Planning Halloween Movie Night with the Kids: 10 Go-To Choices
October 25, 2021
If you’re like us, you consider Halloween a season — not just a single evening. While a huge part of Halloween fun with the kids is picking out costumes, dressing up and going trick-or-treating, you can also use the cool, damp weather as a great excuse for a little indoor family togetherness.
Let’s talk about Halloween movie night with the kids: The movies need to be fun and maybe a little spooky — but not gory or outright terrifying. Some movies strike just the right balance between comic and creepy, and we’ve got a great list of family-friendly favorites.
So, order a pizza, grab the popcorn and break open that “spare” bag of Halloween candy so you can all have some treats. Build a blanket fort if you want, or just cuddle up on the couch with your kiddos to while away the evening — however you do movie night in your household will be fine!
The list below includes movies that should delight the littlest ones in your family — and others that should give the older kids a (not-so-serious) fright, and tons in between:
1. Hocus Pocus (1993, PG)
Set in Salem, Massachusetts, this film has achieved cult classic status and is virtually mandatory seasonal viewing in households all over the country. It hits all the right notes for a great time: There are witches, a curse, an immortal black cat, spunky teens, a feisty little sister and lots of subtle jokes for the adults to enjoy. Watch on Disney+, Amazon Prime and Vudu.
2. The Addams Family (1991, PG-13)
They’re creepy and they’re kooky — and unabashedly unashamed to be different from everybody else — but the Addams family could be in danger. Uncle Fester’s homecoming may not be what it seems. The jokes are quick, endless and delightful, but this one is better for tweens, teens and up. (If you like this one, check out Addams Family Values, the 1993 sequel.) Watch on Vudu, Amazon Prime or Apple TV.
3. The Little Vampire (2000, PG)
What kid hasn’t wished for a bestie with superpowers, right? This movie involves a lonely 8-year-old boy who is abruptly transported from California to a Scottish castle for his father’s work. He ends up making friends with a vampire boy his own age and a magical, mystical adventure ensues as they try to save the boy’s whole vampire family from certain doom. Watch on Amazon Prime.
4. Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989, PG)
This is the movie that made anime accessible to millions and cemented Studio Ghibli as an animation master. Kiki is a sweet little witch-in-training who uses her flying broom to start (what else?) a magical delivery service. There’s no major force to overcome in this film because it’s all about a young person learning to rely on herself and her own special talents. This is a charming film that’s good for families with a sensitive soul in the mix. Watch on Amazon Prime or HBO Max.
5. Coraline (2009, PG)
Despite the PG-rating, you may want to make this a “big kids only” film. Like anything else adapted from a Neil Gaiman book, there’s a lot of whimsy, but the stop-motion visuals can be quite disturbing. The story essentially reminds people to be careful what they wish for as the titular character discovers an alternate reality that is somewhat (but not quite) like her own, complete with an “other” mother and father. Things are not as sweet as they seem, however, under the surface — and Coraline has to fight to return home again. Watch on Amazon Prime.
6. Halloweentown (1998, TV-PG)
f you’re looking for a movie that’s absolutely adorable for even the youngest members of your family, this one is perfect. Young Marnie lives in a house where her mother forbids all Halloween celebrations — but that’s only because she’s hiding the fact that she’s a witch (and so is Marnie). When Grandma Aggie shows up on Halloween night and stirs the proverbial cauldron, magical adventures ensue in a secret world hiding just out of sight of our own. Watch on Amazon Prime, Hulu and Disney.
7. ParaNorman (2012, PG)
This is another stop-motion animated film that could be really scary if it weren’t quite so cute. A misunderstood boy has inherited the ability to see spirits (and generally prefers them to the living). After an encounter with his mysterious uncle, he has to decipher a mystery, unravel a curse, take on an angry spirit, outwit zombie villagers, deal with his big sister and more — all to save his town from certain doom. It couldn’t be more fun! Watch on Netflix or Amazon Prime.
8. Casper Meets Wendy (1998, PG)
If you ask us, Casper Meets Wendy is the most underrated kids’ Halloween film of all time and should definitely have a spot on your watch list. Yeah, we said it. Here’s why: While many Halloween stories are too scary for younger kids, Casper Meets Wendy is as innocent as the two main characters — full of more silly moments than scary ones. Casper the Friendly Ghost and Wendy the Good Little Witch befriend each other while vacationing with their relatives, and team up to thwart the wicked plans of a conniving warlock. Find the DVD on Amazon.com or watch the full movie on YouTube.
9. Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island (1998, TV-G)
This may be almost in “classic” territory now, but it was the first Scooby-Doo movie to get an update and capture the hearts of a whole new generation of fans — and it has ghosts, werecats, witches and real supernatural creatures (not just ordinary villains in masks). That makes it perfect for Halloween viewing — and it couldn’t be more family-friendly. This is one of those rare movies that seems to be perfect for all ages, despite its very mild rating. Watch on Amazon Prime.
10. Nightmare Before Christmas (1993, PG)
Okay, if you’re the sort of person (and no judgment here) who likes to put up their Christmas tree on November 1st, this is a charming family classic that you don’t want to miss. Jack, the King of Halloween, is feeling stifled and bored — so he decides to co-op Christmas. The good people of Halloween Town can’t quite get the hang of how the holiday works, so bring on the carnivorous stockings and shrunken head ornaments! (Again, though, despite its rating, you may want to leave this one until after the youngest children have gone to bed because the scenes where Santa is in danger get a bit dark.) Watch on Disney+ or Amazon Prime.
With this kind of line-up, you can probably skip trick-or-treating altogether — and it’s a neat way to create some warm family memories.