Halloween is right around the corner, and while some kids are old enough to love having the pants scared off them, for some kids, watching Halloween movies that put an emphasis on silly jokes and lighter plots are the way to go. But just because they’re younger doesn’t mean they can’t join in the holiday festivities with you, and even better, that you can’t all watch something you’ll enjoy together.
Not sure which movies are the appropriate amount of scary? Never fear, we’ve rounded up the best Halloween movies for kids of all ages so you can add a family movie night to your October bucket list right between pumpkin picking and trying to coerce your family to do a group costume. (And who knows? One of these films might inspire said costumes.) These movies make for the perfect post-trick-or-treating end to your Halloween night; no nightmares, no tears — just candy comas and smeared face paint, just the way it should be.
Christina Ricci stars in this Halloween classic, The Addams Family, alongside Anjelica Huston and Christopher Lloyd. This hilariously twisted movie, inspired by a cartoon series, is about a spooky family who is tricked by an imposter pretending to be their Uncle Fester returning after 25 years in the Bermuda Triangle. The Addams Family is one for the ages.
A Halloween cult classic starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy as the Sanderson sisters, three outlandish witches who return from 17th century Salem after an unsuspecting teenager accidentally sets them free. Hocus Pocus is an amazing movie start to finish that will have you rooting for a dead guy, a bitter black cat who talks and shouting “Amok! Amok! Amok!” at the top of your lungs. And it’s no biggie if you discover your little one riding around the house on your vacuum cleaner the next day. She’s just discovering her inner witch.
A Disney channel original movie (gotta love those) from 1998, Halloweentown is the perfect kid-friendly Halloween movie starring Debbie Reynolds and Kimberly J. Brown respectively as Aggie Cromwell and Marnie Cromwell, a girl who, after discovering she’s a witch, returns to Halloweentown with her siblings to save the town… before it’s too late.
4. The Nightmare Before Christmas
The Nightmare Before Christmas tells the story of Jack Skellington, king of Halloween Town, who discovers Christmas Town and tries to bring the joy and magic back home with him with mixed results. With characters voiced by Chris Sarandon and Catherine O’Hara, The Nightmare Before Christmas combines adventure, fun horror and romance with incredible musical numbers, all from the talented and twisted mind of Tim Burton.
Another Tim Burton masterpiece, Coraline is about a fiercely independent, adventurous young girl who finds another world that is a strangely perfect version of her own life but hides sinister secrets and dark mysteries that unravel the more time she spends there. Dakota Fanning voices the tiny heroine, and the movie is sure to be enjoyed by kids and adults alike, although your kids might start calling you their “other mother.”
6. Young Frankenstein
Gene Wilder has never been more hilarious than in this 1974 classic, and it is a great older film to show your kids. This hilarious spoof of Frankenstein will leave audience members young and old rolling with laughter. Young Frankenstein is aggressively silly and beautifully stylized and takes the edge off typically scarier Halloween fare.
7. It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
Is there anyone who doesn’t love the Peanuts gang? No. There isn’t. That was a rhetorical question. Charlie Brown continues to find his way into our hearts in this Halloween special, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. It’s one of those delightful Peanuts specials that everybody has seen, but somehow, it never gets stale or boring. And though nothing major or groundbreaking happens here, the humor is in the little running jokes that Charles Schulz littered his series with, particularly in Linus’ deep, devout belief in the Great Pumpkin. And when Linus yells, “You didn’t tell me you were going to kill it!” when Sally scoops out the pumpkin she’s carving, you can’t help but smile.
8. The Little Vampire
Vampires, vampires and more vampires. If that doesn’t classify as a Halloween movie, I don’t know what does. Jonathan Lipnicki stars in this movie about an unlikely friendship between a human and a vampire desperate to become human again. The Little Vampire is a cute, harmless movie that puts a more human, likable spin on the legends of vampires.
9. Wallace & Gromit the Curse of the Were-Rabbit
Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit follows the beloved best friends as they try to solve the mystery behind the garden sabotage that plagues their village and threatens the annual giant vegetable growing contest. Voiced by Ralph Fiennes, Helena Bonham Carter and Peter Sallis, the endearing pair doesn’t disappoint in this Halloween fan favorite for toddlers to grandparents and everyone in between.
10. Hotel Transylvania
Welcome to Hotel Transylvania, Dracula’s lavish five-stake resort where monsters and their families can live it up and no humans are allowed — and predictably, hijinks ensue. Like most Disney movies, it’s a one-parent situation and the overprotective vampire dad is super-relatable. And with a star-studded cast, this movie is going to be one you watch again and again every Halloween. And every other day. And maybe Christmas. It’s a great movie.
An updated live-action version of everyone’s favorite crime-sleuthing pup, Scooby-Doo has the mayhem and paranormal investigations you’ve come to expect from this ragtag crew and will appeal to a younger crowd, but it has some tongue-in-cheek jokes for the older set as well. It stars IRL couple Freddie Prinze Jr. and Sarah Michelle Gellar, and your kids will adore these crime-solving cohorts as they fumble their way through the mysteries on Spooky Island.
Ah, Casper. Nothing, and I mean nothing, says Halloween like Casper. Bill Pullman and a young Christina Ricci star in this story about a dad and his daughter who move into a haunted manor plagued by three mischievous ghosts and one friendly one who just wants a pal. This film is great for young kids because it shows them that ghosts can be friendly and sweet, and the ones who act out are just lonely. This will quickly become an all-time favorite.