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Sweater Weather Streaming: 20 Classic Cozy Movies

spooky films for toddlers

As temperatures drop, curling up with a great movie is becoming more tempting. While a spooky movie or an action-packed thriller might add some excitement to your evening, a heartfelt movie is perfect for a cozy night. Sweater weather calls for classic tales of romance and poignant family dramas. Here are twenty that are perfect for chilly evenings at home.

The Holiday

Amanda Woods, a movie producer from Los Angeles, and Iris Simpkins, a columnist from London decide to trade homes for a short vacation. Once they switch places they develop unexpected relationships that just may change the course of their lives. Both women have been unlucky in love. But when Amanda meets a charming neighbor and Iris makes a new friend in LA, will their luck change?  The Holiday  is a delightfully sweet movie with a fantastic cast that’s a perfect option for dinner and a movie in the comfort of your home. 

Practical Magic 

Sally has vowed to never love again but when rushes to rescue her sister Gillian from a dark romance that’s turning deadly, a new person enters her life and makes her question everything. The Owens sisters have endured bullying for generations and have learned to stick together. As the pair finds themselves in over their heads, they struggle to find a way out of their mess and reimagine a future for their magical lineage. Sisterly love and second chances propel  Practical Magic , a 90s classic with an ethereal aesthetic and a compelling plot. 

Brown Sugar

Dre and Sidney fell in love with hip-hop together as children. But could they have a deeper connection? In  Brown Sugar,  we follow Dre and Sidney as they follow their love of hip-hop. Life takes them in different directions but their hearts keep pulling them together. Can they find a way to honor their passions and find a way forward together or do they need to go their separate ways?  Brown Sugar  showcases Black love against a backdrop of a rich musical landscape. It’s a must-see movie. 

The Photograph 

The Photograph  tells the story of a young woman, Mae who learns about her late mother, Christina’s, life by inheriting a box shortly after Christina’s passing. Through reading a letter left in the box for her, Mae uncovers her mother’s inner world and begins to establish a bond with her.  As Mae discovers more about her mother, who was once an iconic photographer, she is approached by Michael, a journalist who is writing about Mae’s mother. Micheal and Christina grow closer and come up against their histories and hang-ups to figure out how to move forward in love. 

B.A.P.S  starring Halle Berry and the late Natalie Ann Desselle-Reid is an outrageously adorable movie about two friends who fly to California to pursue their dreams. They are deflated quickly after an audition goes south, but their luck changes when they are approached by someone offering to pay them handsomely to pose as the distant family members of a wealthy man. This classic comedy is available on Hulu with the Showtime add-on. It’s an unforgettably funny journey with an ending as sweet as the relationships that develop along the way. 

Reign Over Me

After losing his wife and children in a tragic terrorist attack, Charlie Fineman is drifting through life as a shadow of himself until he reconnects with his old friend in  Reign Over Me,   streaming now with Hulu’s Showtime add-on. Charlie’s old friend, Alan Johnson, is a dentist who’s struggling to meet the challenges of maintaining a family and a business. Alan tries to support his friend while respecting his boundaries and what follows is a heart-wrenching and deeply bittersweet story about friendship and grief that will blow you away. 

The Lake House 

Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves play people who fall for each other while living two years apart in  The Lake House , a sleepy little classic based on a South Korean film called Il Mare. When Dr. Kate Forster sells her lakehouse in 2006 and writes a letter to the new owner, she wasn’t expecting that her letter would somehow travel back in time to 2004 and that an amazing new friend, Alex Wyler, would come across it. As they start sending letters back and forth and discover that they are in two different years they begin to explore how they can connect and defy their realities. Will they find a way to maintain their relationship across space and time? 


Transitions in families can bring all sorts of issues to the surface and that is illuminated in the blended family at the center of this family drama.  Stepmom , available on Hulu, tells the story of a family transitioning after a divorce and the challenges around the children accepting their new stepmom Isabel, played by Julia Roberts. The kids, Anna and Ben, have a hard time adjusting and things become even more challenging when their assertive no-nonsense mother Jackie, played by Susan Sarandon, shares a devasting secret. What springs forth from these challenging circumstances is a story about love and forgiveness that will warm your heart. 

Notting Hill 

Notting Hill  is a sweet and odd classic romantic comedy. Although it’s over 20 years old the love story at the center of the movie is timeless. Julia Roberts is a charming movie star that has a chance encounter with Hugh Grant at his travel bookstore. From there they have a romance that endures the slings of the paparazzi, a series of unfortunate events, and eventually, they have to decide whether to let go of their pride and let love reign. 


Infamous playboy Marcus Graham, played by Eddie Murphy, meets his match in  Boomerang , a hilarious and fast-paced classic romantic comedy. After a romantic encounter with his new boss, Jacqueline Boyer, his world turns upside down and he is forced to reconsider his entire way of life. What results is a delicious moment where the tables have turned and he learns that there may be a bit more to love and relationships than he originally thought. 

You’ve Got Mail 

Before smartphones and streaming services, Kathleen Kelly and Joe Fox connect over email in  You’ve Got Mail . Kathleen is a small bookstore owner and Joe is posed to take over her block and her business as the owner of a large corporate chain.  When they meet in real life, unaware of their virtual connection, they are at odds, until Joe uncovers the truth. When Joe gets closer to Kathleen he is faced with a choice, reveal his identity and profess his love or play it safe and maintain his friendship with a lie? You’ve Got Mail is a feel-good film, available on Hulu, starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan that may make you roll your eyes but will also warm your heart. 

The Proposal 

When austere businesswoman, Margaret Tate, enlists her employee Andrew Paxton, to pretend to be her fiancé to avoid deportation, she is forced to meet his family in Alaska. Their fake engagement sets off a wild ride chock full of hilarious moments. From midnight sing-alongs to gut-busting moments with the grandmother, and so much more this film will have you in stitches.  The Proposal  is a light-hearted romantic comedy that you should definitely add to your Hulu favorites. 

Sleepless in Seattle

A young boy calls into a radio show and attempts to find love for his grieving father, Sam Baldwin, a year after his mother’s death. Women nationwide are enamored by the father and looking to connect with him but he is not ready to move on. One of these women is Annie Reed, a reporter from Baltimore played by Meg Ryan, who just might be the one if they can ever meet long enough to have a conversation.  Sleepless in Seattle  is a slow burn with a satisfying ending and a story that will make you believe in love available on Paramount Plus. 

What if you were in an accident that wiped your memory and you forgot everything about your life? How would you deal with a loved one longing to be remembered? In  The Vow , Paige Collins, played by Rachel McAdams, is dealing with that exact situation. When Paige is injured in a terrible car crash, she forgets everything, including her loving husband Leo, played by Channing Tatum. Can she fall in love with him all over again?  The Vow  is based on a true story and explores how the relationship develops after the accident. It’s a heartwarming tale about the power of love. 

Maid in Manhattan

Maid in Manhattan , available on Hulu, follows Marisa Ventura, a level-headed working-class mother, hoping to move up the ranks at the prestigious Beresford Hotel in New York. When one spontaneous choice leads to Marisa crossing paths with handsome politician Christopher “Chris” Marshall, she poses as a wealthy guest. Will he lose interest when he finds out what she does for a living or will they ride off into the sunset together?  Maid in Manhattan  is a lovely light movie that is a great addition to a cozy season movie list. 

Last Holiday 

Georgia Byrd, played by Queen Latifah,  is a cautious sales associate at a struggling department store. When she learns that she only has a few weeks to live, she decides to go on a lavish vacation. While on vacation in Europe she makes a group of well-to-do friends, including the owner of the department store. As her vacation comes to an end and her new friends learn more about her,  Last Holiday , streaming now on Paramount Plus, tells a beautiful story about living life fully and cherishing each moment.

The Fundamentals of Caring 

Trevor is a young man in need of a caretaker, Ben is a writer in need of a job. What could go wrong? Trevor is a wisecracking yet sheltered kid looking for an adventure so when his new caretaker Ben, suggests a road trip he’s eager to go. The trip sets in motion a series of bizarre events that build their friendship, help Trevor to come into his own, and teach them both about vulnerability and courage.  The Fundamentals of Caring  is an endearing movie that will make you laugh as much as it makes you cry. 

Saving Face 

A pregnant widow is forced to move in with her lesbian daughter and their relationship is put to the test in this romantic comedy steeped in Chinese American culture.  Saving Face  is a witty and entertaining story that touches on the trials and tribulations of mother-daughter relationships and breaking with convention. 

The Water Man 

Eleven-year-old, Gunner Boone and his mother Mary, played by Rosario Dawson are trying to fit in after moving to a small Oregon town in  The Water Man.  Gunner’s father, Amos, struggles to connect with his son but can’t seem to bridge the gap between them. Between dealing with his mother’s leukemia diagnosis and feeling isolated from his father, Gunner is seeking out friendship and adventure when he comes across a town legend and a fast-talking friend, Jo. A mythical creature that threatens to destroy a small town leads a young man with a big imagination and his streetwise friend on an unforgettable adventure. The pair face challenges large and small as they gear up to go head to head with a dark force as they forge a powerful friendship. 

Where’d You Go, Bernadette? 

When Bernadette is confronted with an impossible choice she makes a decision that upends her family and sends her husband and daughter on a mad dash to find her.  Where’d You Go, Bernadette? , streaming now on Hulu, is a beautiful film that explores themes of loss, familial relationships, and the pursuit of seemingly impossible dreams. It’s a hopeful yet emotional story that is perfect for a night in. 

Have you seen any of these cozy classic movies? They are all available on streaming services and will take you on an emotional journey from laughter to tears and back again from the comfort of your carefully crafted blanket fort. Treat yourself to a bowl of something comforting and a movie marathon. You won’t regret it. 


spooky films for toddlers

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67 Best Family Halloween Movies for Kids Who Love Getting Spooked

From animated films for toddlers to flicks from the '90s and '00s with a huge nostalgia factor, fire up these festive picks for your next movie night.

