We don’t celebrate Halloween in the traditional sense in our home. But I still like the flavor of the season, without celebrating death and all its accompaniments. (I’ll post soon how we celebrate October 31st.) I don’t think it’s wrong to seek out thrills for entertainment. After all, isn’t that what we see most movies for? So I’ve put together “safe” movies for families with older kids to enjoy this time of year. I’m sure you’ve seen many of them, if not all. So take a walk down memory lane and let the haunts of movies past delight you…
This is a classic that I think every kid should still see. Some Christians might have a fit with me recommending this sci-fi fantasy because we shouldn’t promote the possibility of an alien life-force floating around out there in our universe somewhere. Well, a lot of kids have seen The Lion King, and I’ve never heard of an incident where a child tried to jump out of a safari ride to talk with a lion. With the exception of the foul playground language, E.T. is perfectly acceptable for kids who don’t scare easily, and it’s great imagination booster. I drew off of this movie all the time as a kid when developing stories and creating imaginary characters. Plus, I hear it’s coming out on Blu-Ray soon… Brief, strong language, scary moments.
You might be asking how Snow White made it to the list of Halloween movies. If you watch it, even today as an adult, you’ll see that it’s a pretty freaky movie, even for being the first animated film ever made. It’s seamless in its storytelling, and perfectly pure in its artistic form, and it contains probably some of the greatest Disney music ever. The whole queen transforming into the witch scene… you’ll feel like it’s Halloween, alright. I watch this every year around the end of October. A great benefit to it is that you can talk to your kids about the beauty of redemption and the great resurrection of souls when God destroys all the evil in this world forever. Scary moments.
Yes, this movie makes light of witchcraft. And so does Harry Potter, and – dare I say it? – Narnia. Making light isn’t just making fun, it’s downplaying. Even our best efforts of demonizing witchcraft fall short of capturing its vile existence. This movie is actually pretty clean, considering it’s Will Ferrell. Good time for laughs, but a good opportunity to talk with your kids afterwards about how Hollywood distorts the truth in exchange for entertainment. This one’s PG-13. Check out Pluggedin.com to determine if this movie is safe for your family.
M. Night Shyamalan. You either love him (because of Sixth Sense) or you hate him (post-Sixth Sense). Or you’ve heard of him, but don’t exactly know why. Shyamalan is mostly known for doing “safe” horror movies. In other words, people like me who don’t tolerate useless blood-and-guts and slasher/killer movies, can appreciate this writer/director’s movies because he tampers more with suspense and fantasy. No sex, very minimal blood, and, especially in Signs, he tends to handle topics of faith and hope quite well. The lead character in this one (Mel Gibson), is an ex-priest who has given up on God. Even in fantasy movies, “God” works in mysterious ways to draw His children back to Him. Good form. PG-13 for frightening moments, mild language, and intensity.
There are some others we watch for Halloween, but now it’s your turn. What are some clean movies you and your family watch this time of year? We’d love to hear your thoughts.