Do you love the playful spookiness of fall but fear the horror movies so often associated with Halloween? If you’re struggling to find a movie that’s seasonally-appropriate but not terrifying, we feel your pain — which is why we’ve made a list of six delightful films that definitely won’t give you nightmares. These movies may feature witches and dark arts, but they’re more charming than creepy; you can even watch them with the whole family. Read on to find out which non-scary Halloween movies made the list and where you can watch them.
Hocus Pocus (1993)
If you want: a trio of great actresses having a campy, fun time.
This Disney comedy stars Sarah Jessica Parker, Bette Midler, and Kathy Najimy as a trio of witch sisters who are accidentally resurrected by a teen boy who lives in Salem on Halloween night (don’t you hate it when that happens?). There’s nothing quite like seeing Midler ham it up while singing “I Put a Spell on You” to get you in the seasonal spirit. You can stream the movie, as well as its recently released sequel, which reunites the original cast, on Disney Plus.
Practical Magic (1998)
If you want: home decor inspiration.
The second Halloween classic about sisters with magic powers on our list, Practical Magic stars Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman as contemporary women descended from a long line of witches. The sisters are victims of a family curse that dooms any man they love, and find themselves in a situation where they must use the magic they’ve mostly avoided for so long. The movie is filled with atmospheric candlelight and nostalgic ’90s fashion — plus, the gorgeous Victorian house in which much of the action takes place is truly the stuff domestic dreams are made of, often referred to as one of the most memorable movie homes of all time. The movie is streaming on HBO Max.
Bell, Book and Candle (1958)
If you want: a super-stylish witch.
This ’50s time capsule stars Kim Novak as a chic modern-day witch who casts a love spell on Jimmy Stewart. Novak lives in a cool bohemian New York apartment and her style is seductively sinister but never threatening (think lots of sleek, black ensembles and fabulous coats). Her cat, Pyewacket, is the ideal mystical companion — and if you’ve got a feline of your own, you’ll probably want to try replicating some of Novak and Pyewacket’s iconic poses after watching. This wonderfully retro witch showcase is available to watch on the Criterion Channel.
The Addams Family (1991)
If you want: Halloween’s most passionate power couple.
Anjelica Huston and Raul Julia make the perfect Morticia and Gomez Addams, and a young Christina Ricci is unforgettable as their daughter, the cute but creepy Wednesday. The movie offers a whimsical, humorous take on gothic style, and Morticia and Gomez’s chemistry is positively off the charts (just watch the scene below to see what we mean). There’s something sweet about how this macabre pair (who are joined in their home by an animated disembodied hand called “Thing”) just so happen to have the ideal marriage — no wonder Morticia and Gomez have long endured as a popular couple’s Halloween costume. You can watch The Addams Family and its sequel, Addams Family Values, on Paramount Plus.
I Married a Witch (1942)
If you want: a black-and-white classic.
One of the earliest (and greatest) non-scary Halloween movies, this ’40s classic stars the iconic Veronica Lake, in all her swoopy-haired glory, as — you guessed it — a witch. Like Bell, Book and Candle, this movie also features a love spell that leads to some kooky results. Lake oozes hex appeal (get it?) in the role, and the film’s dialogue sparkles with Old Hollywood mischief. The movie is just 76 minutes long, which means it’s a quick watch that’s easy to fit into a night that includes trick-or-treating with the kids or attending a Halloween costume party. The movie is streaming on HBO Max.
Death Becomes Her (1992)
If you want: to laugh and say “ick” at the same time.
This dark comedy features the always-great Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn as rivals duking it out for romance and the promise of eternal youth. There are no witches in this one, but thanks to the movie’s pioneering use of special effects, it’s definitely the most potentially frightening title on our list. Still, while the visuals are often outrageous (like when Streep’s head is twisted backward on her body), the film’s tone remains campy — the effects feel more like a zany comic book than real bloodshed. Plus, the plot remains relevant today: It’s satirizing the impossible beauty standards placed on women and the pressure we feel to resist the natural aging process with increasingly artificial and dangerous methods. You can stream the movie on Showtime.
Any one of these non-scary Halloween movies should fit perfectly into your holiday. Go ahead and curl up on the couch, eat a piece of candy (or 10, who’s counting?), pour yourself a glass of wine, and enjoy a witchy tale that won’t have you jumping out of your seat.
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