10 Best Halloween Movies for Kids Reviewed in 2020
Halloween is a sweet, sugary jackpot for kids. But it’s about more than the candy. There’s excitement surrounding picking out and putting on costumes, and the trick-or-treating journey that begets the candy makes eating it all the sweeter.
If you’re looking for some spooky (but not too spooky!) themed movies for the holiday, check out our top ten halloween movies for kids! These range from classics to lesser-known gems, but all are highly rated and reviewed by families just like yours.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 42 hrs of research
Entertaining and fun
The humor is clever
The characters are engaging and loveable
It has aged well
Notable actors and actress
10 Best Halloween Movies for Kids
1. Hocus Pocus
Entertaining and fun
The humor is clever
The characters are engaging and loveable
It has aged well
Notable actors and actress
Some of the humor might be lost on kids under the age of eight
When Halloween time rolls around it is fun to turn on the TV and watch a few movies with the kids to get the spirits following. These wild witches will get those spirits flying around and also get a few tummy laughs along the way. The story tells of a time when the three women are on their way back from the 17th century. These witches conjured up something, but not exactly what they expected. You will have to watch to see just what these women have unseen.Read more
It is not surprising in the slightest to know that not only is Hocus Pocus on this list, but it's at the very top of the list. This Salem, Massachusetts-based movie has won over the hearts of many a child, teen, and adult with a story that's both captivating as well as highly entertaining. There's a bit of history involved in this tangled web of spells that binds the movie together; the story goes that the Sanderson Sisters once reigned over Salem until they were taken down by the townspeople, destined to abolish all spell-casting and magic.
Before their "demise", the sisters brewed a potion with the livelihood of a little girl, Emily, in order to maintain their youth and ensure that they would be immortal. What the Sanderson sisters don't know is that Emily's brother, Thackery, has been watching this entire time -- However, his fate is sealed as well, since the sisters manage to turn him into a black cat before their lives are seemingly ended. In the jump to modern-day life, a boy named Max who is a firm non-believer in "hocus pocus" meets a girl who changes his mind and they go forth to fight the sisters one last time in an effort to save his own sister, Dani.
Hocus Pocus is a feel-good movie that's filled with plenty of humor to add more than enough levity to any child's Halloween night. It's filled with colorful characters, including some very note-worthy actresses such as Bette Midler and Sarah Jessica Parker.
The movie itself is a blast and embodies everything that celebrating Halloween should be. It's a classic tale of good overcoming evil (quite literally) and how family means everything.
2. Hotel Transylvania
The dialogue is fast-paced and interesting
Plenty of humor throughout
Two plot lines keep the movie from getting boring
Well-known voice actors
The ending is a bit emotional for young children
Are you kids digging the monsters this time of year? Then this is just the movie that you want to add to their playlist. It is a humorous animated cartoon movie that features a five star monster resort for families and more. The host, Dracula, puts nothing aside. The five star resort is everything and his pride. Monsters live it up big while no humans are never allowed inside.Read more
For a family-night type of movie, Hotel Transylvania has rave reviews about the quality of storytelling, characters, and plot line. The story follows an overprotective Vampire parent and his child, something that many families can relate to as children grow up. There's also a monster-themed, kid-friendly romance story that will add a level of light-hearted humor and wholeness to watching this film. Columbia Pictures outdid themselves as far as the Halloween monsters in this movie go and have brought to life something that kids will thoroughly enjoy and remember.
The movie is much more fast-paced than many animated films which keep it lively and entertaining throughout the entire hour and a half. With a star-studded cast of voice actors, incredible graphics, and a plot that has been well-thought-out and well-written, this will definitely be a hit for Halloween every year.
The storyline in this movie is real but created in such a way that it's friendly to children and doesn't take the fun out of watching a movie. Much of it is humorous and entertaining with an ongoing theme that's strong enough to hold up.
When you think of a true family movie, this is one that always comes to mind. Hotel Transylvania features something for everyone and will be enjoyed by those of all ages, not just toddlers and tweens.
