‘Tis the season to freak out and try to find media that your kids won’t have nightmares to. I’ve been watching a few and here are my thoughts:
Young kids – toddlers-6 or up
- Curious George’s A Halloween Boo Fest
We found this at Hastings and watched it last week. [Edit: it will be on PBS this week, several times.] It was good fun. It’s about an hour, is well produced, and is easy for little kids to follow. It does the hard thing of making it almost scary for little ones but then pulls the rug out from under them by having the scariest creature kick hats off people. I had to help my kids understand how they resolved it at the end but it was a good length and fun to watch. It should be on TV next [Edit: Halloween] week, check your local listings.
- Groovie Ghoulies
This is genuinely a throwback, basically a laugh-in style bunch of monster jokes told by monsters. There were five episodes on the disc I rented. It kept the kids’ attention because it had some physical comedy like monsters running into each other or falling down, but they didn’t really get the puns, which were 99% of the jokes.
For older kids, maybe 8 and up.
I’m partial to Tim Burton’s animated work and this is no exception. It’s well done. In terms of scares, it really lets the viewer soak into the idea of the lost pet, longer than I expected, and let Victor (Frankenstein, the main character) express some sadness over losing his best friend. That’s what my son remembered the most about it, not the others scares that I thought would get him. The dog is really the main character of the movie and there are a lot of old horror jokes for fans. Probably don’t want to watch it if you’ve lost a pet recently.
This one’s similar to Frankenweenie but darker. Where Victor (in Frankenweenie) has loving, supportive, and understanding parents, Norman’s parents are baffled and want him to move on from seeing the ghosts he sees. It’s hipper and scarier than Frankenweenie and has some genuine shocks along with some good ideas about kindness and understanding, etc.
For other Halloween choices check out Common Sense Media’s not too scary suggestions and suggestions for picking one that won’t disrupt your sleep habits because of nocturnal visitors wanting to take up precious real-estate in your bed.