Books, Current Events, Lists, Movies

10 Great Halloween Movies Based on Books to Watch Together

This week’s theme over at ThatArtsyReaderGirl for Top Ten Tuesday is a Halloween freebie, and this means I am shifting gears from Diwali to Halloween! Today’s list (two-part) is, as the title says, cool Halloween movies based on books that you can watch together with family and friends. I have separated it out into two lists: one that works for younger audiences, and the other definitely for older teens and adults.

If you want to skip watching the movie for any reason, by all means, just pick up the book and read. As for me, I know that reading a scary book is often more scarier than the movie itself; I can confirm that from reading The Exorcist a few years ago!

Anyway, here are the lists for you, with where you can watch the movie (I am using the US as a reference) where possible, plus links to get the book for yourself too. Make it a book and movie event; read the book together as a family before you watch the movie!

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Halloween Movies Based on Books to Watch Together

These movies will work for age-groups ranging from the very young (2-7 years) to the slightly older kids (through age 13), and some for older teens and adults as well. I list the recommended age-range for each book/movie pair below. Do check Commonsensemedia or other similar websites for any further information you might need.

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)

  • Based on/inspired by: Charles Schulz comic strip “Peanuts” However, a book based on this Halloween special is out there for young readers(4 years and up) to enjoy and pair with watching this beloved classic.
  • Cast: Peter Robbins, Christopher Shea, Sally Dryer
  • Movie Rating: 4+
  • Watch On: Get it for yourself here.
  • Movie Synopsis: The Peanuts gang celebrates Halloween while Linus waits for the Great Pumpkin.
  • Book Vs Movie: Both are cute!! It is Peanuts after all…
  • Other: This trivia: After this special originally aired, children all over the country sent candy to Charlie Brown out of sympathy (source).

The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949)

  • Based on: Adaptations of “The Wind in the Willows” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow“.
  • Cast: Bing Crosby, Basil Rathbone, Eric Blore, Pat O’Malley, and many more
  • Movie Rating: 4+
  • Watch On: Prime Video (rent)
  • Movie Synopsis: Mr. Toad: Thaddeus Toad, owner of Toad Hall, is prone to fads, such as the newfangled motor car. This desire for the very latest lands him in much trouble with the wrong crowd, and it is up to his friends, Mole, Rat and Badger to save him from himself. / Ichabod:  Ichabod Crane, the new schoolmaster, falls for the town beauty, Katrina Van Tassel, and the town Bully Brom Bones decides that he is a little too successful and needs “convincing” that Katrina is not for him.
  • Book Vs Movie: I watched this movie ages ago, and think I enjoyed it. As for The Wind in the Willows, it is a childhood favorite! And The Legend of Sleepy Hollow stands on its own name always!
  • Other: The two movies were released together because they were too short by themselves to be released as full-length feature films!

Check out the Little Golden Book based on the Disney movie for The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Casper (1995)

  • Based on: the Harvey Comics cartoon character Casper the Friendly Ghost 
  • Cast: Bill Pullman, Christina Ricci, Cathy Moriarty, Malachi Pearson, Ben Stein
  • Movie Rating: PG
  • Watch On: Prime Video (rent) or get it for yourself here.
  • Movie Synopsis: An afterlife therapist and his daughter meet a friendly young ghost when they move into a crumbling mansion in order to rid the premises of wicked spirits.
  • Book Vs Movie: Casper comics made a regular appearance at home as I read them a countless times, thanks to a friendly neighbor! I loved Casper and his friends (well, uncles too). As for the movie, it is based on the character and not any specific book but I recall enjoying it as well.
  • Other: This movie has great taglines! Like this one: Sometimes all you need is a little spirit.

Ivy + Bean: The Ghost That Had to Go (2022)

  • Based on: the book by the same name by Annie Barrows
  • Cast: Kelsee Blalock, Jaycie Dotin, Garfield Wilson
  • Movie Rating: TV-G
  • Watch On: Netflix
  • Movie Synopsis: When Ivy discovers the school bathroom is haunted, Bean helps Ivy to harness her powers. With the help of their classmates, Ivy and Bean orchestrate a ritual that will free the ghosts, save the school, and also mess up Nancy’s day.
  • Book Vs Movie: As I mention in a previous post, I am yet to read many books in this series, including this one. So cannot tell you which one is better; but the Netflix series is a sweet watch, perfect for the family.
  • Other: I love the Ivy + Bean page on the author’s website; check it out for yourself! And totally unrelated to the books, Ivy Bean from Britain was known for being the oldest tweeter and one of the oldest on FB as well!

Coraline (2009)

  • Based on: Neil Gaiman’s book of the same name: Coraline
  • Cast: Dakota Fanning, Teri Hatcher, John Hodgman, Keith David
  • Movie Rating: PG
  • Watch On: Amazon (rent)
  • Movie Synopsis(from IMDB): An adventurous 11-year-old girl finds another world that is a strangely idealized version of her frustrating home, but it has sinister secrets.
  • Book vs movie: Watching the movie on the big screen was mesmerizing, to say the least, and brilliantly made!! But if was forced to make a decision, as a bonafide book-lover, I will pick the book! And I enjoyed reading the graphic novel version of this book as well.
  • Other: The movie has a character not in the book – Wybie Lovat!

