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Revisiting a Childhood Classic on Halloween

by Francile Albright

Halloween season is the perfect time to introduce the next generation to E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

Our family usually leans into the scary side of Halloween, but this year I’m feeling a little nostalgic, so I’m seeking out feel-good films instead. Is there a movie equivalent of a pumpkin spice latte? Why, yes there is: E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.

If you have elementary school-aged children in your house, Halloween season is a great time to introduce them to this 80s classic. If you haven’t seen it in a while, remember, it IS set in the 80s, which means it includes a smattering of strong language and scenes where kids roam the neighborhood free of parents and bike helmets. But what a great excuse to put down your devices and tell stories about how you survived it all!

I love this quote from the Halloween-themed blog Bloody Disgusting that perfectly describes the film’s Halloween vibe:

“Spielberg relays that sense of awe and wonderment of what it was like to be let free on Halloween and roam the neighborhood in search of candy by framing it through E.T.’s eyes. Through the little eyeholes of his ghostly sheet, we feel and see E.T.’s curiosity. We feel his trying to make sense of the costumes, whether the more ghoulish costumes have “ouchies” or whether a young Yoda is a friend like him. It’s through Halloween that Spielberg nails that childhood magic and nostalgia. What would it feel like to be a kid again on Halloween? This scene sums it up.”

I can’t wait to curl up on the couch with the family and take in this childhood favorite. 

If you’re looking for more suggestions for spooky movies for the whole family, I like this list from Rotten Tomatoes that includes some smaller, independent movies among the blockbuster and Disney offerings.