The top 5 1980s kids movies to watch for Halloween
For those of us that grew up or had our formative years during the 1980s, we already know we have warped minds and rampant anxiety issues thanks to the movies that were for some reason marketed to kids.
That said, they were also really awesome movies. And every year when Halloween was getting close, my brothers and I would bust out a few well-worn classics to get our fix of ghouls and ghosts and pirates and monsters.
Despite the fact that these movies are all a minimum of 30 years old, they’re still perfect for a Halloween screening today. So get out your air popcorn popper, unwrap some of those weird little peanut butter chewy candies that the old lady down the street always handed out, and let’s crush this Halloween thing the right way—with kids’ movies from the ’80s.
The Monster Squad (1987)
In a completely transparent attempt to cash in on the success of movies like The Goonies and E.T., we have The Monster Squad, where possibly every ’80s trope from the “adults don’t believe the kids so they have to complete some whacky adventure themselves” genre is packed in from end-to-end.
There’s the kid wearing Robotech pajamas (um, want), the “cool” kid who wears fingerless gloves, and of course the one who looks like Sean Astin and acts as the leader of the squad with all kinds of inspiring speeches.
The Monster Squad really is pure ’80s gold, and still entertains with both the very of-its-time references and legitimately funny writing.
Return to Oz (1985)
I’ve already written about this bizarre Wizard of Oz sequel, and how it warped the minds of many young children in the ’80s, which is what makes it perfect for a Halloween viewing this year.
Shock therapy, headless bodies, creepy claymation gnome kings—it truly has it all.
And while it was probably totally inappropriate for me to be watching as a kid, I actually found this movie to be really cool. The overall design and vision of the film are actually super impressive and unique.
Turn the lights down, curl up on the couch and hold on to your head.
Little Monsters (1989)
Sometimes monsters show up under your bed or in your closet to scare you, and sometimes they throw on their best punk outfit and become your best friend while secretly wanting to turn you into a monster yourself.
And sometimes that monster is played by, you guessed it, Howie Mandel.
That pretty much sums this one up, aside from the fact that for some reason one of the things I remember the most from this movie is when Fred Savage and his monster pal replace a bully’s apple juice with … well, something that sort of looks like apple juice but isn’t. Gross, you guys.
The Goonies (1985)
If there is one “duh” movie on this list, this is it.
It’s not a horror movie, doesn’t take place around Halloween, or any of that crap, but it is an absolutely perfect ’80s kids movie to watch on All Hallow’s Eve. In fact, if you don’t watch The Goonies this Halloween, we’re not friends anymore.
Any movie that has kids trying to do anything without adults has been trying to live up to The Goonies ever since, plain and simple.
It features everything any good Halloween movie should—skeletons, a monster, creepy caves—and is also just a really good movie.
Whether you’ve seen it a thousand times or you’re a complete failure of a human and have yet to watch it, this Halloween is the perfect time for some more Goonies. Because, you know, they never say die.
The Secret of NIMH (1982)
Oh, a cartoon about mice, rats, and birds where they talk and live on a farm! Should be perfect for kids!
Never mind the fact that the rats have been experimented on, Mrs. Brisby’s son is about to die of either pneumonia or getting plowed to death (literally), and there’s a psychic owl with creepy eyes.
It’s really not a movie for young kids, but The Secret of NIMH is dark, creepy, mystical, and visually stunning. And despite the fact that it dates back to the early ’80s, it’s actually a timeless movie that’s perfect for a Halloween viewing this year.