For some people, the month of October would not be complete without gory horror classics. But for other moviegoers—kids, sure, but also those seeking coziness over thrills—non-scary Halloween movies are the best way to celebrate the season. We’ve gathered a group of films that aren’t entirely un-scary—what would a haunted house be without at least a few family-friendly ghouls?—but capture a certain supernatural, autumnal vibe without forcing anyone to sleep with the lights on.
The Addams Family
- Release Year: 1991
- Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
- Noteworthy Cast: Anjelica Huston, Raul Julia, Christina Ricci, Christopher Lloyd
Wednesday Addams is having her pop-culture moment, of course, but it’s still hard to beat the black humor and inventiveness of her family’s original big-screen outing. The 1991 film (and its even funnier 1993 sequel) combines the expected macabre elements—eyeballs for dinner, electric chairs, Wednesday’s homicidal-maniac costume—with sheer silliness, from the convoluted con man plot to “the Mamushka.” It’s a movie about lunatics that might even have the power to warm your heart—who doesn’t want a romance as vibrant as the one between Anjelica Huston’s Morticia and Raul Julia’s Gomez? As Gomez might say, to live without The Addams Family, only that would be torture. —Katey Rich
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
- Release Year: 1920
- Director: Robert Wiene
- Noteworthy Cast: Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt
This movie has a premise that is plenty scary—a hypnotist takes advantage of a sleepwalker to commit murders—but as a silent film that’s more than 100 years old, it’s probably vintage enough that you’ll avoid any real scares. But the Halloween vibes are impeccable, not only in the grisly story but in the extremely famous German expressionist production design, which inspired the looks of many of the other films you’ll find on this list. You could project it silently on the wall of your Halloween party to set the mood, but you might find yourself drawn in to watch the whole thing—there’s a reason its influence is still being felt today. —K.R.
- Release Year: 1995
- Director: Brad Silberling
- Noteworthy Cast: Bill Pullman, Christina Ricci, Malachi Pearson, Devon Sawa