• Abby Brenker

The 11 Best Non-Horror Movies to Watch in October

There are a handful of what I would call…non-horror movies that I love to watch as we get closer to Halloween. As always, there is some room to debate that characterization. But the intention of this list is to provide some ~fun~ and spooky-themed movies to watch for those who are less into the blood and gore of some hard horror films. Or, for anyone who wants a palate cleanser between slasher flicks.


Practical Magic (1998) - Starting things off controversially because this is certainly the scariest of the bunch. And it’s absolutely filled with horror elements. But so much of it reads like a drama. An age old debate, but a personal choice for us all to make. If you haven’t seen it, Practical Magic is the ultimate witch film. It makes me want to hold my friends, and family close and slow down life a bit. It stars Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman, both icons.


Hocus Pocus (1993) - I doubt I have to say much here. A classic in so many ways. Hocus Pocus was released in 1993, it stars Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Thora Birch. If you haven’t seen it, stop reading this and go watch it right now. This film is everything you could want in an October watch, regardless of whether or not you're into horror in any way. BONUS: Hocus Pocus 2 from 2022 is super fun!


Scooby-Doo and The Witch's' Ghost (1999) One of my favorite films from childhood. Not one to be missed! Especially of Scooby has any sort of place in your heart, which I assume he does. The rock band in this film, The Hex Girls, really shaped my interests as a child.


The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) - Another controversial pick because this could also be characterized as a Christmas film. But, why not both? A classic from Tim Burton (a few more of his films are on this list, because to me, he perfect little goth Halloween worlds without the scary/slasher/horror aspects). The Nightmare Before Christmas is an animated film starring Danny Elfman as Jack Skellington and Catherine O’Hara as Sally.


Casper (1995) - Starring Christina Ricci from 1995, Casper taught 90s kids to love ghosts and romanticize all things creepy. Which many of us still do to this day.


The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) - Growing up my neighbor and BFF Miranda’s family would watch Rocky Horror every Halloween, which is why I associate it with the holiday. Though it’s a hit all year round. From 1975, with an incredibly star studded cast including Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon and Meat Loaf.


Edward Scissorhands (1990) - Yet another Tim Burton classic, starring Winona Ryder and Johnny Depp. Edward Scisscorhands was released in 1990 and its strange world had a lasting impact on audiences.


Batman Returns (1992) - I don’t want to hear it if you don’t like superhero films. Batman transcends. And Batman Returns is so freaking good. Michelle Phifer is an incredible Catwoman. The world is goth and fun and strange. This is a fun film to watch anytime of year, but especially if you’re looking to avoid something scarier this month.


Beetlejuice (1988) - Michael Keaton plays a totally different role in this film (he’s Batman in Batman Returns). Beetlejuice also features Winona Ryder, Geena Davis, and Alec Badlwin just to name a few. Fun, bizarre, disturbing…you name it.


Little Shop of Horrors (1986) - Coming off of our Killer Plants series, you’ve probably heard me rave about Little Shop of Horrors. It is certainly “dark” but this musical is not hardcore horror to me. It’s filled with great music and quirky acting from Ellen Green, Rick Moranis, Steve Martin….on and on and on.



ParaNorman (2012) - A super cute animated kids flick that tells the story of Norman. A boy who can see ghosts. It stars Kodi Smit-McPhee, John Goodman and Anna Kendrick. To be honest, I thought this movie was much more recent than 2012! It is timeless.

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