Not-so-freaky Friday: Movies to watch for the Halloween weekend that aren’t (too!) scary

I’m a real wimp when it comes to horror films. Just the trailer for the new “It” movie — which I had to see while watching a different movie this summer — was enough to make me cover my eyes and want to cower beneath my chair (scary clowns — just…no). However, I do love Halloween, and there are plenty of fun, not-too-scary films to watch for the holiday. Here are some of my favorites — and of course there’s also “Stranger Things” season 2 to binge this weekend!

Shaun of Dead

Director Edgar Wright and actors Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are, I think, a match made in Heaven. Their unofficial “Cornetto trilogy” — “Shaun of the Dead,” “Hot Fuzz” and “The World’s End” — would make for a great Halloween mini-marathon, but if you can only pick one, you can’t go wrong with the zombie-themed “Shaun of the Dead.” Wright finds a way to spin a zombie apocalypse into a witty, delightfully British romantic comedy about two not-so-bright friends who are clueless about the start of said apocalypse. Once they finally realize the people around them have started turning into the walking dead, they survive by taking refuge in their favorite pub. And if you’ve got time to check them out, “Hot Fuzz” (my all-time favorite comedy) follows a big city police officer who uncovers a dark secret in a small town, and “The World’s End” features a pub crawl that accidentally triggers the end of the world.


No Halloween movie list would be complete without “Ghostbusters,” right? This classic 1980s comedy is about a dysfunctional crew of paranormal exterminators, led by Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd. After they are fired from the university where they work, they start their own paranormal investigation business and end up saving the world. Although some of the special effects are a bit dated now, this movie is still a lot of fun and there are plenty of memorable lines. And this might be something of a controversial thought, but I even enjoyed the 2016 “Ghostbusters” reboot. It wasn’t a groundbreaking film by any means and it technically wasn’t really necessary to reboot “Ghostbusters,” but I still found it entertaining. SNL star Kate McKinnon and the surprisingly funny Chris Hemsworth steal the show.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (or Philosopher’s Stone, depending on your region)

Any of the Harry Potter movies would be a good pick for Halloween, but “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s/Philosopher’s Stone” gets a bonus for actually featuring a Halloween feast at Hogwarts. The first Harry Potter film isn’t my favorite in the series, but it’s a fun movie that kicks off Harry’s journey as a young wizard. It’s also more lighthearted than some of the later, heavier films. It always makes me wish I could spend Halloween at Hogwarts, with chocolate frogs, cauldron cakes, pumpkin pasties and of course butterbear!

Monsters Inc.

“Monster’s Inc.” is my favorite Pixar movie, and the monsters in the movie are definitely more lovable than scary. Billy Crystal and John Goodman voice monsters Mike and Sulley, whose friendship is tested when Sulley accidentally lets a human girl escape into the monsters’ world. The world of “Monster’s Inc.” is colorful and fun, and Crystal and Goodman’s banter keeps adults entertained. While the follow-up “Monsters University” isn’t quite as good (it shows how Mike and Sulley became friends in college), it has some funny moments and is an entertaining follow-up for fans.

The Mummy

Although Tom Cruise’s Mummy reboot didn’t fare too well at theaters this summer, I’ve always been partial to the 1999 film. This film is both fun and funny, a sort of “Indiana Jones” spin on the classic 1930s horror flick. Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz are the charming leads in this movie, which follows a band of adventurers who decide to investigate an Egyptian burial site and accidentally awaken an ancient, undead priest (definitely not the best idea). “The Mummy” is an entertaining, swashbuckling adventure that offers plenty of thrills and (not-too-scary) scares.

Hocus Pocus

I actually watched this Halloween classic for the first time last year and thoroughly enjoyed it. Interestingly, this movie wasn’t really a critical or commercial success when it was released in 1993 but has since picked up a rather devoted cult following. “Hocus Pocus” stars Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker as the Sanderson Sisters, three witches from 1693 who resurrect in the modern day on the night before Halloween. That premise actually does sound a little scary, but never fear, this film is definitely more fun than frightful, as the witches don’t quite know how to adjust to the modern era.

What are your favorite not-so-scary (or even scary!) films to watch for Halloween?

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