Well, it’s that time of year again, where you wonder what you’re going to use to distract your kids from the epic sugar high they’re about to embark on. Luckily, I understand how detrimental Halloween can be to a parent’s overall mental health, and, to help out, I put together a list of the Top 10 Halloween movies for kids. Now, these movies might not be suitable for every kid, but I’m prepared to give you some advice on that front. I also decided to give your kids a few options that might have a little more bite to them, just so you can finally let them watch that "scary" movie they've been begging for. Hopefully, these won't be the kinds of movies to give rugrats nightmares, but all of them should give you a little peace and quiet to enjoy a little bit of Halloween on your own.
10. Hocus Pocus
This movie is probably appropriate for pretty much all of the kiddies out there, and one that most young parents will remember fondly (whether those fond memories are “ironic” or not, is up to them). It’s pretty harmless as far as Halloween movies go, and for the most part, kids really seem to enjoy it. Heck I know I did when I was a kid and why not pass that trusted torch down to another generation? For those of you who don’t remember this movie quite so fondly, don’t worry it’s probably not scary enough for kids to require adult supervision to enjoy.
9. The Witches
If you’re the type of parent that wants to slowly ease your kid into horror movies, it’s probably not a great idea to start them off with Halloween. The Witches though might not be a bad first-time horror film. It’s not that scary, but it does have it’s fair share of creepy moments. The movie is about a kid who is sent to live with his relatives at a hotel in England. Unfortunately, there are witches afoot who want to turn him into a mouse. Like I said, it’s a little creepy, but not too scary. Probably best for kids eight and up.
Friendly ghosts are the best kinds of ghosts, especially for the kids. This film is kid-safe and perfect for the Halloween season, especially because if kids are afraid of ghosts it teaches them that not all ghosts are spooky. Bill Pullman and Christina Ricci star as the two humans moving into a haunted house. Luckily for them, it is haunted by the one and only Casper. Best of all, it's a movie that the whole family can enjoy without driving parents insane.
Paranorman is just an amazing movie all around. It’s a great film to introduce kids to zombies without giving them nightmares about the apocalypse. The artwork is absolutely beautiful and it’s an incredibly heartfelt film. Honestly, it’s one that I think even parents would enjoy watching with their kids. While it has it’s share of “gore” it’s all very cartoonish and is only a little worse than what one would see in the looney tunes. This is another one that’s kid-safe and safe for the sanity of parents that might get sucked into watching it.
6. Monsters, Inc
Leave it to Pixar to make monsters adorable. This is an especially great movie to show a kid who “has a monster living in his closet.” It’s Disney/ Pixar, so you know that adults can manage to sit through it, too. Which makes it a solid choice for the whole family. Really, though, this is a perfect movie to put on when you need a little bit of much-needed peace and quiet away from the kids. I’ve never met a child that didn’t love it. Come to think of it, I’ve never met anyone at all who didn’t like it.
5. The Addams Family
This remake of the classic television series is full of fun. While this film is more funny than scary, it really captures the spirit of Halloween. Best of all, it’s got Christopher Lloyd in it. Sure it's cheesy, but Halloween only comes once a year, so I think you'll be fine sitting through this movie with the kids. If you really can’t stand it, though, this is one that is probably perfect to let the little ones watch alone. It's a great, appropriate film for most kids and should leave them giggling with delight.
Everyone loves the ghost with the most, and Tim Burton knows how to make creepy family friendly. Alec Baldwin, Winona Ryder and Geena Davis star alongside Michael Keaton in this gem from the 80s. While this movie is a bit more intense than the last one, it’s still a fun movie for the kids. This movie might be better-suited for kids a bit older, though, since it does have some scary imagery associated with it. I think this is a safe bet for kids 8 and up.
3. Something Wicked This Way Comes
This is probably the scariest movie ever to come out of Walt Disney's film studios. Even as an adult I got the heeby-jeebys a few times from this one. That being said, it’s one that could definitely be suitable for certain children. It's the kind of film you want to use to test the horror movie waters with your kids. While it’s probably fine for kids as young as eight, they’ll definitely want to watch it with mom and dad, just so they have someone to hide behind during the scary parts.
Definitely talking about the original one here, not the remake. O.K., so this movie has a bit of a foul mouth (nothing too serious) and it’s got that scary librarian lady, but it’s a staple of every kid’s childhood (and only rated PG). Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Rick Moranis and Harold Ramis deliver comedy gold in this classic film. Plus, you can always tell your kids that the Ghostbusters will protect them if any monsters come in the night. I’m going to leave this one to your better judgment, but I think every kid loves (and deserves to see) Ghostbusters.
1. The Monster Squad
So, your kid wants to watch a “scary” Halloween movie. Well, I’d give them this one. It’s got plenty of frights in it and features all of Movie Land's best monsters in it, ranging from Dracula to The Creature from the Black Lagoon. But before you write this one off as too much for your kids, these monsters are going head-to-head with a pack of preteen monster slayers. When I was little I loved this movie. It seriously influenced my development and I turned out pretty alright. I’m willing to bet your kids will love it.
Honorable Mention: The Nightmare Before Christmas
There you have it a list of Halloween movies that are child-friendly but still offer enough frights to be considered appropriate for the season. What did you think of the list? Let me know in the comments if there are any great kid-friendly scary movies I missed!