From carved pumpkins and assorted candies to haunted houses and costume parties, there’s no holiday quite like Halloween. The spooky season always brings a magical and eerie excitement to the air, and there’s no better way to get into the spirit than by watching a good scary movie.
While films like Halloween and Scream are classic go-to’s, they may not be the best family viewing choices. But fear not! There is a great selection of creepy child-friendly films that make for perfect viewing with the family in October. They’ve got enough kookiness, monsters, and thrills to get everyone into the spirit, but hopefully won’t cause any sleepless nights or constant peeking over the shoulder.
Coraline is a truly unique, imaginative and dark fairytale. The film follows an unhappy girl (Dakota Fanning) who finds a door to a secret world in her new home. It’s an improved and more exciting version of her life, but not everything is as it seems.
Thanks to immaculate stop-motion animation and craft, peculiar characters and a thrilling storyline, this creepy adventure is equally whimsical and unnerving. It may just be a tad too sinister for very little ones – after all, Coraline’s new parents have buttons for eyes – but older kids will be swept up in the weirdness and wonder of it all.
Based on the classic book by Roald Dahl, The Witches is an incredibly fun and delightfully wicked Halloween treat. When a young boy (Jasen Fisher) is on vacation with his grandmother (Mai Zetterling), he meets a group of evil witches who intend to turn all the children in the world into mice.
Angelica Houston is intimidating and magnificent as the Grand High Witch, and the witches themselves are morbidly terrifying thanks to impressive makeup and prosthetics. Despite this, the film has a solid amount of comedy to balance out the scares, making for a devilishly entertaining romp.
Do you believe Halloween is just a bunch of Hocus Pocus? Well, you’ll believe differently after watching the 1993 Disney classic. Max (Omri Katz) moves to Salem and lights the Candle of Black Flame, accidentally bringing the witchy Sanderson sisters back from the dead.
After being hanged by the town’s residents during the seventeenth century, the sisters are out for revenge on Halloween night, and cause all kinds of ghostly chaos. Bette Middler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy are hilariously horrid as the witches and make for a ridiculously entertaining trio.
Night books is the perfect family fright fest, especially for those who enjoy a good scary story. Alex (Winslow Fegley) is a young boy who loves to write scary stories, but finds himself in one as he becomes trapped in a witch’s apartment. In order to survive, he must write a new scary story each night for the witch.
The film has an extremely spooky and mysterious atmosphere and features some genuine scares that may sit better with older kids. However, it’s full of imagination, and Krysten Ritter has lots of fun with her evil role.
Laika, the production company behind Coraline, delivers another spectacular stop-motion adventure with ParaNorman. The film follows Norman (Kodi Smit-McPhee), a misfit boy who can see and speak to the dead and prefers to do so.
His town is under a deadly curse, and when zombies rise from their graves, Norman must use his paranormal abilities to save it. The film is a wild ride, with an eclectic cast of characters that range from a vengeful witch to a dopey high school jock. Among the zombies and ghosts, the film also has a ton of heart.
Despite what the title may suggest, Monster House isn’t about a haunted house as such. More so, the house itself is a living, breathing monster that hates children and means to harm them. If anything, it’s much worse than a haunted house!
Three teens discover the house’s secret, and with Halloween night fast approaching, they must destroy it before unsuspecting trick-or-treaters walk right into its trap. Monster House provides genuine thrills and excitement for kids, with a creepy animation style that adds to its atmosphere and unease. A solid mix of goofiness and spookiness.
4/10‘Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit’ (2005)
Wallace (Peter Sallis) and Gromit are universally beloved characters, and their monster movie parody outing The Curse of the Were-Rabbit is a hilarious and fitting silver screen debut for the pair.
When a vegetable-eating beast threatens the village’s Giant Vegetable Competition, Lady Tottington (Helena Bonham Carter) enlists the help of the duo to track it down. The film features Aardman’s incredible trademark stop-motion claymation, lots and lots of rabbits, and plenty of laughs and mystery. It’s a worthy Halloween classic and cinema debut for this cheese-loving man and his wise dog.
3/10‘The Addams Family’ (1991)
Everyone’s favorite eccentric and diabolical family is at their best and kookiest in 1991’s The Addams Family, the big screen adaptation of the classic TV show. While its sequel Addams Family Values is just as good, it’s always worth revisiting the original around Halloween.
In the film, an evil doctor hires an imposter to masquerade as the titular family’s long-lost Uncle Fester in order to steal their fortune. The Addams are perfectly cast, from Raul Julia’s Gomez to Christina Ricci’s Wednesday. This one’s a perfect family flick that should entertain both kids and adults alike.
Dracula has taken many forms in film over the years, but Hotel Transylvania’s version of the Count is probably the most child-friendly. While the series has spawned many sequels, the original still remains its strongest and most enjoyable entry. Adam Sandler voices Dracula, who owns a hotel for monsters.
When human Johnny (Andy Samberg) discovers the establishment and falls for his daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez), Drac goes into full overprotective dad mode. Filled with sharp gags and classic monstrous characters, this animated comedy is perfect for kids, particularly the younger ones.
Not only is Beetlejuice a spooky season classic, but it’s also become a staple in pop culture. Michael Keaton’s portrayal of the crass spirit is nothing short of iconic, making this one of Tim Burton’s most popular films.
The story follows Adam (Alec Baldwin) and Barbara (Geena Davis), a married couple who happen to be dead but still occupy their home. When an unbearable family moves in, they try to scare them off but are unsuccessful, and call on Beetlejuice to help them. Some of the humor may fly over kids’ heads, but Burton’s signature style and creativity is sure to keep them captivated!