Headshot of Marisa LaScala

So, which scary movies for kids are the best ones? Even if they have great tolerance, they're probably still too young to start in on the all-time classic horror films . But even leaving those aside, there are enough spooky movies for kids to last the whole year. These are the best family-friendly Halloween movies for kids to watch in 2023. Some of them are so gentle they're toddler-friendly, with no monsters, ghosts or ghouls in sight — just an appreciation for wholesome fall fun and short running times. Others are creepy stop-motion animated classics, Disney originals and other Halloween movies you may remember watching when you were a kid (but are now always available, thanks to streaming services like Disney+ and HBO Max ). And then for the very strong, there are those movies that are for teens and tweens, which are scarier than kid-friendly films, but don't yet have the level of gore or violence you see in horror movies for adults. With so many options, you're bound to find something that matches their level of bravery.

Then, after the kids go to bed, you can check out the scariest movies on Netflix , the best haunted house movies , the best witch movies or the best ghost movies , and scare yourself all over again.

The Amazing Maurice (2023)

a cat talks to a rat in a scene from the amazing maurice, a good housekeeping pick for best kids' movies 2023

This one definitely has eerie elements, but they're not your typical Halloween witches and ghosts. Instead, a cat named of Maurice leads a crew of rats and one musician in a Pied Piper-style con — only to go up against a real evil entity that's taking a town's food. It's based on the book The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett.

We Have a Ghost (2023)

a dad talks to his son unaware that there's a ghost behind him in a scene from we have a ghost, a good housekeeping pick for best halloween movies for kids

This is for the older ones out there, the teens and upper tweens. It's about a family who moves into a house only to find out that it's haunted — and that the ghost might be their ticket to social-media fame and riches. And while it's good for families with older kids, the director has a pedigree in adult horror, having made Happy Death Day and Freaky .


Chupa (2023)

a kid sits calmly next to a furry creature in a scene from chupa, a good housekeeping pick for best kids' movies 2023

A teenaged kid growing up in Kansas City flies to Mexico to meet his extended family — only to learn that there's a cub of a legendary chupacabra living under his grandfather's shed. Directed by Jonás Cuarón, son of Gravity 's Alfonso Cuarón, this one is about family as much as it is about a mythical monster.

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)

the peanuts gang wear costumes and gather in a pumpkin patch in a scene from 'it's the great pumpkin, charlie brown,' a good housekeeping pick for best halloween movies for kids

it just isn't Halloween until the Great Pumpkin descends and brings this sincere 25-minute holiday special to TV screens. Lots of Halloween movies for kids delve into the excitement and joy of the holiday, but only the Peanuts can cover the disappointment of it, too, and still have it be entertaining for families.


RELATED: How to Watch 'It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown' Right Now

Kiki's Delivery Service (1989)

kiki and jiji fly high above town on a broom in a scene from kiki's delivery service, a good housekeeping pick for best halloween movies for kids

Kiki's Delivery Service is from legendary animation director Hayao Miyazaki — director of Princess Mononoke and other acclaimed films from Japan's Studio Ghibli — so it's never a bad time to throw on one of his films for kids. But this one, about a good witch who uses her flying broom to start a delivery service, is perfect for Halloween and isn't scary in the least. Plus, it's got a cute cat. All this makes for an excellent first Halloween film for new movie-watchers.


Coco (2017)

miguel plays a magic guitar in a scene from 'coco,' a good housekeeping pick for best halloween movies for kids

This movie is filled with skeletons — but in a good way that won't always scare kids. It's actually about the Day of the Dead , and not Halloween, so it's a perfect way for kids to learn more about that special holiday. In it, a kid named Miguel accidentally finds himself in the Land of the Dead, and he needs to rely on his (deceased) family to help him get back to the world of the living. Along the way, he learns more about his own family history and gets a greater appreciation for his family's past.


The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

jack skellington dresses as santa and puts presents under a tree in a scene from 'the nightmare before christmas,' a good housekeeping pick for best halloween movies for kids

What's this, what's this? It's the story of Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King, told by macabre master Tim Burton and stop-motion animation legend Henry Selick. When Jack decides he wants to head up Christmas instead of Halloween, things don't go as he planned. Since it spans two holidays, you can watch it any time between October and December.

Ghostbusters (1988)

raymond stantz and peter venkman look up to the sky in a scene from 'ghostbusters,' a good housekeeping pick for best halloween movies for kids

Older kids hankering for something other than little-children Halloween movies may be placated by this one, which is certainly more grown-up — watch out for some sexual situations — but is just as much a comedy as it is ghost story. If they like it, they can move on to the sequel , the 2016 reboot with Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy or Ghostbusters: Afterlife , which finally lets kids strap on the proton packs for themselves. A sequel to Ghostbusters: Afterlife is scheduled for this December.


RELATED: Our Most Anticipated Movies of 2023

Coraline (2009)

coraline talks to her "other mother" and "other father" in a scene from 'coraline,' a good housekeeping pick for best halloween movies for kids

Coraline is a good one to watch with family because it's actually about the relationship between parents and kids. Based on the 2002 children's book by Neil Gaiman, the stop-motion film is about a family that moves to a new apartment complex. Busy with unpacking and work, Coraline's parents don't always have time for her. One day, she discovers a magic door that takes her to a parallel universe where an "other mother" promises her everything her heart desires. But kids should be careful what they wish for, right? This one is also directed by Henry Selick, who made The Nightmare Before Christmas .

The Secret of NIMH (1982)

mrs brisby confronts a creature with glowing eyes in a scene from the secret of nimh, a good housekeeping pick for best scary halloween movie for kids

At its heart, The Secret of NIMH is a hero's tale — with a mom as the hero, no less — about a mouse who is on a hunt to find medicine for her young son, who is suffering from pneumonia. But it's wrapped in eerie trappings, and her quest included run-ins with vicious rats, a killer cat and a secret that may reveal the truth about what happened to her husband years ago.

Muppets Haunted Mansion (2021)

gonzo opens a spooky door in 'muppets haunted mansion,' a good housekeeping pick for best halloween movies for kids

Fans of this year's The Muppets Mayhem can enjoy more felt antics with this Muppet/Disney Parks mash-up. In it, Gonzo agrees to spend the night in a haunted house, and runs across certain spooky elements that may seem familiar if you've even been on The Haunted Masnion ride. (Two words: "Madam Pigota.") Taraji P. Henson, John Stamos, Yvette Nicole Brown and Darren Criss all guest star.


Little Shop of Horrors (1986)

seymour talks to the maneating plant audrey ii in a scene from little shop of horrors, a good housekeeping pick for best halloween movies for kids

Before they wrote the music for The Little Mermaid , Alan Menken and Howard Ashman wrote the songs for this '50s B-movie-inspired musical about a flower-shop worker and his man-eating plant. Yes, the murderous antics of the vegetation is terrifying, but the music is so catchy, it kind of takes the sting out of it all.

Spirited Away (2002)

a spirit known as no face beckons to a girl named chihiro in 'spirited away,' a good housekeeping pick for best movies for kids

Another one from director Hayao Miyazaki, Spirited Away was nominated for a Best Animated Feature Academy Award when it came out for its dazzling visuals. In it, a family gets lost and winds up in a world of spirits, which turn the parents into pigs. Their daughter goes on a mission to turn them back, running into hungry ghosts, difficult witches and soot sprites along the way. It does get scary at times. If kids want the otherworldly creatures without the peril, they might prefer Miyazaki's My Neighbor Totoro , about a friendly troll-like being who mostly looks like a woodland creature (and also some more soot sprites).

Wendell & Wild (2022)

a shadowy figure with dollar signs for eyes beckons in a scene from wendell and wild, a good housekeeping pick for best halloween movies for kids

Wendell & Wild was written by Jordan Peele (of Get Out fame) and directed by Henry Selick (of Coraline ), and somehow maintains the sensibilities of them both: It has the social consciousness of a Peele movie and the stop-motion creepiness of a Selick movie. In it, Peele and his comedy partner, Keegan-Michael Key, play demons who try to trick a 13-year-old girl named Kat into bringing them into the land of the living. When she realizes her mistake, she has to figure out a way to send them back.

Toy Story of Terror (2014)

jessie, buzz and woody are bathed in an eerie green light in a scene from 'toy story of terror,' a good housekeeping pick for best halloween movies for kids

Back to the little ones: This one is only 20 minutes long, and it's definitely for the kids who love Woody, Buzz and all their friends (along with adults who will recognize the B-movie conventions). When Mr. Potato Head goes missing at a roadside motel, Woody and the rest of the toys go on a spooky and mysterious adventure to bring him back before Bonnie and her family check out and leave him behind.

RELATED: Pixar Easter Eggs That Probably Went Straight Over Your Head

E.T. the Extra Terrestrial (1982)

elliot and et take off on their bikes in a scene from et the extra terrestrial a good housekeeping pick for best halloween movies for kids

Who could forget the scene of E.T. trick-or-treating with a blonde wig, hat and dress? For something with a nostalgic appeal, this Steven Spielberg's classic has a lot of peril and suspense, but there are no ghosts, ghouls or witches, which might make it a good choice for family movie night.

The Scariest Story Ever: A Mickey Mouse Halloween Spooktacular

donald, goofy and donald's and mickey's nephews all gather around to hear a scary story in the scariest stories ever, a good housekeeping pick for best halloween movie for kids

In this 22-minute special, done in the style of the excellent The Wonderful World of Mickey Mouse , Mickey is challenged to tell the scariest Halloween tale. When his and Donald's nephews deem his first yarn too tame, it he tells two more, each dialing up the fear factor. And yet, they all have a lot of zany humor to cut the tension.

Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)

wallace grabs for a rabbit in 'wallace  gromit the curse of the wererabbit,' a good housekeeping pick for best halloween movies for kids

This scary-but-not-too-scary movie follows the delightfully British Wallace and Gromit as they try to figure out what's been destroying a town's vegetable gardens. It turns out to be a monster, but not one that you'd expect — it's a were-rabbit, transforming from a bunny to beast.


