22 of the Best Kids’ Halloween Movies
Less frightening, more fun: Our round-up of the best Halloween movies for kids, ranked from least to most spooky, guarantees a great night in when the trick-or-treating is done.
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
How can you let the season pass without watching one of the best kids’ Halloween movies where the Peanuts gang dresses up in costumes?
Best for: Kids age 4 and up. Only the youngest viewers will be spooked by the tame Halloween imagery on display.
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.
Best for: Kids age 5 and up. This faux-frights are meant to be funny, but younger children might get spooked.
Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland
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
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.
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
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. (Speaking of far away galaxies, check out the astronomical Animals in Space!)
Best for: Kids age 7 and up. There’s some naughty language and intense drama.
The Nightmare Before Christmas
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
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.
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.
Best for: Kids age 8 and up. The nefarious witches’ plot to harm youngsters may prove overwhelming for some viewers.
The Neverending Story
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
The caped crusader grapples with what appears to be a murderous apparition in this critically-acclaimed (and moody) animated feature.
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.
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.
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
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. (Are you a big Potter fan? Here are 22 Harry Potter Jokes Every Muggle Should Know)
Best for: Kids age 10 and up. There’s serious peril, and even some of the good guys look frightening.
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.
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.
Raiders of the Lost Ark
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.