It’s almost that time of year again when tissues become tiny ghosts, candy becomes smaller, pumpkins have faces, and everyone you know wants to watch a scary movie. If your idea of a good time doesn’t involve a scary movie, you can still celebrate Halloween.
Want to watch something to put the holiday spirit in you (pun!), but don’t want to spend the entire film worrying you’re going to pee a little? Have we got the movies for you.
We’ve listed 10 films in descending order from least to most scary, with a rating system that uses ’10’ as an actual scary movie. If you ain’t ‘fraid of no ghosts, this is not the list for you. Scaredy cat? Right this way.
It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
If you’re looking for a way to celebrate Halloween without anything remotely scary entering your eyesight, nothing could be better than It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Charlie Brown has the football pulled away by Lucy, the Red Baron makes an appearance, Linus spends all night waiting for The Great Pumpkin, and Sally gives up trick-or-treating to keep her sweet baboo company in the pumpkin field. It’s all the sweetness of Halloween without any calories.
Scare factor: 2 Blockheads out of 10
Three witches attacking three teens in an attempt to steal their youth is much less scary and much more relateable when re-watching Hocus Pocus as an adult (damn you, crows feet, damn you). Seeing Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy and Bette Midler as the Sanderson sisters resurrected from 1693 Salem, Massachusetts by a virgin teen lighting a candle is about as fun as it gets on Halloween.
Scare factor: 3 sister witches out of 10
Most Tim Burton Films
Director Tim Burton has provided enough films over his career to keep any scaredy cat happily (and safely) entertained this Halloween season. Start with Edward Scissorhands, move on to Corpse Bride, try The Nightmare Before Christmas, and if you’re feeling brave, give Sweeney Todd a viewing. Tim Burton really likes making Johnny Depp play hairdressers.
Scare Factor: 4-7 Helena Bonham Carters out of 10
Garfrield’s Halloween Adventure
Are you confused that Garfield’s Halloween Adventure is higher on our ‘Scaredy Cat’ list than Hocus Pocus and Edward Scissorhands? Don’t be. This is one scaredy orange cat and his fear transfers to viewers. If you’ve ever gone back to your elementary school and thought everything looked smaller and less intimidating than you remember, good for you. That’s not the case with Garfield’s Halloween Adventure. We re-watched it as adults and guess what? Our eight-year old self was right to be terrified. The movie is a great lesson in why you shouldn’t go trick-or-treating on a remote island, as if it needs to be stated.
Scare Factor: 6 Lasagnas out of 10
What We Do In The Shadows
Flight of the Conchord’s co-creator Jemaine Clement and fellow New Zealander Taika Waititi use their home country as the background for the 2014 vampire mockumentary, What We Do In The Shadows. The hilarious horror film follows four vampire roommates as they prepare for the annual vampire ball and let a camera crew into their daily and nightly lives. How does someone who can’t see their reflection in a mirror dress themselves for a night at the club? It’s not so easy being the undead. There are a few disturbing scenes showing the bloodsuckers tracking and killing their human prey, but for the most part, the film packs many more laughs than screams.
Scare Factor: 7 vampire roommates out of 10
Whether you’re watching the original 1984 paranormal comedy or 2016’s female remake,Ghostbusters is the perfect blend of laughs and screams. There are some tense moments and more than a few ghouls jumping out, but the promise of laughs make the scary moments easier to handle. Plus, it’s important in a Halloween crisis to know who you gonna call.
Scare Factor: 7 possessed Chris Hemsworths’ out of 10
When the zombie apocalypse hits, the survivors must try to fight off the undead and reclaim their world. But, what if the zombies can be rehabilitated? During a zombie-killing mission, teenager Julie (Teresa Palmer) gets separated from her group and is saved from turning into snack food by teen zombie R, a mumbling Nicholas Hoult. The kinder R is to Julie, the more her views on zombies change. This shift causes a ripple effect, with the love between the two teens helping to bring R and the rest of the zombies back to life. Did we mention that Julie’s dad, played by the always intimidating John Malkovich, is the leader of the survivors and head zombie-killer? Sometimes parents just don’t understand.
Scare Factor: 7 undead teens in love out of 10
Buffy The Vampire Slayer
Before Buffy The Vampire Slayer was a fan favourite TV show starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, it was a film that marked one of the first examples of writer Joss Whedon giving the world a kickass female lead. The 1992 teen flick starred Kristy Swanson as a valley girl turned vampire slayer, with Luke Perry as her brooding love interest during the height of Beverly Hills, 90210. Ben Affleck, Ricki Lake and Seth Green all make uncredited appearances, with Paul Reubens, Hilary Swank, David Arquette and Donald Sutherland also starring.
Scare Factor: 8 wooden stakes out of 10
If you’re feeling brave and have a friend or a full coven around for support, we suggest The Craft as your entry into scary movie viewing. The 1996 film is about four teens who invoke their powers and quickly clash between using these powers for good versus evil. The film is a great ’90’s throwback and is devilishly dark and entertaining. There are definitely some scary moments, especially during the climax, but if you’re looking for a semi-scary flick that will instill a feeling of pride for making it through til the end, The Craft is a great place to start.
Scare Factor: 9 rounds of ‘Light as a feather, stiff as a board’ out of 10
The Final Girls
If you want to have the slasher horror film experience this Halloween without watching a traditional slasher horror film, The Final Girls is the way to go. The film is part comedy, part horror film, and a bona fide foray into horror for any scaredy cat. Be brave, keep the lights on, and don’t scrimp on the tiny chocolate bars. They’re very comforting
Scare Factor: 10 denim cutoff shorts out of 10