Whether your kids prefer a scary or not-so-scary Halloween celebration, these movies based on books for Halloween are sure to be a hit with your children this fall! From classics to modern tales and preschool to teens, we’ve got you covered with this round-up of Halloween books and movies.
There are a few activities we do every year around Halloween. One favorite tradition is watching It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown when it airs on TV. This year, we ditched the cable so we’ll be renting it on Amazon, but it’s a tradition my daughter, now 15, insists we uphold year after year.
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This year, though, I’m excited to add a few new movies to our celebrations.
If you want to squeeze a little school from your Halloween fun, download this free Halloween-themed books and movies Venn diagram to compare and contrast book and film versions.
Movies Based on Books for Halloween
Pro tip: Use the books for read-alouds this fall, and save the movies for a fun-filled family movie night complete with Halloween-themed treats.
In my round-up of movies based on books for tweens, I noted that my daughter and I discovered that Coraline the movie was based on Coraline the book long after we watched the movie. We loved both! It’s a captivating, spooky tale for Halloween.
I recommend this movie for older kids and tweens. Besides the spooky factor, it deals with some heavy topics to which younger kids may be sensitive.
A young boy loves to listen to his grandmother’s tales about witches – the most dangerous of all living creatures on earth. Nothing can prepare him for the day he comes face-to-face with some witches as they plot to rid the world of children!
With a mixture of suspense and silliness, The Witches book is an excellent addition to your read-aloud list while you save The Witches movie for family movie night. I recommend both for older children since younger kids may find them too intense.
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
You man not think of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as a Halloween tale, but I like to read it around the holiday since it’s full of candy!
As far as movies go, I prefer the original Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory movie with Gene Wilder. But, kids might enjoy the Johnny Depp’s version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory better since it’s more modern.
I held out for so long on the Harry Potter series. When they first came out, I wasn’t interested in them at all. But, I set a goal to read them all this year. Once I started them, I plowed through them for in a couple of months.
After reading the books, I watched all of the Harry Potter movies. (Well except the last one, because I didn’t want the series to end.) They make the perfect set of movies and books for October!
Be warned that both the movies and the books get quite a bit darker as the series goes on. If you have younger children, you may want to preview the series first.
The Nightmare Before Christmas
The Nightmare Before Christmas is a great movie for Halloween or Christmas. Or both if you’re a movie buff. Jack Skellington is a favorite at our house! As with many of the movies I’ve mentioned, younger kids might be scared of the Halloween monsters so preview the movie or watch with your child.
I later learned that did not know that the movie is based on a poem that Tim Burton wrote. The artwork in the book version of The Nightmare Before Christmas consists of his original drawings of Jack Skellington and friends.
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
This title is for the little ones – or the young at heart! As I mentioned, my 15-year-old still begs to watch It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown every year when it airs on TV. This year, I’m looking forward to continuing the tradition with my grandson.
Who can resist waiting with Linus in the pumpkin patch, watching Charlie Brown say “I got a rock”, or the moment when Snoopy touches Lucy’s lips in the apple bobbing bucket?
We’ll also be adding the picture book version of It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown to our book collection this Halloween.
I remember reading Goosebumps books back when I was in middle school. They’ve been around for a while. Kids today love them, too. They’re just suspenseful enough to keep older kids’ interest without giving them nightmares.
I have not seen the Goosebumps movie, but it’s got good reviews. Many state that the movie isn’t super scary and that even younger, elementary-aged kids enjoyed the film. As always, though, if you have sensitive kids or those who might scare easily, preview it.
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is a classic short story by Washington Irving. It’s perfect for Halloween time. There are several different movie versions of the story including a Disney cartoon, The Adventures of Ichabod, and a full-length movie, Sleepy Hollow, featuring Johnny Depp.
Choose the one that best fits your child’s age range.
I always recommend reading the book or story before watching the movie. This can lead to some lively discussions if your kids enjoy comparing the two versions as much as mine do. Give them a little school credit by having your kids record the similarities and differences on this Halloween-themed books and movies Venn diagram.
What are some of your family’s favorite Halloween books or movies?