It’s drawing closer to Halloween; the nights are getting darker, sweets and candy are on standby, and ghouls and goblins are preparing to take over. But what about entertainment? What movies are you planning to watch this year, over the forthcoming spooky season?
If you’ve got children in your household, then finding the right movies to watch over the Halloween season can be a little tricky. Adult horror movies can be far too intense for little ones, and this means you may have to search for appropriate viewing material.
Well, search no longer. In this post I am serving up a collection of frighteningly good children’s movies for Halloween. The 56 movies listed below cover a range of different tastes, but place the emphasis firmly on providing age-appropriate entertainment for family viewing.
Amongst the mix you will discover some old favourites, some hidden gems, and everything in between. Some of the movies listed below will be films that have Halloween written all over them, while others are left-field choices, that could provide lots of fun and some minor scares for the season.
The Addams Family (2019)
First up, Morticia, Gomez, and the rest of the creepy, kooky, mysterious and spooky Addams Family take centre stage in this rip-roaring animated picture from directors Conrad Vernon and Greg Tiernan. Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron, Finn Wolfhard, Chloë Grace Moretz and Bette Midler all provide voices, for a film that will delight all ages.
Monsters Inc. (2001)
Next up, two monsters, tasked with collecting screams, find themselves at odds with their employer when they befriend a young human girl. What follows is a charming story about friendship, bolstered by superb animation, and fantastic characterisation.
Based on the novella of the same name by Neil Gaiman, Coraline is stop-motion fantasy movie, about a young girl who enters a parallel universe where things aren’t quite as they seem. Directed by Henry Selick, the movie is a dark little treat, which features the voices of Teri Hatcher, Dakota Fanning, Jennifer Saunders and Dawn French.
Hocus Pocus (1993)
Arguably one of the most famous Halloween movies of all-time, and one which grows in popularity each year, is Hocus Pocus – a delightful tale about three kids who accidentally revive a trio of deceased witches. The film is wickedly fun and stars Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy as the dastardly (yet, kind of awesome) Sanderson Sisters.
Based around the Mexican holiday, Day of the Dead (which takes place the day after Halloween), Coco is a wonderful animated movie from Disney-Pixar. The film tells the story of a 12-year-old boy, who embarks on a journey through the Land of the Dead, looking for his great-great-grandfather.
Hotel Transylvania (2012)
All the classic monsters of yesteryear appear in this animated comedy about a hotel run by vampires. Hotel Transylvania is a sheer delight from start to finish, and if the kids love this one (and they will), then be sure to show them the sequels!
Based on the Harvey Comics character of the same name, Casper tells the story of a paranormal therapist and his daughter, who are tasked with removing four ghosts from an old manor house. Three of the ghosts are extremely mischievous, and cause some trouble, but the fourth is very lonely and simply wants a friend.
If your children have never watched Casper, then make this the year you introduce them to this movie. It was superb back in 1995 and it remains a brilliant picture all these years later.
Monster House (2006)
In this supernatural animated comedy from director Gil Kenan, a neighbourhood is terrorised by a seemingly sentient house. Catherine O’Hara, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Kevin James and Nick Cannon are amongst the voice cast of this frighteningly good movie that the kids will love!
Ernest Scared Stupid (1991)
In this madcap family comedy, well-meaning sanitation worker Ernest P. Worrell, accidentally unleashes a troll in a small town in Missouri. Chaos ensues in this ‘horror’-themed entry in the popular Ernest movie series.
Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)
Stop-motion icons, Wallace and Gromit take to the big screen in a hilarious parody of classic monster movies. Directed by Nick Park and Steve Box, The Curse of the Were-Rabbit is a fantastic movie from Aardman Animation, with a cast that includes Peter Sallis, Ralph Fiennes, and Helena Bonham Carter.
Debbie Reynolds, Judith Hoag, and Kimberly J. Brown star in this first instalment in the Halloweentown franchise – a holiday favourite amongst fans of the Disney Channel. The film tells the story of a mystical realm, where monsters live in harmony, and a family share a ‘witchy’ secret.
Gremlins 2 (1990)
While most lists of children’s Halloween movies will tell you to watch the 1984 horror-comedy, Gremlins, this list is suggesting you plump for Gremlins 2 instead. This raucous sequel is a little more family friendly than its predecessor, and is packed to the rafters with so many wacky characters, the kids will find this to be an absolute scream!
The Batman vs. Dracula (2005)
In this animated movie – a spin-off from the 2004 cartoon series, The Batman – the Dark Knight comes face-to-face with the lord of darkness himself, Dracula! The film is filled with action and adventure, is perfect for entertaining Bat-fans over the Halloween season, and also includes roles for Penguin and Joker too!
