25 Spooky Movies – That Won’t Give You Nightmares – to Watch this Fall

Halloween is one of the best holidays of the year and is the perfect time to indulge in the hedonistic pastime of binge-watching every spooky movie you can get your hands on. Unfortunately, hunting for a movie that will make you feel warm and cozy inside and not sh*tting yourself with fear can be a bit of a challenge. I enjoy a good horror film as much as the next socially unadjusted weirdo, but sometimes it’s nice to have a list of movies to watch that will make you feel the holiday spirit but won’t send you to therapy. So as much as I wanted to recommend films like Sleepy Hollow and Dracula Untold, I tried to keep the list to movies that I felt would not freak anyone out. Though just to stay on the safe side, I’ve included the rating info so viewers can make a more informed choice.

Obvious List:

One: The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) – Rated PG and streaming on Disney+

This movie is the reason I created the “obvious” list, because I knew if I didn’t list this one movie then someone would be bummed. Living in 2006 when the worship of this movie was at an all-time high was absolutely excruciating, but it’s still a good movie. “The Nightmare Before Christmas” is a creative spectacular that’s a must-watch for anyone who appreciates the spookiest time of year.

Two: Corpse Bride (2005) – Rated PG and streaming on HBO Max

In one of Tim Burton’s most romantic films, a timid young man accidentally finds himself wed to a dead woman.

Three: Hocus Pocus (1993) – Rated PG and streaming on Disney+

A guy lights a candle when he shouldn’t and accidentally brings three evil witches back from the grave.

Four: Ghostbusters (1984) – Rated PG and streaming on Hulu

Some guys fight ghosts.

Five: Hotel Transylvania (2012) – Rated PG and streaming on Hulu

Dracula opens up a hotel for monsters to vacation in safety, except things go awry when a human accidentally checks in. Then Dracula’s daughter falls in love with that human, and things get more complicated.

Six: Coraline (2009) – Rated PG and streaming on the Roku Channel

This movie is arguably the scariest on this list, but it’s fantastic, and the book is pretty phenomenal as well. It’s about a young girl who encounters a world eerily similar to her own, including a strange version of her mother. At first everything is wonderful until it becomes clear that her Other Mother would like for her to stay in this world as a permanent resident.

Seven: Practical Magic (1998) – Rated PG-13 and streaming on HBO Max

Two witches live in a small New England town and get up to witch stuff, but also there’s romance. This movie is not my favorite, but some people really love it. I say use it as an excuse to break out the chocolate cake.

Eight: Halloweentown (1998) – Rated Unknown and streaming on Disney+

What if Halloween was a cute town, and what if the movie’s main character discovered she descended from a family of witches? Then something else happens like I think an evil warlock wants to take over the town. It’s been a while since I watched this movie and I don’t exactly remember everything that happened.

Nine: The Addams Family (1991) – Rated PG-13 and streaming on Pluto TV

An odd and obscenely wealthy gothic family has their lives uprooted when their long-lost relative, Uncle Fester, rejoins the family. Almost everyone I know watches this movie (and the sequel) because Morticia and Gomez have a perfect marriage.

Ten: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001) – Rated PG and streaming on Peacock

I’m not a fan of J.K. Rowling, but this movie is a beautifully-made classic. The scene of the students celebrating Halloween in the great hall is gorgeous!

Non-Obvious List:

One: Casper the Friendly Ghost (1995) – Rated PG and streaming on Tubi

A young ghost develops a crush on a spiritual psychologist’s daughter, though any attempts at romance are foiled by his crappy ghost uncles.

Two: Nightbooks (2021) – Rated TV-PG and streaming on Netflix

Too many people are sleeping on this movie

A boy who loves all things horror finds himself trapped by a witch and must read her a scary story every night to stay alive. (It’s based on this book by J.A. White)

Three: What We Do in the Shadows (2014) – Rated R and available to rent

Although this movie is definitely for adults, I think it has enough funny nonsense dispersed throughout to keep it firmly in the “spooky” rather than “scary” category. This movie also inspired two hilarious television spin-offs: “What We Do In the Shadows” (2018) and “Wellington Paranormal” (2018).

Four: Monster House (2006) – Rated PG and streaming on the Roku Channel

A creepy house in the neighborhood turns out to literally be alive. (Full disclosure: I haven’t seen this one yet, but I’ve had friends tell me this is one of their favorite Halloween films, so it had to go on the list!)

Five: Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet the Wolfman (2000) – Rated G and available for purchase on Amazon or other retailers

I sincerely enjoy this very cute movie that’s all about Theodore turning into little werewolf.

