Spooky seasonal favorites revive Halloween spirit


Courtesy of @witchtrials

Sarah Jessica Parker (right), Bette Midler (middle), and Kathy Najimy play the iconic witch sisters in the classic “Hocus Pocus”.

By Aliki Dimitoglou, Advertising & Subscriptions Manager

    It is finally time for fall–let the sweater-wearing, leaf-falling and candy-eating traditions commence. Along the journey of intense buildup to the special day of Halloween, there are a variety of Halloween-related customs, one of them being the binge watching of seasonal movies. Halloween is unlike some other holidays, as the hype for the special day is just as fun as the ghostly night. 

    “I feel like movies excite people about the holiday and lets them be excited for it to actually happen,” sophomore Dani Primerano said. 

    People have different spook-tolerance levels and while some love a good spook here and there, others prefer are more comedic approach to Halloween. Regardless, here are five not-too-scary movies to get you in the Halloween spirit:

    Hocus Pocus

    This definitive Halloween film is one of the greatest of it’s time. The back-and-forth volley between the accomplishments of both the protagonists and the antagonists keeps the audience on the edge of their seat, wondering who will prevail. Three teenagers explore an abandoned house in Salem, Ma., and after accidentally letting three evil witches loose, who used to live on the property, must now try and stop them from becoming immortal. The three sister witches (Bette Midler as Winnie, Sarah Jessica Parker as Sarah, and Kathy Najimy as Mary) each contribute their own wonderful role to the story, offering comedic lines and iconic faces that keep the eerie movie lighthearted. This memorable production has become well-recognized over the years, mostly for its good balance between comedy and Halloween fantasy. Although in the beginning, Hocus Pocus received a lot of downpour on the economic burdens the movie would cause to Walt Disney, it soon became a classic. In the words of Max Dennison (Omri Katz), “It’s all just a bunch of hocus pocus.”

    “My favourite Halloween movie is probably Hocus Pocus as I love the characters, and the plot,” Primerano said. 

    Nightmare Before Christmas

    Regardless of the animation, this film, originated in a poem by filmmaker Tim Burton, truly brings the idea of holidays and the meaning of this season to life. Nightmare Before Christmas is a quintessential film that everyone, no matter the age, can watch and enjoy. The irregular inclusion of Christmas in a Halloween movie gets a good laugh out of the audience, while also indirectly explains the underlying moral: there is a danger in taking risks. Take Jack Skellington (Danny Elfman), the main character: the Pumpkin King is having a midlife crisis, currently dissatisfied with his contemporary job of scaring people and being the “mascot” for Halloween. Jack accidentally falls into the land of Christmas Town, full of bright Christmas lights and fluffy white snow, all things foreign to Jack. Jack attempts to steal the role of Santa Claus, wanting to engage himself with the life of Christmas, instead of Halloween; but when his plan backfires, he returns to Halloween Town, understanding that he should have just left things the way they were, therefore finding a new, profound interest in his identity, plus the joy of being able to sing the popular Halloween anthem, “This is Halloween.”

    “I loved all these movies and especially anything by Tim Burton because his movies are always best for Halloween,” sophomore Bella Silver said. 


    This movie plays along the storyline of teenage boy Victor Frankenstein (Charlie Tahan) and the tragedy of the death of his only companion: his dog, Sparky. The only difference is Victor brings Sparky back to life, with the help of mostly Halloween magic but also a little bit of science and electricity, mirroring the well-known and classic process of Dr. Frankenstein and the creation of his monster. Unfortunately, Victor’s well-intended plans unintentionally end badly, as his work describing how he brought Sparky back to life falls into the wrong hands of Victor’s fellow students, who use Victor’s secrets to bring countless other creatures back to life, wreaking mayhem on the town of New Holland. This movie, although it refers to sinister ideas and is supposed to be a horror film, it is a fantasy film and a lighthearted one at that. Rated PG, this movie can be relatable and amusing to anyone at any age. 

    It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

    This film can inspire the audience to engage in Halloween festivities, following the Peanuts’ gang’s examples of seasonal projects, such as raking a pile of the newly-coloured leaves and jumping in them, to spending lots of time to find the perfect pumpkin to trick-or-treating. Although this movie is brief, at 25 minutes long, it still has its ways of fully involving the lighthearted, comical feel of the Charlie Brown series it was based on, leaving the audience with a warm heart and a smile on their faces. 

    “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is really great for Halloween because it is a movie that gets parents and kids involved,” junior Alexa Gold said. “The children enjoy the cartoon, and the parents get a good kick out of the humor that is found in the movie.”


    While this movie is not necessarily Halloweenie, Coraline is a family-favourite. Keep in mind that although this film is animated, but the storyline and some images are a little sensitive for viewers. Regardless, the film is rated PG and is enjoyed by a variety of ages. Coraline (Dakota Fanning), is not happy with her life, so she goes exploring, and stumbles across an alternate reality, one similar to hers but in her opinion, better. Her family, which she calls her Other Family, tries to get her to stay in the alternate reality, then Coraline realizes their true intentions and must attempt to get back to her real life and family. The indirect meaning being portrayed is that Coraline was becoming a slave to the idea of a fantastic life, albeit fake. This movie, directed by stop-motion professional Henry Selick – who was also the director of Nightmare Before Christmas – is an aesthetic film that can be enjoyed by many. 

    “[Coraline] is a beautiful movie to watch with the animation and the soundtrack and the storyline is also very intriguing,” Silver said. 

    So, whichever movie you choose to watch curled up on your couch with a fuzzy blanket on and a bucket of candy balanced in your lap, all these movies can get you in the Halloween spirit, without you getting too scared to sleep that night.