3. The Nightmare Before Christmas
Beautiful film design
The story is incredibly well-written
The music is unique and catchy
Many characters are relatable
Incorporates Christmas as a fun aspect
It might be a bit scary to kids under the age of six
This is the movie where Halloween spirit meets Sir Clause. The main character, King Jack Skellington, spreads all the joy that Christmas should bring to all, but as the story unfolds you will soon realize that his spreading of joy has some reason for concern. It puts Christmas for all the boys and girls in jeopardy of being canceled forever.Read more
Jack and Sally hold one of the greatest love stories of any Tim Burton film, still to this day. It's no wonder that the movie, when it premiered for the first time in 2000, captured the hearts and love of everyone who watched it. Jack Skellington, the main character, brings unintentional chaos to his hometown of Halloweentown when he decides to try Christmas on for a change of pace. Rather than learning about the holiday and adapting to, Jack adapts it to his own lifestyle, creating somewhat of a nightmarish Christmas for the people of Earth.
On his crusade to create a new Christmas, the villain of the movie, Oogie Boogie, has captured the real Santa Claus, leaving Jack no choice but to band together with his newfound love interest, Sally, to save what's left of their home. The stunning thing about this movie is its clay-like graphics and incredible imagination when it comes to creating new worlds. Tim Burton is truly an artistic genius, coupling heartwarming and diverse stories with a land that is even more dynamic and beautiful, if in a creepy sort of way. Since its production, there hasn't quite been another movie to top it, which is why The Nightmare Before Christmas is so timeless in its creepy yet joyful charm.
Kids will be absolutely enamored with every single detail in this film. It's a movie that never gets old, as every aspect of it is fun to rediscover and relive each time it's watched.
There's not much that we don't love about this film! It's nostalgic for some parents and entirely new for their children, and is a love that can be shared and passed down for generations. Although its almost a decade old, The Nightmare Before Christmas is a classic that must be indulged.
Quirky yet loveable characters
Jack Black is hilarious on his own
Relatable to kids of all ages
Inspired by the popular Goosebumps books
Some parts might be a bit jumpy for young children
Remember reading the Goosebumps books as a kid? Well, those stories have hit the big screen and made an appearance that can never be unseen. This movie features the stories and more as they are unleashed into the world and are among us. The monsters tear open the books and are terrorizing the town from now everyone has to scramble to help them find their way back onto the pages. They just want things back to normal.Read more
First of all, if you were a fan of the books or if your kids read Goosebumps, this movie is a must-see. Not only did it adapt many of the most popular themes from the books, but it included their characters in the cast as well! For a book-inspired movie, Goosebumps has truly earned its excellent reviews and set the standard for what book to movie adaptations should be. With Jack Black taking the role of R.L. Stine, this movie is hilarious, entirely heartwarming, and just the right level of spooky for kids of any age to enjoy.
Adults and children alike will fall in love with this creative and inventive storyline that manages to bring in all the qualities that were so loved by the Goosebumps series. Each character is charming and quirky in their own way and, just like the movies, you can tell from the get-go that something isn't quite right with this town... Especially your creepy neighbor! Even if your kids haven't read the books, just knowing of them will be enough to appreciate this masterwork of a film.
It's often challenging to find the right balance of humor and seriousness when it comes to creating a Halloween movie for kids. Between the blend of actors and the script, Goosebumps delivers that in spades and has us looking forward to the second movie already.
The creative liberty that was taken with each and every monster from the Goosebumps book is something that we can appreciate. It was done in a clever way and doesn't leave anything feeling out of place or overwhelming.
