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Super Monsters: Vida's First Halloween

Movie review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Super Monsters: Vida's First Halloween Movie Poster Image
Sweet cross-cultural holiday special celebrates inclusivity.
  • NR
  • 2019
  • 24 minutes

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Vida gains some emotional maturity by being honest about her feelings and letting her friends and family help her. Viewers also learn about the Spanish cultural celebration of Day of the Dead, and the story includes Spanish words and phrases with English translations on-screen.

Positive Messages

Theme is inclusivity. Characters go out of their way to make Vida feel welcome in their Halloween traditions and to settle her nerves about being different and a newcomer. In return, Vida shares with them her cultural heritage as it relates to their Día de los Muertos celebration. Other positive messages include reminders of good manners (saying "thank you" during trick-or-treating, for instance), overcoming fears, coping with emotions like sadness in remembering loved ones who have passed away.

 

Positive Role Models & Representations

The Monsters' parents and caregivers are wonderful role models for them, and in this story, Vida's abuelita is a cultural role model for her and her friends, as she keeps their family's traditions alive. The kids can be impulsive, overeager, and shy, but with their friends' help and the grown-ups' guidance, they find positive ways to manage their tendencies.

Violence & Scariness

All of the young characters are very friendly versions of traditional monsters like werewolves, zombies, and vampires.

Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Super Monsters: Vida's First Halloween blends traditions of Halloween and Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) into a lively, heartwarming, cross-cultural story with prominent messages about kindness and inclusivity. All of the young characters are preschoolers who transform into a variety of friendly monsters at the rising of the moon. In this holiday special, the friends help a shy newcomer experience her first Halloween after working through her jitters about the unfamiliar experience. In return, she treats them to their first Day of the Dead celebration, a tradition in her Latinx family's culture. The dialogue includes some Spanish words and phrases with English translations shown on-screen, and the story deals delicately with the concept of losing loved ones and remembering them after they are gone.

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What's the story?

In SUPER MONSTERS: VIDA'S FIRST HALLOWEEN, the Super Monsters get ready for their favorite spooky holiday, and Vida (voiced by Gigi Saul Guerrero) is a little nervous about celebrating her first Halloween. Her friends fill her in on all the best traditions of the special night -- trick-or-treating, jack-o'-lanterns, costumes -- before they head out to do some candy gathering of their own. Then it's back to Vida's house so she and her abuelita (Maria J. Cruz) can share her family's Día de los Muertos tradition with her friends as well.

Is it any good?

This Halloween special is as sweet as the candy the Monsters rake in as they make the rounds of their neighbors' houses. Vida starts the evening with a lot of anxiety about trying something so new to her, an emotion that will be familiar to many youngsters watching. Rather than make her feel awkward about it, her friends practice kindness and offer to help her through the night at a pace that's comfortable for her. In return, she introduces them to something else new in sharing her family's cultural celebration with them.

Super Monsters: Vida's First Halloween is a fun lesson in inclusivity at young kids' attention level, and it exposes those unfamiliar with the Day of the Dead traditions to them in kid-friendly, entirely non-scary ways. Even the concept of remembering loved ones and feeling sad about their passing is addressed briefly between young friends and as Vida's family celebrates the legacy of her Abuelito with some of his favorite traditions.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Vida and her family honor their cultural traditions while embracing new ones in a new place. How do her friends help her bridge the gap between what she's used to and what she experiences in her new home? What special traditions does your family enjoy around the holidays?

  • In what ways do the Super Monsters make an effort to help Vida acclimate and feel like she belongs? Kids: Have you ever felt like an outsider in a new place? If so, does knowing how it feels make you more inclined to show compassion to others in a similar situation?

  • How does Super Monsters make characters that are traditionally scary seem less so with bright colors and animation? Are there any aspects of Halloween and/or Día de los Muertos celebrations that your kid finds frightening? How are they presented in Super Monsters: Vida's First Halloween?

Movie details

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