Frankenweenie tells the delightful and macabre tale of a boy called, Victor Frankenstein, and his desire to resurrect his deceased dog, Sparky. Winona Ryder, Martin Short, and Catherine O’Hara provide voice over duties, while Tim Burton directs in this brilliant homage to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Don’t miss it!
Monsters vs. Aliens (2009)
Directed by Conrad Vernon and Rob Letterman, and featuring the voices of Reese Witherspoon, Seth Rogen and Hugh Laurie, Monsters vs. Aliens sees a rag-tag bunch of monsters recruited by the US Armed Forces, to help stop an alien invasion. The movie is filled with jokes and colourful characters, and is sure to delight audiences of all ages.
Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983)
And now time for a Disney classic about a mysterious carnival that comes to a small town in Illinois. Something Wicked This Way Comes is based on the Ray Bradbury book of the same name, stars Jonathan Pryce, Diane Ladd, and Pam Grier, and is a real gem, not to be overlooked.
The Watcher in the Woods (1980)
Sticking with Disney for yet another classic, this time a movie starring Bette Davis, Carroll Baker and David McCallum. The movie is based on Florence Engel Randall’s 1976 novel, A Watcher in the Woods, and tells the story of two girls who discover a supernatural mystery in the English countryside.
The Witches (1990)
Roald Dahl’s popular book, The Witches is given the big screen treatment via this imaginative family film about a young boy who finds himself caught in the middle of a witches’ convention. A second movie adaptation (also called The Witches) was released in 2020, but this one from 1990 is the version to revisit.
The Haunted Mansion (2003)
Eddie Murphy, Terence Stamp, and Jennifer Tilly star in this Disney comedy, based on the theme park ride of the same name. The Haunted Mansion does exactly what it says in the title, and tells a story set around a mansion, filled with ghosts.
Mr. Boogedy (1986)
Originally broadcast on television as part of the Disney Sunday Movie strand, this TV pilot-turned-film tells the story of a family, living in New England, who are haunted by colonial ghosts! Since it aired, Mr. Boogedy has developed a loyal cult following, and has even spawned a sequel.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2016)
Tim Burton sits in the director’s chair for this dark fantasy, which is based on Ransom Riggs’ 2011 novel of the same name. The story focuses on a children’s home, where all of the kids have paranormal abilities.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children features a cast that includes Eva Green, Samuel L. Jackson, and Judi Dench and is ideal for young teens.
The Corpse Bride (2005)
Another movie on this list directed by Tim Burton and this time it is a stop-motion musical fantasy, set in Victorian England. Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter are amongst the all-star voice cast of this bizarre tale about… erm… a corpse bride.
Room on the Broom (2012)
In this wonderful cartoon, Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s picture book, Room on the Broom is adapted into a 30-minute animated movie short, with Gillian Anderson playing the role of a witch and Simon Pegg as the narrator. Those who love The Gruffalo stories should find this short film thoroughly entertaining.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
There are eight Harry Potter movies to chose from, and all would be a fun addition to any Halloween movie night, but The Prisoner of Azkaban is the go-to picture. Directed by Alfonso Cuarón, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban goes a little darker than its predecessors and includes some fantastic imagery, perfect for a family fright fest.
In this delightfully dark children’s horror from Netflix, young horror fan, Alex, finds himself trapped in an apartment with a witch. His only hope for survival is to tell her a new spooky story every night, but will it be enough to satisfy her?
Krysten Ritter takes on the role of the witch for Nightbooks – an imaginative tale filled with goop, poop, and creepy creatures. The film is part fairy-tale, part horror, with nods to the likes of Roald Dahl and The Lost Boys.
Mickey’s House of Villains (2002)
This direct-to-video Disney movie (set at Halloween) throws the spotlight on some of the greatest villains in the House of Mouse. The film sees Cruella de Vil, Ursula, Hades, Jafar, and Captain Hook take centre stage, to prove they are much better than Mickey and Co.
The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949)
Another entry from Disney, and this time in the shape of The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad – a film which is split into two separate stories. The story to focus on here is the one featuring Ichabod Crane, which is a devilish retelling of The Legend of Sleepy Hallow – a superb and beautifully animated mini-cartoon, perfect for all ages.
Based on stories by legendary children’s horror writer, R. L. Stine, Goosebumps is a fantastic comedy, ideal for the whole family. The movie sees all of Stine’s gruesome characters brought to life in a hilarious adventure, with Jack Black playing the renowned author.
The Book of Life (2014)
The Book of Life is an animated movie centred around the Mexican Day of the Dead. While it is not as well-known as Coco (which covers a similar subject matter), The Book of Life is equally as delightful and your kids will love it.
Diego Luna, Channing Tatum, Zoe Saldana, Christina Applegate, and Ice Cube provide voices.
