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.


Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween (2018) 48%

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.


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) 78%

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

comic FOX YouTube Awards Tour Women's History Month zombie Chernobyl thriller Nominations Nat Geo GIFs politics The Walking Dead 2017 LGBTQ FX Mary Tyler Moore Emmy Nominations tv talk TruTV award winner ratings 21st Century Fox Mary poppins Valentine's Day Tarantino Starz ABC Family reboot Sci-Fi talk show A24 Musical facebook stand-up comedy Thanksgiving Rock AMC The Witch name the review sports batman cancelled cancelled TV shows Comic Book Pirates Family The Purge Hallmark Christmas movies science fiction spinoff Video Games foreign Box Office Spectrum Originals Fantasy FXX HBO cancelled television Shudder San Diego Comic-Con Lifetime Christmas movies Drama El Rey DGA war Holiday TV Land Writers Guild of America GLAAD cartoon supernatural Binge Guide Amazon Studios Acorn TV Certified Fresh cooking romance Infographic Ellie Kemper Reality natural history anime Sundance TV free movies ESPN Hulu Sundance docudrama singing competition Kids & Family OWN TV OneApp Pet Sematary screenings christmas movies video E3 Britbox See It Skip It X-Men finale Adult Swim dc cars spanish language technology Mystery Heroines The Arrangement Animation Shondaland DC Comics crime drama VICE spain Lucasfilm south america Tubi Red Carpet Reality Competition psycho psychological thriller Discovery Channel American Society of Cinematographers Walt Disney Pictures Year in Review robots Marvel Television harry potter Polls and Games Turner Classic Movies Nickelodeon 2015 canceled romantic comedy police drama what to watch Disney+ Disney Plus Star Trek TCA miniseries Captain marvel Superheroe crime thriller Martial Arts cops Schedule Academy Awards TLC APB Character Guide Pride Month elevated horror MTV animated independent BBC America sitcom Masterpiece Music WarnerMedia Extras Star Wars BBC TNT Apple TV Plus Mary Poppins Returns USA Network anthology Cartoon Network Quiz movie canceled TV shows Comedy aliens Oscars SundanceTV diversity Musicals RT21 Spike Epix Emmys Apple TV+ Action Showtime A&E based on movie 007 television Disney Plus travel Pop IFC Film Festival SDCC MSNBC Marvel Studios jamie lee curtis Crackle 2018 Set visit Bravo 2019 cancelled TV series biography sag awards Summer festivals Netflix Christmas movies Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt game show HBO Max CBS Horror doctor who adaptation Holidays Comedy Central Country teaser TCM unscripted Disney Channel witnail cinemax Teen mockumentary Marathons crime TIFF spy thriller Peacock Watching Series Esquire CNN latino serial killer TCA Winter 2020 medical drama Rom-Com sequel Tumblr directors strong female leads Photos dragons Song of Ice and Fire transformers E! comics BET Columbia Pictures nature NBC USA Turner Tomatazos TBS Arrowverse Rocketman YA disaster Sneak Peek CBS All Access Television Academy VH1 MCU Logo joker Podcast book Calendar space richard e. Grant Trophy Talk slashers Universal breaking bad IFC Films Amazon Prime Video revenge CMT boxoffice PaleyFest PBS series toy story Anna Paquin Marvel National Geographic Trivia DC Universe History spider-man rotten movies we love Super Bowl First Reviews Western DirecTV Comics on TV GoT Awards Biopics cults Sony Pictures Premiere Dates ITV binge quibi werewolf documentary justice league 20th Century Fox dramedy NYCC Best and Worst TV renewals vampires Amazon Prime political drama Hallmark dceu social media historical drama Rocky crossover Film Toys Classic Film Christmas true crime adventure Lifetime WGN President Pixar Election composers screen actors guild comiccon Warner Bros. Ghostbusters First Look DC streaming service Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Winter TV 2020 Netflix Disney Elton John Fox News hispanic Stephen King 24 frames Amazon Paramount Network cats CW Seed Brie Larson Trailer casting Spring TV Countdown LGBT YouTube Premium Food Network TCA 2017 Cannes Opinion children's TV versus Creative Arts Emmys Mindy Kaling discovery Black Mirror mutant Syfy Superheroes Disney streaming service ABC YouTube Red Sundance Now zero dark thirty Paramount New York Comic Con zombies blockbuster 71st Emmy Awards Apple indie Crunchyroll Cosplay Mudbound Freeform Ovation Endgame renewed TV shows Vudu game of thrones green book Interview Lionsgate 2016 Avengers period drama theme song kids Winners Grammys 45 movies RT History Baby Yoda blaxploitation halloween streaming SXSW The CW hist Fall TV ghosts Dark Horse Comics golden globes