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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Methodology and criteria

I didn't just come up with a list of movies all by myself. Oh, no. My methods are all very pseudo-scientific and use a very precise set of rules. After all, why leave my family's Halloween movie nights to chance?

The Lists

Let me explain. I have as my first criteria a set of recommended movie lists to get my list of Halloween-themed movies that are generally considered to "family-friendly". Yes, I realize there are lots of possible lists I could use as a basis for my compiled list, but I only want to include those that genuinely seem to have kids' interests in mind. For example, the site Scary For Kids has in its list of Top 20 Scary Movies For Kids no less than 4 R-rated movies. Hardly what I'd call family film fare. One wonders whether the web site owners even have kids.

Old lady in a noose = not exactly "kid-friendly"

On the other hand, I chose not to include lists from places like Associated Content, which "enables anyone to participate in the new content economy by publishing content on any topic". I could just as easily ask my next door neighbor for a list of films.

No, what I wanted was to include lists from sources that at least have some credibility. As the month goes on, I'll introduce you to some of these sources. No doubt, there will be some that I haven't included. Please feel free to let me know what those are. I'd love to read them.

The Count

OK, so I've got a bunch of lists. What then? Simple: I count how many times each film is on the lists. Then I know which films are the most highly recommended. Great, I've got my sorted list. That's half the battle.


Just because a bunch of people think a certain film is great family-film fare for Halloween doesn't at all mean it's appropriate for all ages. Quite the contrary. And you can't be too careful with potential nightmare fodder.

So for each film, I consult with experts to determine the appropriate recommended minimum age. After all, I don't want my almost-five-year-old to watch something that's not even OK for my seven-year-olds.


But it doesn't stop there. So maybe a film is considered to be great for Halloween, and I know it's OK for my kids to watch, but is it any good? Don't worry, my friends, we've got you covered there, too. I've got a system that compiles ratings from several family-friendly sources, with a dash of Rotten Tomatoes for good measure, to give each film a quality rating.

Other Measures

I like to think that my kids will enjoy a film more when they can relate to the main characters. If my 7-year-old son is watching a film in which the main character is a boy of a similar age, I assume he'll be engaged more, possibly imagining himself in place of the character. Is that true? Who knows, but it's just another criteria I use. You know, for what it's worth.


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