The situation is frightful. You’re stuck at home with your family. You’re not sure trick or treating is the wise move. Or, it’s not quite time for actual Halloween, but you want to hit up some Halloween classics in the safety of the living room, family room, or bedroom. It’s all right there, on your TV or mobile device: a streaming goody bag of Halloween flicks and shows ready to raise some goosebumps or just make you smile.
Fatherly is talking about the Halloween hits. We’re not saying these are the best Halloween movies and shows ever, but we do think they’re the ones families want. From movies and shows you stream after the kids are in bed, to movies and shows with the kids, here’s where to find Halloween’s heavy hitters: Hocus Pocus, Halloween, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween, Halloweentown and, of course, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.
“It’s just a bunch of hocus pocus” ranks as the understatement of understatements. A minor hit that evolved into a cult classic, the Halloween family comedy Hocus Pocus is exploding back into the zeitgeist. Where to start? Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker will soon reconvene to reprise their role as everyone’s favorite witches, the Sanderson sisters, in Hocus Pocus 2, for Disney+. The three recently gathered together, in costume, for a Hocus Pocus-centric photo that’s blown up on Instagram. And that’s all in advance of the ladies gathering for In Search of the Sanderson Sisters: A Hocus Pocus Hulaween Takeover, which will take place on October 30 and benefit Midler’s charity of choice, the New York Restoration Project. Anyway, you can conjure the original Hocus Pocus on Freeform (at various days and times this month), and stream it on Disney+
If our stab at the math is accurate, there are 13 movies in the Halloween movie pantheon – and that’s including the upcoming Halloween Kills and Halloween’s End. But the legend of Michael Myers begins with writer-director John Carpenter’s deservedly iconic 1978 slasher flick. The film, to this day, remains terrifying, with a score (also by Carpenter) that amplifies the dread and brutal violence that occurs on screen, and memorable performances by Jamie Lee Curtis as the heroine, Nick Castle as Michael/The Shape, and Donald Pleasance as Michael’s psychiatrist. Halloween can be streamed on Shudder, AMC, Amazon Prime Video (f0r $3.99), Apple iTunes, Google Play, YouTube, and VUDU.
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Don’t want to debate politics tonight? Then try this on for size over the dinner table: At its core, is The Nightmare Before Christmas a Halloween movie or a Christmas movie? More than 25 years later, we still have that argument with friends. This classic follows Jack Skellington (voices of Chris Sarandon and Danny Elfman), the bored Pumpkin King of Halloween Town, who becomes obsessed with Christmas. It’s funny, fast, creepy, colorful, and inventive, with director Henry Selick’s stunning stop-motion animation bringing to life producer Tim Burton’s outlandish vision. The Nightmare Before Christmas can be streamed on Disney+.
Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween
It was inevitable that Tyler Perry would get around to popping his wildly popular Madea character into a Halloween adventure. And he did so in 2016 with this fitfully funny and scary outing, which was followed a year later by a less well-received sequel, Boo 2! A Madea Halloween. You can view the initial Boo! for free on E! and the USA, and scream, er, stream it on Amazon Prime, for $1.99.
Do you know what’s completely freakin’ terrifying? The Halloween season first got the Disney Channel treatment back in 1998. Kimberly J. Brown, the film’s young star, is now 35. Debbie Reynolds, who charmingly played Aggie, will be gone four years already come December. Before we get too sad about the unrelenting passage of time, we can rejoice in celebrating the charms of Halloweentown and noting that there are two cute sequels, Halloweentown II: Kalabar’s Revenge and Halloweentown High.
You can treat yourself to a Halloweentown revisit by streaming the film on Disney+.
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
As if anyone needs more proof that the future is now, the Halloween family classic It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown will not, for the first time in decades, air on ABC. Rather, it’s on – and only on — Apple TV+. The Halloween special – which features Charlie Brown, Lucy, Snoopy, and all their friends, as well as some witches and ghosts, and a spooky pumpkin patch — began streaming there on October 19, and will be available for free from October 30 until November 1. After that, you’ll have to make sure you’re paying for Apple TV.
Watch It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown on Apple TV right here.