I love Halloween, but I am very particular about scary movies. Basically, if there is too much gore, possession, or an abundance of creepy imagery, I am doomed to never sleep again. Does this mean I never want to watch a movie with a ghost, vampire, or werewolf in it? Absolutely not. Supernatural movies can be a total blast, I just don't want to watch them with a pillow over my head. Fear not my fellow scaredy-cats, there are plenty of not-so scary Halloween movies out there for those who prefer cinematic treats over tricks.
It's not just kids' movies, either. From classics to well-crafted modern-day films that give you chills instead of nightmares, there are plenty of alternatives out there to The Exorcist or Saw. The following 11 movies are perfect for Halloween, even though they aren't total nightmare fuel in the making. Have a marathon and remind your horror-loving friends that there is more to Halloween than frights. From ghost love stories to quippy monster-killing masterpieces, these movies embody the spirit of the holiday with 98 percent less blood and guts.
Pop some popcorn, and prepare to fall in love with Halloween movies that everyone, no matter their scare tolerance, can enjoy.
1. The Ghost & Mrs. Muir
When a widow moves into a house occupied by the spirit of a dead sea captain, the world's most unlikely romantic comedy is born. Except this rom-com is full of genuine pathos, loss, and yearning with an ending that will make your heart melt into puddle of lovelorn goo. This movie is proof ghost stories don't have to be scary to leave you with chills.
2. Buffy The Vampire Slayer
No, the Buffy movie is nowhere near as good as the TV series, but it does have some funny one-liners, '90s fashion, and Kristy Swanson kicking butt. It's a fun diversion with vampires and a high school girl owning her power. Just try not to compare it to the Buffy you know and love and you might end up enjoying it.
3. The Corpse Bride
Tim Burton always cooks up the best ghoulish treats. The Corpse Bride is no exception. The underworld is a hopping place where people are reunited with their dead pups and ghosts throw cool parties. Add in a mystery and a love story, and you have a recipe for a movie any Halloween junkie will love.
4. The One I Love
Like a modern day episode of The Twilight Zone, The One I Love takes a married couple down the rabbit hole into a strange world full of possibilities. To say more would spoil the fun. Rest assured, this movie won't scare you, but it will leave you with a lot to ponder about the nature of relationships.
It's been way too long since the last time you watched Casper, just trust me on this one. This sweet tale of a ghost and his human best friend is enduring and it will leave you with a smile on your face every single time you watch it.
6. Young Frankenstein
Mel Brooks takes on the universal classic monsters in a movie so funny, you will literally laugh until you cry. It's pure, flawless silliness with monster movie tropes thrown in for good measure.
7. The Trouble With Harry
One time, Alfred Hitchcock made a dark comedy, and it doubled as the most surreal romantic comedy ever. In The Trouble With Harry, no one is entirely sure who killed Harry and no one really cares, they just want to bury him and be done with the whole matter. Unfortunately, nothing goes as planned and a handful of sweet small town neighbors end up burying poor Harry at least half a dozen times.
8. Let The Right One In
I'm going to kick it up a notch, guys. Let the Right One In is a deeply haunting and atmospheric tale about vampires and loneliness. There is blood and a bit of gore, but there's nothing to fear here. You will love the young protagonists so much you will forget one of them is undead.
A subtle tale of two people trying to make it back to America by travelling through part of Mexico that has been quarantined after an alien invasion, Monsters is quietly brilliant. The dialogue is improvised, the scenery is gorgeous, and the "monsters" themselves are majestic. There's a lot to love in this indie film.
Another Hitchcock, Rope features the most intense dinner party of all time. Two students attempt to pull off the perfect murder right under the nose of their prep school housemaster (played by Jimmy Stewart) and the family and loved ones of their victim. The movie takes place in real time and is edited so that it appears to be one long take — and yes, Hitchcock's techniques definitely make everything more suspenseful.
11. Hocus Pocus
Whether your friends love hardcore scares or prefer lighter movies like you, Hocus Pocus is a universal favorite. You just can't go wrong with the Sanderson sisters.
May these Halloween movies help you make the most of the holiday without losing any precious sleep thinking about what is lurking in your closet (spoiler alert: it's just your shirts).
Images: Universal Pictures (3); 20th Century Fox (3); Warner Bros. Pictures (2); RADiUS-TWC; Magnet Releasing (2); Disney