The Addams Family (1991)

morticia addams gets a kiss from gomez in a scene from 'the addams family,' a good housekeeping pick for best halloween movies for kids

Calling all Wednesday fans! Before Jenna Ortega, Christina Ricci starred as Wednesday Addams — alongside world-class actors like Anjelica Huston, Raul Julia and Christopher Lloyd — in this '90s update of the classic sitcom. If the kids like this one, show them The Addams Family Values at Thanksgiving.


ParaNorman (2012)

norman holds a mysterious book in a scene from 'paranorman,' a good housekeeping pick for best halloween movies for kids

One thing we know for sure: stop-motion animation goes hand-in-hand with spooky scares. This movie, from the makers of Coraline , follows the story of a boy who can communicate with the dead, and he uses the power to unravel a town-wide mystery.

Headshot of Marisa LaScala

Marisa (she/her) has covered all things parenting, from the postpartum period through the empty nest, for Good Housekeeping since 2018; she previously wrote about parents and families at Parents and Working Mother . She lives with her husband and daughter in Brooklyn, where she can be found dominating the audio round at her local bar trivia night or tweeting about movies.

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@media(max-width: 64rem){.css-1yxmhzw:before{background-repeat:no-repeat;bottom:-0.2rem;color:#ffffff;content:'_';display:inline-block;height:1.25rem;line-height:1;margin-bottom:0.5rem;margin-right:0.625rem;position:relative;width:1.25rem;}.loaded .css-1yxmhzw:before{background-image:url(/_assets/design-tokens/goodhousekeeping/static/images/Clover.5c7a1a0.svg);}}@media(min-width: 48rem){.loaded .css-1yxmhzw:before{background-image:url(/_assets/design-tokens/goodhousekeeping/static/images/Clover.5c7a1a0.svg);}} The Best Movies to Watch

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54 Best Kids Halloween Movies

Looking for a scary movie to watch with the kids and family? Or a horror movie that won’t necessarily send you scrambling beneath the covers, with a 6,000 watt night light plugged in? Then you’ve come to the right ghoulish place with our guide to some of the best children’s movies for Halloween!

There’s something for everyone, from the very young ( It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown , Coco ) to the…well, still young, but we bet they think they’re so grown-up ( The Addams Family ). We’ve got animated funhouses ( The Nightmare Before Christmas , Coraline , Monster House ), ’80s fantasies and creepfests ( The Dark Crystal , Return to Oz ), and ’90s classics present and accounted for ( The Witches , Hocus Pocus , Casper ).

But what’s a little mayhem for the young mind without some Steven Spielberg productions like Poltergeist and Gremlins ? Or the maestro of palatable twisted dreams: Tim Burton, who’s represented by Beetlejuice.

Meanwhile, modern-day fare like Goosebumps,   The Addams Family , and the long-awaited Hocus Pocus sequel will keep the torch burning well into the years. In the end, we kept the list to PG and below, before we sorted the list by Tomatometer, with Certified Fresh films first. Whatever scary family movies you’re looking for, the ones you need are in our guide to the essential kids Halloween movies! — Alex Vo

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Coco (2017) 97%

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Spirited Away (2001) 96%

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Monsters, Inc. (2001) 96%

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Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005) 95%

' sborder=

Ghostbusters (1984) 95%

' sborder=

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) 95%

' sborder=

The Secret of NIMH (1982) 93%

' sborder=

The Witches (1990) 94%

' sborder=

Coraline (2009) 90%

' sborder=

ParaNorman (2012) 89%

' sborder=

Frankenweenie (2012) 88%

' sborder=

Poltergeist (1982) 88%

' sborder=

Gremlins (1984) 86%

' sborder=

Beetlejuice (1988) 86%

' sborder=

Tim Burton's Corpse Bride (2005) 84%

' sborder=

The Spiderwick Chronicles (2008) 81%

' sborder=

The Boxtrolls (2014) 78%

' sborder=

Goosebumps (2015) 78%

' sborder=

The Dark Crystal (1982) 77%

' sborder=

Monster House (2006) 75%

' sborder=

Labyrinth (1986) 75%

' sborder=

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966) 95%

Toy story of terror (2013) 94%.

' sborder=

The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949) 88%

' sborder=

Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island (1998) 88%

' sborder=

Nightbooks (2021) 88%

' sborder=

Halloweentown (1998) 83%

' sborder=

Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004) 72%

' sborder=

Muppets Haunted Mansion (2021) 73%

' sborder=

The Addams Family (1991) 67%

' sborder=

The House With a Clock in Its Walls (2018) 65%

' sborder=

Hocus Pocus 2 (2022) 65%

' sborder=

Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (2018) 62%

' sborder=

Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983) 61%

' sborder=

Return to Oz (1985) 58%

' sborder=

Hotel Transylvania 2 (2015) 56%

' sborder=

Ghostbusters II (1989) 55%

' sborder=

Casper (1995) 52%

' sborder=

The Watcher in the Woods (1980) 50%

' sborder=

Scooby-Doo and the Witch's Ghost (1999) 50%

' sborder=

Roald Dahl's The Witches (2020) 49%

' sborder=

Hotel Transylvania: Transformania (2022) 49%

' sborder=

Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween (2018) 47%

' sborder=

The Curse of Bridge Hollow (2022) 46%

' sborder=

The Addams Family (2019) 45%

' sborder=

Hotel Transylvania (2012) 45%

' sborder=

Little Monsters (1989) 44%

' sborder=

Hocus Pocus (1993) 40%

' sborder=

Scooby-Doo (2002) 32%

' sborder=

Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (2004) 22%

' sborder=

The Addams Family 2 (2021) 28%

' sborder=

Ernest Scared Stupid (1991) 17%

' sborder=

The Haunted Mansion (2003) 13%

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The Little Vampire (2017) 14%

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 A still from the Netflix Original movie Nightbooks. A young boy hides from a woman wearing a pink coat.

The best scary movies for kids for a family-friendly fright

From macabre animation to PG horror classics, these are the best horror(ish) films for young audiences.

Everyone enjoys a good scare – even the little ones. But introducing kids to the joy of scary movies is an experience that needs to be handled with care. Pick the right scary movie, and you’ve opened a gateway to the sort of film genre that can become an entire lifestyle. Terrify them too much, though, and enjoy sleeping with a shivering scaredy cat for the next few months.  

To help turn your sweet angel into a fright fiend, we’ve collected some of the best gently freaky fare for all ages. We recommend leaving the severed body parts on ice for a few years, but there are enough bumps in the night among these 25 flicks to ensure that everyone on the couch is getting a nice jolt of fear, without needing to make space in the bed for a freaked-out tot afterward.


🎃 The best Halloween movies of all-time 👻 The best Halloween movies for kids of all-ages 👪 The 50 best family films to stream on movie night

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Scary movies for kids

Monsters, Inc. (2001)

1.  Monsters, Inc. (2001)

Best for: Little Kids

A surefire win (with teeny, tiny scares) for the youngest movie buffs, this classic Pixar film was an extremely memorable leap in animation technology and remains a heartwarming 'spooky' story for your littles. Monsters Sully (John Goodman) and Mike (Billy Crystal) work together at Monsters, Inc., a power company in a Monsters-only world. The power company is fueled by the screams of human children (collected by monsters who go into the human world to scare them). When one of Mike and Sully's nightly haunts fails terribly and brings a small child into their world, they must work together to make things right (and ultimately save 'Boo' from even more terrible creatures).  Rated G .

Coraline (2009)

2.  Coraline (2009)

Best for:  Big Kids

When Coraline moves into her new house—which just so happens to be old—it's quite a snooze fest. Her mom and dad are wrapped up, and she's left bored as a result. All of that changes when she finds a hidden door and an alternate universe behind it. How's that for an interesting abode? In this new realm, everything seems perfect, but nothing truly is. You won't be able to say no to a screening of this Neil Gaiman book-turned-movie when autumn swoops in. Rated PG. 

The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1950)

3.  The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1950)

Washington Irving's grisly tale of Sleepy Hollow becomes more palatable for the kiddies in this cartoon, the second of two featurettes. Following  The Wind in the Willows  adaptation is the story of bumptious schoolmaster Ichabod Crane and his nemesis the Headless Horseman. It's a trite, chocolate-box picture of colonial days—until the Horseman shows up for one of those nightmare sequences with which Uncle Walt so relished terrifying his young audience. Rated G .

Monster House (2006)

4.  Monster House (2006)

Best for: Little Kids and Big Kids

Halloween is naturally the perfect time for spooky antics, but a group of kiddos think one residence goes too far. After some sleuthing and a handful of unexplainable moments, a trio of buddies discover that the house next door is actually not a house—it's a monster. The scares are a little more grown-up in this animated adventure from Steven Spielberg's Amblin, making this a solid primer before your little ones graduate to  Poltergeist .  Rated PG. 

Hocus Pocus (1993)

5.  Hocus Pocus (1993)

What makes a better Halloween movie than three evil witches? Head to the 1600s, where Sanderson sisters (Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy) cast a spell that killed a little girl and turned her brother into an immortal black cat. Then, fast forward to the‘90s and meet Max Dennison, who just moved from Los Angeles to Salem, Massachusetts with his parents and his little sister. He’ll do anything to impress his cute neighbor, Allison, who just so happens to have access to the old Sanderson House. He even lights the Black Flame Candle, which as legend has it, will bring back the Sanderson sisters—and does! But hey, who believes in all that hocus pocus, anyway? Rated PG . 

Labyrinth (1986)

6.  Labyrinth (1986)

‘Children’s movies’ were defined a bit loosely in the ’80s. Among the several puppet-intensive fantasy flicks of the era seemingly designed to traumatise its target demographic, this Jim Henson-directed feature is probably the most purely fun – but it’s still plenty freaky, sending a young Jennifer Connelly on an adventure through a fantastical realm full of dwarves, horned giants and fart bogs in order to rescue her baby brother from Jareth, the evil (and, played by David Bowie, uber-glam) Goblin King.  Rated PG .