Six: Scooby-Doo (2002) and Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (2004) – Rated PG and streaming on Netflix

The live-action adaptation I never knew I wanted, but I’m so grateful I have because the cast is perfection. And on a fun note, because Seth Green was in the second movie, he always hires these actors to voice the Scooby-Doo roles in “Robot Chicken.”

Seven: Muppets Haunted Mansion (2021) – Rated PG and streaming on Disney+

Gonzo and Pepe have to stay in a haunted mansion for one night and I loved every second of it.

Eight: Over the Garden Wall (2014) – Rated Unknown but streaming on HBO Max

This is technically a miniseries, but you can watch it like a movie. Two brothers walk through a mysterious forest in search of a way out, crossing paths with a bluebird and an Old woodsman.

Nine: The Witches (1990) – Rated PG and available for rent on Amazon

Every time I see the teeny tiny little mouse version of Luke Eveshim I literally squeal with girlish delight. Whoever designed that puppet deserves an award.

I would give everything I own to have this little mouse. (Image from the muppet wiki)

Ten: Z-O-M-B-I-E-S (2018) – Rated Unknown and streaming on Disney+

This series is incredible and a teensy bit bad but mostly incredible. It’s about a zombie and a cheerleader who fall in love. I really loved the last movie in the franchise, and I sincerely hope there’s a 4th movie.

Eleven: ParaNorman (2012) – Rated PG and streaming on the Roku Channel

A young boy has the ability to communicate with ghosts, a power that comes in handy when his town is overrun by zombies. Although my synopsis may sound a little silly, I think readers will appreciate the emotional depth and anti-bullying message present in the story.

Twelve: Young Frankenstein (1974) – Rated PG and streaming on HBO Max

“Young Frankenstein” has the honor of not only being one of the funniest movies ever made, but proof that if Frankenstein had just raised his damn child then all of the heartache from the original book could have been avoided.

Thirteen: Love at First Bite (1979) – Rated PG and available for purchase on Amazon

Count Dracula moves to New York City to pursue a beautiful, if somewhat shallow, fashion model. Of course, Dracula’s experience in modern New York is a hellish nightmare, and the ancient count is no match for the ferocity of the big city. This movie is like “What We Do In the Shadows” before “What We Do In the Shadows” was even a concept.

Someone also posted the whole movie on youtube.

Fourteen: Mary and the Witch’s Flower (2017) – Rated PG and streaming on Hulu

A young woman discovers a magical flower that bestows her with temporary witch powers.

Fifteen: Elvira: Mistress of the Dark (1988) – Rated PG-13 and streaming on Pluto

Elvira is an absolute icon. In addition to hosting wild horror movie marathons and consistently being hilarious, she’s also starred in a few of her own movies, which are about as good as you’d expect. I highly recommend the supremely goofy “Elvira: Mistress of the Dark” for your next Halloween party.

Special Mention: Not Without My Handbag (1993) – Not rated and streaming on Youtube

This creepy short film was created by Aardman Animation and is delightful and, in my humble opinion, should be required Halloween viewing. In fact, if you are a friend of mine, then at some point, I will make you watch this movie. The plot makes perfect sense: A little girl’s aunt is dragged to hell after defaulting on payment for her washing machine. However, Auntie realizes she forgot her handbag and decides to head back to the world of the living. The devil is less than pleased with this change in events and follows the Auntie back to her home, where it’s up to the little girl to foil the bad guy and save day. If you do watch this film, it is best enjoyed with a slice of cake or a delicious chocolate eclair.

Photo by Anna Alexes on Pexels.com

This is far from an exhaustive list of all the spooky movies you could watch this Halloween, but I wanted to keep it at a nice number. So since I couldn’t list every great spooky movie, I’d love to hear from you: Which movie will you be watching this Halloween? And what movies did I forget to include?


One thought on “25 Spooky Movies – That Won’t Give You Nightmares – to Watch this Fall

  1. – Okay but it would be imperative that you put Nightmare Before Christmas sorry I am a BIG FAN HUGE HUGE FAN
    – Hocus Pocus: Thackery Binx is my one true love
    – I actually haven’t seen Hotel Transylvania seems like a better/reversed version of Twilight?
    – I haven’t seen Practical Magic either. I may read the Wikipedia page later
    – I don’t watch the Addams Family for the marriage lol but good point!
    – Okay but human Casper was my ONE ONE TRUE LOVE shout out to Devon Sawa
    – Scooby Doo… man take me down memory lane why don’t you! Might I suggest the classic Scooby Doo cartoons as well? Those are good too!
    – Okay okay so I have some suggestions that I have seen and have not seen: Frankenweenie (not seen), James and the Giant Peach (hear me out, it’s not obvious but the circumstances are scary in my book and the aunts are scary), Warm Bodies, and The Haunted Mansion!


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