6. Monster House
With Steven Speilberg as a co-executive producer, you know this movie’s gotta be good! We love it because it takes a premise every kid is familiar with — the neighborhood grouch/recluse/creepy old dude — and makes them look at it from a different perspective. Watching 12-year-old DJ and his buddies battle old man Nebbercracker’s nefarious house is exciting, funny and, at the end, even touching.
7. The Haunted Mansion
This 2003 Disney animated-meets-film flick is like a formula for fun: Eddie Murphy, a huge haunted house, an eerie butler, Jennifer Tilly’s head encased in a crystal ball and four barbershop quartet–style singing busts. There are lots of Halloween-y elements — think giant spiders, thick fog and, oh yeah, ghosts! — that make this a shoo-in for your annual kid-friendly fright fest.
8. The Nightmare Before Christmas
Here’s the thing… you may as well add this stop-motion musical fantasy to your kid-friendly agenda for both Halloween and Christmas. It works equally well for both, and, seriously, it’s magical. If you aren’t familiar (in which case, I highly recommend running out and grabbing a copy ASAP), it tells the tale of Jack Skellington, “The Pumpkin King,” and his cohorts from Halloween Town who decide to usurp Christmas from Santa Claus. Don’t fret, though, as the “nightmare” ends well.
Another stop-motion animated movie, ParaNorman falls somewhere in the middle of horror and comedy — an ideal mix for your family’s younger Halloween fans. The story of a young boy named Norman Babcock who can speak with the dead, the film contains important lessons about bullying, tolerance and forgiveness. A pretty good package deal, huh?
10. Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
I have what I like to think is a healthy obsession with Wallace and Gromit, and it is an appreciation that — in time — I hope to pass on to my little ones. The only claymation movie to make this list, Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, does not disappoint. In it, the classic clay characters we’ve all come to know and love — Wallace, the quirky inventor, and Gromit, his super-smart, super-silent dog — go on a mission to rescue village residents (and their prize bumper crop) from a mutant rabbit.
Updated by Bethany Ramos on 5/10/2016