon for little kids, because the classic mean old man down the street lives in a kid-eating, predatory house that’s absolutely out to get the main characters. Rachael Larimore declared this one a little scary for her 5-year-old, but I sense her family will watch it again this year.
5. Something Wicked This Way Comes: Creepy and suspenseful, this one offers an introduction to why carnivals are scary (and a welcome rescuing parent). Classic junior horror, without the modern leavening laughs.
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