Parental Guidance

Parental Guidance: Halloween Edition

This week, Christy offers up some family-friendly alternatives for October 31st.

by | October 25, 2013 | Comments

Greetings, parents seeking guidance. Since Halloween is coming, I thought I’d devote this week’s column to some films and TV shows you could watch with your kids that are spooky/silly/suspenseful/all of the above. Cuddle up under a blanket in front of the TV and let’s go:

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown


My almost-4-year-old son is totally into classic Peanuts cartoons lately, which makes me very happy. What’s so great about these old clips — and this one in particular — is the way it depicts the sweetly funny confusion and angst of childhood. This TV special finds Linus waiting for The Great Pumpkin (as usual) and having no one believe in its existence (as usual). Hopefully when you and your kids go trick-or-treating this year, no one gets a rock.

Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride


Wondrous, strange, poignant and beautifully reflective of Tim Burton’s distinctive, darkly humorous style. With an all-star voice cast led by Burton regulars Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter, the film follows the romantic troubles of a shy young man torn between the woman his parents have arranged for him to marry and the woman who rises from the Land of the Dead and accidentally becomes his wife. At a brisk 74 minutes, the whole family can enjoy it.



I swear, I will do more than just pick Tim Burton movies, but so many of them are so very fitting in this category. Like Corpse Bride, this comedy features painstakingly detailed stop-motion animation. Based on his 1984 live-action short of the same name, Frankenweenie follows what happens when a science-obsessed 10-year-old brings his dead dog back to life. This is not really a movie for little kids. But it’s heartwarming, I promise.

Edward Scissorhands


This one’s probably best for tweens and older – I saw it with my mother when I was 18 and home from college for Christmas break and we just cried and cried. This is probably still my favorite Burton film; absurdly funny and achingly melancholy, it’s the perfect crystallization of his signature themes and aesthetic. It’s also an excellent example of his longtime collaboration with Depp.



Not to be confused with Nine, based on the Broadway musical, which isn’t scary in the slightest. The animation is breathtakingly original in this dark family tale of roughhewn rag dolls who represent the last vestige of humanity in a post-apocalyptic world. The story itself is rather thin but it’s always gorgeous to watch (although it’s probably not suitable for the littlest kids). Elijah Wood, Christopher Plummer and John C. Reilly are among the strong voice cast.

Sleeping Beauty


Or if you really want to give your kids nightmares, show them Fantasia (1940) – it still scares me and I’m a grown woman. All classic Disney animated films contain some serious element of danger: a fire in the woods, an evil queen. Sleeping Beauty is my childhood favorite of the genre. The imagery is so vibrant and lush, it makes the film’s villain — the snubbed witch Maleficent, out for revenge against our fair heroine — that much more vivid and frightening.

Stand by Me


Not exactly a horror movie per se, although it does originate from a Stephen King novella. What Rob Reiner’s film does so well is capture the sensation that there’s adventure and danger lurking in the prosaic activities of daily life when you’re growing up. Set in the summer of 1959, it’s also one of the best coming-of-age films you can show your kids as well as a wonderful (and poignant) time capsule of its stars, including the late River Phoenix.

