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) 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.


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

78th Annual Golden Globe Awards 93rd Oscars king kong name the review Horror transformers latino renewed TV shows independent mission: impossible reboot technology YA ghosts facebook strong female leads Star Trek crime Sony Pictures Tubi new zealand Opinion jamie lee curtis scary movies elevated horror japanese YouTube natural history Discovery Channel CMT Calendar popular Pop Sundance 2015 period drama crossover Paramount Plus new star wars movies joker kong international Television Academy Amazon Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt 72 Emmy Awards football tv talk new york Hallmark Christmas movies Election nature comic movies TV psycho First Look Disney streaming service Elton John Summer scene in color halloween spain Pixar blaxploitation Super Bowl revenge Crackle travel telelvision TNT Premiere Dates spanish crime thriller 2020 streaming Shondaland screenings Mary poppins Television Critics Association APB Oscars MCU DirecTV Mary Tyler Moore emmy awards Food Network ITV spider-man Red Carpet sports Valentine's Day ViacomCBS Hulu ratings cars indie news spinoff Columbia Pictures best james bond biography Fox Searchlight Mystery FXX golden globes Sci-Fi 4/20 Universal razzies MSNBC deadpool saw cinemax Watching Series venice Teen free movies The Purge christmas movies space films 2021 Biopics casting spanish language archives cancelled TV shows Binge Guide Toys Walt Disney Pictures FX on Hulu BBC America FOX TruTV Sundance Now laika Marvel indiana jones 007 Trophy Talk CBS all-time cats adventure Spike AMC National Geographic television TBS Crunchyroll BBC One versus WGN Character Guide DC streaming service Country Adult Swim Film Festival cops Tarantino PBS Ellie Kemper award winner ID cancelled golden globe awards Infographic festival blockbusters Baby Yoda robots 2017 Netflix Christmas movies NBC Marvel Studios rotten Spectrum Originals canceled TV shows TV renewals Reality CNN TIFF green book Film Pet Sematary 2018 mutant zombie Christmas live action historical drama Apple TV+ YouTube Red 24 frames lord of the rings Chilling Adventures of Sabrina animated aapi comic books DC Universe Reality Competition Arrowverse sitcom foreign docudrama Amazon Prime Video New York Comic Con E3 Holiday french discovery witnail SXSW Awards what to watch HBO Go franchise Academy Awards comics Epix target Turner Bravo mockumentary richard e. Grant remakes 99% sequel Amazon Studios Holidays zombies Ghostbusters San Diego Comic-Con scorecard HBO Max harry potter singing competition Star Wars Exclusive Video Peacock The Witch trailers ESPN TCA Winter 2020 LGBT sequels Logo Netflix A&E political drama E! anthology RT21 slashers Turner Classic Movies Heroines Trailer game show TV movies VH1 cooking BET Box Office Comedy Paramount Network Disney documentary medical drama USA supernatural cancelled TV series Thanksgiving children's TV dramedy stand-up comedy Sundance TV Lionsgate Sneak Peek romantic comedy women stop motion Tumblr Animation classics heist movie Paramount godzilla vampires sag awards adaptation kaiju Tomatazos TCA Comic Book Mary Poppins Returns Comics on TV BET Awards science fiction Best and Worst Fox News quibi Song of Ice and Fire dceu Vudu worst toronto CBS All Access Rocky spy thriller 20th Century Fox Britbox Rock 21st Century Fox TLC book adaptation Nominations Disney Plus WarnerMedia thriller Lifetime Writers Guild of America Musical dogs stoner justice league superhero rom-coms PaleyFest TCA Awards Women's History Month doctor who romance Brie Larson black Showtime toy story DC Comics Image Comics Masterpiece blockbuster zero dark thirty diversity parents Marathons 45 Dark Horse Comics DGA President a nightmare on elm street talk show Amazon Prime Black History Month 2016 rotten movies we love Lifetime Christmas movies Winter TV RT History docuseries nfl Action Grammys know your critic halloween tv Mudbound monster movies theme song marvel cinematic universe Mindy Kaling crime drama TCA 2017 boxoffice American Society of Cinematographers war The Arrangement IFC Films ABC Signature Trivia dragons superman First Reviews The Academy Countdown The Walking Dead VOD book X-Men Superheroe documentaries See It Skip It series twilight OWN Captain marvel chucky Photos Comedy Central 71st Emmy Awards GIFs asian-american cancelled television Apple TV Plus FX Stephen King Freeform Ovation Quiz Pop TV GoT social media concert Apple Emmy Nominations dark directors Awards Tour comiccon Nat Geo teaser breaking bad miniseries Video Games video on demand Set visit jurassic park cartoon Cartoon Network south america Pacific Islander SDCC rt archives Anna Paquin History Music Avengers Black Mirror BBC anime Hear Us Out child's play Lucasfilm HBO Interview TV Land BAFTA The CW Acorn TV cults hidden camera Disney+ Disney Plus SundanceTV Martial Arts IFC Legendary Superheroes Pirates PlayStation screen actors guild Funimation USA Network Classic Film Nickelodeon game of thrones aliens Travel Channel Drama Musicals Pride Month composers festivals comedies ABC die hard Emmys fresh criterion Fall TV australia Podcast NYCC prank Shudder batman streaming movies finale hollywood italian nbcuniversal true crime TCM LGBTQ obituary video GLAAD Cosplay Creative Arts Emmys binge TV One Polls and Games hist Rom-Com critics Broadway politics Certified Fresh kids Disney Channel reviews ABC Family serial killer based on movie OneApp werewolf Starz El Rey Schedule boxing high school The Walt Disney Company 2019 Winners Warner Bros. MTV A24 worst movies psychological thriller disaster Extras unscripted VICE canceled Chernobyl Marvel Television pirates of the caribbean Fantasy fast and furious Esquire CW Seed dc YouTube Premium Rocketman Spring TV Year in Review hispanic Family Kids & Family satire Syfy Endgame movie police drama universal monsters Cannes Western Alien Hallmark