Spirited Away (2001)
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki, Spirited Away is an imaginative animated fantasy, about a young girl, a witch, and the spirit world. The movie is far more treat than trick, so no major scares here, just wonderful entertainment for all ages.
Spooky Buddies (2011)
Spooky Buddies is the Halloween-themed entry in the long-running and extremely successful Air Bud/Air Buddies series. Aimed at young audiences, the film combines puppies with Halloween, so if you have children in your house who love both of these things, then you’re onto a winner here.
Magic in the Water (1995)
Mark Harmon and Joshua Jackson star in this family movie about a supposed ‘monster’ that appears in a lake in British Columbia. Rick Stevenson directs this delightful picture, sure to charm those who like their Halloween entertainment on the lighter side.
Happy Halloween, Scooby-Doo! (2020)
Scooby-Doo is one of the most popular cartoon characters of all time, and has appeared in a string of animated movies, including Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island (1998) and Scooby-Doo! and the Witch’s Ghost (1999). Any Scooby-Doo movie would provide plenty of fun for the spooky season, but Happy Halloween, Scooby-Doo! is the ideal choice for the occasion so be sure to add this one to your list.
Another Scooby movie now, but this time a live-action adventure, with Scooby and the rest of the gang investigating strange occurrences on a mysterious island. Raja Gosnell directs, while Sarah Michelle Gellar, Matthew Lillard, Freddie Prinze Jr. and Linda Cardellini round out the cast.
Monster Family (2017)
Based on David Safier’s children’s book, Happy Family, this animated comedy features a collection of iconic horror characters. The film features a cast which includes Emily Watson, Nick Frost, Catherine Tate, and Jason Isaacs.
Dark Shadows (2012)
Based on the Gothic 1960s soap of the same name, Dark Shadows is a horror comedy from director Tim Burton (him again). The movie features the likes of Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter, and Eva Green hamming it up, and is most suitable for teen audiences.
ParaNorman follows the story of a young boy, called Norman Babcock, who can speak to the dead. Of course, no one believes him, but soon Norman’s unique ability proves invaluable in this excellent animated tale from directors Sam Fell and Chris Butler.
Return to Oz (1985)
Don’t let the title of this movie fool you into thinking this film is all sweetness and light. Sure, Return to Oz is a (sort of) sequel to The Wizard of Oz (1939), but this is a much darker affair than the Judy Garland affair.
Directed by Walter Murch, Return to Oz is fabulous and also fairly frightening fantasy adventure, which sees Dorothy Gale re-enter the Land of Oz. Here she meets new friends, as well as a collection of new enemies, who are certain to add a few scares to any movie screening.
Under Wraps (1997)
When this movie was released in 1997 it was the Disney Channel’s first horror-themed TV movie, but unless you’re a Disney aficionado, then you may not be familiar with Under Wraps. So, let me tell you what you need to know.
Under Wraps is a family movie, it focuses on a mummy called Harold, and it provides 95-minutes of entertainment that shouldn’t cause any nightmares. Ideal for kids who aren’t afraid of mummies.
The Worst Witch (1986)
Based on Jill Murphy’s book of the same name, The Worst Witch is a British musical TV movie, starring Tim Curry, Diana Rigg, and Fairuza Balk. The story centres around a young girl called Mildred Hubble, who is the eponymous ‘worst witch’ at Miss Cackle’s Academy for Witches.
Girl vs. Monster (2012)
In this fantasy teen comedy from Disney, a teenage girl called Skylar learns that she is a fifth-generation monster hunter! Olivia Holt takes the lead role, while Stuart Gillard directs.
The House with a Clock in its Walls (2018)
This live-action adaptation of John Bellairs’ 1973 novel, tells the story of a young boy who is sent to live in an old house with his uncle, only to discover it was once inhabited by a warlock. Eli Roth directs, while Jack Black, Cate Blanchett, and Owen Vaccaro star.
Hulk: Where Monsters Dwell (2016)
A little bit of action-adventure now, with an animated movie starring the Hulk and Doctor Strange. The movie is a monster picture which sees Marvel’s Jade Giant team-up with the Sorcerer Supreme to take on some rampaging monsters on Halloween night.
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)
A perennial favourite now, which has been adored by millions of audiences since it first hit television screens in 1966. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is a Halloween special (approximately 25 mins long), which features Snoopy, Charlie Brown and the rest of the Peanuts gang. It’s delightful.
Vampire Dog (2012)
Love dogs? Interested in vampires? Then watch a movie which combines the two!
Vampire Dog is a family movie from director Geoff Anderson. The movie features some slapstick action, and stars Canadian comedian, Norm Macdonald as the voice of Fang the dog.
