It's almost Halloween. Time to get into the "spirit" of things with a few spooky films. If you will be watching with little ones this year, you may want to skip the Saw series and opt for a milder selection.
The following 6 movies are low on violence and gore, but still provide plenty of festive fun for the whole family. Best of all, each is set in New England!
1. Casper (1995)
This cute family film takes place in the real-life town of Friendship, Maine and features the first fully CGI character in a leading role. The movie stars Bill Pullman as a "ghost therapist" hired to exorcise the spirits from a haunted mansion that supposedly contains hidden treasure. Christina Ricci co-stars as the therapist's troubled daughter who befriends the "friendly ghost" of a 12-year-old boy who died in the house.
2. Beetlejuice (1988)
Tim Burton's spooky classic, Beetlejuice takes place in an idyllic Connecticut village, but was actually filmed in East Corinth, Vermont. There are a few semi-raunchy scenes - those things were much more acceptible in a family film in the 1980s - so parents will just have to use their own discretion.
3. The Witches of Eastwick (1987)
As with Beetlejuice, The Witches of Eastwick has its questionable moments - in this case, sex. The film stars Cher, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Susan Sarandon as witches unaware of their powers. Jack Nicholson co-stars as the dark stranger that helps awaken their powers. John Updike's novel of the same name is set in Rhode Island, but the movie was filmed in Cohasset and Ipswitch, Massachusetts.
4. Hocus Pocus (1993)
This beloved film just celebrated its 25th anniversary with a television special. It takes place in Salem, Massachusetts 300 years after the infamous Witch Trials and tells the story of a group of kids who must stop three ancient witches - led by the fabulous Bette Midler - from taking over the town. Hocus Pocus is not only set in Salem, it was largely filmed there, too!
5. Para-Norman (2012)
The stop-action animation film, ParaNorman tells the story of preteen nerd, Norman Babcock who speaks to dead people. He lives in the fictional town of Blithe Hollow, Massachusetts which just so happens to be under a centuries-old witch's curse that only Norman can stop. Despite a creepy-sounding plot, this film is kid-safe with a heartwarming message of friendship and family.
6. Practical Magic (1998)
Practical Magic features two Massachusetts sisters (Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman) who are best friends despite their differences. The women in their family are cursed to suffer the untimely loss of any man they fall in love with. When one of their former lovers refuses to rest, the pair must find a way to get rid of him AND break the family curse.