The Best Halloween Movies for Kids


1 year ago

Let’s face it: Halloween is a children’s holiday. College kids may have usurped it as an excuse to throw costumed keg parties, and fortysomethings may use it as an excuse to put pumpkin spice in everything.

That’s why, when thinking about the best movies to watch in the run-up to October 31, you shouldn’t only consider slasher flicks. Kids like to catch a fright, too. But picking a good Halloween movie that works for the whole family is a delicate science.

You want something scary, but not so scary that your children will ask to sleep in your bed until they go away to university. And you also don’t want to pick something lame because, well, the spooky season is only a month long, and you really can’t afford to waste any nights.

The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949)

Washington Irving's grisly tale of Sleepy Hollow becomes more palatable for the kiddies in this cartoon, the second of two featurettes. Following The Wind in the Willows adaptation is this story of bumptious schoolmaster Ichabod Crane and his nemesis the Headless Horseman. It's a trite, chocolate box picture of colonial days until the Horseman shows up for one of those nightmare sequences with which Uncle Walt so relished. He sure liked to terrify his young audiences.

Toy Story Of Terror (2014)

We might be going out on a limb here, but everyone loves Toy Story, right? If you agree, tune into this Halloween television special with your little goblin. The familiar characters are just as lovable as ever and the scares are tame enough that even young grade schoolers can watch this flick and still have good dreams.

Super Monsters Save Halloween (2018)

Halloween meets social emotional learning when the Super Monsters are tasked with spreading holiday spirit throughout the neighborhood. The storyline makes a point of allaying fears by distinguishing between what is real and what’s just dress up fun so, in other words, this one is ideal for little kids that are likely to feel a tad confused (and a little freaked out) by the whole Halloween thing once the festivities begin.

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)

What is Halloween without the Great Pumpkin? Linus' optimistic wait in the pumpkin patch is a staple of the season. Plus, there are other fun, festive antics like trick or treating, apple bobbing, and Snoopy taking his costume a little too seriously.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)

Harry Potter is a year round gem, but Halloween seems especially appropriate. There is something about Harry boarding the Hogwarts Express that really evokes that start of the school year, fall feeling. Oh, and there's magic and witches, too! The first few movies are aimed at younger children while the later ones are better suited to their older, tween siblings.

Kiki's Delivery Service (1989)

Kiki belongs in the pantheon of the great Good Witches out there: She uses her broom and her flying ability to start a delivery service. An animated film from the famed Studio Ghibli - the same studio that made My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away - this movie works for the little ones, because Kiki doesn't run into much trouble.

The Scariest Story Ever: A Mickey Mouse Halloween Spooktacular

In this 22-minute special, done in the style of The Wonderful World of Mickey Mouse, Mickey is challenged to tell the scariest Halloween tale. When his and Donald's nephews deem his first yarn too tame, he tells two more, each dialing up the fear factor. And yet, they all have a lot of zany humor to cut the tension.

Spirited Away (2002)

From acclaimed animated movie director Hayao Miyazaki comes this tale of a girl who travels to a world of witches, spirits and other creatures in order to save her parents, who have been placed under an enchantment. The otherworldly beings may be scary for the littlest ones, who might prefer the gentleness of Miyazaki's My Neighbor Totoro, over a friendly troll like being (who mostly looks like a woodland creature).

Pooh’s Heffalump Halloween Movie’ (2005)

Like all things Winnie the Pooh, this Halloween special is sugar coated and entirely innocent. Full of festive fun and easy to watch with even the youngest in your brood, rent this guy when you’re looking for a seasonal pick that doesn’t scare (or disrupt the bedtime routine).

Scooby Doo And The Goblin King’(2008)

Scooby Dooby do(o) watch this with your grade school kiddo. What can you expect? The tried and true, goofy Scooby comedy along with somewhat creepy characters. The beloved and colorful cast take an adventure packed, and at times perilous, trip to Halloween Land in this family friendly, feature length cartoon film.

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