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

7.  The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

To say Jack Skellington is over Halloween is an understatement. The Pumpkin King has had his fair share of frightening hijinks, and he just can't seem to muster up the spooky spirit that one expects from his prestigious title. Instead, Jack finds himself drawn to Christmas, a holiday he hasn't encountered beforehand. He does a bit of research and soon decides to step on Santa's turf. Naturally, his holly jolly plan is nothing short of a disaster. In true Tim Burton form, this stop-motion classic delivers all you've come to expect from the artist: odd, yet totally lovable characters. Viewers will also delight in some toe- tapping tunes from Danny Elfman. Rated PG. 

Frankenweenie (2012)

8.  Frankenweenie (2012)

Best for: Big Kids

Tim Burton’s career of conjuring gentle scares began in 1984 with a short film about a boy who puts bolts in his dead dog’s neck and brings him back to life a la Frankenstein’s monster. Thirty years later, Burton reanimated his own creation – pun slightly intended – as a stop-motion feature, allowing him to do stuff with the story he couldn’t the first time around, particularly with the thrilling creature-feature climax.  Rated PG     

ParaNorman (2012)

9.  ParaNorman (2012)

Best for: Tweens, Teens

Norman Babcock sees dead people, and he’s pretty fine with that, considering they treat him quite a bit better than the living ones do. But when an ancient curse causes the dead to rise, this horror-loving misfit is the only person who can save his hometown from a full-on zombie apocalypse. Animation house Laika’s second stop-motion feature (after the fab and freaky Coraline ) is more madcap than macabre, but it’s a fun, funny supernatural caper that serves as an excellent gateway to bigger scares for the burgeoning lil’ horror fiend in your life. Rated PG . 

Goosebumps (2016)

10.  Goosebumps (2016)

  • Action and adventure

Best for: Tweens

Not to be mistaken for Netflix’s very-R-rated take on Fear Street , Goosebumps adapts RL Stine’s other, younger-skewing book series as a much more whimsical tale. Essentially Jumanji   with monsters – and with Jack Black taking over Robin Williams’ manic mantle – the film sees the monsters from Stine’s books running rampant across town, with a rag-tag group of kids forced to keep the deranged dummies, werewolves, mummies, vampires and horsemen at bay. Rated PG .

The Addams Family (2019)

11.  The Addams Family (2019)

Best for:  Big Kids 

The kookiest clan in town got the animated treatment in 2019. In this tale of spooky shenanigans, Gomez and his gang are waiting for a visit from relatives. However, things are turned upside down when a TV personality arrives instead and insists that the family's eerie hilltop home is standing in her way of taking down the entire neighborhood. This is the perfect entry point to Charles Addams' outcasts, best followed by a viewing of the 1991 live-action classic if the kids want more.  Rated PG. 

The Wizard of Oz (1939)

12.  The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Best for: All Ages

While technically not defined as a horror movie, T he Wizard of Oz has given children nightmares for generations. They'd be lying if they told you otherwise—just take a look at that witch! In this classic film, a girl stuck on a farm in dreary, sepia-toned Kansas dreams of a more exciting life somewhere over the proverbial rainbow; she gets her wish and then some when a tornado deposits the Midwesterner and her little dog, Toto, too, into a technicolor wonderland. Rated PG. 

Return to Oz (1985)

13.  Return to Oz (1985)

Best for: Tweens, teens

Of all the kids movies from the ‘80s that seemed purposely designed to scar the childhoods of their target demographic, none was creepier than this nominal sequel to The Wizard of Oz , if only for how grotesquely it distorts the beloved original. Set shortly after her original visit, Dorothy (a very young Fairuza Balk) returns to the titular land of Technicolor whimsy, only to find it reduced to a post-apocalyptic wasteland populated by creatures out of Jim Henson’s worst acid trips. You’ll wish there were flying monkeys in this just to lighten the mood. 

The House with a Clock in its Walls (2018)

14.  The House with a Clock in its Walls (2018)

Best for: Big kids

A little boy named Lewis is shipped off to live with his magic-practicing uncle in a spooky old house that makes an unusual ‘tick-tock’ sound. Somehow the youngster manages to awaken the dead and unleashes mayhem on a once-quiet town. Starring Jack Black and Cate Blanchett, the whimsical film was directed by notorious gorehound Eli Roth, of all people, but don't go in expecting Hostel for kids: This is very much a ripping kid-lit yarn void of real menace. Rated PG. 

Beetlejuice (1988)

15.  Beetlejuice (1988)

Guilty as charged: We love Tim Burton. Beetlejuice is one of our favorites for many reasons, including young goth Winona Rider, putrescent Michael Keaton, over-the-top masks and costumes and a creative storyline (That waiting room? That attic? Come on!). When a couple gets killed in a tragic car accident and returns to Earth to haunt their own house, a horrible family moves in—and there's only one ghost that can help. Don't forget to scream Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice! Rated PG (from the '80s) .

Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983)

16.  Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983)

For a brief period in the ‘70s and ‘80s, Disney reinvented itself as a purveyor of grand guignol kids entertainment, marching out PG-rated horrors like The Watcher in the Woods and this adaptation of renowned kid-lit icon (checks notes) Ray Bradbury’s (?!!) tale of a dark carnival descending on a small town. Jonathan Pryce is the ringmaster in a kids-eye-view story that provides solid entry-level terror for the horror-curious set. Rated PG.  

The Witches

17.  The Witches

A witch convention is certainly not the first thing you expect to come across while staying at a hotel in England with your grandmother. Unfortunately, little Luke's curiosity gets the better of him, and he's caught spying on their evil gathering. It's up to Luke and his Grandmother to fight back against the witches, but it's just a hair more difficult now that Luke has been turned into a mouse. Rated PG .

Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)

18.  Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)

Claymation masters Aardman’s cheeky entry into ‘horror’ pits the lovably hapless man and his dog against a threat pulled straight from the b-movies of yore: the dreaded were-rabbit. Beautifully animated and wholly silly, it’s not just a solid animated film for lite halloween fun: It’s one of the best animated films of all time . Rated PG .

Nightbooks (2021)

19.  Nightbooks (2021)

Like Debbie Harry in the cult-classic Tales from the Darkside: The Movie , Krysten Ritter presides over this horror anthology as a witch holding a child hostage and demanding scary stories. But this semi-anthology is less all-out terror and more funhouse scares, a film in the spirit of RL Stine’s Goosebumps ( but definitely not Fear Street ) that doles out scares without tipping too far into the abyss. Rated PG.

Corpse Bride (2005)

20.  Corpse Bride (2005)

Best for:  Big Kids, Tweens  

Victor is having a difficult time getting his vows straight‚ which is naturally problematic for his bride to be. While reciting his promises of love and devotion, Victor accidentally proposes to another bride...a dead one at that. Whoops! Try explaining that one, pal! In this charmingly eerie Tim Burton film, a groom with cold feet is pulled into the underworld by an enthusiastic deceased bride and learns quite a bit in the process. Equally endearing, heartbreaking and creepy,  Corpse Bride is a must when Halloween rolls around. Rated PG.  

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019)

21.  Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019)

Best for:  Tweens  

With their horrifying illustrations and grisly campfire tales, the  Scary Stories books are the stuff of tween sleepover legend. So who better to bring them to life than monster master Guillermo del Toro and director André Øvredal? This is very much pitched at older kids who haven't quite graduated to Stephen King's R-rated  It films: A nerve-shredding tween nightmare best viewed from behind a security blanket.  Rated PG-13.  

Ghostbusters (1984)

22.  Ghostbusters (1984)

Best for: Tweens and Teens

Three spirit-obsessed scientists are canned from their jobs at NYU, but they don’t let that get ’em down; instead, they put their talents to good use. Using their passion for the occult as a driving force, they start a ghost-extermination company to help New Yorkers handle some very real ghost troubles. Their work doesn’t come without its skeptics, though...one even wrongly jails them for fraud! Ultimately the unlikely team helps to save the city from an ancient god. Be warned: It’s not quite rated for the current day, and  Ghostbusters  is really only appropriate for tweens and older. Rated PG .

Frankenstein (1931)

23.  Frankenstein (1931)

Dr. Henry Frankenstein will stop at nothing to create life by alternative means, even if it  involves assembling body parts of the deceased to build a new person from scratch.  He gets his wish, but things certainly don't go as planned, and the creature causes a lot of trouble when it escapes. For kids interested in Universal's classic days, this is essential viewing.  NR .

Poltergeist (1982)

24.  Poltergeist (1982)

Let's get one thing straight: This movie still scares us. Between a supernatural child abduction, evil clown dolls, moving furniture and a crackling TV set, it's jam-packed with the heebie jeebies. Also, you can't unsee those skeletons in the pool. Basically, the moral of the story is to not build any houses on an ancient burial ground. Seriously... don't do that. But do watch this movie with your tweens and teens, because it's amazing. Just don't be deceived by the PG rating... the ‘80s were a very different time.  Rated PG.

Jaws (1975)

25.  Jaws (1975)

Best for: Teens

If you want your kids to be able to get into the bathtub without fear, it's probably best you skip out on Jaws until they're in their double digits. This monstrous Great White shark is terrorizing the waters surrounding Amity Island—just as summer begins. Naturally, the beach town is in a panic and afraid to go anywhere near the water. It's up to Chief Brody and co. to find this menacing creature. As the saying goes, “You're gonna need a bigger boat.”  Rated PG. 

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20 Best Scary Movies for Kids That Won't Keep Them Up at Night

These flicks are *just* the right amount of spooky.

Headshot of Tierney McAfee

In fact, many of these could be considered funny scary movies , like Hotel Transylvania or Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit . And just because the majority of these are animated films doesn't mean there aren't plenty of fun scares and jokes for everyone in the family, including teens and adults. After all, who doesn't love The Goonies ?! While these films can be enjoyed on family movie night anytime of the year, they also make excellent choices for kids' Halloween movies whenever the spooky season rolls around.

Muppets Haunted Mansion

Muppets Haunted Mansion

The Haunted Mansion is the scariest place on earth, but the renowned daredevil The Great Gonzo isn't afraid—until he meets the mansion's ghostly residents.

Hocus Pocus

Hocus Pocus

Hocus Pocus put a spell on an entire generation of children when it debuted in 1993, and it continues to deliver kid-friendly chills and thrills to this day.

Hocus Pocus 2

What did we tell you?! Hocus Pocus is still so beloved that it was, shall we say, resurrected for a sequel almost 20 years later. The Sanderson sisters have still got it!

Tim Burton's Corpse Bride

Leave it to Tim Burton to make an animated film that's just as unique and otherworldly as his live-action films—and only slightly less spooky, making it perfect for family viewing.

When little Coraline discovers a parallel universe behind a secret door in her new home, she thinks it's the answer to all of her problems... until she discovers the dark secret hiding within the mysterious other world.

This Disney original is sure to bewitch kids of all ages. It stars Tia and Tamera Mowry as twins who were separated at birth and discover each other–and the fact that they both possess magical powers—on their 21st birthday.

To say Norman Babcock isn't your average 11-year-old boy is quite an understatement—considering he can communicate with ghosts! Now he must use his powers to save his small town from an ancient curse.

The Goonies

This beloved adventure follows a motley crew of misfits known as The Goonies on an action-packed treasure hunt to save their homes.

Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas

Pumpkin King Jack Skellington has had enough of Halloween. This year, he wants to celebrate Christmas but his plans go awry and threaten to ruin the holiday for everyone.

The Addams Family

The first animated comedy about the famously creepy and kooky Addams Family offers tons of kid-friendly frights and fun. This is a great alternative for kids who are interested in the new hit show Wednesday but still a little too young to watch.

Hotel Transylvania

Dracula's daughter is turning 118 and he invites all of his best monster friends to celebrate at his five-stake hotel. But things take a troubling turn when a human shows up to the monsters-only resort.

Scooby-Doo and the gang are back and this time they're trying to save the world from a ghost dog named Cerberus. As his best friend Shaggy would say, "Zoinks!"

The Boxtrolls

To the rest of the world, they're scary trolls who must be destroyed. But to a human boy named Eggs, they're family. Now Eggs must save his kin from an evil exterminator who wants to wipe them out.


Victor is thrilled when he is able to bring his beloved dog Sparky back to life. But when his classmates try their hand at resurrection, things get frighteningly out of hand.

Monster House

This house is more than just haunted—it's a living, breathing monster! When three young friends uncover this truth, they set out on a mission to save the town's children from the house's evil clutches.

Lots of '90s kids grew up getting their scares from the pages of the horror book series Goosebumps by R.L. Stine. In this 2015 film, the author (played by Jack Black) and his family must save their hometown from certain death when all of the monsters escape from his works.


It's showtime! A couple of ghosts enlist a bio-exorcist named Beetlejuice to banish a living family from their home, but they soon realize that Beetlejuice has his own disturbing agenda.

Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

Two unlikely heroes, an inventor named Wallace and his dog Gromit, must save their town from a giant rabbit in this funny parody of classic monster movies.

Toy Story of Terror!

Calling all Toy Story fans! In this spooky short film, Buzz, Woody, and Jessie must solve the sudden disappearances of their friends before it's too late for them all.

Spirited Away

A 10-year-old girl named Chihiro is whisked away to a spirit world when she and her family visit an abandoned theme park. Now it's up to her to save her parents from a frightening fate.

Headshot of Tierney McAfee

Tierney McAfee is a freelance writer and Country Living and The Pioneer Woman contributor who covers entertainment, holiday & entertaining, food & drinks, design ideas, DIY, and more.

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Mommy's Bundle

Early Motherhood: Love the Joy. Love the Chaos.

10 Halloween Movies Perfect for Little Kids

Inside: Looking for Halloween movies for toddlers and preschoolers? See our mom-approved movie picks that aren’t too spooky for little kids!

Halloween is such a fun holiday for adults and little kids alike. I love all the things they can enjoy:

  • costume ideas (for babies OR toddlers !)
  • spooky dessert recipes
  • pumpkin decorating
  • trick-or-treating!

But on the other end, all the vampires, witches and goblins can be a bit much for kids…especially the younger ones that can scare easily and really just learning the basics, like getting used to the dark!

It’s tough to find a family-friendly Halloween flick that won’t completely spook your toddler!

That’s why this week, before all the gory horror flicks surface, I decided to round-up the best  (not-so-scary)  Halloween movies that would be perfect for little kids  (and toddlers especially) to watch!

Halloween Movies for Toddlers and Preschool Age Kids

If you’re looking for toddler Halloween movies, we’ve narrowed some more age-appropriate options for kids. This list of movies won’t terrify your little ones, but instead, help them feel more excited about trick-or-treating and dressing in their favorite toddler costumes .

Check out the list and let us know your recommendations in the comments!

1. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

This is a classic one. What is Halloween without the Great Pumpkin? Charlie’s best friend Linus spends his Halloween night eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Great Pumpkin, a Santa-Claus-like figure Linus thinks visits children every Halloween night. ( See more .)

Pair the movie with a pumpkin craft too!

  • Candy-decorated Pumpkin Decorating Idea
  • Decorating Pumpkins with Toddlers
  • Chocolate Covered Pumpkin Pretzels

2. Curious George: A Halloween Boo Fest

Your little ones will have a spook-tacular good time following Curious George in this fun-filled adventure through his first ever Boo Festival! ( See the reviews .)

3. Frankenweenie

This one is a hilarious heartwarming tale about a boy and his dog. After unexpectedly losing his beloved dog Sparky, young Victor harnesses the power of science to bring his best friend back to life – with a few minor adjustments! ( See the reviews .)

You can also make in a Frankenstein theme night with either of these ideas:

  • Frankensmoothie Treat for Kids
  • Frankenstein DIY Costume for Kids

4. Pooh’s Heffalump Halloween Party

It’s Lumpy the Heffalump’s first Halloween, and he’s scared out of his wits! Pooh and the gang are so frightened of an imaginary monster they call the Gobloon, they determine that they’ll need to go out and catch it – scaring themselves silly in the process! Besides its gentle humor and cuddly characters, Pooh’s Heffalump Halloween Movie has some valuable lessons to teach kids about facing their fears. ( See Reviews. )

  5. Monsters, Inc

Two monsters employed at a scream processing factory, have a job to scare human children because their screams help their monster world thrive. But what happens when a child isn’t afraid— and follows the monsters back to their world? ( See Reviews .)

6. Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit

Just before the big Giant Vegetable Competition, the town’s produce is threatened by a ravenous, nocturnal beast known as the Were-Rabbit. Can two friends, Wallace and Gromit, stop the Were-Rabbit before it’s too late?  ( See Reviews .)

7. Mickey’s Treat

Mickey and his pals are dressing up in costumes to attend Big Pete’s Halloween party–the only catch is they have to make their way along a candy corn path and through the foggy woods to get to the tower before the moon is full. Only by working together and using the appropriate “mousketools” can the group make it to Pete’s party on time.  ( See Reviews .)

No need to be afraid of ghosts, when the ghost is a small friendly boyish character, named Casper.  This heart-warming story about friendship will have both kids and parents cheering for the good guys. ( See Reviews .)

Pair this movie with a Halloween Ghost Brownie or Ghost Craft !

9. Spooky Buddies

From the Air Bud franchise, comes this tale about a group of puppies ready to enjoy Halloween. However, when one accidentally releases the dreaded Halloween Hound, their focus turns to stop the evil antics of the Halloween Hound and Warwick the Warlock. The puppies and their new friends must have the courage and a lot of teamwork in order to beat the warlock and save the world. ( See Reviews .)

Try some not-so-spooky Halloween treats to enjoy this flick with.

10. Halloween is a Grinch Night

If your little one loved, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, they’ll be sure to enjoy this Halloween-themed version filled with the same Grinch antics seen in the original! ( See more .)

BONUS MOVIES: Coraline, The Nightmare Before Christmas

Have any other kid-friendly Halloween movies to add? Be sure to let me know in the comments!

The BEST Halloween movies for little kids! Whether it's for a scary movie night or party, here's our top movie picks, toddlers and preschoolers can have fun watching!

Be sure to follow my Halloween board on Pinterest for more kid-friendly ideas!

Follow Ana @ Mommy’s Bundle’s board Halloween on Pinterest.

You may also like…

A DELICIOUS kid-friendly smoothie recipe even your picky-eater will LOVE! Use frozen fruit and spinach to create this yummy drink with a fun Frankenstein twist for Halloween.

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Ana, a mom to three rambunctious little boys, has supported hundreds of thousands of women throughout their pregnancy and motherhood journey since 2012 as a blogger and maternal health advocate at MommysBundle.com.

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September 25, 2019 at 1:24 am

Room on the Broom is a great 30 minute adaptation of the book, which my two little guys love. Definitely another good one for the preschool set. Thanks for this great list! Definitely going to check these out!

September 27, 2019 at 10:18 am

That is a GREAT addition. Thank you for the suggestion!!

[…] This is a  great list of 10 Non Scary Halloween Movies for Little Kids by Mommy’s Little Bundle […]

[…] of my recent blog posts, I’ve been really excited for Halloween this year. Everything from kid-friendly movies and crafts to the delicious goodies! I’ve just been on a roll, sort […]

[…] been looking for ways to make it a little less spooky for my toddler. I tried focusing on kid-friendly Halloween movies a few weeks ago and now just want to let him munch away on all those yummy treats I’ve been […]

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spooky films for toddlers

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Family frights: 36 kid-friendly scary films for halloween.

From 'Don't Look Under the Bed' to 'Hocus Pocus' to 'Beetlejuice,' The Hollywood Reporter rounds up some family-friendly (yet still spooky) Halloween movies.

By Christy Piña , Shawn Kotzen October 1, 2023 5:12pm

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For some people, Halloween is all about aesthetics and Pumpkin Spice Lattes. For others, the holiday’s purpose comes down to the spooky aspects of Oct. 31.

