22 of the Best Kids’ Halloween Movies
Less scary, more fun: Our round-up of the best kids’ Halloween movies guarantees a great night in when the trick-or-treating is done.
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
How can you let Halloween pass without watching one of the best kids’ Halloween movies where the Peanuts gang dresses up in Halloween costumes? (Here are 10 great quotes from ‘Peanuts’ that are guaranteed to make your day.)
Best for: Kids age 4 and up. Only the youngest viewers will be spooked by the tame Halloween imagery on display.
Monsters, Inc. (G)
A two-year-old girl named Boo stumbles into monster world and frightens the daylights out of two endearing ogres—Mike and Sulley. Soon Boo befriends the monsters, who try to save her and fight the evil corporation they work for. (We have some good news: If you really love Monsters Inc., you can now sign up for Monsters University.)
Best for: Kids age 5 and up. This faux-frights are meant to be funny, but younger children might get spooked.
The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (G)
A classic animated double-feature, one part of this movie notably tells the story of the Headless Horseman—a perfect pick for a dark Halloween night.
Best for: Kids ages 6 and up. The villainy on display could frighten younger sprouts.
Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland (G)
An under-the-radar fantasy with enchanting hand-drawn visuals, Little Nemo is a story about temptation and consequences filled with startling baddies.
Best for: Kids age 6 and up. Some sequences of evil run amok might leave small children a bit shaken.
Jason and the Argonauts (G)
Stop-motion monsters make this a fun, ghoulish alternative for kiddos tired of typical Halloween fare.
Best for: Kids age 6 and up. Mild violence and completely unrealistic creatures may alarm tots.
Harvey, a paranormal expert, is hired to banish the ghosts from an abandoned mansion and comes across Casper, the friendly ghost, who forms a friendship with Harvey’s daughter, Kat. (Speaking of ghosts, here are some chilling real-life ghost stories.)
Best for: Kids age 6 and up. There’s some mild violence and a lewd joke or two.
After being stranded on Earth when a spaceship leaves without him, a friendly Extra-Terrestrial (affectionately known as E.T.) develops a close relationship with 10-year-old Elliot and his siblings. The kids protect their new friend, help him build a communications device to ‘phone home,’ and even dress him up for Halloween. This heartwarming story of friendship is a delight for the entire family. (If aliens are something you’re interested in, NASA will pay you a six-figure salary to protect the Earth from them—yes, seriously.)
Best for: Kids age 7 and up. There’s some naughty language and intense drama.
The Nightmare Before Christmas (PG)
Perhaps one of the greatest classic kids’ Halloween movies, a ghoulish tale gets transformed into a stunning animated film. You’ll watch with fascination as the Pumpkin King of Halloweentown falls in love with the idea of Christmas and tries to recreate it in his own town.
Best for: Kids age 7 and up. Some of the characters are creepy in both manner and appearance.
The Dark Crystal (PG)
This “good vs. evil” muppet-fest is serious fun—and more than a little haunting, with scores of odd creatures running around.
Best for: Kids age 7 and up. Some of the characters, evil or not, are weird enough to legitimately unnerve.
The Witches (PG)
The Jim Henson Company
This adaptation of Roald Dahl’s novel is a gripping treat for both kids and adults. An orphaned boy moves with his grandmother to an English hotel, where a group of witches plots to transform all children into mice. (While we’re on the subject of witches and magic, this is the real reason people say “abracadabra” during magic tricks.)
Best for: Kids age 8 and up. The nefarious witches’ plot to harm youngsters may prove overwhelming for some viewers.
The Neverending Story (PG)
Who said all kids’ Halloween movies have to have ghosts and witches? Kids who could do without vampires and other played out Halloween monsters will find a lot to like in this mystical adventure film based on the popular novel.
Best for: Kids age 8 and up. Some of the fantastical creatures might creep out the little ones, and there are some intense sequences.
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (PG)
The caped crusader grapples with what appears to be a murderous apparition in this critically acclaimed (and moody) animated feature. (Here’s how you can be Batman for Halloween using just makeup!)
Best for: Kids age 9 and up. Some violence and dark subject matter make this a spooky superhero flick for older kids.
Scooby-Doo and the gang reunite on Spooky Island for this live version of the original animated television series. Kids will enjoy the silly and spooky adventures of the Mystery Inc. gang.
Best for: Kids age 9 and up. Skimpy costumes and freaky imagery might be too much for young children.
Monster House (PG)
Old-fashioned haunted house fun with all the requisite ghouls, ghosts, and peril.
Best for: Kids age 9 and up. The supernatural thrills are actually a bit intense.
A fantasy with absorbing, unique visuals, MirrorMask is more haunting than a werewolf howl.
Best for: Kids age 9 and up. It’s possibly too far out for younger audiences.
A young girl discovers another world where the grass seems greener—but is soon tormented by the twisted beings within.
Best for: Kids age 9 and up. This fairytale presents some mature themes, and the villains are menacing.
For an entertaining evening with the family, rent Beetlejuice. A ghost couple tries desperately to chase away a new family that has moved into the home they inhabit. When all else fails, they hire Beetlejuice to get rid of the new owners of the home. But things don’t go as planned…
Best for: Kids age 9 and up. The plot has dark overtones, and there’s some bizarre imagery.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (PG)
What better time than Halloween to revisit the students of Hogwarts, the enchanting school of witchcraft and wizardry? Show other films in the series to make it a complete marathon of these great kids’ Halloween movies. (Did you know you can now buy Harry’s house from the movie?)
Best for: Kids age 10 and up. There’s serious peril, and even some of the good guys look frightening.
Spirited Away (PG)
The sheer volume of odd creatures on display in this film makes it a perfect fit for Halloween night—and the exciting adventure elements certainly don’t hurt.
Best for: Kids age 11 and up. Spirited Away has its share of troubling curses and threatening spirits.
Hocus Pocus (PG)
Our kids’ Halloween movies list wouldn’t be complete without these three scheming witch sisters who are back to achieve immortality after their hanging 300 years ago—and they’re casting spells through song and dance along the way. Hocus Pocus is the right potion for Halloween fun.
Best for: Kids age 11 and up. There’s mischief afoot here—in addition to some spooky imagery.
Raiders of the Lost Ark (PG)
Creepy crawlies, foreboding crypts, and dazzling action sequences abound in this classic adventure flick.
Best for: Kids age 11 and up. The fisticuffs are fairly intense, and a man’s face gets melted by ghosts.