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12 Scary Movies You Can Actually Watch with the Kids

Do you practically live for the whole Halloween vibe? Are you the first person in your neighborhood to set jack-o’lanterns by the door and hang the fall wreath? Are you just dying to mull some cider, make a batch of popcorn and spend a night or two bingeing on scary movies?

Well, there’s no reason to hold back just because you have kids! There are plenty of spooky but not too scary kid-friendly movies that you can watch with the whole family. Tuck “Halloween” and “The Exorcist” away until the kids are asleep, and settle in with one of the below family favorites instead.

1. Casper (1995)

An “afterlife therapist” and his daughter, Kat, move into a mansion that’s haunted by the ghost of a young boy and his three irascible uncles. Kat and Casper develop an unexpected friendship as they race to thwart the bad guys who want to banish Casper, steal a treasure and claim immortality for themselves. The film beautifully explores themes of acceptance, friendship and the notion that first impressions can be very deceiving.

2. Monster House (2006)

Three kids have to figure out what’s scarier − the old man who terrifies the neighborhood kids and takes their toys, or the house he’s living in. It doesn’t take long for the kids to figure out the house is possessed, sending them on a spooky mission to release the spirit that dwells there. They also must then free the old man from his self-imposed burden and save themselves in the process. This unique animated movie strikes a perfect balance between jumpy scares and humor all the way through.

3. The Addams Family (1991)

Get ready to snap your fingers and join the creepiest, kookiest family you’ll ever meet! This is a macabre masterpiece that will have you howling with laughter as Gomez, Morticia and their delightfully weird family and cadre of unique friends battle con artists who would leave them penniless. To an Addams, family is everything, so this is a great movie to watch with your own.

4. ParaNorman (2012)

This is a stop-motion masterpiece that follows Norman, a young boy with an extraordinary gift that feels like a heavy burden. He can see and speak to ghosts, and that puts him on a collision course with a centuries-old curse and the spirit of an angry witch. This movie includes everything from annoying older siblings to a zombie uprising, but its real message is about accepting people’s differences and facing your fears.

5. Corpse Bride (2005)

This stop-motion film invites viewers into a visually stunning but darkly humorous world drawn from the mind of Tim Burton (who else?) where the dead and the living sometimes cross paths with unintentionally hilarious results. The story revolves around the love triangle between Victor and his accidental (and very dead) bride and his living betrothed. Despite its macabre premise, the film offers a touching message about loyalty and love.

6. Hotel Transylvania (2012)

Dracula wants nothing more than to be left in peace to run his resort for monsters and cryptids far away from the dangerous human world. When a young human tumbles over the castle walls and falls in love with his teenage daughter, however, everything goes completely off the rails. This one is light on actual scares but heavy on the laughter, so it’s perfect for a light-hearted family movie night. It’s another one that has an underlying message about how much people can learn from each other when they look past their differences.

7. Hocus Pocus (1993)

If you weren’t already aware of this movie, the sequel that came out in 2022 probably put it on your radar. Salem’s most notorious trio of witches, the Sanderson Sisters, are resurrected on Halloween night and the heroes of the film have to stop them before they steal the life essence from the children in the town. This film is full of bubbling cauldrons, soaring broomsticks and upbeat comedy, which is why it has become a classic holiday flick over the years.

8. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

This is another dark delight from Tim Burton, as it follows the misadventures of Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King, when boredom compels him to try to take over Christmas. The ghoulish delights are so interwoven into the film that you can spot something new on every re-watch that will make you laugh every time you view it. Turn up the volume and teach the kids how to sing along to “This Is Halloween.”

9. Beetlejuice (1988)

People tend to make a big fuss when they realize a house is haunted, but did anybody ever stop to consider that the ghosts may not be too thrilled to have their home infiltrated by the living? Two ghosts desperate to rid themselves of some pesky human beings enlist the aid of a supernatural trickster (Beetlejuice). Chaos promptly ensues – and so will the laughter from your family.

10. Monsters, Inc. (2001)

The monster in your kids’ closets might just be real, or so says the premise behind this film. Monstropolis, where they dwell, relies on the screams of children for power. Star “scarer,” Scully, and his friend Mike, have their lives turned upside down when a human child accidentally enters their world. They need to get her back home, stop an evil plot to steal children for their screams and figure out a better way to power the city – all at once. It’s a Pixar animated classic that combines heartwarming humor with a little scary fun.

11. The House with a Clock in Its Walls (2018)

After his parents’ death, Lewis is sent to live with his estranged uncle (and family warlock) in a house with a disturbing past and a mystery hidden inside its walls. Ultimately, Lewis has to find the courage within himself to face down a malevolent spirit or two and help his uncle and a family friend unravel the puzzle surrounding the old house in order to save the world.

12. Frankenweenie (2012)

This is another animated goodie, and it follows the story of young Victor Frankenstein – a budding scientist with a beloved pet dog. When a tragic accident takes his pet’s life, Victor refuses to accept the loss. This is a darkly funny homage to the Frankenstein movies of old, making it perfect for seasonal viewing.

With this diverse array of kid-friendly movies in your Halloween movie marathon lineup, you can create lasting memories with family of all ages without giving your little ghosts and ghouls any nightmares. These films offer just the right blend of spooky fun, humor and heartwarming messages, making them the perfect movie night choices for Halloween − and beyond.