For those who have kids, sometimes leaning into the horror of Halloween is a little tougher, at least while they’re young. But that doesn’t have to be the case.

The Hollywood Reporter rounded up some kid-friendly scary movies that are perfect for family movie nights throughout the month of October. From Hocus Pocus to Don’t Look Under the Bed and Beetlejuice , here’s a list of spooky Halloween movies that work for all ages.

'Hocus Pocus'

HOCUS POCUS, from left: Kathy Najimy, Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, 1993

Taking place on Oct. 31, this Halloween-themed fantasy-comedy stars Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy as the Sanderson sisters — the malevolent spirits of three 17th-century Salem witches (complete with pointy hats, brooms, warts and all) that were burned at the stake and accidentally resurrected by a group of kids, who in turn attempt to kill the children as a show of gratitude. Eating children? Rather dark for a Disney-produced children’s flick, wouldn’t you say? The cult classic is followed up by 2022 sequel that features a few new faces and a return of the Sanderson Sisters to Salem.


BEETLEJUICE, Michael Keaton, 1988

Say his name three times. Go ahead, do it. Well, at least you won’t have Candyman breathing down your neck. This kooky farce about the afterlife and all its pitfalls has a stellar cast (Alec Baldwin, Michael Keaton, Winona Ryder and Geena Davis — to name a few) and represents a time in director Tim Burton’s career (1988 to be exact) when he was young, unfocused and having the time of his life.

'Don't Look Under the Bed'

Don't Look Under the Bed

Don’t Look Under the Bed is a 1999 Disney Channel original movie from Kenneth Johnson that served as one of the channel’s scariest options for children. When strange things start to happen in town, at the hands of the Boogeyman, the people look to teenager Frances as the culprit. As she works to clear her name, she reluctantly enlists the help of Larry, her brother’s imaginary friend, who has a budding secret of his own that could ruin her chances of defeating the Boogeyman and saving her town.

'The Addams Family'


Based on the sitcom from the 1960s that was itself based on the New Yorker cartoons by Charles Addams, this quirky gem comes from the mind of director Barry Sonnenfeld. It stars the late Raul Julia and very-much-alive Anjelica Huston as Gomez and Morticia Addams, whose family finds life in the suburbs rather difficult — especially when estranged Uncle Fester (Christopher Lloyd) finds his way home. Having had some mild success at the box office during the fall of 1991, it spawned multiple sequels and remakes — Addams Family Values , Addams Family Reunion and The Addams Family (2019), as well as the Netflix spinoff series, Wednesday, which focuses on Gomez and Morticia’s daughter Wednesday and her years as a high school student at Nevermore Academy.



Another Disney Channel original movie, Halloweentown follows Marnie (Kimberly J. Brown) and her family of witches and warlocks who, together, defeat not one, not two, not three but four evil forces that threaten the magical world and the human world. The 1998 movie spawned three sequels Halloweentown II: Kalabar’s Revenge, Halloweentown High and Return to Halloweentown , which featured Sara Paxton in the role of Marnie.


l-r: Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, and Harold Ramis in GHOSTBUSTERS, 1984.

Who you gonna call? Apparently, four paunchy, middle-aged scientists, as Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson teamed up with late director Ivan Reitman to fight ghosts and hold off the apocalypse in this 1984 comedy classic. It also spawned three more movies, a Saturday morning cartoon and a series of video games, not to mention that infectiously catchy theme song by Ray Parker Jr.


Disney Channel stuck with witch-centered films throughout the early 2000s. In 2005, the channel premiered Twitches, starring Tia and Tamera Mowry as twin witches who were separated at birth and reunite on their 21st birthday. Alex and Camryn must use their powers to save the world in which they were born, that’s facing an eerie Darkness only they can defeat.

'The Haunted Mansion'

The Haunted Mansion

This 2003 comedy helped usher in the era of the new-and-improved, family-friendly Eddie Murphy and also started the trend of Disney theme park attractions being adapted into feature-length films. Based on a fun and somewhat spooky ride, it tells the tale of an unknowing family who moves into a house that 999 ghosts already inhabit. Disney also has a remake of The Haunted Mansion slated for 2023, which stars Tiffany Haddish, Owen Wilson, Jared Leto, LaKeith Stanfield, Dan Levy, Winona Ryder and more.


Ghosts are typically as scary as they come, but when your ghost is the Friendly Ghost, that tends to take the edge off a bit. Casper is a young ghost who peacefully haunts a mansion, minding his own business, when Bill Pullman’s James Harvey comes into the picture. The specialist stops by the Maine mansion to communicate with Casper and his fellow ghosts, bringing along his young daughter Kat (Christina Ricci) to join him. The friendly ghost quickly falls in love with Kate, but there’s nothing simple about falling for a human when you’re an apparition.

Zach Galligan in Gremlins

As long as you follow the three rules — keep them away from bright lights, don’t get them wet and never, ever feed them after midnight — your cute and cuddly Mogwai should be OK. However, if you don’t … well, then don’t say you weren’t warned once a bunch of ferocious, mischievous green monsters wreak havoc on your town. Joe Dante directed this 1984 cult classic that teaches kids a valuable lesson about proper pet care.

'Monster Squad'

Monster Squad

This 1987 tongue-in-cheek comedy is crass, vulgar and politically incorrect. In other words, it encompasses the one-of-a-kind decade known as the ’80s. The plot is simple: A clubhouse-dwelling group of misfits must band together and stop Dracula and his cronies (who look like they just exited a Universal Pictures time warp from the 1930s) from recovering an ancient amulet and conquering the world. Wolfman’s got nards, indeed.



A stop-motion style animated film, this clever 2012 film is brought to life (pun intended) by a fantastic cast, including Kodi Smit-McPhee, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Jeff Garlin, John Goodman and Anna Kendrick, it tells the tale of a young boy from a small Massachusetts town that finds out he can commune with the dead. Of course, this wouldn’t be such a bad thing, except he happens to live in a town where an evil witch was once executed in the 1700s. Mayhem, destruction and zombies ensue (as well as plenty of laughs) in this story of a teen who just wants to fit in … and talk to dead people.

'The Nightmare Before Christmas'

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Suffering from an identity crisis of sorts (Is it a Halloween movie, or is it a Christmas one?), this 1993 stop-motion animated musical classic is co-written by Tim Burton and directed by Henry Selick ( James and the Giant Peach ). It features the iconic character of Jack Skellington — the Pumpkin King of Halloweentown, who accidentally stumbles across the concept of Christmas. He becomes so obsessed, he kidnaps Santa Claus and attempts to take over the holiday of Christmas entirely.

'Monsters, Inc.'

Monsters Inc.

Pixar Animation Studios is responsible for this 2001 comedy, as well as its prequel, Monsters University . Billy Crystal and John Goodman, respectively, provide the voices for Mike Wazowski and John P. “Sully” Sullinger. Don’t be fooled. They might have human-sounding names, but these two closet-dwelling creatures have one job and one job only — to scare the pants off little kids. They’re not doing it to be mean but, rather, out of necessity, as the monster world’s source of electricity is children’s screams.

'Hotel Transylvania'

Hotel Transylvania

Cult animator Genndy Tartakovsky ( Samurai Jack , Dexter’s Laboratory ) directed this cartoon romp that depicts Dracula (voiced by Adam Sandler) as the owner of an inn for weary, wayward, traveling monsters, whose 118-year-old daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) falls for a human (Andy Samberg) who accidentally wanders in as a guest. It spawned three sequels and features a spooktacular supporting cast, with Kevin James, Keegan-Michael Key, Steve Buscemi, Molly Shannon, Kathryn Hahn, Mel Brooks, Cee Lo Green and others voicing some monstrous characters.


Released in 2009, this dark, yet whimsical tale not only has artistic credibility (it’s based on a novel by hipster fave Neil Gaiman and features songs by They Might be Giants), but it’s also a technical achievement. This surreal story of a young girl (voiced by Dakota Fanning) who lives in a dark and detached fantasy world was the first stop-motion animated film to be shown in 3D as well.



How far would you go to bring a recently deceased pet back to life? Probably not as far as this kid went. Another stop-motion animated feature from the mind of Tim Burton, with this one putting a lighthearted spin on the classic story of Frankenstein and his monster. However, instead of a mad scientist rebuilding a man and playing God, this 2012 film is about a young boy named Victor who brings his beloved dog Sparky back from the grave. It’s adapted from a 1984 short film, also by Burton, of the same name.

'The Corpse Bride'

The Corpse Bride

Another film that comes from the twisted mind of Tim Burton (let’s face it, there could’ve been more than three on this list) was released in 2005 and features the voices of Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham-Carter as an unconventional couple who doesn’t let a simple thing like death get in the way of a good relationship. Animated in a traditional stop-motion style, this macabre tale is based on a piece of 16th Century Russian-Jewish folklore called “The Finger.”

'Monster House'

Monster House

Surprisingly entertaining and inventive, this 2006 animated film, directed by Gil Kenan, features a trio of suburban kids who decide to investigate the one house on their block that everybody’s afraid of. It features a well-crafted storyline, some impressive action sequences and Steve Buscemi as the mysterious old man who lives in the house by himself … or does he?

'The Witches'

The Witches

Adapted from a Roald Dahl book, this 1990 film features a deviously wicked Anjelica Huston as Miss Eva Ernst, who masquerades as the chairman for the fictional Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children at a convention in Cornwall, England. However, she’s really the Grand High Witch in an ancient society of wicked witches. The actual reason that Miss Ernst and her fellow cacklers gather together is so they can execute their plan to turn all of England’s children into mice. Of course, they didn’t plan on brave, young Luke, who’s also a guest at the Excelsior Hotel, foiling their nefarious plot. The Witches spawned a 2020 remake starring Anne Hathaway.


ARACHNOPHOBIA, Jeff Daniels, 1990.

