Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween Parent Guide
A fun-filled introduction to the horror genre for kids.
Parent Movie Review
I am not the target audience for this movie. I am not ten. And I did not see the first Goosebumps movie (2015). In addition, I was relying heavily on the truism that sequels are worse than originals (except for The Empire Strikes Back). So my expectations for this film were set quite low. Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween was not what I expected.
The story starts with a family. Sarah and Sonny Quinn (Madison Iseman and Jeremy Ray Taylor) live with their mom, Kathy (Wendi McLendon-Covey), in a sleepy town in New York. Sonny and his best friend Sam (Caleel Harris) run a junk business and they are hired to clean out a dilapidated house with the promise they can keep whatever they find as payment. The boys discover a secret room with a chest and a locked book inside. After they open it a strange ventriloquist dummy, Slappy, appears. Then the fun really begins.
Slappy does his best to befriend the boys and Sarah, helping them as much as he can with his magical powers. But he soon becomes controlling, demanding, and even violent in his efforts to become part of the Quinn family. The kids try to get rid of Slappy, but this only makes him angrier and determined to seek revenge against them. To this end Slappy combines his powers with the local Tesla plant to make all of Halloween come to life - the decorations, the costumes, even the candy. Some of it’s adorable, and some of it’s a little spooky as we see pumpkins, gnomes, scarecrows, a headless horseman, and gummy bears as living creatures. I do mean that it’s spooky for children - I was fine. In what becomes a relatively predictable climax and denouement we see the Quinn siblings and Sam fight off and defeat the Halloween monsters and save each other and their town.
Heading into the theater I expected to spend 90 minutes rolling my eyes while I tried to grin and bear it for the duration. What I got was a mildly spooky Halloween film that had me laughing out loud and put me in the seasonal mood. The cast was great with secondary roles being filled with first rate comedians Ken Jeong and Chris Parnell. And the script was authentic as possible given the far-fetched plot. The child actors were believable and enjoyable to watch and Madison Iseman again proves she can handle the outrageous (Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle) without straining credulity too far.
This is a nice introduction into the horror genre for kids. There were spooky, suspenseful moments, and lots of creepy editing and music, but nothing that older children couldn’t handle. But for younger or sensitive children (which mine are both) I’d probably save this one for a few years. Mostly because I don’t want to spend the rest of October waking up in the night to soothe my daughters after their nightmares.Directed by Rob Letterman. Starring Madison Iseman, Wendi McLendon-Covey, and Jeremy Ray Taylor. Running time: 90 minutes. Theatrical release October 12, 2018. Updated October 12, 2018
Watch the trailer for Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween
Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween
Rating & Content Info
Why is Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween rated PG? Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween is rated PG by the MPAA for mild action and some terror
Violence: A boy falls from a ladder. Boys on bikes are lifted up into the sky by witches and their bikes are dropped on the ground after a few seconds. One boy drops from the sky into a bush and is unharmed. Throughout the movie there is some fighting with Halloween objects that have come to life (like kicking and punching gummy bears). A character hits the head off of an animated skeleton with a shovel. There are lots of jumpy moments, and it’s a little scary for younger kids.
Sexual Content: A teen couple kisses in a club.
Profanity: Two instances of mild profanity.
Alcohol/Drug Use: None
Page last updated October 12, 2018
Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween Parents' Guide
This movie can be a little bit scary - were there any parts that scared you? Do you like the feeling of being scared? What do you like about it? Why do you think people like that feeling?
Read books about Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween
R.L. Stine spawned a massive publishing phenomenon with the first Goosebumps book, Welcome to Dead House, published in 1992. If your child or tween enjoys watching Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween, there are several books in the series that might appeal to them. Slappy Birthday to You is full of creepy stories about Slappy the ventriloquist dummy. (Take note: there is an entire Slappyworld series in the Goosebumps universe.) For kids charmed by the whole Halloween-brought-to-life thing, try Attack of the Jack-o-lanterns. A quirky tale of inanimate objects brought to life is told in Goosebumps: Revenge of the Lawn Gnomes.
If you want to move beyond the Goosebumps universe for kids in the 9+ age range, try Neil Gaiman’s award winning novel, The Graveyard Book which tells the story of a boy raised by ghosts and werewolves.
For lighthearted Halloween fun, Bruce Covill’s The Monsters of Morley Manor: A Madcap Adventure introduces readers to every magical, monster cliché in a great kid-friendly story. (In fact, any novel by Bruce Covill is almost guaranteed to provide magical fun to readers.)
News About "Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween"
Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween was formerly called Goosebumps 2.
Related home video titles:
If your kids enjoy this film, they will probably have a good time watching the original 2015 Goosebumps.
If you want to go a bit scarier, The House with a Clock in its Walls will be out in DVD in December 2018.
A film that deals with the risky proposition of re-animation is Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie.