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Thursday, September 30, 2010


Family Movie Nights

In my house, we have movie night once a week. My kids always look forward to this end-of-the-week ritual, and I look forward to introducing them to new films and videos. I do a bit of research while deciding whether or not a video is appropriate for my two 7-year-olds and 4 1/2-year-old. Normally, it's not too big a deal, since there are plenty of kid-friendly films out there.

I found that it becomes a bit more challenging in October, though, when I want to show my children some Halloween-themed movies and videos they haven't already seen (my rule is, if they've seen it already, it's fair game for them to watch whenever, but Movie Night is strictly for things they haven't already seen). Not wanting to make a mistake and scare them away from anything even mildly spooky or scary, I have to choose carefully. The last thing I want is for my child to wake up in the middle of the night, after I'd shown him a video that was not appropriate for his age, and that I hadn't bothered to research a bit.

The Blob

Like the time I let them watch "The Blob". Really, what could be more innocuous as far as monster movies go? It's a mass of stuff that oozes around, occasionally scoring a victim. Who'd be scared of that?

My kids had seen that I'd DVR'd it, and kept asking about it. Really, one reason I DVR'd it was so that I could watch it and see if it would be OK to let the kids watch. So they kept bugging me, and I kept saying no, until the time I said yes. I warned them: if it gets too scary, let me know, and I'll turn it off. When it seemed like the Blob was about to get his first victims - Doc Hallen and his nurse - I paused it and asked if anyone was scared. No, they all replied, all wanting to find out just what would happen. Actually, they already knew, having heard the audio to "The Blob"'s trailer many times on one of their Halloween CDs I'd made. I continued, but it wasn't long before it was time for bed, about halfway through the movie.

The Aftermath

After I said good night to my sons, one of them called me and said he might have dreams about blobs. I told him that he'd seen scarier things than that. "Like the wampa?" he asked, and I told him, yes, the wampa actually attacks people. The blob is just a silly old, well, blob. All he does is ooze around. Besides, he knows it's all pretend. I told him that if he did end up having a nighmare about a blob, we wouldn't watch the rest of it, because it might be too scary for him. He'd had a few bad dreams that week already. In reality, I hoped he wouldn't have a nightmare about blobs because I knew my wife would kill me. Fortunately, he didn't, a fact he proudly mentioned in the morning. A few days later, he mentioned to me that he maybe didn't want to see the rest of the movie.

As my youngest was going potty before bed, he reminded me that he's "only four" and maybe shouldn't be watching that kind of movie.

And so it sits on the DVR, unwatched and unloved. I never did finish watching it. I suppose I will one of these days - by myself.

What I Learned

The good news is, I learned my lesson from that little experiment. I started compiling a list of kid-friendly and age-appropriate movies that would make for good Halloween Family Movie Night viewing. The result of which is this blob. Er, blog. I've spent months doing the work so you don't have to. All you have to do is sit back, relax, and enjoy the fruits of my labor. Tune in every day in October and enjoy the countdown of the top 31 family-friendly Halloween movies. There may be some surprises on the way - but hopefully not in a bad way.


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