The best Halloween movies for kids

The world's best Halloween movies for kids are sure to get 'em in the holiday spirit. Read on to see our ranked list!

Courtesy Disney Enterprises Inc.

We've rounded up the best Halloween movies for kids, and we can't wait to share our favorites with you! These 21 spooky, freaky and fun family films are perfect for kids of all ages—we've even included recommended age groups for these kids' Halloween movies to make sure your children watch something that's well-suited to their age and maturity level. With the help of our ranked list, we hope you'll find some shriek-worthy picks for your next movie night!

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Halloween for kids in NYC

Looking for even more movies beyond our favorite Halloween movies for kids? You’ll want to browse our favorite Disney movies on Netflixkids' movies on Amazon Prime, cool family movies on Netflix and even these Christmas movies for kids and Thanksgiving movies for kids if you just can't wait for the holiday season.

Best Halloween movies for kids

Courtesy Disney Enterprises Inc.

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

What to do when you’re the Pumpkin King but totally over Halloween? While most folks don’t have this problem, Jack Skellington definitely finds the grass greener on the other side. After stumbling into Christmas Town, he’s inspired to show the world it’s best Christmas ever—even if it means kidnapping Santa himself. While his (mostly?) well-intentioned plan is backed with utmost passion, it turns out that the residents of Halloween Town can’t exactly master the art of making toys the average kid would like (cue evil wooden ducks and carnivorous wreaths). While the film is undoubtedly a little dark for younger kids, it’s chock full of over-the-top Halloween-themed songs your older set will love to sing for hours on end. Rated PG  (really 8 and up)


Poltergeist (1982)

Most of us find this film hard to forget, especially those of us who saw it as kids. Um, hello, those skeletons in the pool? #NOPE. We’ll preface this recommendation by saying this movie definitely terrifies little kids. However, your older kids, tweens and teens will find it an instant classic—and you’ll love the opportunity to see it through their eyes. Quick summary: When a greedy developer builds on sacred Native American burial grounds, the new neighborhood—including one very special little girl—endures some unwelcome surprises. Rated PG (really 12 and up)


Ghostbusters (1984)

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, even wrongly jails them for fraud! Ultimately the unlikely team helps to save the city from an ancient god. Be warned: It’s another film that’s not quite rated for the current day, and Ghostbusters is probably only appropriate for tweens and older. Rated PG (really 11 and up)


Monsters, Inc. (2001)

Being in the business of scaring kids isn’t easy—Sulley’s buddy Mike always reminds him so. When a regular day of terrifying the world’s children doesn’t go quite as planned, the two monster pals end up with an adorable kid (eeek—what could be scarier!) in tow and need to make a plan to get her home safely. Monsters, Inc. delivers a feel-good ending, and with leading voices from John Goodman and Billy Crystal (plus impressively advanced animation for the time—look at Sulley’s fur!), the film easily became an instant classic. Also, what’s better for Halloween than a monster movie? Rated G (really 5 and up)


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 (really 10 and up)

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Hopper Stone, SMPSP

Goosebumps (2015)

Nothing compares to the creepy, crawly ’90s YA horror stories of R.L. Stine, so when we heard about a live-action movie based on the series, we were a little iffy. Surprisingly, this Goosebumps film was well-done: Jack Black leads the charge with a kooky story and plenty of laughs. In the film, tween Zach Cooper has a mega-crush on his neighbor Hannah, but he can’t quite figure out Hannah’s super overprotective Dad. As it turns out, Hannah’s Dad is actually the real R.L. Stine, and he has some pretty big secrets to hide. Can the unlikely crew save the town from certain disaster? Rated PG (really 9 and up). Rated PG (really 9 and up)


Harry Potter (2001–2011)

Literature's greatest boy wizard is turned into one of the movie's most charismatic under-12 heroes (a tip of the pointy hat to Daniel Radcliffe) as J.K. Rowling's world of muggles, monsters and mystical goings-on at Hogwarts is brought to life on screen. Things will get seriously PG-13 dark by the time this eight-film series ends, but the kid-friendly adaptation of book one truly makes viewers of all ages believe in magic. Rated PG (really 6 and up)


Beetlejuice (1988)

Young Adam and Barbara (Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis) are certainly dead, and a new family is certainly moving into their home! What to do? Cue Beetlejuice (Michael Keaton), in all his putrescence, known for expelling unwanted houseguests (and solving other problems, too). Together, the crew (with the help of living goth child Lydia) work to expel her unbearable parents and reclaim the home for good. Rated PG (really 12 and up)


Halloweentown (1998)

Marnie Piper (played by Kimberly J. Brown) is toughing it out in a household that can’t stand Halloween, but little does she know she’ll soon be living out every tween’s dream: She’s actually a witch and has magical powers. After overhearing a conversation between her mother and grandmother, Marnie sets off to see for herself if Halloweentown is real—and boy is it ever! But remember that whole “with great power comes great responsibility” thing? It’s the truth, and Marnie (alongside her brother and little sister) encounters more trouble than she bargained for. Rated TV-G (really 6 and up). Rated TV-G (really 6 and up)


Addams Family Values (1993)

Nothing compares to the creepy, crawly ’90s YA horror stories of R.L. Stine, so when we heard about a live-action movie based on the series, we were a little iffy. Surprisingly, this Goosebumps film was well-done: Jack Black leads the charge with a kooky story and plenty of laughs. In the film, tween Zach Cooper has a mega-crush on his neighbor Hannah, but he can’t quite figure out Hannah’s super overprotective Dad. As it turns out, Hannah’s Dad is actually the real R.L. Stine, and he has some pretty big secrets to hide. Can the unlikely crew save the town from certain disaster? Rated PG (really 9 and up)

