Best Halloween Movies – By Age
If Trick or Treating or a big night out are not in your plans for this Halloween, there are few things better than snuggling up with a few good movies. Knowing what movies to pick can be a bit of a challenge at times, especially if there are kids involved. So I have pulled together my top picks depending based on age.
Remember, each kid is different. I’ve known toddlers in love with Tim Burton and pre-teens unsettled by Zootopia. What bothers one child may not even faze another, and the child themselves may not even know why they find certain things unsettling. No matter what, don’t ever make a child feel ‘less than’ because they were afraid. It only serves to teach them that what they feel isn’t valid. Just try and find something that you will all enjoy… and then watch the scarier movies on low late at night after the littles are asleep.
Halloween Movies for Younger Kids
Age 2-6. In the realm of ‘Little Kid Movies’ the Halloween pickings used to be pretty slim. Thanks to the magic of animation, however, there are more options now than when I was a Kid. As such, most of these were made within the past few years and you probably already know most of them;
- Monsters Inc. – Cute, adorable, lots of fuzzy feels and very little actual scare factor, this is usually the first ‘Monster’ movie kids see.
- Hotel Transylvania – Again, mostly silly, occasional feels and not all that scary. But a slightly different animation style means that these two movies may appeal to different kids.
- Bedknobs and Broomsticks – Many of you may not recognize this title, but Bedknobs and Broomsticks is an underrated and absolutely irreplaceable classic! Angela Lansbury, witchcraft and magic, flying beds and animated dancing animals gives this movie a very ‘Mary Poppins’ kind of feel that I absolutely adore. The live action beginning may put off those kids used to cartoons, but stick with it. This movie is absolutely magical.
Kids Halloween Movies
Age 7-10. This is the tricky stage. Some kids are scared of paper ghosts and other are unfazed by the zombie apocalypse. A lot of children start getting introduced to Harry Potter at this stage, which makes a good Halloween Marathon, but there are other options out there. You know your kids best and can decide accordingly.
- Nightmare Before Christmas – while some kids in this age may still be frightened by Oogie Boogie, you are more likely to get negative reactions from the fact that it is a musical than anything else. Tim Burton has also produced a handful of other movies (Coraline, Corpse Bride, Paranorman) all of which I feel are a better suited for the tween crowd as they are slightly creepier. But, if all goes well, this gives you more options for follow up movies.
- Halloween Town – When I introduced this one to my babysitting kids the youngest was a bit apprehensive. I explained it’s scariness level by comparing it to her ‘Monster High’ dolls, an analogy I still feel works. Because it is live action it can be a little scarier for some, but the ‘monsters’ are so cartoonish it’s mostly irrelevant. Bonus points; there are two sequels- ‘Halloween Town II’ and ‘Halloween Town High’ (don’t bother with ‘Return to Halloween Town’- the reboot lost it’s magic when they replaced most of the original cast).
Halloween Tween Movies
Once the kids have hit middle school, the options open up a little bit, but I would still advise against throwing the baby out with the bathwater and popping in ‘The Others’ (I watched it at 13, nightmares for weeks).
- R.L. Stine – Goosebumps, Goosebumps II, and The House With A Clock In Its Walls. All three of these are funny, slightly spooky, family-friendly versions of ‘Horror’. Perfect for pre-teens.
- Haunted Mansion – This Eddie Murphy comedy based on the theme park ride was a bit of a commercial flop, but was still a good time. While the ghosts might give younger kids the willies, the movie is a combination of suspense and slapstick perfect for families.
- Twitches – This Disney Movie featuring the Mowry twins was one of my absolute favorites! Slightly absurd in its premise (Twitches = Twin Witches, separated at birth, because of course), this movie hit on the power of sisters long before a certain Ice Princess let anything go. The impending terror of ‘The Darkness’ also made for a compellingly spooky villain with just enough angst and laughs.
Family Classics 13+
There are plenty of family-friendly Halloween movies out there, but I always find the classics to be the Best. By now the kiddos have, hopefully, been introduced to the fabulous world of Harry Potter but, in all honesty, I feel like that’s taking the easy way out. There are so many great movies out there and, really, any day is a good day for Harry Potter. Halloween should be a little bit something special
- Hocus Pocus – the only reason I have not put this with the tweens is because of one word. “Virgin”. I never even noticed the vaguely embarrassing teen implications until I re-watched it as an adult, as I was a little distracted by the witches and the talking cat when I was young. But if you’d rather skip that conversation, wait till the teens.
- Adams Family – I am of course talking about the 90’s version, but there are so many iterations of that classic goth family that you can probably introduce it at almost any age. And with a new movie coming out this year, well, I think I know what I’m watching.
- When Good Ghouls Go Bad – I have a confession to make… I wrote this entire article for the express purpose of introducing as many people as I possibly can to this absolutely fantastic early 2000’s classic. I felt this movie on such a DEEP level as a kid, and it resonated with me for decades to come. But as I became an adult, I realized that most of the people around me had absolutely No Idea what I was talking about. An R.L. Stine movie, it contains all the classic teenage disobedience, monsters, town legends, magical fireflies, oh – and Dead Uncle Fred. If you watch nothing else from this list, please Please PLEASE watch ‘When Good Ghouls Go Bad’. You won’t regret it.
Well, that’s it my darlings! The Top Picks for an Ultimate Halloween Movie Night based on your kiddos age. Halloween is a night of magic and uncertainty and, if you play your cards right, a comfy movie night camped out in the living room.
You can also check out Eve Daniels, author of The Nerdy Nanny books, on YouTube where she gives writing and academic advice as well as updating you on all of her latest and upcoming projects.