Today’s Fantastic Adventure in family Entertainment brings us to the Neitherworld with the cartoon version of Beeteljuice. In particular, the Halloween episode “Laugh of the Party.”
When snobby Claire Brewster excludes Lydia and her friends from a popular kids’ Halloween party, Lydia decides to have one of her own. But when Delia takes over the planning, it looks like disaster is imminent until Beetlejuice — as Mr. Beetleman — offers his catering service. Armed with party supplies from the Neitherworld, he’s ready for anything…except the discovery that one of his decorations, Party People in a Can, shouldn’t be used during a full moon. He and Lydia must hunt down the missing Party People before they wreak havoc on all of Peaceful Pines.
Why it is a fantastic adventure: Your kids will obviously love the zany antics of Beetlejuice and will be able to relate to mom taking over the planning of a party (sorry, moms!). As in most children’s cartoons, there is a message to teach the kiddos. In this case, the message is one that you will enjoy as a parent. You see, Beetlejuice ends up getting on over his head (another good lesson) and Lydia has to help him clean it up (lesson number two). But the big lesson is that it is usually for the best when your bumbling but helpful parents plan your party because they know what they are doing.
Another fun aspect of this show is the animation. There is something very comforting about hand drawn animation from the late 80s and early 90s. Maybe it’s just the overload of horrible CGI in cartoons these days, but seeing hand drawn animation is very inviting. Plus, the animation style of this show is very unique. Your kids will hopefully appreciate the old animation style, as it is creepy, colorful and fun all at the same time.
One of my best childhood memories of Halloween is sitting around the TV turning on the Disney Channel and watching The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. For those who don’t know the story, it basically involves a very superstitious and easily scared school teacher, Mr. Ichabod Crane, being told a spooky story of a headless horsemen by the town prankster. When Ichabod makes his way home after the gathering, he is chased down by this headless horsemen and never heard from again.
This story appeals to such a broad audience because we all love a good unsolved mystery. Kids enjoy it because it is spooky, scary and a stern reminder not to run off alone!
The animation may leave younger kids a bit disappointed as it is not CGI and is actually hand drawn (oh, the horror)! However, they will quickly forget that little tidbit as they are sucked into the world of Sleepy Hollow. The daytime settings are pleasant to look at, which gives you a nice secure feeling. Hold on to that feeling. You’re going to need it.
When night falls on Sleepy Hollow the quiet, melodic town turns into a foreboding maze of dark forests, dimly lit cabins and dark, unlit paths. Of course, this is the part that is most appealing to kids and adults on Halloween night. If you talk to your kids and explain tot hem that the dark is not scary, and that the headless horsemen is not, in fact, real, they will not be frightened and will be able to enjoy the story for what it is.
The sense of fear and adventure stirs something primal in all of us, which is why this story and this cartoon version of it, continues to enthrall us all these years later.
Sit down and put this family friendly telling of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow in your DVD player!
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is available on DVD from Amazon.com
You remember the Rugrats, right? Every kid (and parent) growing up in the 1990s watched this show. Chances are, if you have young kids, they have never seen this show. Well, what a better time to introduce them to this gem of a show than Halloween?
In this Halloween episode, the kids get out of the playpen and wander into Stu’s haunted house in the garage while searching for the ultimate Halloween treasure – a Reptar candy bar!
Why it is a fantastic adventure: This episode is a great introduction to the American concept of Halloween. Not sure how to explain what Halloween is all about? Take some pointers from this episode. Your kids will learn what a jack-o’-lantern is, what trick or treating is and why we dress up in spooky costumes.
The real joy of this Halloween episode lies in the adventure. Tommy, Chuckie and the gang all escape from the playpen (as they so often do), and make their way into the haunted house Tommy’s dad has set up in the garage. Along the way they run into fun house mirrors, spooky decorations that come to life when they walk near, and a surprise from grandpa in disguise! This story perfectly captures that sens of adventure that every young child has. It is something that disappears all too quickly in our society. Let your children experience the pure joy of exploring and discovering new things. This cartoon is a great tool for developing that sense of adventure. Plus, it’s about Halloween, so it is automatically fun!
Looking to stay in for the evening with the family? I stumbled upon this ad the other day and wanted to share it, as will be a great opportunity to have a memorable family movie night. Most of the films are from the 1990s or early 2000s, so there is a good chance it has been a long time since your family has seen some of these, if at all. Among some of the films being shown, I would strongly advise watching The Addams Family, Monster House, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze, Nightmare Before Christmas, and Jumanji.
