The Haunted Pumpkin of Sleepy Hollow

Movie review by
Joly Herman, Common Sense Media
The Haunted Pumpkin of Sleepy Hollow Movie Poster Image
A not-too-scary headless horseman offers a history lesson.
  • NR
  • 2006
  • 48 minutes

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Washington Irving's novel is given a big nod here: we learn that it was written in 1819, and that it might have been based in some facts. Mention of the Battle of White Plains, the Revolutionary War, its mercenary Hessian soldiers, and some of the families who lived in the area ground this tale in reality. Words like phosphorous, ectoplasm, and theory are used.

Positive Messages

Hictorical facts are nicely woven into this reprisal of the Sleepy Hollow tale. Also, kids and adults cooperate and kids help solve a mystery.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Teachers are respected, and kids are willing to learn from adults.

Violence & Scariness

Some ghost and skeleton appearances are a little spooky, but not gory or terrifying. Some sword fighting.

Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this animated tale features ghosts and a headless horsemen who whirl and swirl through the town of Sleepy Hollow. But despite the ghoulish figures, nothing too terrifying happens in this Halloween legend, and even most sensitive kids should find this seasonal story agreeable.

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What's the story?

It's almost Halloween, and Nick Crane (voiced by Joanna Ruiz) and his friend Kate (Jules De Jongh) are preparing for the school's haunted house. Since they live in the town of Sleepy Hollow, the holiday is loaded with meaning, especially since the manuscript of Washington Irving's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow has gone missing. As fate would have it, Nick and Kate find themselves solving more than one mystery as the "ghosts come out to roam" on the last day of October.

Is it any good?

If The Magic School Bus ran amok on the Scooby Doo set, THE HAUNTED PUMPKIN OF SLEEPY HOLLOW is pretty much what you'd get. Though there is plenty of educational material in this twist on the Sleepy Hollow tale, it doesn't feel forced or contrived. Even adults might learn a thing or two about the history surrounding Washington Irving's tale.

Even though there are ghosts, they are pretty harmless. Only the Headless Horseman feels frightening in this movie, which is appropriate, since he's the bad guy. But there are no beheadings or slayings -- just a history lesson shrouded in mystery. It's a good choice for families with sensitive kids.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about legends. What is a legend? What makes it different than a story? Are there any legends told about the town that you live in?

  • How scary was this movie for you and your family? Have you seen scarier movies or shows? How do you usually react to being scared?

  • It is said in this movie that Halloween is a night when "all ghosts get to roam." Do you believe this? What does Halloween mean to you?

Movie details

For kids who love to be scared (a little)

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