This 1990 horror-comedy starring Jeff Daniels and John Goodman and directed by Frank Marshall did the same thing for spiders that Jaws did for sharks. After watching this scary and squirmy creature feature, you’ll be checking behind your shower curtain, in addition to being fairly apprehensive about venturing into a cold, damp cellar by yourself.



Jack Black stars as author R.L. Stine in Goosebumps , which is based on the children’s horror book series of the same name. In this film adaptation, Stine’s imaginary demons are set free on the fictional small town of Madison, Delaware. The author teams up with his teenage daughter, played by Odeya Rush, and their neighbor, Zach (Dylan Minnette), to save their hometown from the unleashed monsters that are wreaking havoc in the real world. Amy Ryan, Ryan Lee and Jillian Bell round out the cast of the 2015 film that spawned the 2018 standalone sequel, Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween .

'Hubie Halloween'

Hubie Halloween

Adam Sandler stars as Hubie Dubois, Salem’s dimwitted delicatessen employee, who spends Oct. 31 night monitoring the streets as the town’s official Halloween Helper, making him a figure of mockery for kids and adults alike. But when something actually goes bump in the night one Halloween and nobody seems to believe Hubie, it’s up to him to save the holiday. The film also stars Kevin James, Noah Schnapp, Kenan Thompson, Julie Bowen and more.

COCO, Miguel (voice: Anthony Gonzalez), 2017.

Coco may not be an outright Halloween film, but it does take place in the Land of the Dead on the Day of the Dead, which is pretty close. The Pixar film follows Miguel, who dreams of becoming a successful artist despite his family’s ban on music. In order to prove his talent, Miguel stumbles into the Land of the Dead and meets a charming trickster named Héctor, and they embark on a journey to learn all about Miguel’s family history.

'Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events'

LEMONY SNICKET'S A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS, Jim Carrey, Liam Aiken, Kara/Shelby Hoffman, Emily Browning, 2004

Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events is based on the first three novels of the book series of the same name: The Bad Beginning, The Reptile Room and The Wide Window. When three young siblings are left orphaned by a fire, they’re sent to live with their cruel and scheming relative Count Olaf, played by Jim Carrey, who is only after their inheritance. Catherine O’Hara, Billy Connolly, Luis Guzmán, Jennifer Coolidge, Meryl Streep and Jude Law also star in the film.

'Mom's Got a Date with a Vampire'

MOM'S GOT A DATE WITH A VAMPIRE, Charles Shaughnessy, 2000.

Mom’s Got a Date With a Vampire follows Caroline Rhea’s Lynette Hansen, whose son Taylor (Myles Jeffrey) is convinced that she, well, has a date with a vampire. While his siblings are trying to sneak out of the house after being grounded, Taylor insists that something isn’t right with their mom’s new boyfriend, and the three try to get to the bottom of it. This Disney Channel movie is a little scary without causing nightmares in younger kids.

'We Have a Ghost'

WE HAVE A GHOST, from left: Erica Ash, David Harbour, 2023.

We Have a Ghost sees Anthony Mackie and David Harbour star opposite each other in the Netflix fantasy film. Mackie’s Frank and his family move into a new house, only to find that it is haunted by a ghost named Ernest (Harbour). After Frank’s son Kevin (Jahi Di’Allo Winston) and Ernest get to the bottom of Ernest’s past, they become CIA targets.

'It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown'

IT'S THE GREAT PUMPKIN, CHARLIE BROWN, Linus Van Pelt, Sally Brown, Snoopy, first aired in 1966

This classic short film first aired in 1966 and follows Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus and Lucy as they celebrate Halloween. While Charlie Brown prepares for a party, Snoopy sets his eye on the Red Baron and Linus decides to wait in a pumpkin patch for the mythical Great Pumpkin.

'Little Shop of Horrors'

LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, Rick Moranis, 1986.

Little Shop of Horrors sees Rick Moranis take on the role of Seymour, who finds a mysterious plant outside of the flower shop he works at and learns that it grows when it’s fed human blood. As the plant — named Audrey II after Seymour’s co-worker Audrey (Ellen Greene) — begins to grow from the blood Moranis’ character gives it from pricking his own fingers, it attracts business to the once-struggling store. But Audrey II becomes increasingly bloodthirsty, and Seymour must find more blood to give it.

'Wendell & Wild'

WENDELL & WILD - (L-R) Raul (voiced by Sam Zelaya) and Kat (voiced by Lyric Ross).

Rated PG-13, Wendell & Wild is probably better for older kids, as it can be a little dark for younger ones. It follows demon brothers Wendell and Wild , who must face off against their arch-enemy with the help of a nun named Sister Helly, known for her skill in expelling demons. The stop-motion animated horror comedy film is directed by Henry Sellick ( Coraline) , who also co-wrote the script with fellow producer Jordan Peele. It stars Peele and Keegan-Michael Key as the title characters, with Angela Bassett, Lyric Ross, James Hong and Ving Rhames in supporting roles.

'E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial'

E.T., Henry Thomas, E.T., 1982.

E.T. might be a nice alien, but he’s an alien nonetheless, which can be a little spooky. After the extraterrestrial is stranded on Earth, Elliott (Henry Thomas) brings him into his home and introduces him to his brother and sister, Gertie, played by Drew Barrymore. The kids agree to keep E.T. a secret, but when he falls ill, the government must intervene.

'The House With a Clock in Its Walls'

THE HOUSE WITH A CLOCK IN ITS WALLS, from left, Cate Blanchett, Owen Vaccaro, Jack Black, 2018.

When Lewis moves in with his uncle, played by Jack Black, he discovers a mysterious tick-tock noise behind the walls. It doesn’t take long before he learns that his uncle and feisty neighbor Florence Zimmerman (Cate Blanchett) practice the magical arts. Lewis quickly gets mixed into the madness and accidentally awakens the dead.

'Harry Potter'


It doesn’t get more Halloween-y than witches and wizards. The Harry Potter films follow the Boy Who Lived as he and his friends work to defeat the darkest wizard of all time. And the best part? Half of the installments in the franchise are rated PG, so they work for the whole family. As for the ones who are rated PG-13, they’re not so scary that younger kids wouldn’t be able to watch.


SCOOBY-DOO, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Linda Cardellini, Matthew Lillard, Freddie Prinze Jr., Scooby Doo, 2002

Zoinks! The live-action Scooby-Doo movie brings to life some of the most beloved animated characters in television history. Two years after Mystery Inc. closes its doors, the Scooby gang — Fred (Freddie Prinze Jr.), Daphne (Sarah Michelle Gellar), Shaggy (Matthew Lillard) and Velma (Linda Cardellini) — reunites on Spooky Island to investigate a series of paranormal incidents during spring break.

'Double, Double, Toil and Trouble'

DOUBLE, DOUBLE TOIL AND TROUBLE, Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen, aired October 30, 1993

With all the movies Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen starred in as children, it only makes sense that they would have one that’s Halloween-themed. In the 1993 made-for-television film, the twins play two precocious girls who try to save their parents from their greedy aunt and meet mysterious new friends along the way as magic abounds.

'Casper Meets Wendy'

CASPER MEETS WENDY, Casper the Friendly Ghost, Hilary Duff, 1998

Hilary Duff’s Wendy stars opposite Jeremy Foley’s Casper the Friendly Ghost, who is vacationing with his confrontational uncles, in the 1998 film. After upsetting warlock Desmond (George Hamilton), Wendy and her aunts seek sanctuary in a special supernatural resort. Before long, Wendy and Casper become friends and decide to take down the wizard.

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35 Scary Movies That Have Just the Right Amount of Horror for Kids

These scary movies for kids won't keep them up at night.

scary movies for kids  gizmo from gremlins

Every one of these scary movies is also a kid-friendly Halloween film that you can find on whichever streaming service is available to you and your family, whether that's Disney+ , Hulu , HBO Max , or Prime Video . On the topic of Disney, the Disney Halloween movies on this list are obvious choices any night of October for their guaranteed kid-friendly plot. But if you're looking for something different this year, there are plenty of other good Halloween movies that are spooky in all the best ways.

So, fear not: There are no serial killer thrillers on this list. These scary movies for kids pack just the right amount of horror into a couple hours of fun that will have the kids tired and ready to go to sleep (sans fear of the Boogeyman under their bed).

Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island (2016)

scary movies for kids scooby doo on zombie island

If you thought the Scooby-Doo show could be a little scary, wait until you see this movie. The gang gets together to solve one last mystery before going their separate ways — and it turns out to be their most haunting mission yet.

Scooby-Doo! Frankencreepy (2016)

scary movies for kids scooby doo frankencreepy

All of your favorite meddling kids return in this 2016 reboot after Velma learns she's inherited a cursed castle in Transylvania. And, of course, the group just has to check it out and see what's what.

Watch on Amazon Prime

Scooby-Doo! and the Reluctant Werewolf (1988)

scary movies for kids scooby doo and the reluctant werewolf

The gang must figure out how to change Shaggy back into a human after CountDracula turns him into a werewolf. Looks like there is now more than one fuzzy four-legged member in the friend group.

Goosebumps (2015)

scary movies for kids goosebumps

In this creepy movie based on the popular children's horror book series, a kid tries to save his town from all the monsters that have escaped their Goosebumps books. (And don't miss the sequel , either!)

Gremlins (1984)

scary movies for kids gremlins

Hey, you can always use this movie to teach your kids responsibility surrounding their pets! In Gremlins , a boy breaks the three magical rules to taking care of his cute new pet, unleashing horror in his town.

Watch on HBO MAX

Frankenweenie (2012)

scary movies for kid  frankenweenie

Tim Burton pays homage to the classic Frankenstein. But, rather than a man being brought to life with electricity, it's a dog.

Watch on Disney+

Don't Look Under the Bed (1999)

scary movies for kids don't look under the bed

With a title like that, the kids might just be too curious not to look under their bed. But after they watch Frances McCausland take on the Boogeyman who has framed her, they may think again.

The Goonies (1985)

scary movies for kids the goonies

An oldie but a goodie, The Goonies is a classic for a reason. Follow a group of so-called "misfits" as they fight to protect their home against greedy developers, outlaws, and pirates.