There will be a different movie every night at 8pm Eastern 5pm Pacific. Spend some quality time with the family, pop some popcorn and get ready for fantastic adventures!
Dead Skin Dave here fer one last blog post. It sure has been fun gettin’ out o’ me book and tellin’ ye all about my fantastic adventure. I hope ye are all plannin’ on orderin’ me book and reading it very soon!
I hope ye enjoyed me posts, and I look forward to seein’ ye all inside o’ me book!
Alas, have no fear! I will still be sendin’ activities fer me junior pirates through my author! Ye haven’t heard the last from me! My author, Ryan R. Palmer has many fun things on the horizon for all o’ the fans of Dead Skin Dave!
Catch ye on the open seas!
-Dead Skin Dave
Dead Skin Dave, the Pirate! is NOW AVAILABLE! Click here to order!
Ahoy, junior pirates! We are only two days away from the release o’ me new book, Dead Skin Dave, the Pirate. I hope ye are all as excited as I am. Just thinkin’ about me grand adventure for the lost cutlass of Captain Bo Ben brings a smile to me peely face. Me life has changed so much from that one adventure. I went from a joke to a great captain, met me best first mate Tom Swiftfellow, and even challenged the fiercest pirate in all the world, Hairy Hazelroth. Well, I won’t spoil the story for ye.
Be sure to pick up me new book this Tuesday on Amazon.com! I shall let the author out o’ the closet I trapped in him so he can tell ye when ta buy the book!
All I Want for Christmas is a 1991 film about a young boy, Ethan, and his sister, Hallie. Their parents divorced one year ago right around Christmas, leaving the kids longing for their family to get back together. It isn’t until Hallie goes to see Santa (“the real one. At Macy’s.”) that Ethan sees how much his sister really wants their parents back together. The two hatch a scheme to get their parents alone together on Christmas Eve through Christmas morning. Will it work, or will it drive their parents even further apart?
Why it is a fantastic adventure: For some reason, a young Thora Birch keeps coming up in my movie reviews. I guess it’s because she was such a great child actress. Once again, she turns in an adorable performance as the innocent, yet intelligent, little sister. Ethan Embry plays a convincing and caring older brother.
This film deals with two major issues. The first is the big brother, little sister bond. Your kids will certainly learn a thing or two about how to take care of their younger siblings. Ethan is constantly watching over Hallie and making sure that she is safe. In one scene, he distracts her from hearing another argument between their parents. He watches over her and makes sure that she does not run off alone in New York city. When she inevitably does, he drops everything he does, puts himself at risk, and runs to go find her. It is a great lesson for all of the little ones in your home.
The second issue is divorce. In 1991, divorce was still a sticking point that rarely got attention in family films. Today it is more accepted and commonplace to see the topic discussed openly in family entertainment. If you have yet to discuss the topic with your kids, this is a great place to start. It portrays the kids as content and still being kids, goofing off and enjoying life, but it also shows the private side of the kids’ lives and how the each deal with grief. Ethan watches old family videos and cries, while Hallie takes the more naïve approach of asking Santa to get them back together.
Finally, this film is not all sad stuff. There is a lot of action and adventure. When the kids try to get their parents back together, the hatch a fun plan full of pranks and little white lies. There are runaway mice, towed cars, diverted cabs and a late night dinner at the family diner. All in all, it is a grand scheme worthy of The Parent Trap and it will have your kids laughing and on the edge of their seats.
The film also provides some great Christmas scenery: a white, wintry Christmas tree, falling snow and trips to Macy’s.
All I Want for Christmas is available to own on DVD, or rent it from Amazon.
I am fairly certain there is not a kid out there who has not seen at least one of these TV specials. These puppet based Christmas shows cover all of the classic stories. Rudolph, Jack Frost, Santa Claus, Frosty and more! Without further ado, I shall skip the summaries and dig right in.
Why it is a fantastic adventure: The stop motion puppet animation is timeless and give the shows such a whimsical look that they will stick in your kids’ heads for the rest of their lives. This will help establish your kids’ first sense of Christmas. As soon as they see these images they will instantly be reminded of Christmas cheer.
The storylines of all of these shows are all full of positive messages and great teachable moments. As always, it is best to open a dialogue with your children after watching or reading anything, and these specials really bring out the best of the human spirit.
