1.This hour-long video is a great DVD for fans of Sesame Street. It’s very cute and can help children face their fears about monsters, since we all know some monsters aren’t scary at all – like Cookie Monster! In addition to encouraging kids to yearn for apples with the part about apples and apple cider, it also offers some ideas on costumes and carving pumpkins!
2. Charlie Brown is one of the great cartoon characters and he is one that many gifted kids can – and should – identify with. He is thoughtful and considerate and quite often doesn’t understand the other kids, who often make fun of him. But he is eternally optimistic and he is no different in this 25-minute video. There are many lessons here and much to talk about with your child.
3. Technically, this movie isn’t a Halloween movie, but it is a movie about ghosts, specifically, Casper the Friendly Ghost and his not-so-friendly cohorts. It is rated PG because of language, so you may not want your younger ones to view it, but it is otherwise a family oriented movie that can help your children deal with fears of ghosts, and learn some lessons about love and family.
4. We might all have been spoiled by modern special effects in movies that might make the effects in this 1986 movie seem a bit cheesy, but it’s still a great movie for the whole family to watch on Halloween. It is somewhat reminiscent of Harry Potter in that it takes place in an international school for witches, complete with a Grand Wizard, good witches, and an evil witch bent on making poor Mildred look bad. If you’re okay with a little campy cheesiness, you will love this movie and so will the kids. (Third party sellers sometimes ask ridiculous prices for products. If that’s the case with this movie, you can still probably find it at your local public library. It is a good one.)
5. When a movie is a classic, it’s a classic, and this one is most definitely a classic. It’s an animated Disney movie made in 1949 and based on the Legend of Sleepy Hollow. I remember loving it when I was a child and my son loved it as well.
6. The Shrek movie franchise is one of the most successful and beloved franchises. The characters and story telling is unique, clever, and entertaining for the whole family. This Halloween movie is no different. In this short film, Shrek challenges his friends to spend Halloween (his favorite holiday) telling scary tales. What you get are classic horror stories told in true Shrek fashion.
7. This movie is a cute one with Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen as two little girls who are out to help their parents with their financial woes. The only person who can help is their Aunt Sophia. Unfortunately, Aunt Sophia was the victim of a spell cast by her sister (a wicked witch) and is stuck inside a mirror. The twins meet people and make friends as they try to rescue their aunt Sophia and help their parents get out of debt. One of my favorite parts is the part that gives the movie its title. It comes from Shakespeare’s play MacBeth. I told that to my son when we watched for the first time and he developed a liking for Shakespeare after that! When he was ten, I took him to see the play and he loved it!
8. This movie is great fun and has themes that are perfect for gifted kids. The story centers around Marnie, a girl who is about to turn thirteen. That in itself is nothing special. But it just so happens that Marnie comes from a family of witches and if she doesn’t get training, she will lose her powers forever. The problem is, Marnie’s mother wants her children to grow up to be normal, so she never told Marnie and her two younger brothers about their potential powers. She doesn’t even allow the kids to participate in Halloween activities. This year, though, all that will change. Marnie’s grandmother comes to visit and takes Marnie and the boys to Halloweentown. There are some great lessons in overcoming prejudice, persevering, love, family, and doing the right thing.
9. The Goosebumps book series was a popular series for young adults, which led to a popular TV series. This movie is a collection of three episodes from that TV series: “Attack of the Jack-O’-Lanterns,” “Vampire Breath,” and “Let’s Get Invisible.” Watching these tales is almost as good as sitting around a campfire telling spooky stories.
10. This movie is really hilarious. Combine witches on Halloween with the Three Stooges and you get an idea of what to expect. Three witches who were hung in the 1600’s are accidentally brought back to life by some unsuspecting teens. The Sanderson sisters (the witches) fit right in on Halloween since everyone is dressed up, some even as witches. The sisters had created an immortality spell which required the life force of a child to work. Now they must find a child and complete the spell before dawn or they will be dead forever. Although the movie can be a little creepy at times — it is a Halloween movie — it is also very funny and lots of fun to watch.
11. Witches is a great movie based on the book by Roald Dahl, and Dahl fans will love it. If you don’t know, Dahl is the author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. In this story, Luke’s grandmother takes him from Scandinavia to England, where they stay at a seaside hotel. It just so happens that the hotel is hosting a meeting of the Royal Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Children. However, the members of that society are actually witches. The Grand High Witch has declared that all the children in England be turned into mice. Unfortunately for the witches, Luke helps turn the tables on them. It’s rated PG.
12. Beetlejuice is a classic and everyone should see it at least once. A young couple buys a home in the country, which they begin fixing up and decorating. Unfortunately, they die in an auto accident and are destined to “haunt” their house. Even more unfortunately, a rather pretentious and trendy couple buy their home and have ideas for transforming it to fit their own trendy taste. The couple has a teenage daughter who is what we would now identify as “emo” and “goth.” It turns out she is the only one who can see the ghosts, who along with the “bio-exorcist” (Michael Keaton) try to get the family out of their home. The exploits are hilarious, and the dinner table scene with the new family and the guests being forced by the ghosts to sing and “dance to “Day O” is priceless. The movie is rated PG.
13. Ghostbusters is another classic movie. Although it is old (1983) and the special effects might not be as good as the effects are today, the story and the acting are superb. Three guys start up a business (Ghostbusters) that claims to capture and dispose of ghosts that are haunting people and places. Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Ernie Hudson are the three ghostbusters, who meet their match in the Zuul who possesses Dana (Zigourney Weaver). Zuul is the gatekeeper of the portal for Gozer, a god of destruction, who now threatens NYC. There are a couple slightly scary moments and a couple slightly erotic scenes, so the movie is rated PG.