The story is packed full of adventure
Modern re-telling of Alice in Wonderland
Dark and creepy
Created by Tim Burton from The Nightmare Before Christmas
It can be disturbing to kids under the age of six
Searching for that Halloween movie for the kids that bring some adventures back into their spirit? This movie shares the story of a little girl that likes to go on adventures. Those adventures all have their turns, but the secrets are clearly unknown. The world within her mind is quite like the one that she walks within, but different as it is hers. It is a world of her own and everything that happens is somewhat unknown.Read more
Another one of Tim Burton's weird and creepy creations, Coraline has received rave reviews from both lovers of his previous work as well as newcomers. This film has no shortage of eerie scenes and spooky undertones, as Coraline is taken through her own twisted fairy tale of a story. What captivated the audience the most was Burton's use of stop-motion and clay models, the same ones that left such a tremendous impact on audiences in the past.
However, since the movie was released in 2011, those graphics were revamped and improved tremendously. The story contains some wicked twists and will inevitably throw viewers for a loop as they follow Coraline throughout her weird adventure but, ultimately, it will be a story that's loved. It's best compared to Alice in Wonderland... If Alice in Wonderland was set in a much darker, creepy Wonderland.
The creativity in creating this modern play on falling through a "rabbit hole" so to speak is tremendous. Tim Burton has weaved a tale full of kid-friendly horror and spooks that will entertain and entice.
Coraline is a loveable and extremely relatable character, as she's just a normal kid. When her story suddenly takes a drastic turn upon finding a secret door, anything is possible -- Which is what leaves kids hanging onto the edge of their seats.
6. The Witches
Creepy and cringe-worthy
The 90s effects are somewhat amusing
The situations are relatable
Plenty of twists
Scary enough for older kids
Not completely appropriate for kids under the age of ten
The story starts to unfold as a young boy that just lost his parents goes on an adventure across the pond to England with his Grandma. The adventure that awaits him is something that you would never expect. The guests at the hotel that he and his Grandmother are staying have a big secret. They are all witches that have gathered together to pursue the plot of ridding the world of all the children. Watch in suspense, hoping you are not next.Read more
Many of us were either required to or had the pleasure of reading The Witches by Ronald Dahl in grade school. In 1990, the book was adapted into a movie, portraying all the cringe-worthy and horror-filled aspects of running into a convention of witches who decide to take up residence in one of England's busiest hotels.
These seemingly normal women appear to be nothing more than middle-aged and traveling, until a boy runs into one of their secret meetings, managing to unearth their dastardly plan: To get rid of children around the world! This is a twisted tale full of suspense, the occasional scare, and some truly creepy, early 90's effects.
This movie is definitely intended for those who don't mind a bit of a throwback and can appreciate a scary story. It would be suitable for preteens and teens who love the idea of horror movies but aren't yet old enough to watch them.
Although this movie was produced in 1990, it still holds a theme that's terrifying to kids today. The notion that a group of witches can come in unannounced with the goal of eradicating every single child on the planet is scary, silly, and entertaining.
Recent and relevant box office hit
Fun, colorful cast of characters
Respects and celebrates Mexican culture
A touching story about family
Beautiful, catchy music
This particular product doesn’t contain the Spanish version
Disney has so many great movies on the market and this one has joined the list as one of the best. It is a film that walks you through the journey of a young boy who inspires to be a musician, but one thing is stopping him. As the story tells the tale of his family that has walked the earth in the past you turn about their lives and traditions. Watch as it will surprise you who he learns that he has got his passion from.Read more
When he “borrows” a magical guitar, Miguel is transported to the Land of the Dead, where he seeks the help of his great-great-grandfather to return him to his family in the land of the living before it is too late and he becomes a ghost himself. The story is a beautiful celebration of Mexican culture, with colorful characters from folklore helping to guide Miguel along his journey. The music is full and fun, and the story centers around the importance of community, family, and standing up for your principles. Miguel is immediately lovable, as are his companions, and this sweet adventure is perfect for Holiday and Dia de Los Muertos festivities alike.
Coco is a great example of the ways in which media can help share an appreciation of and respect for many cultures. The story is heart-warming and Miguel is a relatable and kind-hearted protagonist. The core themes of the story are about community and learning to communicate with the ones we love, all of which are important.