Monster House
Photograph: Sony Pictures Imageworks

Monster House (2006)

One house on the street is not like the others, and teenager DJ knows it. Unfortunately, it’s harder than expected for him to convince the police and his babysitter that their neighbor’s home is actually a living, breathing monster. DJ and his friends must embark on a crazy adventure in hopes of saving the people the house has eaten (and ideally destroying it afterward). Anxiety-prone kids should pass on this one, but young horror fans will dig this film for its relatable characters and heartwarming ending. Rated PG (really 9 and up)


Corpse Bride (2005)

Think you’re having a rough day? The protagonist in this stop-motion Tim Burton flick accidentally proposes to a dead girl when he’s dreaming of proposing to his (very alive) arranged match. Awkward. You and your crew navigate the world of the undead as Victor tries to get things back in order—though by the end, normal isn’t exactly what he’d thought it was, and you’ll have a hard time figuring out who to root for in this sad, sweet romance. Rated PG (really 9 and up)


E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

When Elliott finds an alien hiding in his mom’s tool shed, a friendship blossoms into something truly out of this world. With the help of his siblings, he keeps E.T.’s existence a secret, but it’s hard to keep the creature safe when government agents try to sniff him out. You’ll overlook some slightly salty banter to allow your pint-size crew the joy of giggling when Elliott dresses E.T. as a ghost to sneak him out of the house on Halloween, and you’re sure to say “awww” when young Drew Barrymore comes onscreen. Oh, and a final fun fact: Steven Spielberg’s character E.T. is actually inspired by an imaginary friend he had as a child. Rated PG (really 7 and up)

Mavis (Selena Gomez) and Dracula (Adam Sandler) i in HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA, an animated comedy from Sony Pictures Animation.
Photograph: Courtesy Sony Pictures Animation

Hotel Transylvania (2012)

This kid-friendly, animated twist on your typical horror movie finds Count Dracula (voiced by Adam Sandler) operating a high-end resort, situated far from humankind. When teen boy Jonathan (Andy Samberg) stumbles upon it falls for the Count’s daughter, Mavis (Selena Gomez), the overprotective, undead dad must make sure his guests don’t discover the human visitor. The familiar voices of stars like Kevin James, Fran Drescher, David Spade and Molly Shannon help to further demonstrate that monsters have a non-spooky side—especially when they’re on vacation. Rated PG (really 6 and up)


Gremlins (1984)

A father seeks a very special gift for his son, ultimately purchasing a very cute “mogwai” (uhh…”monster”??) with strict care instructions in Chinatown. As expected, Billy does not care for the critter Gizmo exactly as instructed, and total mayhem ensues, complete with rapidly-multiplying hideous monsters. The film takes place at Christmastime, but the horror here is flexible enough to creep your kids out at any time of year. Rated PG (really 11 and up)


The Addams Family (1991)

Most folks find beauty in young love, new babies and iconic American activities like going away to summer camp, but the Addams Family isn’t any ordinary family. In fact, they’re gearing up for one of the most “normal” summers of their lives, and Wednesday isn’t having it. Will she and her brother brave the season’s most unusual traditions? Not without some serious sulking, plotting and competition. Rated PG-13 (really 11 and up)

Photograph: Universal/Everett Collection

Casper (1995)

Instead of inheriting her father’s millions (as expected), Carrigan Crittenden gets only his broken-down mansion. She soon realizes that in order to claim the house (and the hidden fortune that may be inside), she needs to boot the troublesome ghosts that call it home. Crittenden hires Dr. James Harvey, an experienced afterlife therapist who moves into the mansion, and his daughter Kat meets Casper (the only friendly ghost of the bunch).  They all work together to help the spirits cross over to the other side (expect some mild cursing in the process). Will they be able to pull it off? Rated PG (really 7 and up)

Photograph: DreamWorks/Everett Collection

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

Things take a spooky turn for absentminded inventor, Wallace, and his trusty canine companion, Gromit, in this stop-motion, claymation flick based on the series. The pair create one of their infamous contraptions in order to help their friends protect their gardens from hungry rabbits. A malfunction results in the creation of a giant, rabbit-like monster, which gets Wallace into trouble in more ways than one. Rated G (really 6 and up)


ParaNorman (2012)

Sure, Norman Babcock is kind of a weirdo, but we love him anyway. Anyone can relate to not quite fitting in, but let us be clear: This isn’t your average 11-year-old. Norman can talk to the dead, and it’s not exactly normal, but his judgy town is soon to change its tune when 17th-century zombies want to come out and play. We love this film because it’s quirky and teaches compassion and tolerance for the strange and unusual. Rated PG (really 10 and up)

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Photograph: WALT DISNEY PICTURES/Ronald Grant Archive/Mary Evans/Everett Collection

The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949)

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 (really 6 and up)

Photograph: Everett Collection

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

Can’t get enough of Charlie, Snoopy, Linus and the rest of the gang? This sweet flick is one of several holiday-themed family favorites involving your favorite characters. Though A Charlie Brown Christmas is one of our go-to’s, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown frequently makes its way into our movie marathons in early fall. Prepare for cute costumes, trick-or-treating, pumpkins and—gasp—even a glimmer or Lucy’s softer side. Not rated (really 2 and up)

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