Monsters, Inc. (2001)

scary movies for kids monsters inc

This Pixar favorite will teach the kids that they don't need to be afraid of any monsters that might happen to come out of their closets.

The Addams Family (1991)

scary movies for kids the addams family

Introduce the kids to the spookiest and kookiest family on the block: The Addams Family. This big-screen hit from the '90s will have everyone rolling on the floor laughing — just make sure you don't knock over the candy bowl!

Spirited Away (2003)

scary movies for kids spirited away

Hayao Miyazaki's film won the Academy Award for Best Animated Picture, which is just one reason to get lost in this beautifully crafted adventure.

Twitches (2005)

scary movies for kids twitches

Tia Mowry-Hardrict and Tamera Mowry-Housley star in this witch-filled Disney Channel original movie. They play two twin sisters who reunite on their 21st birthday and discover a spooky surprise.

RELATED: 17 DIY Witch Costumes Perfect for a Wickedly Awesome Halloween

Ghostbusters (1984)

scary movies for kids ghostbusters

Another spooky classic that is fun for parents and kids alike. Follow a group of failing scientists as they not only discover the supernatural, but find a way to contain it (sort of).

Cruella (2021)

scary movies for kids cruella

A prequel to the Disney classic 101 Dalmatians , fans are given an origin story for one of the most infamous Disney villains of all time.

101 Dalmatians (1996)

scary movies for kids 101 dalmations

A live-action version of Walt Disney's 1961 animated film , this movie, featuring Glenn Close, Jeff Daniels, Hugh Laurie, and more, is a fun and not-too-scary ride — if Cruella is a bit too much for your kids.

The Spiderwick Chronicles (2008)

scary movies for kids the spiderwick chronicles

Based on the book series of the same name, this fantasy film follows three children who discover a field guide to fairies while encountering various magical creatures such as goblins, ogres, and trolls.

The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)

scary movies for kids the curse of the were rabbit

If the kids are already big Wallace and Gromit fans, then they'll enjoy this movie which sees the favorite duo return to solve a village-wide mystery that threatens the annual giant vegetable growing contest.

Hotel Transylvania (2012)

scary movies for kids hotel transylvania

In this movie, Count Dracula is just your typical dad who is trying to protect his daughter from getting hurt by a human boy who is in love with her. If your kids love this one, don't forget to watch Hotel Transylvania 2 and Hotel Transylvania 3 , as well.

Labyrinth (1986)

scary movies for kids labyrinth

Starring David Bowie, Labyrinth is about a girl who needs to get to the middle of a maze to rescue her younger brother.

The Witches (1990)

scary movies for kids the witches

Based on the book by Roald Dahl, the story follows a boy trying to defeat a group of evil witches who want to turn children into animals. This task becomes a little difficult, however, when he gets turned into a mouse. If you're looking for a more contemporary remake, there's also a 2020 version of The Witches starring Anne Hathaway .

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Sophia is currently an assistant editor at Womans Day.com with experience in writing everything from fashion and beauty to health, fitness, and wellness. 

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Elizabeth Berry (she/her) is the Updates Editor at the Good Housekeeping Institute where she optimizes lifestyle content across verticals. Prior to this role, she was an Editorial Assistant for Woman’s Day where she covered everything from gift guides to recipes. She also has experience fact checking commerce articles and holds a B.A. in English and Italian Studies from Connecticut College.

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22 Scary Movies for Kids That Won't Keep Them Up All Night

Turn off the lights and turn on one of these horror movies for the family.


A note: Make sure to check the movie ratings before you press play. You know your kids best, and you don't want to be sitting up with them as a result of nightmares thanks to a movie selection that is too scary. Remember that movie ratings have changed over the years. The PG rating of today is not the same as the PG rating of the 1980s (PG-13 wasn't introduced until the mid-1980s), so you might be surprised to find some older PG movies have more bad language and suggestive themes than you're comfortable with. Check sites like Common Sense Media to see age-specific reviews or, to be certain, watch the movie first without kids to judge appropriateness. Now, on to our list of scary horror movies appropriate for (most) kids.

Arachnophobia (1990)

Movie poster for Arachnophobia

If the tagline "Eight legs, two fangs, and an attitude" doesn't get you excited to watch, nothing will. This scary movie starring Jeff Daniels is full of creepy crawlies and plenty of laughs.

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Nightmare Before Christmas movie poster

Jack Skellington inhabits Halloweentown and Christmastown in this animated Tim Burton movie that's perfectly creepy any time of year.

Beetlejuice (1988)

A classic with an all-star cast (Michael Keaton, Geena Davis, Winona Ryder, Catherine O'Hara) will have you laughing faster than you can say "Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice!"

Monsters, Inc. (2001)

Billy Crystal and John Goodman star as Mike and Sully, two of the best monsters in the scare factory, who help a tiny human who wanders into their world.

Frankenweenie (2012)

Sparky, a normal family dog, transforms into Frankenweenie through an extraordinary set of circumstances. This is a remake of a 1984 Tim Burton short by the same name.

Casper (1995)

Bill Pullman and Christina Ricci star in this movie about the friendliest of ghosts, but this film will still have you on the lookout for things that go bump in the night.

The Haunted Mansion (2003)

Eddie Murphy stars in this movie based on the theme park ride from Disneyland and Magic Kingdom.

Coraline (2009)

This stop-motion movie stars Dakota Fanning in the title role as a young girl who finds a secret door in her home that takes her to an alternate world, complete with a parallel family and Other Mother (Terry Hatcher).

Tim Burton's Corpse Bride (2005)

Master of horror Tim Burton takes you to a spooky Land of the Dead inhabited by a zombie bride (voiced by Helena Bonham Carter). Johnny Depp plays Victor, the groom trying to find his way back to the Land of the Living.

Ghost Patrol (2016)

Two kids and their pet dog join forces to form Ghost Patrol and investigate a haunted house.

Ghostbusters (1984)

Who ya gonna call? Harold Ramis, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray star in this classic comedy. Ghostbusters: Afterlife, due in theaters in 2021, finds many of the original actors reprising their roles.

Goosebumps (2015)

Jack Black stars in this adaptation of the R.L. Stine books. Keep the fun going with a double-feature and follow it up with Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween.

Gremlins (1984)

Gizmo and Stripe will take you straight back to the 1980s. Don't forget: Never feed them after midnight!

Jaws (1975)

This one is best saved for the older kids, but it's a must-see (especially if a trip to the beach is not in your near future!). Nothing gets the heart pumping like that theme song.

Little Monsters (1989)

Brian (Fred Savage) confronts the creepy monsters under his bed and ends up making some new friends!

Monster House (2006)

The scary house on the block has taken on a personality of its own in this animated film.

The Boxtrolls (2014)

Orphan Eggs teams up with a new friend to save The Boxtrolls, box-shaped creatures who live beneath the city, from extermination.

The Goonies (1985)

Kids of the 1980s will be yelling "Hey you guys!" when this one comes on. A group of kids find a treasure map and then set off on an unforgettable adventure.

ParaNorman (2012)

Norman can speak to the dead and must summon his abilities to help his fellow townspeople.

The House with a Clock in Its Walls (2018)

Jack Black stars as a magician who unlocks a world of witches and wizards in a movie based on a 1973 novel by the same name.

Katie Bowlby is Digital Director at Country Living, where she covers gift guides, product reviews, crafts, and TV shows like Yellowstone. She’s currently stitching up a cross-stitch pattern for the magazine’s next issue 

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Scary Movies for Kids

Looking for the best scary movies for your kids? Our favorite frightening films include some good "starter" scares for younger kids , such as the kid-friendly Monsters Inc. , as well as truly chilling picks for older tweens and teens, such as the thrilling Hitchcock horror masterpiece Psycho . Some of these top-rated titles are more mature than others, so be prepared to discuss the way violence is portrayed. You're sure to find something with just the right amount of spookiness for your kids. Get ready, get set, boo!

Monsters, Inc. Poster Image

Monsters, Inc.

Cute, kid-friendly monster movie; may scare sensitive kids.

Scared Shrekless Poster Image

Scared Shrekless

Halloween "scary tale" is a real treat for families.

The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad Poster Image

The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad

Two classic stories told in the best Disney style.

The Black Cauldron Poster Image

The Black Cauldron

Book-based fantasy is darker than much Disney fare.

The Nightmare Before Christmas Poster Image

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Tim Burton magic with just a touch of scariness.

Labyrinth Poster Image

Surreal coming-of-age fantasy -- with Muppets.

The NeverEnding Story Poster Image

The NeverEnding Story

Boy bibliophile becomes part of fantasy tale.

The Spiderwick Chronicles Poster Image

The Spiderwick Chronicles

Book-based family fantasy is magical fun but also scary.

The Boxtrolls Poster Image

The Boxtrolls

Imaginative adventure has lots of peril, nasty villain.

The Bride of Frankenstein Poster Image

The Bride of Frankenstein

A riveting, funny, and suspenseful horror classic.

Coraline Poster Image

Cool but creepy animated fantasy too scary for young kids.

Frankenweenie Poster Image


Burton's creepy young Frankenstein is perfect for tweens.

The Mummy (1932) Poster Image

The Mummy (1932)

This vintage classic is more funny than scary.

Spirited Away Poster Image

Spirited Away

Magnificent movie with scary creatures and a strong heroine.

Where the Wild Things Are Poster Image

Where the Wild Things Are

Sometimes-dark adaptation focuses on friendship, loneliness.

The Canterville Ghost Poster Image

The Canterville Ghost

TV movie version of Oscar Wilde classic has mild scares.

Dracula Poster Image

Classic vampire movie is more creepy than violent.

Frankenstein Poster Image


Classic monster movie still electrifies.

The Goonies Poster Image

The Goonies

Classic '80s adventure has lots of swearing, some scares.

Monster House Poster Image

Monster House

Frightful fun for tweens and up.

Other great lists from our editors

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  • Best Horror Movies
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