Movies Like 'Hocus Pocus' to Watch Next

If you've already rewatched 'Hocus Pocus' for the year and caught the sequel, here are 10 more family-friendly spooky films to binge.
by Taylor Freitas — 

From left to right: Kathy Najimy, Better Midler, and Sarah Jessica Parker in 'Hocus Pocus'

Buena Vista Pictures

Set in the quintessentially spooky town of Salem, Mass., Hocus Pocusis a cult-classic horror comedy that's popular with Halloween-loving audiences of all ages (although critics were not won over at the time of its release). Directed by Kenny Ortega, the film follows brother-and-sister duo Max (Omri Katz) and Dani Dennison (Thora Birch), who have recently relocated to New England from California.

While trick-or-treating, Max mistakenly awakens the Sanderson sisters, a trio of child-snatching witches who were executed hundreds of years earlier. The sisters — Winifred (Bette Midler), Mary (Kathy Najimy), and Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker) — are hellbent on revenge after centuries of silence and promptly set their sights on Max and Dani. To save themselves, the siblings enlist the help of an immortal cat named Binx (voiced by Jason Marsden), who was targeted by the witches years earlier.

Produced by Walt Disney Pictures, Hocus Pocus first hit theaters in 1993. At the time, it struggled at the box office, in addition to receiving lackluster critical reviews. However, over the years, the film grew in popularity through many networks running it as part of their special Halloween-themed programming. In 2020, Hocus Pocus returned for a limited theatrical run, where it led box office sales. And now, there is finally a sequel (Hocus Pocus 2), released through Disney+, with many original cast members reprising their roles.

With Halloween upon us, now is the perfect time to revisit Hocus Pocus, stream the long-awaited sequel, or check out similarly spooky (but family-friendly) movies. On the following list, you'll find ghost stories, monster movies, and witchy tales, all of which were specifically chosen to appeal to Hocus Pocus fans. 

Here, Metacritic presents 10 movies like Hocus Pocus, ranked by Metascore.


Jack Skellington in 'The Nightmare Before Christmas'

Touchstone Pictures

The Nightmare Before Christmas 

Metascore: 82
Best for: Fans of Tim Burton and dark animated films
Where to watch:

, , Google Play, , Vudu
Runtime: 76 minutes

Although audiences might disagree on whether it's more of a Christmas or Halloween movie, The Nightmare Before Christmas certainly has enough spooky elements to satisfy fans of Hocus Pocus. The stop-motion film follows Jack Skellington (voiced by Chris Sarandon and Danny Elfman), the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town, as he tries to get his fellow citizens to embrace Christmas. But despite his good intentions, Jack's plan goes horribly wrong, threatening the future of Christmas altogether. Developed by Burton and directed by Henry Selick, The Nightmare Before Christmas was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects.

"It's an aesthetically addicting experience that capitalizes on these seasonal feelings, offering an unlikely escape with the press of a button." — Michael Roffman, Consequence


Anjelica Huston in 'The Witches'

Warner Bros. Pictures

The Witches 

Metascore: 78 
Best for: Fans of witchy mystery stories with a comedic twist
Where to watch:

, Google Play, , iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 91 minutes

Based on Roald Dahl's book of the same title, The Witches is a 1990 horror-comedy film about an international group of witches who are brought together by their shared hatred of children. The film stars Anjelica Huston as Eva Ernst (also known as the Grand High Witch), the leader of the group and the inventor of a new potion that will turn all of the world's children into mice. After overhearing this conversation, a young boy named Luke Eveshim (Jasen Fisher) attempts to stop them — but the witches have other plans for him.

"In this extended good time of a fairy tale, there's something for everyone." — Desson Thomson, The Washington Post


Michael Keaton in 'Beetlejuice'

Warner Bros. Pictures


Metascore: 70
Best for: Fans of bizarre but creative horror-comedies
Where to watch:

, , , Vudu
Runtime: 92 minutes

Directed by Burton, 1988's Beetlejuice is a kooky ghost story that combines elements of fantasy, comedy, and horror. It revolves around Adam and Barbara Maitland (played by Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis), a newly-dead couple who decide to haunt the obnoxious new occupants of their former home. Not having much luck on their own, the Maitlands recruit Betelgeuse (Michael Keaton), an undead bio-exorcist known for his oddball personality and questionable conduct. In 1989, Beetlejuice won the Academy Award for Best Makeup and received two BAFTA Award nominations. Later that year, Burton created an animated version of the film for TV.

"For sheer off-the-wall audacity, Tim Burton's demented Beetlejuice certainly demands respect, even if it's more enjoyable in concept that in execution." — David Ansen, Newsweek


'The Monster Squad'

TriStar Pictures

The Monster Squad 

Metascore: 61
Best for: Fans of slightly silly '80s monster movies
Where to watch:

, Google Play, iTunes, Starz, Vudu
Runtime: 79 minutes

Like Hocus PocusThe Monster Squad centers on young people who must protect their world from dark forces. The film tags along with a pre-teen friend group whose obsession with monster movies inspires them to form a club called the Monster Squad. One day, the club members learn that several monsters have a sinister plan to take over the planet — forcing the Monster Squad to take action. It didn't impress many critics, but The Monster Squad later developed a devoted fan base and is now regarded as a cult classic (something else it has in common with Hocus Pocus).

