My children are finally at the age where we can enjoy watching a few Halloween movies without worrying about inducing a week’s worth of nightmares. Now, I’m not talking about anything drastic like the 1978 horror flick “Halloween;” my aspirations for Halloween film treats are a lot tamer. My kids are finally at a place where they can enjoy movies like “Hocusv Pocus” without me having to convince my son the witches aren’t going to try to eat him for supper.
To help make Halloween a little more festive this year, I’ve put together a list of ideas for kid’s Halloween Movie Parties. Start off the bewitching season with a festive movie that you can incorporate into a safe and fun Halloween party.
Tackle the Theme
While conventional wisdom suggests you should select the movie first, I have found it’s a lot easier to pick a theme – something you know you can execute – and then find a movie that fits nicely into the theme. Case in point: a couple of years ago I decided to host an “Avatar” party. I honestly didn’t think it would be that hard to turn my home into a semi-Pandora land. I couldn’t have been more wrong. My house wound up looking like a Kindergarten class went berserk with papier-mâché and gardening supplies.
To help get your creative juices flowing, here are a few kid-friendly Halloween party theme ideas:
- Haunted Houses
- Harvest Time
Find the Flick
Once you have selected a theme, it’s time to pick a movie. Selecting a movie will help you figure out how to decorate your house for the party:
Haunted House Theme: Based on the Walt Disney World ride of the same name, “The Haunted Mansion” is a kid-friendly movie starring Eddie Murphy (Shrek) who winds up trapped in a haunted house with his family. The movie provides more giggles than scares, so it’s a safe bet.
Monster Theme: The two greatest monster flicks for kids are “Monsters, Inc.” and Disney’s movie, “Pooh’s Heffalump Halloween Movie.” Flying in the face of traditional monster tales, the baddies in “Monsters, Inc.” aren’t so scary, after all. In fact, the monsters are actually afraid of children. And “Pooh’s Heffalump Halloween Movie” is all about a scared Heffalump’s first Halloween.
Witch Theme: While “Harry Potter” may have the monopoly on witches and warlocks, only one film in the series provides enough Halloween atmosphere: “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” which is a good thing since it’s the most kid-friendly film of the lot.
Another great choice includes “Hocus Pocus” starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy as three sisters who return to life 300 years after being tried and convicted for witchcraft in the Salem Witch Trials. The best thing about this film – it practically plays non-stop on cable during October.
And finally, there’s “The Witches,” based on the book of the same name by my favorite author, Roald Dahl. Starring Anjelica Huston, the movie focuses on a society of witches who plan to do away with the world’s children by transforming them into mice.
Ghost Theme: What kid could be scared of a small ghost name Casper? The “Casper” movie stars a young Christina Ricci who befriends the friendly ghost. This uplifting movie focuses on friendship more than frights.
Harvest Time Theme: Nothing conjures up autumn more than images of a pumpkin patch and I don’t know anyone who doesn’t think of the movie “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” with that image in mind. While this animated special typically airs on television around Halloween, it can also be purchased on DVD.
Decide on Decorations
Once you have a theme and a movie selected, it’s time to think of decorations. While it’s a good idea to draw inspiration from, here are a few easy ideas to help you get started:
Haunted House Theme: This is probably the easiest theme to decorate for. You can find old-fashioned looking photographs that change into something far more menacing as you walk past them, cans of spider-web looking material, gothic-inspired candle sticks, plastic (but real-looking) skulls, and hard foam gravestones.
Monster Theme: Purchase peel-n-stick monster themed stickers, plush toys, or you can grab some construction paper and get creative with the kids.
Witch Theme: This is another easy theme for decorating. All you need is a cauldron, a black cat stuffed animal, a couple of witches hats, and a broom or two. You can even find automated brooms that move on their own.
Ghost Theme: It’s easy to get crafty with this idea – all you need are a few old sheets and a pair of scissors. If you don’t want to ruin your sheets, you can find plenty of ghost themed decorations at a party supply store.
Harvest Time Theme: This is the most benign of all of the Halloween themes. Use various sizes of pumpkins mixed in corn husks and fall flowers for a perfect harvest themed party.
Create Tasty Treats
A party simply isn’t complete without a few delicious morsels. While you aren’t required to follow the theme all the way through to the food, why not add at least one dish to carry the theme home?
Haunted House Theme: Create your own haunted mansion out of ginger bread.
Monster Theme: Sugar cookies decorated with frosting and candy to create fun monster faces are a surefire hit.
Witch Theme: You can’t go wrong with a witches brew made up of lime sherbet punch.
Ghost Theme: Strawberries dipped in white chocolate are a healthy treat for any ghost-themed party.
Harvest Time Theme: Pumpkin bread or pumpkin pie will fit this theme perfectly.
Have any of these ideas inspired you to throw a Halloween movie party?