For kids, there's nothing better than Halloween. You get to fulfill your wildest fantasies, explore your darkest fears and get a bag of free candy. It's a time before adulthood beats the magic and wonder out of you, a time when you can still believe there's something more out there. These five movies capture that wonder -- and make you jump -- and, even as an adult, they may be able to help you forget your cynicism for a while.
5. The Witches (1990) This movie is for tougher kids who welcome a good scare. While it's marketed as a children's movie, The Witches still scares most adults. From the beginning, it makes your skin crawl, and you know something isn't right. Creepiness ensues when the doors are locked and the wigs come off. Be warned, this movie is not for children who scare easily. As a bonus, The Witches provides plenty of parent ammo. "Do your dishes or the witches will turn you into a mouse!"
4. It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966) Move over, Santa. It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown gives kids another beloved holiday hero to idolize. It has all the classic Peanuts characters, but Linus steals the show with his dedication to the Great Pumpkin. His never-faltering allegiance teaches kids about sticking to their guns against all odds. Made way before computer animation, The Great Pumpkin's retro animation reminds of us of the simpler days. You can also use this movie as a great way to introduce your kids to Charlie Brown before the Peanuts movie comes out next year.
3. Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) Nightmare Before Christmas is not just for emo kids with Jack Skeleton beanies. It actually holds up for all ages. The visuals are stunning and truly impressive: the 76-minute feature was made from over 109,000 frames, and one minute of the film took one week to make. The tunes are catchy and haunting at the same time -- a hard combination to get right. Nightmare Before Christmas makes us miss the time when Tim Burton produced more than just tired franchise reboots.
2. Halloweentown (1998) Made during the golden age of Disney Channel original movies, Halloweentown captures the care-free spirit of being a child during Halloween. It confirms that childhood notion that there's another world out there and satisfies every kid's desire to be a witch. It has all the definitive characters like skeletons, werewolves, goblins, the Abominable Snowman and the know-it-all little brother. Halloweentown is charming, it's fun, and it gave us the great words to live by, "Being normal is vastly overrated."
1. Hocus Pocus (1993) Hocus Pocus is that one VHS tape that everyone has laying around, and thankfully so since it's the greatest Halloween movie of all time. In one of those magical movie flukes, all the elements of Hocus Pocus come together to create one perfectly timeless, cheesy '90s movie. It has an incredible cast with the fabulous pre-Sex and the City Sarah Jessica Parker and the brilliant Bette Middler (who has said this was her favorite role). The costumes are wonderful, the music is great, the dialogue is perfectly quotable and hilarious. It'll make you throw out your morals and root for the villains -- because everyone wishes they were a Sanderson sister. This Halloween, introduce your children to the enchanted Hocus Pocus, and remember to not let any virgins near the black flame candle.
Follow Amanda Moutinho on Twitter at @amandamoutinho.
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