"Ghostbusters for the pre-teen set, a cartoon of a cartoon." — Rick Groen, The Globe and Mail


Jack Black in 'Goosebumps'

Sony Pictures


Metascore: 60
Best for: Millennials who loved the Goosebumps books but are looking for a more meta approach to their adaptation
Where to watch:

, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 103 minutes

In this 2015 film, Zach Cooper (Dylan Minnette) is a high schooler who's just moved to small-town Delaware with his mom, Gale (Amy Ryan). As he's settling in, he starts chatting with his new neighbor, Hannah Stine (Odeya Rush), but her standoffish father quickly shuts down their conversation. Later, Zach discovers that Hannah's dad is R.L. Stine (Jack Black), the author of the Goosebumps children's horror book series. In an even more shocking twist, Zach learns that the monsters from R.L.'s books are real — and they're right next door.

"There's a streak of old-fashioned B-movie spooky playfulness here, and when actual, motivated characters are on screen it's delightful." — Jordan Hoffman, The Guardian


Raúl Juliá and Anjelica Huston in 'The Addams Family'

Paramount Pictures

The Addams Family

Metascore: 57
Best for: Fans of dark comedies about unconventional families
Where to watch:

, Google Play, , , Vudu
Runtime: 99 minutes

Based on the cartoons by Charles Addams, The Addams Family is a 1991 black comedy about a macabre extended family led by parents Gomez and Morticia Addams (Raúl Juliá and Huston). While holding a séance one day, the family meets a man who claims to be Gomez's estranged brother, Fester (Christopher Lloyd). He explains that he'd gotten lost in the Bermuda Triangle decades earlier and now wants to rebuild his relationship with Gomez and his family. The only problem? "Fester" is actually Gordon Craven, a con man with plans to infiltrate the family and steal their riches.

"Deliciously sick and delightfully cast." — Angie Errigo, Empire


'Hubie Halloween'


Hubie Halloween 

Metascore: 53 
Best for: Fans of Adam Sandler and goofy comedies about outcasts who become heroes
Where to watch: Netflix
Runtime: 102 minutes

Hubie Halloween, like Hocus Pocus, is a lighthearted horror comedy set in Salem (but its humor is more geared toward teens and adults). It tells the story of Hubie Dubois (Sandler), a kind-hearted native of the historic Massachusetts town who is frequently mocked by his fellow citizens for his eccentric personality. But when mysterious things start happening around Salem, the town must rely on Hubie to put an end to the mayhem. Released on Netflix in 2020, Hubie Halloween features an ensemble cast that includes Sandler, Kevin James, Kenan Thompson, Julie Bowen, and Steve Buscemi.

"In true content-blurring Netflix fashion, Sandler has essentially made a likable children's movie to babysit undemanding adults." — Jesse Hassenger, The A.V. Club


Casper and Christina Ricci in 'Casper'

Universal Pictures


Metascore: 49
Best for: Fans of family-friendly ghost stories
Where to watch:

, Google Play, iTunes, Peacock, Vudu
Runtime: 100 minutes

If you're looking for another spooky but kid-appropriate film with a '90s vibe, Casper is a great option. It revolves around the titular friendly ghost (voiced by Malachi Pearson), who haunts Whipstaff Manor in Maine with his three uncles: Stretch (Joe Nipote), Stinkie (Joe Alaskey), and Fatso (Brad Garrett). Determined to get the spirits out of the mansion, the owners bring in Dr. James Harvey (Bill Pullman), an experienced ghost therapist. At the manor, James is joined by his teenage daughter, Kat (Christina Ricci), who quickly earns Casper's affection and helps him feel less alone.

"Casper will doubtless spur nostalgic recognition among grown-ups but skews so heavily toward children that it offers little to divert anyone over the age of 8." — Brian Lowry, Variety


From left to right: Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock in 'Practical Magic'

Warner Bros. Pictures

Practical Magic 

Metascore: 46 
Best for: Fans of supernatural romance tales
Where to watch:

, Google Play, , iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 103 minutes

Released in 1998, Practical Magic is a spellbinding rom-com based on the novel by Alice Hoffman. It chronicles the lives of Gillian and Sally Owens (played by Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock), two sisters who were born into a family of witches. Both women are eager to find love, but they're hindered by a long-standing curse that kills any man they fall in love with. The sisters eventually attract the attention of Gary Hallet (Aidan Quinn), a detective who's tasked with investigating the disappearance of Gillian's latest lover, but ends up falling for Sally instead.

"The cast and crew and screenwriters seem to have had some fun with it, and the audience, coming along for the ride, has some fun with it, too." — Edvins Beitiks, San Francisco Examiner


From left to right: Jonathan Lipnicki and Rollo Weeks in 'The Little Vampire'

New Line Cinema

The Little Vampire 

Metascore: 45
Best for: Fans of vampire stories and pint-sized heroes
Where to watch:

, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 95 minutes

Suitable for kids and parents alike, The Little Vampire is a horror comedy based on the children's book series by Angela Sommer-Bodenburg. It follows Tony Thompson (Jonathan Lipnicki), an American boy who's just moved to Scotland with his family. The adjustment takes a toll on Tony, who's being bullied at school and having nightmares at home, but things begin to look up when he makes a new friend, Rudolph Sackville-Bagg (Rollo Weeks). Soon, Tony finds out that Rudolph and his family are vampires — and they need his help to defeat the vampire hunter trying to destroy them.

"For adults, the film will drag in spots, but it's filled with all those values you hope to instill in your children." — Ernest Hardy, Film.com