Tag Cloud

A&E BBC Adult Swim Best and Worst Musical The Purge YA Prime Video tv talk independent a nightmare on elm street boxing CBS SXSW die hard First Reviews politics Paramount crossover DirecTV television strong female leads leaderboard book hidden camera Teen HFPA sopranos Peacock 2021 Cartoon Network christmas movies Alien cartoon Trivia festivals 1990s Disney Plus Classic Film 73rd Emmy Awards golden globe awards social media Apple TV Plus Endgame Song of Ice and Fire james bond unscripted Tarantino TCA Awards CW Seed asian-american The Arrangement jamie lee curtis Chernobyl Sneak Peek Spike Interview dogs vs. new zealand Fargo Hulu joker pirates of the caribbean football PlayStation based on movie Amazon Prime saw versus Mindy Kaling Emmys Trophy Talk RT History Exclusive Video NBC CBS All Access Netflix Christmas movies nature USA Music Spring TV king arthur casting TNT VH1 foreign suspense italian TCM BET Awards GoT kaiju streaming movies Emmy Nominations Awards Tour cars 71st Emmy Awards dexter anthology RT21 Podcast biography spanish language Apple mcc TBS Rom-Com supernatural feel good blockbuster Infographic cinemax National Geographic series Biopics hispanic archives Christmas Hollywood Foreign Press Association Marvel Television spider-verse parents Lucasfilm HBO Max cops dragons deadpool Sundance Awards franchise doctor who batman Writers Guild of America San Diego Comic-Con Amazon Prime Video child's play royal family comic indiana jones stoner Oscars APB justice league BBC One aliens Summer Shondaland AMC Plus comiccon Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Superheroe sequel GIFs Baby Yoda FXX Travel Channel Universal popular Reality breaking bad Year in Review cancelled TV shows animated TV One biopic blaxploitation Disney thriller Amazon Studios Apple TV+ VOD ID comic books CNN nfl PBS spinoff History free movies adaptation sports DC Comics period drama Lifetime 2018 laika know your critic New York Comic Con Comic Book Character Guide Cannes dreamworks Disney Channel new star wars movies Pop black movies scorecard critic resources latino cats Acorn TV rt labs kids Mystery Action marvel comics Winter TV aapi USA Network lord of the rings YouTube rotten Tumblr Syfy Pet Sematary Marvel Studios The Academy The Witch LGBTQ video Kids & Family war Academy Awards composers chucky NBA genre OWN Television Academy Nickelodeon films singing competition El Rey Star Wars all-time Tomatazos wonder woman romantic comedy 93rd Oscars cancelled dark prank Comics on TV psycho fast and furious 21st Century Fox docuseries Universal Pictures Musicals ITV Paramount Plus telelvision worst Mary Tyler Moore green book Chilling Adventures of Sabrina spanish slasher Creative Arts Emmys TCA Winter 2020 Freeform Funimation dramedy SDCC comic book movies teaser 90s scary revenge OneApp screenings Hallmark hist E! Discovery Channel cults robots cancelled television Extras talk show young adult Sony Pictures Toys rt archives The CW FX on Hulu natural history scary movies MCU comic book movie BAFTA debate Avengers Certified Fresh miniseries TruTV ABC Signature HBO scene in color LGBT crime canceled reviews werewolf Martial Arts Reality Competition japanese Tags: Comedy trophy TV renewals Marvel Quiz movie Pop TV boxoffice richard e. Grant Red Carpet toronto quibi Anna Paquin Ovation Rock romance Broadway historical drama australia WGN black comedy gangster 2019 superhero Ghostbusters technology universal monsters mockumentary docudrama Columbia Pictures game show anime diversity IFC Films Crunchyroll mission: impossible toy story cooking PaleyFest canceled TV shows satire Disney+ Disney Plus Rocky Masterpiece TCA 2017 4/20 legend rt labs critics edition hollywood art house psychological thriller sag awards Country Valentine's Day 99% Tubi superman Epix ABC Family Comic-Con@Home 2021 AMC First Look Mary poppins sitcom 72 Emmy Awards Vudu slashers HBO Go Box Office TV movies what to watch children's TV godzilla adventure DGA Pirates serial killer Countdown DC streaming service Grammys Winners BBC America obituary TCA Bravo 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards posters comedies spy thriller Sci-Fi SundanceTV documentaries worst movies E3 Watching Series BET Film Festival Western Tokyo Olympics 2016 fresh zero dark thirty twilight award winner Polls and Games zombies Fox Searchlight live action Pride Month golden globes trailers Opinion 007 ESPN documentary cancelled TV series Nominations Mudbound Mary Poppins Returns IFC President mob mutant Food Network Film Paramount Network zombie Animation heist movie YouTube Red Legendary Pixar crime drama DC Universe theme song medical drama rotten movies we love 20th Century Fox ViacomCBS Comedy Central Trailer blockbusters Brie Larson Black Mirror women Drama harry potter Warner Bros. Calendar Election Star Trek Showtime finale game of thrones space Hallmark Christmas movies Netflix directors binge Superheroes MSNBC X-Men Rocketman jurassic park FOX Pacific Islander monster movies kong halloween video on demand discovery book adaptation Elton John NYCC Wes Anderson travel rom-coms renewed TV shows Holiday crime thriller Binge Guide Logo Women's History Month Neflix GLAAD American Society of Cinematographers Black History Month 24 frames king kong comics Lionsgate new york Disney streaming service sequels hispanic heritage month south america basketball action-comedy Crackle 2017 Turner TV Set visit The Walking Dead Thanksgiving elevated horror spain disaster 2020 CMT Shudder Horror Arrowverse witnail Marathons emmy awards halloween tv Schedule true crime IMDb TV name the review venice Spectrum Originals Family Nat Geo Ellie Kemper festival See It Skip It WarnerMedia french nbcuniversal streaming ghosts transformers critics criterion political drama Sundance Now Holidays science fiction facebook Captain marvel ratings japan Fantasy Television Critics Association indie Starz Instagram Live reboot YouTube Premium A24 Comedy remakes 2015 target razzies TIFF TLC marvel cinematic universe adenture live event Walt Disney Pictures TV Land 79th Golden Globes Awards MTV 45 Heroines Amazon Fox News police drama Premiere Dates Lifetime Christmas movies The Walt Disney Company news Image Comics high school Turner Classic Movies stand-up comedy Stephen King Cosplay stop motion Britbox olympics Sundance TV best Esquire classics Hear Us Out FX VICE dceu Photos Dark Horse Comics Fall TV Video Games screen actors guild vampires ABC Super Bowl spider-man concert international dc