5 Halloween Movies From My Childhood Available Online, Thank the Great Pumpkin

Happy (Almost) Halloween! Can I be honest about something? OK, two things: Halloween is maybe my least favorite holiday, and I suffer year-round 24/7 seriously nonstop from nostalgia attacks. And while you, good sir ma’am or lord, may ring in Old Hallow’s Eve with some booze and a solid, feminist costume, I like to ring it in watching not-scary movies while Eli is dressed as a pumpkin. Or, really, doing anything that isn’t wearing a costume around adults who ostensibly have eyes with which to see.

Luckily, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and everyone else on Earth totally get me. And that’s why the Halloween movies of our youth are all available to stream on some sort of service this time things get spooky outside.

Grab me a spiked cider and hand me the pumpkin seeds, dood! These are the potentially not-as-great-as-we-remember movies we can watch this Halloween. In absolutely no particular order.

Garfield’s Halloween Adventure


Garfield’s always been my kind of guy, you know? He just gets me. Also, I think I might be one of the only people in the world who truly appreciates Garfield comics, wants a Garfield coffee mug, and once had a laminated cut-out paper Garfield colored in with crayons on display in multiple apartments that she bought at a thrift store for a nickel.

Also, this is technically maybe an episode of a TV show. DON’T HOLD ME ACCOUNTABLE. It’s just a passion.

Stream on Hulu | Download on Amazon 



Something about this movie never terrified me. Like, really? This shit is off the chain weird. Get into it.

Watch Instantly on Amazon | Buy at Amazon 

It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!


As my mother’s daughter, I am obliged to remind you that Linus in the pumpkin patch never gets old.

Stream on Hulu | Download on Amazon | Buy at Amazon

Hocus Pocus


I think Sarah Jessica Parker in this movie made me gay? Bette Midler’s the one who made me such a queen, though.

Stream on Netflix | Download on Amazon | Buy at Amazon

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Third confession? I never understood the allure of this movie. I do find it creepy and weird, though, which means I associate it more with Halloween than, well, Christmas. But luckily for all of us on Earth, CHRISTMAS IS COMING.

Stream on Netflix | Rent or Download on Amazon | Buy at Amazon

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Carmen spent six years at Autostraddle, ultimately serving as Straddleverse Director, Feminism Editor and Social Media Co-Director. She is now the Consulting Digital Editor at Ms. and writes regularly for DAME, the Women’s Media Center, the National Women’s History Museum and other prominent feminist platforms; her work has also been published in print and online by outlets like BuzzFeed, Bitch, Bust, CityLab, ElixHER, Feministing, Feminist Formations, GirlBoss, GrokNation, MEL, Mic and SIGNS, and she is a co-founder of Argot Magazine. You can find Carmen on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr or in the drive-thru line at the nearest In-N-Out.

Carmen has written 919 articles for us.


  1. I regret to inform you that Hocus Pocus is not actually available to steam on Netflix. It is a travesty, but it is the unfortunate truth.

  2. I used to collect Garfield comics, they’re still in my mums loft along with boxes of Garfield books. I was obsessed!

  3. Halloweentown! Disney Channel used to pull in some solid actors for their original movies. I mean, Debbie Reynolds is in that for crying out loud. And then they followed that up with Phantom of the Megaplex, with Mickey fucking Rooney.
    God, they were both so awesomely cheesy and terrible.

    • I loved Phantom of the Megaplex! I waited every month for the Disney Channel Original Movie. These TV movies ruled my pre-teenage years (I refuse to say “tween” because that word was invented far after I was one). Does anyone know if Disney still makes them?

  4. I try to watch the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown every year on tv(along with the Thanksgiving and Christmas episodes, thank you ABC).

  5. I totally share your Halloween feelings, Carmen. Watching “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” sounds like such a good plan for Halloween.

  6. I watched the Addams Family last weekend because the Addams Family! Hocus Pocus was still on Netflix UK this weekend so I’m hoping it’s there on Friday or I’ll be binge watching Coven or the craft.

  7. I was actually just thinking about why “The Nightmare Before Christmas” became so popular last night! To boil down a lot of decentralized, pre-sleep, pondering; I think there are some kids/young adults/people who feel like they’re ‘Halloween’ people, living in a world of ‘Christmas’ people. If that makes any sense.

