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Get spooked on Halloween

by Eugene Y. Santos

Most Filipinos have a relaxed take on Halloween. This is probably due to our cultural roots, wherein we treat this time of the year as something melancholic, as we pay our due respects to the graves of our dead relatives on November 1 and 2.

For some people, Halloween presents opportunities to take a break from the hustle and bustle of their everyday routine. While some would opt for out of town excursions after visiting cemeteries, some would just go home and take the time to chill out away from their hectic schedule. For the latter, watching something on TV seems to be a nice thing to do.

Here in the Philippines, most TV channels take the effort to feature Halloween specials for TV viewers. Apart from news coverage, it is expected that shows about aswangs (monsters from local folklore) and the supernatural (exorcisms, for one) would also be aired. Some even dedicate airtime for scary (at times to the point gruesome) movies. After all, Halloween is also about inducing a sense of fear, right?

Well, not always. Relatively speaking, we believe that it’s nice to watch a movie that evokes different emotions, especially for families with different age groups. Hence, here at Home and Garden, we rounded up some family-friendly movies that either have dark or supernatural elements that go beyond simply scary—apt for bonding time while relaxing at home.

GHOSTBUSTERSGhostbusters I and II — The films follow the supernatural adventures of a group of parapsychologists, as portrayed by Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, and Harold Ramis. Set in New York City, the Ghostbusters series provides a comical approach in the foursome’s battle against evil elements, complete with proton packs, goo, and a whole lot more.

Coraline – Every child just wants to be loved and cared for, just like Coraline Jones, the film’s protagonist. In the movie, Coraline starts to spend time in an alternate world, after her busy parents seemingly neglected her. Despite having fun in the “Other World,” Coraline discovers that it’s a place not as perfect as it seems to be. The film is based on Neil Gaiman’s novel of the same name.

Monster House — Three friends find themselves investigating a mysterious house. The house, occupied by the reclusive Horace Nebbercracker, supposedly has a life of its own, to the point of eating anything that comes near it. More than the budding love triangle between the three protagonists, the film tackles the value of true love.

Casper Casper — The 1995 film is based on the cartoon series starring Casper, a friendly ghost. In the movie, we see Casper falling in love with Kat, the daughter of a paranormal therapist. The movie is a family-friendly one that has friendly pranks from Casper’s uncles, young love between Casper and Kat, and a whole lot more.

Scooby-Doo and Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed – These two movies are based on the famous cartoon series that children have come to love. In the first movie, Scooby-Doo and the Mystery Incorporated group work to thwart the evil plans of Mondavarious, a demonic leader out to conquer the world. Meanwhile, the sequel, Scooby-Doo and the gang face monster costumes brought to life, possibly orchestrated by an old enemy they defeated a long time ago.

Edward Scissorhands — This romantic fantasy film stars Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder. Edward Scissorhands (Depp) is an artificial young man crafted by an old inventor. However, he is an unfinished project, because his inventor suffered a heart attack and died before completing him. Hence, this circumstance left him with hands made out of scissors. The film follows Edward’s story, as he eventually mingled with society and found himself falling in love with Kim (Ryder).

The Nightmare Before Christmas – The movie takes viewers into the lands of Halloween Town and Christmas Town. Jack Skellington, the leader of Halloween Town, decides to play the role of Santa Claus with “horrifying” results. Nevertheless, this is a film that lets viewers realize that the fun of Christmas is for everyone, regardless of their stature in life.

Mary and Max — There’s no boundary when it comes to friendship — and this is the message of this Australian, black comedy film. Mary, an 8-year old girl, befriends Max, a 44-year old mentally-challenged man. The movie shows how two pen pals strike an unlikely bond that will change their lives forever.

Spirited Away — This Japanese animated film follows the adventures of 10-year old Chihiro Ogino into the spirit world, where she meets different characters that aid her in her journey toward redeeming her parents from the curse set by the witch Yubaba. The movie deals with friendship and young love, among others.

The Addams Family and Addams Family Values — The two movies are based on the popular American series of cartoons, which features an odd (if not macabre) yet comical family, complete with grim looks. In The Addams Family, patriarch Gomez deals with the comeback of his brother Fester. Here, the whole family also faced devious plans that attempted to rob them of their fortune. On the other hand, the Addams Family Values welcomes another addition to the Addams household, complemented with hilarious mischief from Wednesday and Pugsley Addams.