Each of these specials will take your kids on a fantastic adventure filled with daring, danger, excitement and good old fashioned holiday cheer. My favorite, A Year Without a Santa Claus, deals with the scary thought of what would happen if Santa couldn’t make it out to deliver the gifts! It is great plot points like these that will have your kids enthralled.
Do not miss these specials! Check local listings, as they are almost always on TV around Christmas. You can also buy them on DVD.
My next entry into my Fantastic Adventures series is the delightfully fun and bizarre book My Teacher Fried my Brains. The first day of seventh grade was probably the worst day of Duncan Dougal’s life. He knows that things are really bad when he finds an alien’s hand in a dumpster and then gets plugged into an alien brain fryer! Can Duncan find out which of the four new teachers in his school is an alien before his brains get fried to a pulp—or before the aliens try to fry the whole planet?
Why it is a fantastic adventure: The first thing that will interest your kids is the title. The very concept of a teacher being a bad guy is instantly intriguing to the young mind. After all, teachers are the ones that make us do homework, go up and do stuff in front of the whole class, and generally make kids’ lives a lot of work.
Once your kids learn that the teacher is actually an alien, well then that just seals the deal. Just wait until your kids come home from school one day and tell you all about how they saw Mrs. Micer’s hair move and eyes come out from underneath. Your kids will spend the next several months looking for signs of extraterrestrial life from their teachers. What fun!
The story itself is full of action and adventure, as the main characters sneak around the school during off hours, invade the faculty lounge, and come up with crazy schemes to oust their alien teacher.
With just the right amount of creepy, alien fun, action, adventure, and plot twists, My Teacher Fried my Brains will be at the top of your kids’ all time favorite list and will have them using their wondrous imaginations to find out if their teacher is an alien. The possibilities are endless!
In the 1990s it was very common for older cartoon shows from the 1970s and 1980s to be released as theatrical movies. Casper was released in 1995 and is based off of the television cartoon show. The main plot of the story revolves around a house haunted by a group of mischievous ghosts. There is one ghost, Casper, who doesn’t like to scare people and is treated as servant by the other three ghosts he is “living” with. Furious that her late father only willed her his gloomy-looking mansion rather than his millions, Carrigan Crittenden is ready to burn the place to the ground when she discovers a map to a treasure hidden in the house. But when she enters the rickety mansion to seek her claim, she is frightened away by a wicked wave of ghosts. Determined to get her hands on this hidden fortune, she hires afterlife therapist Dr. James Harvey to exorcise the ghosts from the mansion. Harvey and his daughter Kat move in, and soon Kat meets Casper, the ghost of a young boy who’s “the friendliest ghost you know.” But not so friendly are Casper’s uncles–Stretch, Fatso and Stinkie–who are determined to drive all “fleshies” away. Ultimately, it is up to Harvey and Kat to help the ghosts cross over to the other side.
Why it is a fantastic adventure: Casper is a fun film to watch around Halloween as it deals with ghosts, a creepy old mansion and lots of crazy antics. There is plenty of humor to keep your kids entertained. Seeing ghosts flying around is surely going to get your kids in the mood for Halloween and is a great way to get their imaginations opened up and ready to create. The special effects still hold up very well to this day and will have your kids believing in ghosts.
There is also a great lesson in friendship and relationships between Kat and Casper. Christina Ricci plays the young Kat, who immediately befriends the misunderstood ghost, Casper. Not only is this a great teaching moment about how it is okay to be different, it is also an introduction for your preteen on relationships and those new feelings that may be springing up about the opposite sex.
On the other end of the spectrum, there are a lot of fun antics in the film that will get your kids wishing they were at Disneyland. A moment that comes to mind is the chair ride that Kat’s dad discovers. This is a fun little interlude that lightens up the mood and gets the energy level in the room up.
Lastly, there are a lot of fun moments with the other “villain” of the movie, Carrigan Crittenden, who will stop at nothing to get the treasure map. She gets picked on by the ghosts and is usually at the wrong end of all of the pranks, including getting electrocuted and having her hair stand up on end! It is small moments like these that your kids will remember, and you can feel good about them laughing at the cartoony violence, because it is happening to the “bad guy”, who always walks away unharmed (until the end).
Casper is available on DVD.
Fantastic Adventures, Writings , and Other Musings