Parental Guidance

3 Family-Friendly Halloween Movie Alternatives to Goosebumps 2

If you can't get to the theaters -- or simply prefer not to go at all -- you can stay comfy at home with these other Halloween flicks for the whole family.

by | October 12, 2018 | Comments

Capitalizing on the success of the 2015 hit Goosebumps, starring Jack Black and based on the popular youth horror novels by R.L. Stine, we have a family-friendly sequel this week in the form of Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween. There’s significantly less Jack Black in this one (aside from his voice), but a lot of familiar small-town mayhem, so Christy Lemire breaks down what may or may not frighten young viewers, then offers a trio of alternatives you can watch at home if you can’t make it to the theaters… or simply prefer not to go at all.


THE MOVIE

Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween (2018) 47%

Rating: PG, for scary creature action and images, some thematic elements, rude humor and language.

The sequel to 2015’s Goosebumps offers more kid-friendly frights in the vein of the long-running R.L. Stine book series. This time, it’s a whole new story with an array of (mostly) new characters. Middle schoolers Sonny and Sam (Jeremy Ray Taylor and Caleel Harris) accidentally summon the scheming ventriloquist dummy Slappy (voiced by Jack Black) while investigating an abandoned house. (Slappy’s screen presence has been expanded significantly from the original film, in which he was a supporting player.) At first, Slappy seems like a friendly and helpful companion, as he uses his magical powers to do away with chores and homework and get revenge on bullies. But it soon becomes clear that he aims to take over Sonny’s family as well as the entire town, which he does by making all the Halloween decorations and costumes come to life. Witches, pumpkins, mummies, you name it – they all rise up to wreak havoc. It can be a little intense, but overall it’s more silly than scary. The best sight gags involve a giant spider composed entirely of balloons and a bowl full of gummy bears that turn vicious. Kids will enjoy the craziness of it all, although the image of the genuinely creepy Slappy might freak out the youngest viewers. Goosebumps 2 is a solid early horror movie for kids around 8 and older.


THE RECOMMENDATIONS

If Goosebumps 2 has you in the Halloween spirit, here are a few more spooky movies you and your family can enjoy together:

Goosebumps (2015) 76%

Rating: PG, for scary and intense creature action and images, and for some rude humor.

As is often the case (and as the Tomatometer can attest), the original Goosebumps movie is better than the sequel. And it has the benefit of more Jack Black, starring as Stine himself, a reclusive horror writer. When the new kid in town (Dylan Minnette) moves in next door to Stine and befriends his sheltered daughter (Odeya Rush), adventures ensue. The two open Stine’s sealed manuscripts, causing the characters to leap from the pages and create chaos in a peaceful, small town. As in the sequel, much of the imagery is silly and playful. There’s a bit involving adorable, angry yard gnomes, and instead of a giant balloon spider, there’s a giant preying mantis. And of course there’s Slappy, whose very presence can send a shiver (as well as a giggle). The original Goosebumps reminded me of great ’80s horror comedies like Gremlins in its good-natured danger. Fine for viewers around 7 or 8 and older.

Watch now on: AmazonFandangoNOW, iTunes


Frankenweenie (2012) 87%

Rating: PG, for thematic elements, scary images and action.

This remains one of my all-time favorite Tim Burton movies, both for its technical complexity and its emotional tenderness. This feature-length version of his 1984 short oozes his cleverly macabre style and it’s a great example of all the director does so well. It’s about a little boy (voiced by Charlie Tahan) who brings his beloved, deceased dog back to life – a kindhearted notion that has unexpected results. The balance Burton strikes here in his twisted tearjerker is a joy to behold. His love of classic monster movies is infectious, and his stop-motion animation imagery is just gorgeous in crisp black and white. Winona Ryder, Martin Landau, Catherine O’Hara and Martin Short make up the strong supporting voice cast. A great choice for viewers around 6 or 7 and older.

Watch now on: AmazonFandangoNOWiTunes


It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966) 94%

Rating: Not Rated

A classic, and one that can be enjoyed year-round. At least that’s how my kid watches it, along with all the other animated Peanuts specials. It is THE Halloween movie for the whole family. You’ve probably seen it a million times and can recite Linus’ Great Pumpkin speech right along with him. But if it’s been a while, or if your kids have never seen it, this is a great one to watch together – regardless of their age. Charlie Brown’s trick-or-treating lament – “I got a rock” – never gets old. And Linus’ unshakable belief that the Great Pumpkin not only exists but also will rise up and bring presents to all the good boys and girls has a charming innocence. An excellent choice for all ages.

Watch now on: AmazonFandangoNOWiTunes

Tag Cloud

Tomatazos History talk show Mary Poppins Returns thriller ESPN Comedy science fiction HBO zombies Rocky ITV TV Land transformers Awards Pop cops 007 Nickelodeon PaleyFest Reality Competition crossover Trivia dceu blaxploitation MTV AMC cults VICE YouTube Premium binge VH1 Martial Arts Mystery Sci-Fi Netflix 2018 GLAAD Photos See It Skip It Marvel SXSW aliens Columbia Pictures Crackle Sundance hist Logo Extras Podcast historical drama OWN Grammys Valentine's Day Polls and Games police drama FX TLC Hulu IFC Films Musicals FXX Marathons DC Comics 20th Century Fox Schedule Fox News Epix what to watch TCA 2017 war anime MSNBC BBC America Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Star Wars adventure NYCC Country Drama The Arrangement BBC Lucasfilm Animation Sony Pictures Song of Ice and Fire Masterpiece dramedy Holidays Opinion E! CMT IFC Western Apple Set visit Calendar Adult Swim New York Comic Con sports Cosplay Countdown Year in Review El Rey biography Sundance Now TruTV Starz American Society of Cinematographers Amazon justice league CBS festivals Walt Disney Pictures Lionsgate sitcom comiccon cats WGN Box Office supernatural SundanceTV DirecTV Winners Comics on TV Infographic USA finale Star Trek Mary Tyler Moore Writers Guild of America ABC Premiere Dates Syfy crime thriller travel Lifetime Pirates Acorn TV crime drama romance jamie lee curtis TV Comic Book ABC Family SDCC Watching Series Reality Summer Rom-Com Britbox ratings The CW boxoffice E3 24 frames CBS All Access Rock 21st Century Fox Quiz Warner Bros. TNT docudrama Super Bowl Trophy Talk golden globes Action spider-man Sneak Peek social media Pixar Fall TV Certified Fresh GIFs Character Guide X-Men spy thriller Musical Oscars psycho USA Network Music television TCM Bravo Nat Geo DC Universe 2015 PBS robots Comedy Central Ghostbusters based on movie period drama 2016 APB Ovation Creative Arts Emmys 2017 Spring TV award winner Teen mutant Paramount Network Spike Thanksgiving zombie discovery doctor who LGBTQ vampires National Geographic political drama Winter TV Superheroe Red Carpet YouTube Red DC streaming service Disney YA Best and Worst Superheroes crime 45 Horror Shudder Shondaland cooking Ellie Kemper politics Trailer CNN Universal Nominations TBS Disney Channel Video Games TIFF Awards Tour Paramount NBC comic GoT singing competition Biopics harry potter Esquire Toys medical drama Emmys Tumblr dc technology San Diego Comic-Con unscripted Fantasy diversity Showtime 2019 green book serial killer President streaming Cartoon Network CW Seed Mary poppins Mindy Kaling TCA First Look Interview Election Christmas Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Dark Horse Comics BET cinemax Food Network composers FOX A&E Freeform RT History Kids & Family