The best way to celebrate spooky season is to gather your friends on the couch with pumpkin-flavored desserts and popcorn to watch Halloween movies. Horror movies might be the first thing that come to mind when thinking about what to watch for Halloween, but if you’re anything like me and scary movies aren’t your thing, then there are plenty of non-scary movies on Disney+, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video that are perfect for those nights when you want more treats than tricks. Check out these not-so-spooky movies that are sure to get you into the Halloween spirit without giving yourself nightmares:
If you hadn’t heard of Hocus Pocus, which came out in 1993, before this year, I’m sure you have by now with the release of the much-anticipated sequel in September. Both movies feature Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy as three witch sisters hunting for eternal youth on Halloween night after they are accidentally brought back to life. Although the original is definitely a Halloween classic, the sequel managed to capture the same spooky theme and silly magic as the original while also staying creatively up to date.
The Halloweentown series features four Disney Channel Original Movies: Halloweentown, Halloweentown II, Halloweentown High and Return to Halloweentown. The premise is based on the idea that witches, warlocks, vampires, ghosts and other fantasy creatures are real but have separated themselves from mankind to escape humans’ fear and persecution, creating “Halloweentown,” their own community where they can live in peace in an alternate universe. Many Halloween traditions in the mortal world are based on regular life in Halloweentown. Marnie, a seemingly normal girl, and her brother and sister discover the secrets of Halloweentown when they get a visit from their grandmother one Halloween night. All of the movies in the series create a mood of spooky and silly nostalgia, making this series my favorite for getting into the Halloween spirit.
Two twin witches, Alex and Camryn, were separated at birth after the magical realm of Coventry was attacked by Darkness. They were brought to another dimension where they were each adopted by separate families, and finally meet on their twenty-first birthday when their powers begin to form. As they struggle to understand their new magic and each other, they set out to find their birth mother, find the answers they are looking for and save Coventry from the Darkness. This duology, released in 2005 and 2007, is lesser known than Halloweentown and Hocus Pocus, but for me it is just as classic, as these three series are the ones I make sure to watch every Halloween season.
For the first time, this yearly special will not air on TV — instead, you must watch it online or through Apple TV+, where you can find all of the holiday Peanuts specials thanks to a new partnership. This classic Peanuts story covers Charlie Brown and the rest of his friends getting ready for Halloween, dressing up in costumes, trick-or-treating and going to a pumpkin patch. Meanwhile, Linus waits for the Great Pumpkin to rise and bring presents to all the boys and girls around the world. When he discovers that no one else believes in the Great Pumpkin, he sets out to prove its existence by waiting all night in the pumpkin patch. The Peanuts gang perfectly captures the nostalgia of the season in this feel-good movie perfect for nights you’re not in the mood for Halloween horror.
Though not exactly a Halloween movie, Ghostbusters features just the right amount of supernatural beings, fighting evil and odd main characters to be a perfect not-so-spooky movie to get you into the spirit of the season. In the original, after a team of scientists lose their jobs in New York City, they decide to become ghostbusters, fighting the supernatural to make money. They end up finding a doorway to another dimension that will release evil upon the city and must help save New York from complete destruction. The 2016 reboot is similar, but stars women who are trying to prove that ghosts exist in the modern world. When strange things start happening in Manhattan, they prepare to battle the supernatural and save the city. Though there are three other films in the Ghostbusters franchise — Ghostbusters II and Ghostbusters: Afterlife — these two are my favorite and capture the spookiness of the Halloween season perfectly.
I definitely did not cover everything with these Halloween movies, but I absolutely recommend checking out a few of these for those nights where you’re not in the mood to get scared but still want to celebrate the season. After all, Halloween is about more than just tricks — and these movies are the perfect not-so-spooky treat!
Freya Nangle is a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences. She can be reached at [email protected].