A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Arthur and the Haunted Tree House is a Halloween special from the TV series Arthur. The story poses Arthur and his friends with mysterious happenings on Halloween, which suggest the existence of ghosts, monsters, and other spooky spirits that play tricks like making a doll appear and disappear. A ghostly voice is heard on several occasions, and a woman tells a girl a story about encountering a monster when she was young. The scares are very mild, but the suspense is drawn out for nearly the length of the hour-long special before coming to a satisfying (and logical) conclusion that also includes some positive messages about resolving disagreements and forgiveness. However, kids sensitive to scares may get a bit spooked.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In ARTHUR AND THE HAUNTED TREE HOUSE, a Halloween sleepover takes a mysterious turn when Arthur (voiced by Jacob Ursomarzo), Buster (Daniel Brochu), and Ladonna (Krystal Meadows) believe their tree house is haunted by a doll that appears and disappears, and a disembodied voice. Meanwhile, Francine (Jodie Resther) meets a woman who spins a convincing tale of her encounter with a monster when she was a child, and Binky (Bruce Dinsmore) winds up inside Mr. Ratburn's (Arthur Holden) spooky haunted house. Will these mysteries be solved before Halloween is over?
Is it any good?
This seasonal special is a treat for Arthur fans, and its gentle scares and all-around happy ending make it a fun pick for the whole family. The suggestions of ghosts, spirits, and the supernatural might raise questions from kids, especially given that the show is longer than a regular episode of the show and draws out the suspense to close to the end. Rest assured that all is revealed and accounted for before bedtime, however.
Arthur and his family and friends continue to be crowd-pleasers because of the stories' relatable context, and Arthur and the Haunted Tree House is no exception. There are sibling spats (Arthur won't let his little sister partake in his sleepover), one character is especially self-absorbed, and the kids always discover that actions have consequences. Because the show follows three different stories simultaneously, it jumps around a lot and might be a challenge for little ones to follow, but this sweet Halloween tale is an otherwise frightfully fun addition to your holiday watch list.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Halloween and being scared. What are your favorite traditions related to Halloween? Do you like being a little bit scared, especially this time of year? Is it fun to imagine that magic and spirits are real?
Can your kids relate to Arthur's issues with DW in Arthur and the Haunted Tree House? What are the best aspects of having brothers and sisters? What shared interests do you and yours have?
If you and your kids read the Arthur books, talk about how the series compares to them and why reading is important. What are some of your other favorite stories to share together? How does reading inspire curiosity and a desire to learn? What are some other important character strengths?
- Premiere date: October 23, 2017
- Cast: Jacob Ursomarzo, Daniel Brochu, Bruce Dinsmore
- Network: PBS
- Genre: Kids' Animation
- Topics: Book Characters, Brothers and Sisters, Holidays, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- TV rating: TV-Y
- Available on: Streaming
- Award: Common Sense Seal
- Last updated: March 13, 2020
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