Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween

Movie review by
Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media
Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween Movie Poster Image
Light frights in funny, tween-friendly creepfest.
  • PG
  • 2018
  • 100 minutes

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 11 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 12 reviews

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Intended to entertain rather than educate.

Positive Messages

Family matters most, and when family comes together to work as a team, wonders can be accomplished. It's good to be scared sometimes; it can serve as a reminder of what is special about your life. In creative writing, write what you know. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Diverse casting across all categories, with non-stereotypical portrayals. One boy has an entrepreneurial spirit; another has a passion for science. Sonny and Sarah have typical brother-sister relationship, but when they realize an evil puppet is a threat, they and Sam work together to defeat it. Sarah is a smart, brave leader who keeps calm in a stressful situation, qualities that let her rescue town under siege. 

Violence & Scariness

Jump scares. The villain -- a ventriloquist dummy come to life with special powers -- is quite creepy. It injures a teen by forcing him to fall from a height. Halloween-related items become animated, transforming into monsters, witches, etc. A familiar candy attacks humans. A jack-o'-lantern spits seeds like a machine gun. Bullies intimidate, threaten to punch young teens (one bully gets pantsed in return).

Sexy Stuff

Teens kiss. A character cheats on his girlfriend. Awkward flirtation between two adults.

Language

"Hell," "damn," "oh my God," "shut up," and insults like "jerk," "losers," "scumbag."

Consumerism

Many brands are visible/featured, including Bitcoin, Fred's Pharmacy, Pringles, Red Bull, Volvo. Background brands include Apple, Dunkin' Donuts, Dr. Scholl's, Fold-it, Google, Hallmark, Jansport, Master Lock, Modge Podge, Outback Bikes, Rit dye, Rubik's Cube, Smith-Corona, Sony, and Terra bike. Film is based on the R.L. Stine book series Goosebumps, and author and book titles are mentioned with glowing admiration. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween is a sometimes scary but frequently funny adventure for tweens and up based on R.L. Stine's same-named book series. Definitely more creepy than terrifying (and a little milder than the first movie), the bulk of the movie's frights stem from the idea of the Halloween decorations in stores and lawns coming to life. That means ghosts, witches, monsters, and a house-size spider made of balloons go into motion and terrorize a neighborhood. If that sounds kind of funny, it is; the humor and ridiculousness minimize the fright factor. That said, the villain -- a menacing, weathered ventriloquist dummy that just won't die -- is genuinely creepy in a way that could linger with younger kids. But most of the rest of the content is very mild: There's no substance use, language tops out at "jerk" and "shut up," and nothing beyond kissing and flirting is shown. Really, a bully getting pantsed and a jack-o'-lantern spitting seeds like a machine gun is as iffy as it gets. Plus, the movie has a diverse cast and a clear teamwork theme, and it taps into relatable situations for kids: squabbling with siblings, treasure hunting with friends, struggling over school assignments, interacting with friendly but quirky neighbors, and dealing with bullies. It may be a hand-clencher in the theater, but it's the kind that lets kids rest easy as soon as the credits roll.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byTracey6773 October 11, 2018

Kids loved it, mom was ok with it

My boys are 5 and 7. They looooove the first one, especially my 5 year old. They laughed and commented through the entire movie. The 2nd one wasn't as go... Continue reading
Adult Written byJami626 October 12, 2018

Not Appropriate

This is NOT a movie I would ever take my almost 10 year old boy and 12 year old daughter too. Grandma and Grandpa did take us all. I was unprepared for the in... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bybookworm3284 October 14, 2018

Frightfully Fun flick perfect for the family!

This is not a scary movie, like CCM says, it is more of a creepfest. Nothing that will give your child nightmares, a perfect balance between spooky and scary. T... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old October 19, 2018

Not for sensitive kids

This movie would be way to scary for some sensitive kids. Not for 8 year olds I even got the chills once or twice But still a great movie

What's the story?

Based on R.L. Stine's popular children's horror book series, GOOSEBUMPS 2: HAUNTED HALLOWEEN begins with best friends Sam (Caleel Harris) and Sonny (Jeremy Ray Taylor) discovering a mysterious book and ventriloquist dummy in an abandoned house. When the puppet comes to life, it doesn't take long to realize that "Slappy" has bad intentions; he soon unleashes Halloween decorations as weapons of destruction, creating a monster mash that overtakes the town. It's up to Sam, Sonny, and Sonny's older sister, Sarah (Madison Iseman), to put a stop to Slappy and his monsters before it's too late. Wendi McLendon-Covey, Ken Jeong, and Chris Parnell co-star, and Jack Black appears.

Is it any good?

Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween is that rare beast: a fun, scary movie for kids that won't actually terrify them. Which is perfect, because every October, many parents and children are eager to get into the Halloween spirit with some kind of ghoulish experience, but no one wants nightmares. Goosebumps 2 strikes exactly the right balance for the elementary set with its story, tone, and shivers. The plot is set in motion by the world's creepiest ventriloquist dummy, Slappy, who comes to life through an incantation and initially wins over his human friends by helping them with his powers -- all things that will never happen in real life. Slappy just wants to be part of a human family, and when he's denied that, he tries to create one of his own by bringing the town's Halloween costumes and decorations to life. Director Ari Sandel cleverly plays on the uneasy feeling that some kids experience when looking at Halloween decor while simultaneously giving that discomfort real-life resolution -- because the creatures are just as ridiculous as they are spooky. For example, gummy bears combine and grow to an enormous size, then attack by blobbing themselves onto our heroes.

Casting fresh faces in the young roles also helps kids put themselves in the heroes' shoes, while the supporting adult cast consists of comedic actors who know how to bring a smile to every line (Jeong and Black never disappoint). We all feel more empowered when we "survive" a spine-chilling movie; when kids emerge from the theater with a smirk of pride on their face saying the words, "I wasn't scared!" you realize that Goosebumps 2's best trick is the real treat.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the creepy parts of Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween. Did anything scare you? If so, what? Could that happen in real life? How much scary stuff can young kids handle?

  • How do Sarah, Sonny, and Sam demonstrate teamwork? What was their relationship before they ran into trouble? How does Sarah and Sonny's relationship compare to that between you and your siblings/other family members?

  • Sarah says that being scared is sometimes a good thing because it helps you appreciate what's special about your life. What does she mean? Do you agree?

  • Sarah faces what author R.L. Stine describes as "one of the greatest fears": a blank piece of paper. What does he advise is the best way to tackle a creative writing assignment? How can you use that recommendation? 

Movie details

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