Coco is a well-developed story that kids and parents alike will adore. The humor appeals to all age ranges and the thematic content is easily accessible, no matter your age. This movie isn’t particularly spooky either, so families with younger children can still enjoy it together.
The main character is very relatable
Frankenweenie is easy to love
Created by Tim Burton
Spooky but not scary
The movie is not action-packed like many others
Halloween time is not usually thought of a time that you would watch a movie that is funny, but this movie is where freight meets humor. A little boy that once had a dog thought he was gone forever. Boy, was he wrong this dog is one that will live for a long time. As you watch you will be just as impressed with the laughs that both you and the kids experience together in the name of Halloween have a few laughs on a dog that once did.Read more
Tim Burton has come back with another one with the creation of Frankenweenie, which premiered for the first time in 2012, making it relatively new still. This movie has been referred to as "hilarious" and "offbeat" and we would have to agree; Frankenweenie has a way of bringing to life a story that can only be told through the imagination of Tim Burton himself. Everything from the characters to his trademark stop-motion animation scream "spooky" but do so in a way that's lighthearted and amusing.
In very much the same way that The Nightmare Before Christmas captivated audiences with its dialogue and incredible character development, Frankenweenie does the same thing with a boy and his newfound love in the form of a dog... Or something that once resembled one, anyway.
This cute story is heartfelt and makes for a huge crowd-pleaser during family night. It has just enough of the Halloween atmosphere to make it fitting for the autumn season but not enough that it would scare kids on any level.
For a Halloween movie, Frankenweenie is endearing and holds a special place in our hearts. A strong connection to the characters is easily formed which makes this movie feel personal and will have Tim Burton fans falling in love in no time.
Each character is loved equally
Norman is the most relatable
The story is fast-paced
Plenty of action and spooky scenes
Perfect as a wholesome family movie
Some parents might not approve of the modern themes
Talking to the dead is not something that you would think that would save the world today, but this boy has this skill and soon he will learn just how he can save the town for good. The town has been cursed and with his unusual skill, he will work with the people of the past to save the town for the future. Just when it seemed like they will be cursed forever, Norman saves the town from a curse that seems like they have had forever.Read more
Norman is just a normal kid, living a normal life, right? Of course, he is... Until a hoard of ghostly zombies descends on his town! This action-packed and thrilling movie is from none other than Tim Burton and paints the picture of a charming town with a dark secret. This is one movie that will keep you guessing, keep you laughing, and hold a special place on your shelf of Halloween movies for some years to come.
Kids will follow the main character as he bands together with his sister and friends to get to the bottom of the strange history that has suddenly come alive in their town. This halloween movie for kids has hit the mark for hilarity over and over again while still coming across with a serious undertone as far as plot goes. By the end, your kids will be feeling plenty of heartwarming emotions as Norman realizes that it's his job and his job alone to set things right once again.
This movie addresses plenty of modern-day things which give it the feel of a wholesome, progressive movie. It's a blast for the entire family to watch simply because there are so many levels of humor that will be understood by everyone.
The characters truly make this movie what it is. Norman is strong but purely human to the core, and his surrounding support system is full.
The characters are enchanting
Halloweentown is completely imaginative
Debbie Reynolds is loveable and a great role model
Teaches a lesson about following your heart
Traditional good versus evil battle
The movie itself is not very long
When your kids love Halloween as much as they do you want to help them celebrate with a movie or two. This is a film about a family that has more in common with Halloween then they like to tell. When Grandma shows up to put the family into training the mother must then let them discover the true reason she has put Halloween on the “no go” list. Start the adventure with the kids and watch as it flips and turns. Halloweentown will soon be unturned.Read more
Yet another 90s movie! Halloweentown was original to Disney channel way back when they produced many Halloween movies and continued to be loved by kids for years, as is evident by the entire series that's devoted to it now. Halloweentown is the first movie and sets the tone for the series as it follows the main character, Marnie, in her quest to learn about her rich history as a witch.
