The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About Halloween!

Movie review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About Halloween! Movie Poster Image
Comical cat's holiday special teaches kids about courage.
  • G
  • 2016
  • 60 minutes

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

Educational Value

Cat teaches kids about nature as well as "Halloweeny" things like scarecrows, corn mazes, and moths. The learning is very basic and on par with young kids' attention spans (moth larvae eat fabric, bats can navigate easily in the dark), and it reminds viewers that there are opportunities to learn in just about every experience.


Positive Messages

Strong messages about courage and facing your fears. Cat helps Nick and Sally turn potentially scary situations into empowering ones by acknowledging what frightens them and working to fix them. For instance, squeaky doors can be oiled, branches tapping a window can be trimmed, and you can bring light to a dark room. Songs and mantras reinforce this message throughout the show, including "Take charge and fix it!" and "Facing fears makes heroes of us all!" Diversity in the cast, as Nick is African-American.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Cat is impulsive, optimistic to a fault, and not always entirely responsible, but there's a method to his madness, and what he teaches the kids is solid. He's knowledgeable about a lot of things, from how and why leaves change in the fall to why thunderstorms are so loud. Sally and Nick are receptive to the lessons they learn and look at their fears in a different light afterward.

Violence & Scariness

Throughout the story, the Fish attempts to scare Cat with surprises such as floating ghosts and an oversized spider.

Sexy Stuff

This Halloween special is part of a TV series and popular line of books.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About Halloween! is a holiday special from the team behind the popular science-geared series. As Cat and his human friends prepare for Halloween, they also learn about nature and its changes during the fall. The story's primary theme relates to fear and courage, and there are many excellent examples of the characters bravely facing what scares them, always with happy results. This is a great pick for families because of its positive messages, wonderful music, silly comedy, and spirited Halloween story.

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What's the story?

In THE CAT IN THE HAT KNOWS A LOT ABOUT HALLOWEEN!, Nick (voiced by Jacob Ewaniuk) and Sally (Alexa Torrington) are busy getting ready for trick-or-treating when Cat (Martin Short) pops in to help them plan their costumes. Lacking inspiration, the kids are swept away on a fun-filled adventure in the Thingamajigger with Cat to locate the Oooky-ma-kooky closet and the costumes it holds, but getting there is a little harder than they imagined. With detours into a dark forest, a spooky cave, and a haunted fun house, this story is filled with Halloween spirit, and it challenges Nick and Sally to face some of their fears along the way.

Is it any good?

Field trips are never as fun with anyone else as they are with Cat in charge, and this rollicking romp through all things Halloween is no exception. There are ghosts, monsters, and a few creepy-crawlies, plus some time spent exploring nature's changes in autumn and why they come about. Fun music, silly laughs, and a recurring gag that sees Fish attempting to scare Cat keep every moment lively.

Cat continues to be a font of useful information, not only about things such as leaves changing and thunderstorms but also about this story's theme of facing fears. Many of the scares Nick and Sally confess to will ring true with young kids who watch -- unexplained noises, dark rooms, getting lost, and so on. As the characters learn to conquer their fears, parents can reinforce the excellent lessons in The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About Halloween! by addressing some of their kids' own worries and, as Cat says, "Take charge and fix it!"

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about fears and character traits such as courage in The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About Halloween!. Kids: What are some of your biggest fears? Do you have to face them very often? What does it mean to have courage? Can you be scared and have courage at the same time? What are some other important character traits?

  • What Halloween traditions do you see represented in this story? What are some of your family's holiday traditions that mean the most to you?

  • Why is Cat such a popular character? Are there other Dr. Seuss characters that you especially like? Which book would you like to see made into a TV series or movie, and why?

Movie details

Character Strengths

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For kids who love holiday fun

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