ILLUSTRATION: Dracula
(Source: Lexington Herald-Leader 2012)

As a 29-year-old kid, I enjoy watching children’s movies more than any other genre. Now that I’m a parent, I have an excuse to watch as many kids movies as I’d like, without seeming like a weirdo.

Here’s my list of top five favorite kids shows and movies to watch during Halloween.

Hotel Transylvania

I have two boys in elementary school, which means I’ve seen “Hotel Transylvania” exactly 1,367 times since its home video release last year. My 5-year-old son, Rory, has a particular fondness for this movie. His love for “Hotel Transylviania” runs deep. I suspect it holds ties to a highly-sought-after intellectual philosophy that only a kindergartner understands.”It’s so awesome,” Rory said. “The zombies? Them eat brains. The pumpkin drives the car and the vampire? Him have a cape, it’s black.” That’s enough plot summary to get anyone on board with this film. Moving on.

Paranorman

One of the newer films to tap the family horror genre is “Paranorman.” The main story follows the happenings of an 11-year-old boy who acquires the ability to talk to the dead. I like this movie as it is, but especially because of its progressive undertones. This movie is not afraid to go there in terms of what is thought of as typical for a family movie. It’s not too raunchy, but it’s just just real enough to provide a bit of kid insight. Speaking highly of the moments he enjoyed, my 8-year-old son Corbin said,”My favorite part is the people and they’re like ghosts, and that fat guy has a dead dog in the garden. The zombie? He have the brain and then the girl squished it by her shoe.” Sounds delightful right?

Are You Afraid of the Dark?

Enough about the movies my kids like, take a trip with me back in time to when I was their age, 20 years ago, in 1994. I can remember staying up late on any given Saturday night, flipping the dial on that big box and waiting for the fright to begin. “Are you Afraid of the Dark?” was my favorite show on Nickelodeon’s SNICK lineup. The eerie music and creaking sound effects lined some of the most suspenseful memories of my childhood. Looking back on this show the ’90s era cheesiness is likened to a Halloween episode of “Full House,” it is laughable how frightened it made me. But don’t take my word for it. The creators of the show have released every episode on YouTube so you can relive all of those corny, haunting tales as much as you’d like. You’re welcome.

Pooh’s Heffalump Halloween Movie

Who doesn’t like Winnie-the-Pooh? More importantly, how can anyone resist the charm of the Hundred-Acre Wood’s resident heffalump, Lumpy? In this epic journey Roo and Lumpy fear the dreaded monster, Gabloon, as they attempt to go trick-or-treating in the Hundred-Acre Wood. I bought this bargain-bin masterpiece in 2005, before I had children. Although it may be one of the more forgotten Winnie-the-Pooh films, my wife and I enjoyed it then and our kids enjoy it now.

Hocus Pocus

It would be criminal to leave off this spellbinding ’90s hit. “Hocus Pocus” is a Halloween staple for me, and is a film everyone should see at least once in their lifetime. With their quirky antics and timeless story, The Sanderson sisters have cast a spell on many childhood memories. For me, “Hocus Pocus” is a movie I remember fondly, it’s my version of “A Christmas Story” for the Halloween season. The coming-of-age tale holds many of my childhood memories, including the start of a little crush on Sarah Jessica Parker.

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