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Henry Selick directs this stop-motion animated picture about the King of Halloween Town, and his newfound discovery – the joy of Christmas. The voice cast includes Chris Sarandon, Catherine O’Hara, and Paul Reubens.
In this delightful stop-motion animated movie, a human boy, raised by trolls, has to save his family from a pest exterminator. The movie is loosely based on Alan Snow’s novel, Here Be Monsters! and features a voice cast that includes Ben Kingsley, Elle Fanning, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Toni Collette.
Pooh’s Heffalump Halloween Movie (2005)
All of the gang from the Hundred Acre Wood are involved in this animated movie which sees Pooh’s friend Lumpy celebrate Halloween for the first time. The movie is perfect for Winnie the Pooh fans of any age, but specifically provides a lovely tale for those who try to avoid scares over the spooky season.
Based on the Twitches series of books, this Disney Channel movie sees Tia and Tamera Mowry get up to all kinds of witchy fun. Stuart Gillard directs a film sure to be a hit with the teenagers in your household.
If your children want some magical fun this Halloween, then Labyrinth is sure to provide the entertainment they need. The movie tells the story of a young girl who must brave a puzzling labyrinth, in order to rescue her baby brother from the clutches of the Goblin King.
David Bowie and Jennifer Connelly star.
Angelina Jolie takes the lead role in this live-action Disney movie, inspired by Sleeping Beauty. Expect magic, a fantasy world, and a bewitching tale sure to delight the whole family.
Jurassic Park (1993)
This movie needs little introduction, but for those who have yet to see it, Jurassic Park centres around a theme park containing real-life dinosaurs. The ferocious dino-action is guaranteed to get the younger members of the family jumping out of their seats with sheer delight, especially when it comes time for the velociraptors to show up!
Tim Burton directs this frightfully good comedy about a recently deceased couple who haunt their former home. You’ve probably watched it a million times over, so maybe now is the right time to share Beetlejuice with the kids.
Based on Zombies & Cheerleaders by David Light & Joseph Raso, Z-O-M-B-I-E-S (aka Zombies) is a musical dance movie from Disney. The film tells the story of a zombie football player and a human cheerleader who fall in love.
Mom’s Got a Date with a Vampire (2000)
Another Disney movie, and this time a comedy starring Caroline Rhea and Charles Shaughnessy. The film follows two teens, who come to realise their mother is dating a vampire!
And finally, one of the best-loved spooky comedies which never gets old – Ghostbusters! The movie, about a team that hunts spooks and spectres, is loaded with great gags and some superb set pieces, including a New York City showdown with the Marshmallow Man!
I hope the above information has proved useful helpful. To save you from scrolling back through this post, here is the list of the best Children’s Halloween movies:
- The Addams Family (2019)
- Monsters Inc (2001)
- Coraline (2009)
- Hocus Pocus (1993)
- Coco (2017)
- Hotel Transylvania (2012)
- Casper (1995)
- Monster House (2006)
- Ernest Scared Stupid (1991)
- Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)
- Halloweentown (1998)
- Gremlins 2 (1990)
- The Batman vs. Dracula (2005)
- Frankenweenie (2012)
- Monsters vs. Aliens (2009)
- Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983)
- The Watcher in the Woods (1980)
- The Witches (1990)
- The Haunted Mansion (2003)
- Mr. Boogedy (1986)
- Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2016)
- The Corpse Bride (2005)
- Room on the Broom (2012)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
- Nightbooks (2021)
- Mickey’s House of Villains (2002)
- The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949)
- Goosebumps (2015)
- The Book of Life (2014)
- Spirited Away (2001)
- Spooky Buddies (2011)
- Magic in the Water (1995)
- Happy Halloween, Scooby-Doo! (2020)
- Scooby-Doo (2002)
- Monster Family (2017)
- Dark Shadows (2012)
- ParaNorman (2012)
- Return to Oz (1985)
- Under Wraps (1997)
- The Worst Witch (1986)
- Girl vs. Monster (2012)
- The House with a Clock in its Walls (2018)
- Hulk: Where Monsters Dwell (2016)
- It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)
- Vampire Dog (2012)
- The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
- Box Trolls (2014)
- Pooh’s Heffalump Halloween Movie (2005)
- Twitches (2005)
- Labyrinth (1986)
- Maleficent (2014)
- Jurassic Park (1993)
- Beetlejuice (1988)
- Z-O-M-B-I-E-S (2018)
- Mom’s Got a Date with a Vampire (2000)
- Ghostbusters (1984)
Thank you for taking the time to read this post about the best children’s Halloween movies on It’s A Stampede!. Now you have a list, it’s time to choose the movies which are best suited for your family, grab some popcorn, and enjoy the spooky season!
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