When her unusual and quirky, but loveable, grandmother comes into town on Halloween night, the story is put into motion. Marnie overhears talk of her family of Cromwells coming from a long line of witches and warlocks and from that point on, she's committed to finding out more. In an effort to solve the mystery of what she and her siblings are, they follow their grandmother to the mysterious and monster-filled town of Halloweentown. It's there that chaos ensues, leaving the Cromwell family to fight for everything that is good, right, and worth it.
This movie is perfectly fitting for Halloween as it takes place entirely on Halloween night. Since it's produced by Disney, you know that it'll be appropriate for any age and be filled with fun characters, great scenarios, and the classic message of following your heart.
With so many movies about witches, it's nice to find one that includes a completely original storyline as well as unique and imaginative characters. Halloweentown is a place any one of us would love to visit and really sets the tone for the season.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
If it were up to us, we'd be celebrating holidays such as Halloween all year-round. It's one that is often filled with memories for both the young and old and a day where you can free your inner child and really have fun being a kid again. That's exactly the type of joy these movies will hopefully bring back for you and it's a joy that has captivated kids everywhere. If your child is a huge fan of Halloween and even if they just love movies, there's something for everyone on this list, from Pixar to live-action movies.
We had to undergo quite a process when it came to deciding which movies would pass the test with flying colors, and we figured we'd fill you in on some of the criteria that we deemed valid. First of all, each movie had to pass our test for appropriateness. Meaning, in short, the ratings had to be PG and they had to be approved for families, not just for children or teens. While these movies are a blast for kids to watch on their own, they also double as great movie night features as well as suitable additions to any Halloween Party.
Once each movie was cleared for content, we had to decide whether or not the storyline was engaging enough for kids of all ages. This was easy enough to do as most PG Halloween movies are lighthearted, fun, and entertaining, and many of these classics already had a preceding reputation.
Lastly, we took a look at the characters in each movie and asked ourselves the following:
Are they interesting? Do they command the attention of the audience? Is the dialogue between characters understandable and easily followed? Once answering "yes" to each of these, we knew we had a winner! Thus, we give you the best Halloween movie list of 2019.
We thought it would be important to give a brief history of why Halloween was started and its true origins since it has been Americanized since its original Celtic roots. The holiday was a representation of the end of the harvest season and served as a transition between summer and the fall and winter months. During this time, it was believed that two worlds, both living and dead, overlapped, thus coining the day we know as "All Hollow's Eve".
Many believed that during this overlap, bad spirits could come forward and destroy entire crop that had been harvested from the season prior, which led to big bonfires in order to ward them off. Trick or Treating is another aspect that has been turned into something a bit different and was originally an exchange of food and prayer between children and the families whose doors they knocked on. Similar to the act of lighting bonfires, carving Jack 'O Lanterns was incorporated into a normal tradition in order to ward off negative energy and lingering spirits, just as dressing up in costumes was intended to do. Nowadays, though, we just do all of it for fun!
It's important to consider that not all good halloween movies for kids are created equally. Some offer humor while others offer a lesson, and many are purely for entertainment. Their benefit is always the same, though, especially when kids are the main audience. Watching a movie that creates a pretend world and pretend characters with magical powers or special gifts allows your child to be transported.
Similar to reading a book, these movies allow free-flowing creativity in order to enchant and delight your child as they go along for the adventure. Watching these types of movies leads to creativity and confidence when they realize that their imaginations can be used to create their own worlds, thoughts, and ideas. There are no limits when it comes to Halloween and the purpose of a child celebrating it is to allow them the creative freedom that they simply don't get any other day of the year. Not to mention, they might even get a costume idea out of it!
Halloween movies range from family and friendly classics to horror movies, which are scary films with the theme of Halloween. For children younger than the age of 8, it is recommended to watch family classics in order to avoid getting too afraid.