    Also, I definitely had a crush on Marnie from “Halloweentown”, when I was a kid.

    • I think your own to something. I’ve often seen the movie as a playful reflection on culture clash. What happens when one nation or town with a very distinct culture discovers another one that’s totally different from anything they’ve every known. Someone feels they’ve all been left out. If they can’t find a way to explain this culture to those who’ve never been there, they’ll try to reclaim parts of it as there own. The outsiders try to go mainstream as it wore. Failing to realize the reality the on-going works of that culture are even tougher than just feeling the experience.

      Why does Halloween Town try to co-opted Christmas rather than the other way around? Simple. As you suggest, the culture of Christmas feels so much bigger than Halloween. So for one night at least, the Halloween people get to feel that power and they like it. Even if in real life they now it can’t last.

  8. Can we talk about how Kimberly J Brown played Marnie in the first two Halloweentown movies, but then she was replaced by someone else (whose name escapes me) for the third? Consistency is key in sequels.

  9. I love everything on this list.

    Though my favorite streaming service for Halloween is Youtube. It gives me all the So Weird and Are You Afraid of the Dark? that I want. Plus they also have Don’t Look Under the Bed and the Kenan and Kel Headless Horseman special.

  10. Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown is a fucking classic and my one true Halloween movie/tradition.

    (I got a rock)

  11. As a (very) small child, I would take my blue blankie and curl up inside one of those cardboard soda flats like you buy 24 count discount soda in from Costco. So I looked like this. That was how I rocked Saturday morning cartoons.

  12. Hocus Pocus will always be one of my favorite movies, it was one of the first I saw at the movie theater when I was a kid. I think I had a crush on the Thackery Binx ghost…

    • Huh I didn’t now McGee was in Hocus Pocus. That’s kind of cool.

      I used to watch that movie a lot of Halloween grouping, but it hasn’t held up for me as well as some of the other mentioned here. The songs were awesome with Bette Middler still a stunner after all these years and Sarah Jessica Parker’s number being reeeallly creepy. I guess the problem is the kids we’re supposed to identify with as hero never had as much appeal to me as the witches and the zombie.
      Plus, did any when else come to see the running crack on the lead character being a “virgin” rather irksome in hindsight? As a kid I could just shrug it off like…well that’s weird…but so is everything else in this movie. But now it seems really tackless. That they got away with it in a Disney movie was strange enough, but could use imagine those joke getting by if the lead character was a teenager girl? But maybe that’s just me.

  13. Garfield’s Halloween special was the first Halloween thing a watch growing up, my first introduction to Garfield, and still one of my favorite Halloween specials to this day. (Yes Carmen it is a special from 1985 so your safe. Garfield and Friends the series debuted in 1988 and ran till the mid-ninties).
    I had a VHS tape with this from it’s debut on our CBS station followed by The Great Pumpkin. Used to watch for years and it was taped off the set when I was only three. I know the date now because a the commercial for the Twilight Zone the aired later that week was on it. (A pretty creepy TV spot for a kids on Halloween, let me tell ya.)

  14. I am the only person who watched some Halloween movie called Ernest Scared Stupid when I was a kid? I have vague memories of trolls stealing children and some scene with gross boogers in it.

    • That movie was a Halloween staple in my house growing up! That troll terrified me but I watched it every year anyway.

  15. Omg, also THe Witches with Anjelica Huston, where the witches wanted to change all kids into mice? Anyone remember that?? That scared the crap out of me when I was a kid.

    • Yes, I saw The Witches a few days ago. I was aware of it when I was a kid and the witch gathering to demonstrate the plan (which was probably the most frightening scene), but this was the first time I’d watched it from start to finish.

  16. Since everyone else is bringing back childhood Halloween favorites, I think I’ll mention two of my own. Did anyone else here grow-up watching the Disney special Mr. Boogedy and the sequel Bride of Boogedy? It featured Neil Astin of Adams Family fame (the first one did anyway) and Kristy Swanson the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer as the first family member to idenitify what she calls “Mr. Hamburger Face.”

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