There are many classic characters of folklore that are staples of many great horror movies, such as witches. These spell-casters are often depicted as ruthless harbingers of doom in some of the darkest tales that cinema has ever told — such as Robert Eggers’ aptly titled, unsettling drama, The Witch, from 2016. However, there are just as many films that portray them as little more than a kooky, creepy obstacle or even a magical miracle you would like to have on your side.
If some of the younger members of your family are interested in stories about witches as Halloween approaches, and you are interested in showing them movies that show the lighter side of that world or at least portray it in a more family-friendly means, your wish is our command. We brewed up the following collection of not-so-scary movies about witches you can find now on streaming or as a digital rental.
The Witches (1990)
A young orphan (Jasen Fisher) and his grandmother (Mai Zetterling) must find a way to defeat a gathering of evil sorceresses at an English hotel after their leader (Anjelica Huston) transforms the boy into a mouse.
Why it is a not-so-scary witch movie: To be perfectly honest, when it comes to family-friendly movies about witches, one of the creepiest of the bunch is, most likely, director Nicolas Roeg’s adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The Witches, which would be adapted again with star Anne Hathaway and director Robert Zemeckis 30 years later.
Rent or buy The Witches (1990) on Amazon.
Rent or buy The Witches (2020) on Vudu.
The Wizard Of Oz (1939)
After a tornado brings a Kansas girl (Judy Garland) and her little dog to a magical, far away land, she enlists a scarecrow (Ray Bolger), a man made of tin (Jack Haley), and a meek lion (Bert Lahr) to accompany her to find a famed magical man who may hold the key to helping her return home.
Why it is a not-so-scary witch movie: Admittedly, Margaret Hamilton’s Wicked Witch of West — who has it out for Dorothy in this groundbreaking adaptation of Frank Baum’s novel, The Wizard of Oz — is an example of a classic cinematic villain known for giving children nightmares, but her archetypical green-faced, pointy-hat-clad appearance is pretty tame by today’s standards.
Stream The Wizard Of Oz on Max.
Rent or buy The Wizard Of Oz on Amazon.
Bedknobs And Broomsticks (1971)
A witch in training (Angela Lansbury), a cynical magician (David Tomlinson), and three orphaned children (Ian Weighill, Cindy O’Callaghan, and Roy Start) use an enchanted bed set to travel the world in search for the missing piece of spell that could help the British Army during World War II.
Why it is a not-so-scary witch movie: Despite its dark, historical backdrop, Disney’s Bedknobs and Broomsticks — based on the book by Mary Norton — is one of the most lighthearted and fun stories that deals with the topic of witchcraft ever put the celluloid, and featuring a few visually stunning sequences that combine live-action footage with animation, a la Mary Poppins.
Stream Bedknobs and Broomsticks on Disney+.
Rent or buy Bedknobs and Broomsticks on Amazon
Teen Witch (1989)
A luckless-in-love high school outcast (Robin Lively) learns from an unusual stranger (Poltergeist star Zelda Rubinstein) that she is a descendent of spell casters from Salem. She then uses her newfound propensity for magic to work her way up the social ladder.
Why it is a not-so-scary witch movie: While most coming-of-age movies about young girls practicing magic tend go in horrifying directions — 1996’s cult favorite The Craft comes to mind — Teen Witch imagines that the worst consequences that may come from witchcraft are a few ridiculous hijinks and an innocent crisis of morality.
Stream Teen Witch on Max.
Rent or buy Teen Witch on Amazon.
Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)
A 13-year-old girl (Kirsten Dunst, in the English-language version), forced to live on her own for a year as part of her magic-wielding training, finds work helping a pregnant bakery shop owner deliver her products, for which she uses her trusty broom for travel.
Why it is a not-so-scary witch movie: All of the best Studio Ghibli movies involve magic in some way, shape, or form, but writer and director Hayao Miyazaki’s Japanese animal retelling of Eiko Kadono’s novel, Kiki’s Delivery Service, is one most definitively rooted in folklore related to witchcraft — from the aforementioned broom, to Kiki’s talking, black cat, Jiji (Phil Hartman).
Stream Kiki’s Delivery Service on Max.
Rent or buy Kiki’s Delivery Service on Amazon.
The Hocus Pocus Movies (1993, 2022)
Centuries after they are put to death for their wicked ways, three Salem-based sisters (Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker) are accidentally resurrected by a group of children on Halloween night… twice.
Why they are not-so-scary witch movies: Perhaps the most iconic and widely beloved of Disney’s witchy favorites is Kenny Ortega’s directorial debut, Hocus Pocus, which would go on to become annual Halloween tradition for fans of all ages and spawned a Disney+ exclusive sequel from director Anne Fletcher.