New movies are continuously released to connect to the theme of Halloween. Nostalgic ones can rewatch their favorite childhood classics with their family, such as Hocus Pocus. The majority of the films on the list are proven as favorite Halloween movies.
Other Factors to Consider
All movie ratings matter when it comes to what your children watch and while all of the movies on our list are rated PG, there are still some that contain potentially sensitive issues. This is why we include a summary and pros/cons for each because it's our job to alert you of anything in the movie that might be potentially disturbing or scary.
Although these movies have been rated generally for everyone, that doesn't mean that your child won't be scared if they are a bit more sensitive to the certain subject matter. Every movie on this list is rated PG with the exception of Halloweentown, which is rated G, as it's by Disney.
Many kids reach a certain age where they become curious about Halloween movies and want to be spooked by them. This usually happens when kids get into their preteen stages and hear about their friends watching Halloween movies for kids and also want to be involved. That's why family time is so important; it allows families to interact with their children while watching movies that definitely have a spooky vibe, but don't really contain anything strong enough to produce nightmares.
This also allows kids to explore the world of scary movies while also feeling safety and comfort in an environment where their parents are right next to them. It will give kids a sense of freedom knowing that they're in a safe place where it's okay to partake in a bit of the Halloween spirit because what they're watching is a movie and just for fun. Not to mention, parents can buy the best candy!
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Are these movies appropriate to show my toddler?
Some of these movies are a little spookier than others. You’re the best judge of what your child can personally handle, but we recommend avoiding the following titles if you’re watching with a toddler, as some scenes might be a little too dark and scary for them at such a tender young age: Hocus Pocus, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Goosebumps, Coraline, The Witches, Frankenweenie (which is more sad and macabre than it is scary), and ParaNorman.
Both Coco and Hotel Transylvania are a little more friendly when it comes to young audiences. You might also consider looking for Halloween episodes of your child’s favorite shows! Most television series do thematic holiday arcs and if it’s a show already aimed at the toddler demographic, it’s a safe bet that it won’t be too scary.
q: How do I encourage my family to watch these as a group?
Just tell them it'll be fun! Halloween movie night differs greatly from any regular movie night because it's the one night of the year where your family can dress up, make Halloween-themed food, and simply be creative. If none of that sways them, consider bribing them with candy.
q: Would these be appropriate to send with my child on a sleepover?
Any of these would be a great sleepover option. If your child is a bit older, Hocus Pocus, Halloweentown, or ParaNormon would be great options.
q: Are they worth it considering they can only be watched once a year?
There's no reason Halloween shouldn't live on in your heart! These movies are fan-favorites all year-round because of their colorful character cast and entertaining scenarios, and they can absolutely be watched on days other than Halloween. They're perfect for a small spook and great on rainy days or nights in. Don't let the term "Halloween" keep your kids from keeping the spooks alive all year!
q: Would any of these movies clash with religion? Are they safe to show in our household if faith is important to our family?
None of these movies are disparaging towards any sect of religion. Some do contain characters that are ghosts or witches but usually, these are presented in a pop-culture context relating to the holiday rather than in a way that pulls heavily from particular religious lore. If you don’t feel comfortable with your children watching stories that contain ghosts, ghouls, and witches, we suggest trying titles like “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”, which you can find here.
Many Halloween movies for kids and stories feature the staples of the holiday, which include zombies, monsters, witches, and spirits. If you’re uncertain about a title your children want to watch, we recommend viewing it first yourself and then deciding. Sometimes mildly controversial or mature topics open up a great opportunity for you to approach the subject with your children in a way that prepares them for meeting it again in the future.
q: Are these available for digital download?
If you check the Amazon link, there will be purchase options directly at the top of the page. These movies are incredibly popular so most of them should be available for download.
- 5 Things to Teach Kids About Halloween History, Online Article ,
- Why you should watch movies with your kids regularly, Online Article ,
- What I’ve Learned From My Favorite Children’s Halloween Movies, Online Article ,