Anne Hathaway Says Her Kids 'Can't See' Her in The Witches: When 'I Smile They're Going to Freak'

The Oscar-winning actress tells PEOPLE she worries sons Jonathan, 4, and Jack, 11 months, will be scared of her evil character

In her new film The Witches, Anne Hathaway plays the Grand High Witch, a magical and powerful woman intent on turning all children into mice. But as a kid herself, Hathaway didn't fear witches.

"Witches always seemed like something you wanted to be. They’re powerful," the actress, 37, tells PEOPLE in this week's issue. "So I was always really into the idea of being one."

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But the mother of two acquired another fear at a young age.

"When I was little, my parents didn’t realize I snuck into the living room one night while they were watching Poltergeist and I saw that movie way too young," Hathaway recalls. "And to this day I’m kind of afraid of being sucked into a closet, which is why I don’t want my children to see this movie. Everybody else’s children can see it but my kids can’t see this movie until they’re like 30 because every time I smile they’re just going to freak."

Anne Hathaway in The Witches. HBO MAX

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Her Witches costar Stanley Tucci adds, "No one will sleep in the house. If they wake up with a nightmare, yes, that’s upsetting, but then they’re waking you up!"

Hathaway might not want sons Jack, 11 months, and Jonathan, 4, watching the family horror movie, based on Roald Dahl's dark children's fantasy novel of the same name, but she still planned something fun for her kids to celebrate Halloween at home.

the witches
Anne Hathaway and Stanley Tucci in The Witches. Courtesy Warner Bros.

"We’re getting together with people in our little circle to do a candy scavenger hunt in the backyard," says the Oscar winner, who recently revealed she was pregnant with her second son while shooting The Witches. "Because my youngest, Jack, is 11 months old and crawling everywhere and climbing everything, I’m going to dress him up as a monkey and I’m going to be a tree."

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The Witches, also starring Octavia Spencer, is available to stream now on HBO Max.

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