Stream The Hocus Pocus Movies on Disney+.
Rent or buy Hocus Pocus on Amazon.
Sabrina The Teenage Witch (1996)
After she is sent to live with her eccentric aunts (Sherry Miller and Charlene Fernetz), a young woman (Melissa Joan Hart) discovers on her 16th birthday that she comes from a family of magical beings.
Why it is a not-so-scary witch movie: Before Hart played the title role of the hit sitcom it inspired, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, she led this feature-length, made-for-TV adaptation of the Archie Comics fantasy title that also starred a young Ryan Reynolds.
Stream Sabrina The Teenage Witch on Freevee through Amazon.
Stream Sabrina The Teenage Witch on Peacock.
Stream Sabrina The Teenage Witch on Tubi.
Practical Magic (1998)
Two sisters (Academy Award winners Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman), who come from a long line of witches, struggle to cope with the heinous judgment from their peers and a curse that prevents them finding love without an ill-fated outcome.
Why it is a not-so-scary witch movie: From director Griffin Dunne, the underrated Halloween flick, Practical Magic, is one of Bullock’s most memorable movies, as well as a best for Kidman, for the uniquely grounded and relatable way it depicts witchcraft by framing it as a dark romantic comedy.
Stream Practical Magic on Hulu.
Rent or buy Practical Magic on Amazon.
The Halloweentown Movies (1998-2006)
The adventures of a young woman (originally played by Kimberly J. Brown and later recast by Sara Paxton) who comes from a family known to be the most powerful group of witches from an alternate dimension in which ghosts, goblins, and other things that go bump in the night are common, everyday folk.
Why they are not-so-scary witch movies: While some young Disney lovers would spend their spooky seasons watching Hocus Pocus for the umpteenth time, for those who had Disney Channel, it was all about Halloweentown — and its sequels, Halloweentown II: Kalabar’s Revenge, Halloweentown High, and Return to Halloweentown — which also stars Debbie Reynolds as the Cromwells’ matriarch.
Stream the Halloweentown Movies on Disney+.
Rent or buy the Halloweentown Movies on Amazon.
Scooby-Doo And The Witch’s Ghost (1999)
The meddling kids and talking dog from Mystery Inc. are invited by a famous horror writer (Tim Curry) to a small town famous for the legend of the author’s ancestor, who is said to have practiced witchcraft in her day, but of the wicked kind.
Why it is a not-so-scary witch movie: While Fred, Daphne, Shaggy, Velma, and Scooby typically specialize in apprehending regular people disguised as mythical beings, the titular villain from the classic, straight-to-video feature, Scooby-Doo and the Witch’s Ghost — without giving too much away — is certainly one to be taken more seriously.
Rent or buy Scooby-Doo And The Witch’s Ghost on Amazon.
The House With A Clock In Its Walls (2018)
A young, orphaned boy (Owen Vaccaro) is sent to Michigan to live with his uncle (Jack Black), whom he discovers is warlock who needs his help to find a device that could bring for the end of days if put in the wrong hands.
Why it is a not-so-scary witch movie: Also starring Cate Blanchett, this fun, whimsical, mysterious family adventure based on John Bellairs’ 1973 children’s novel is one of the last films you would expect from director Eli Roth, but The House with a Clock in its Walls manages to bring out the lighter side of the filmmaker behind Hostel and the upcoming horror movie, Thanksgiving.
Rent or buy The House With A Clock In Its Walls on Amazon.
A young boy (Winslow Fegley) who loves scary stories finally finds a life-saving use for his obsession when he makes a deal with a witch (Krysten Ritter) to keep him alive if he supplies her with a different creepy tale every night.
Why it is a not-so-scary witch movie: If you took the plot of Misery, added a twist similar to the wraparound segment from anthology horror movie Tales from the Darkside: The Movie, and gave it more of a family-friendly flair, you would have Nightbooks — a Netflix original that was actually inspired by the Middle-Eastern folk tale collection, One Thousand and One Arabian Nights.
Stream Nightbooks on Netflix.
The Harry Potter Movies (2001-2011)
After an orphaned boy (Daniel Radcliffe) discovers that he is a wizard, he enrolls in a school that specializes in the mystic arts, where he and his new friends (played by Rupert Grint and Emma Watson) must contend with a notorious, evil being from his past.
Why they are not-so-scary witch movies: Some may not often think of the Harry Potter movies as witch movies in the definitive sense, but since Hogwarts is officially a school for both witchcraft and wizardry, it certainly counts.
Stream the Harry Potter Movies on Max.
Stream the Harry Potter Movies on Peacock.
Rent or buy the Harry Potter Movies on Amazon.
As Harry Potter and some of the other characters in these movies show, not all witches are too scary. Which witch movie is the one which you love the most?