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.