Room on the Broom (2012)

  • Based on: Julia Donaldson’s book of the same name
  • Cast: Simon Pegg, Gillian Anderson, Rob Brydon
  • Movie Rating: G
  • Watch On: get it for yourself here.
  • Movie Synopsis: The witch’s cat is not too happy when the witch offers rides to a variety of animals on her increasingly crowded broom!
  • Book Vs Movie: I am yet to watch the movie but the trailer tells me it will be as delightful as the book is!
  • Other: There is an app for this!

The Witches (1990)

  • Based on: Roald Dahl’s The Witches and I also loved the graphic novel version of this book by  Pénélope Bagieu
  • Cast: Anjelica Huston, Mai Zetterling, Jaseh Fisher, Rowan Atkinson
  • Movie Rating: PG
  • Watch On: Prime Video (rent) or get it for yourself here.
  • Movie Synopsis: A young boy stumbles onto a witch convention and must stop them, even after he has been turned into a mouse..
  • Book Vs Movie: I preferred the 1990 version to the newer version of the movie. And though the movies are fun to watch, the book wins for me here (it is Dahl’ing!)
  • Other: I need to watch the movie once more to check this out, but apparently, many of the witches in the meeting are men in women’s clothing (source)

A Series of Unfortunate Events (Movie – 2004 and/or TV Series – 2017)

  • Based on: Lemony Snicket’s books by the same name
  • Cast: Jim Carrey, Meryl Streep, Jude Law, and others / Neil Patrick Harris, Patrick Warburton, Malina Weissman, and others
  • Movie Rating: PG
  • Watch On: Netflix
  • Movie Synopsis: After the loss of their parents in a mysterious fire, the three Baudelaire children face trials and tribulations attempting to uncover dark family secrets.
  • Book Vs Movie: I only read a couple of the books (and loved them) but both my kids devoured the series so it is definitely a must-read! As for the movie and the TV series, both are wonderful to watch. This is one of those where I (and my kids) can’t pick between book vs movie.
  • Other: Taglines are cool for both the movie: Don’t say we didn’t warn you. and the show: Secrets will be revealed, one unfortunate event at a time.

Goosebumps (2015 &

  • Based on: R. L. Stine’s book series
  • Cast: Jack Black, Dylan Minnette, Odeya Rush
  • Movie Rating: PG
  • Watch On: Prime Video(rent) or get it for yourself here.
  • Movie Synopsis: A teenager teams up with the daughter of young adult horror author R. L. Stine after the writer’s imaginary demons are set free on the town of Madison, Delaware.
  • Book Vs Movie: Not sure I can pass a judgement here because I only read a couple of the books; plus, the movie is an original story that simply includes all of the characters from the books.
  • Other: This tagline: The stories are alive.

The Canterville Ghost (Movie – 1944 & 1985)

  • Based on: Oscar Wilde’s The Canterville Ghost
  • Cast: Various across the versions mentioned
  • Movie Rating: PG
  • Watch On: the 1985 movie on Prime Video or rent/buy the 1944 version.
  • Movie Synopsis: The descendent of a ghost imprisoned for cowardice hopes to free the spirit by displaying courage when under duress.
  • Book Vs Movie: So I have only watched the 1944 version ages ago and recall enjoying it; but the Wilde’s story is definitely the winner in this book/movie contest.
  • Other: Love this tagline for the 1944 movie: It puts you in the best of spirits! Also, there is apparently a TV series for this started in 2021 (I hear mixed reviews for that one).

Extra, Extra

A few more I did not include there

  • Dracula (for older teens)
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas (technically based on a poem written by Tim Burton and not a book/story, but….!)
  • The Curios George and Winnie the Pooh (Heffalump) Halloween movies. Based on these adorable characters from popular books
  • The Harry Potter series
  • The Black Cauldron

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Related Reads for Movies Based on Books and Halloween

And Now, the End of This Post

Dear reader, have you watched any of these Halloween movies based on books? Or read any of the books themselves, and yet to watch the movie? What are your thoughts on the movie/book? I would love to hear them. Plus, as always, I welcome recommendations for any other Halloween movies based on books that you think I should add to this list, or to my watch/read list!

18 thoughts on “10 Great Halloween Movies Based on Books to Watch Together

  1. Such a great post! I have only seen three of these, so now I have a list of other movies to watch for the season. I still remember watching Casper as a kid. I loved that movie.

  2. I didn’t know that all of these were based on books! I do love a good movie based on a book and now is the right time to be watching these Halloween movies.

  3. I remember watching the Great Pumpkin when I was a kid. My son loved the Halloween episode by Curious George. I can’t find the exact episode though. He watched it when he was 2 or 3. It played on repeat for a while too. He is 12 now though.

  4. As a mom, it’s always a challenge to find suitable, fun, and slightly spooky movies for the kids during the Halloween season. Your list is a treasure trove of options that cater to various age groups, ensuring that there’s something for everyone.

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