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The Best Halloween Movies for Kids

Our family has had a love-hate relationship with Halloween. All of our kiddos have sensory and/or trauma issues that have resulted in meltdowns around Halloween time; everything from choice of treats to costume fabrics. It has taken a few years of trial and error, but we finally came up with something that works for all of our kids: Our Witches and Wizards Halloween Party.

One of the main features of the Witches and Wizards Party is watching a "scary" movie. We have established a small collection of new favorites, which we will continue to expand each year.

If you're looking for the best Halloween movies for kids, this list is for you!

The Best Halloween Movies for Kids
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It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is number one on our list.  Our kiddos love the Peanuts characters, especially Dinomite, who reads the comic strips regularly. This is the perfect choice for a child's first Halloween movie. It's not scary.  Your children will enjoy it for years to come!

The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad might be the earliest great Halloween film for children. Most of us are familiar with the tale of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman, which is pretty much required viewing for anyone looking to present a scary good time to the kiddos.  

Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit is another perfect entry-point into the world of scary movies for the younger set. If you are already familiar with Wallace & Gromit, then you know what to expect here: a hilarious adventure with a little mystery and scary moments built in.

Spookley the Square Pumpkin is the go-to option for your preschool "ghosts and goblins." This is a simple tale of a misfit pumpkin who literally doesn't fit in with his patch mates. That is, until he finds his moment to shine, in the middle of a big storm that threatens to destroy the pumpkin patch. This movie shows how everyone, even a square pumpkin, has their place and deserves respect.

Curious George: A Halloween Boo Fest is based on the hit PBS animated series. Our kiddos were huge fans of that show in their preschool days, and we were so thrilled to see that adorable little troublemaker in a Halloween episode. This is good clean fun for kids of all ages.

Casper is the live action movie released in 1995, based on the TV show from the 60's.  There is no better choice for children who are easily frightened and curious about the idea of ghosts and haunted houses.

Pooh's Heffalump Movie is appropriate for even the youngest children and teaches a great lesson.  Pooh and company will reassure kids that it's normal to be scared sometimes, and that they are safe and okay.

Monster's Inc. is easily the favorite of all the Halloween movies on this list among our kiddos. Unlike some of the others we have selected, Monster' Inc. has as much to offer parents and older kids as it does the youngsters, which is something of a Pixar specialty. One of the best animated movies of the past 20 years.

The Nightmare Before Christmas might be THE must-see animated film for young audiences for the Halloween season. Tim Burton's stop-motion masterpiece has become a holiday classic. To be honest, our kiddos were a little freaked out by it, especially the villain. That said, underneath the weirdness is a film with vivid imagery, imagination and heart. Plus, it's a musical!

Hocus Pocus is another Disney film from the early 90's that has developed a passionate following which seems to be growing year after year. This is a creepy comedy adventure, featuring a trio of truly weird sisters, transported to the present day from the 1600's. It's up to a team of misfit teenagers to stop the witches' crazy scheme.

Corpse Bride is, in many ways, the spiritual successor to The Nightmare Before Christmas. It's a romance set against a backdrop of gothic horror and other creepy imagery, all done in stop-motion animation. This one has been overlooked somewhat, but deserves mention in discussing Tim Burton's best work. In other words: it's perfect for Halloween.

Monster House is a modern, animated update on the classic haunted house movie. This is a genuinely scary movie for kids, with real dangers and mortal peril. The strength of the story though is the way that the main characters band together and work as a team to take on the supernatural terror in their neighborhood.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is the first film adaptation of the beloved book series. Most of the Potter films (and books) are decidedly at the PG-13 level, and too intense for our audience (ages 6-12), This one is designed to be a starting point for the series, thus making it more approachable and suitable for school-aged kids.

E.T. The Extra Terrestrial might seem like an odd choice for a scary movie list, until you remember the scene (yes, you know the one) that takes place on Halloween. Our kiddos were immersed in the story right from the start, which holds up surprisingly well after 30 years. If ghosts, goblins, witches and wizards are not your kiddos' cup of tea, then this charming and emotional adventure just might be the ticket for your family this Halloween.

Aracnophobia appeals to a specific source of scares rather than the usual assortment of ghouls and ghosts, making it even more frightening for some, and lots of fun for most everyone else. This is a live action horror film that plays out more like an over-the-top comedy. It's a lot of creepy fun...if you are not too afraid of spiders.

Addams Family/Addams Family Values is just what the witch doctor ordered for a creepy, kooky double feature. We are recommending these together because Addams Family Values was the better film, but makes no sense at all if you don't watch Addams Family 1 first. Either way, you and the kiddos are in for a fun night, full of black humor and great performances.

Bedknobs and Broomsticks is on our list because there are a lot of bad movies about witches out there. We like this one because of the scenes with live action and animation combined together. Plus, it has that great battle at the end with the reanimated suits of armor. Younger kiddos will enjoy this underappreciated gem.

Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein  is the ideal way to introduce kids to the classic Universal Studios monster of the 30's and 40's, who remain as iconic and scary as ever. It's a comedy, so it never gets as dark as the original Dracula or Frankenstein movies, while maintaining the spirit of those legendary works.

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1 comment:

  1. I love several movies here. Harry Potter series, Casper, and Adams Family are my favourite. You remind me to share them with kids. Thank you for sharing.