I’m a big movie lover, so I often associate holidays and seasons with specific nostalgic movies. I can’t get through Christmas without watching It’s A Wonderful Life and Christmas Vacation (an odd combination, I know), and summer has to include Now & Then and The Sandlot. So it will come as no surprise that I have a list of my all-time favourite must see Halloween movies. These are the ones I play every year while I’m getting ready for the season. They are great to watch while I’m making our costumes or carving pumpkins.
I’ll be watching some of them this weekend, with a big bowl of my favourite Perfectly Popped Popcorn. I rediscovered this recipe while cleaning up the blog recently and I forgot how good it is. You just can’t beat that movie and popcorn combination.
1. Hocus Pocus
Before we took our road trip to Salem, Massachusetts this past weekend, I made a point to watch Hocus Pocus again. Seeing all the great buildings used in the area, led us to take our own impromptu tour of the filming locations. It was the perfect way to celebrate the 20th anniversary of this Halloween classic!
Starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Nijimy, Hocus Pocus tells the story of the Sanderson sisters – three witches with a taste for children who are hanged during the Salem witch trials. After 300 years, the witches are accidentally resurrected on Halloween night by Max, a teenager who wasn’t feeling the Halloween spirit until now. It’s up to Max, his sister Dani, his high school crush Allison, a friendly zombie and an immortal cat named Binx to put an end to the witches’ reign of terror once and for all.
2. Practical Magic
Practical Magic, starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman, has always been one of my favourite witchy movies not just for the great actresses in it but also for the amazing house they live in. I talked about the house before, including floor plans and diagrams from the original set construction. I can’t help but admire the Victorian home with it’s french doors, big kitchen and winding staircase.
The film is about two sisters who have always known they were different. Raised by their aunts after their parents’ death, the sisters grew up in a household that was anything but typical–their aunts fed them chocolate cake for breakfast and taught them the uses of practical magic. But their family’s magical legacy also carries a curse: the men they fall in love with are doomed to an untimely death. Now adult women with very different personalities, the quiet Sally and the fiery Gillian must use all of their powers to fight the family curse and a swarm of supernatural forces that threatens the lives of all the Owens women.
3. Ghostbusters I & II
I think that this is one of the rare times that I actually liked the sequel as much as the first film. Both films knock it out of the park with great comedy (oh how I love Bill Murray), spooky ghosts and fantastic outfits.
Ghostbusters tells the story of three unemployed parapsychology professors that start a ghost removal service and hi-jinks ensue. Ghostbusters II finds that business hasn’t been going so well since they saved New York City in the first film, that is until they discover a massive river of ectoplasm running under the city. Soon they’re back in business as paranormal activity gets out of hand in the city.
Fun Fact: When I lived in Kingston (where Dan Aykroyd is from), I once met a taxi driver who told me that one year all the Ghostbusters cast flew into the little airport in Kingston to celebrate New Year’s Eve at Aykroyd’s place. The cab driver said he pulled up to the airport and was shocked when Rick Moranis and Sigourney Weaver hopped in his car. I bet that was a fun party!
4. Edward Scissorhands
Pretty much anything by Tim Burton is great to watch at Halloween, but there is something about Edward Scissorhands that I’ve never quite been able to get out of my head.
The film tells the story of an unfinished artificial man with scissors for hands who is taken in by a suburban family and falls in love with their teenage daughter. It’s not really a Halloween movie, but I’ve always found something haunting about this film.
I remember thinking that Casper was the BEST movie when it came out. Who wouldn’t want to have a ghost like Casper as your friend?
Ricci played Kat, the daughter of a paranormal therapist hired to rid an abandoned mansion of it’s poltergeists. She befriends Casper, a friendly ghost, while her father tries to help Casper’s three mischievous ghost uncles go to the other side. There was even an appearance by heartthrob Devon Sawa as Casper in his human form.
What movies to you love to watch for Halloween?