(Photo by Buena Vista Pictures, Sony Pictures, Warner Bros, TriStar, MGM / Courtesy: Everett Collection)

36 Essential Kids Halloween Movies

Looking for a scary movie to watch with the kids and family? Or a horror movie that won’t necessarily send you scrambling beneath the covers, with a 6,000 watt night light plugged in? Then you’ve come to the right ghoulish place with our guide to some of the best children’s movies for Halloween!

There’s something for everyone, from the very young (It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, Coco) to the…well, still young, but we bet they think they’re so grown-up (Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, The Addams Family). We’ve got animated funhouses (The Nightmare Before Christmas, Coraline, Monster House), ’80s fantasies and creepfests (The Dark Crystal, Return to Oz, The Monster Squad), and ’90s classics present and accounted for (The Witches, Hocus Pocus, Casper).

But what’s a little mayhem for the young mind without some Steven Spielberg productions like Poltergeist and Gremlins? Or the maestro of palatable twisted dreams: Tim Burton, who’s represented by Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands.

Meanwhile, modern-day fare like Goosebumps and The Addams Family will keep the torch burning well into the years. Whatever scary family movies you’re looking for, the ones you need are in our guide to the essential kids Halloween movies!


Casper (1995)

Adjusted Score: 53156%
Critics Consensus: A meandering, mindless family movie that frequently resorts to special effects and transparent sappiness.
Synopsis: Casper (voiced by Malachi Pearson) is a kind young ghost who peacefully haunts a mansion in Maine. When specialist James... [More]
Directed By: Brad Silberling

Adjusted Score: 52150%
Critics Consensus: The Watcher in the Woods boasts plenty of spooky atmosphere and a typically strong performance from Bette Davis, but it builds to a conclusion so dissatisfying that it undermines all that came before.
Synopsis: A teenager (Lynn-Holly Johnson) and her younger sister learn their eerie landlady's (Bette Davis) secret at an English country manor.... [More]
Directed By: John Hough


Goosebumps (2015)

Adjusted Score: 84557%
Critics Consensus: Goosebumps boasts more than enough of its spooky source material's kid-friendly charm to make up for some slightly scattershot humor and a hurried pace.
Synopsis: Upset about moving from the big city to a small town, young Zach Cooper (Dylan Minnette) finds a silver lining... [More]
Directed By: Rob Letterman


Monster House (2006)

Adjusted Score: 82020%
Critics Consensus: Monster House welcoms kids and adults alike into a household full of smart, monstrous fun.
Synopsis: No adults believe three youths' (Mitchel Musso, Spencer Locke, Sam Lerner) assertion that a neighboring residence is a living creature... [More]
Directed By: Gil Kenan

Adjusted Score: 61426%
Critics Consensus: True terror and typical Disney wholesomeness clash uncomfortably in Something Wicked This Way Comes.
Synopsis: Mr. Dark (Jonathan Pryce) brings his traveling carnival to a small Midwestern town and grants wishes, for a price.... [More]
Directed By: Jack Clayton

Adjusted Score: 68194%
Critics Consensus: The movie is peppered with amusing sight gags and one-liners, but the disjointed script doesn't cohere into a successful whole.
Synopsis: When a man (Christopher Lloyd) claiming to be Fester, the missing brother of Gomez Addams (Raul Julia), arrives at the... [More]
Directed By: Barry Sonnenfeld


Lady in White (1988)

Adjusted Score: 68296%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Locked in the cloakroom after school as a Halloween prank, Frankie (Lukas Haas) meets the ghost of a young neighborhood... [More]
Directed By: Frank LaLoggia

Adjusted Score: 53454%
Critics Consensus: The Addams Family's starry voice cast and eye-catching animation aren't enough to outweigh its saccharine handling of the delightfully dark source material.
Synopsis: Members of the mysterious and spooky Addams family -- Gomez, Morticia, Pugsley, Wednesday, Uncle Fester and Grandma -- are readily... [More]


Frankenweenie (2012)

Adjusted Score: 96906%
Critics Consensus: Frankenweenie is an energetic stop-motion horror movie spoof with lovingly crafted visuals and a heartfelt, oddball story.
Synopsis: Young Victor Frankenstein (Charlie Tahan) is a science nerd and outsider at school, but he does have one good friend:... [More]
Directed By: Tim Burton


The Witches (1990)

Adjusted Score: 95631%
Critics Consensus: With a deliciously wicked performance from Angelica Huston and imaginative puppetry by Jim Henson's creature shop, Nicolas Roeg's dark and witty movie captures the spirit of Roald Dahl's writing like few other adaptations.
Synopsis: While staying at a hotel in England with his grandmother, Helga (Mai Zetterling), young Luke (Jasen Fisher) inadvertently spies on... [More]
Directed By: Nicolas Roeg


Return to Oz (1985)

Adjusted Score: 56187%
Critics Consensus: Return to Oz taps into the darker side of L. Frank Baum's book series with an intermittently dazzling adventure that never quite recaptures the magic of its classic predecessor.
Synopsis: Dorothy discovers she is back in the land of Oz, and finds the yellow brick road is now a pile... [More]
Directed By: Walter Murch

Adjusted Score: 94859%
Critics Consensus: This Disney two-fer may not be the most reverent literary adaptation, but it's remarkably crafted and emotionally resonant.
Synopsis: Two animated adaptations of classic literature make up this Disney film. In "The Wind in the Willows," wealthy Mr. Toad... [More]


Hocus Pocus (1993)

Adjusted Score: 38353%
Critics Consensus: Harmlessly hokey yet never much more than mediocre, Hocus Pocus is a muddled family-friendly effort that fails to live up to the talents of its impressive cast.
Synopsis: After moving to Salem, Mass., teenager Max Dennison (Omri Katz) explores an abandoned house with his sister Dani (Thora Birch)... [More]
Directed By: Kenny Ortega

Adjusted Score: 50091%
Critics Consensus: Hotel Transylvania's buoyant, giddy tone may please children, but it might be a little too loud and thinly-scripted for older audiences.
Synopsis: When monsters want to get away from it all, they go to Count Dracula's (Adam Sandler) Hotel Transylvania, a lavish... [More]
Directed By: Genndy Tartakovsky


Halloweentown (1998)

Adjusted Score: 19295%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: After learning she is a witch, a girl (Kimberly J. Brown) helps save a town full of other supernatural creatures.... [More]
Directed By: Duwayne Dunham

Adjusted Score: 91481%
Critics Consensus: Like the bestselling series of books that inspired it, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark opens a creepy gateway into horror for younger genre enthusiasts.
Synopsis: The shadow of the Bellows family has loomed large in the small town of Mill Valley for generations. It's in... [More]
Directed By: André Øvredal


ParaNorman (2012)

Adjusted Score: 96096%
Critics Consensus: Beautifully animated and solidly scripted, ParaNorman will entertain (and frighten) older children while providing surprisingly thoughtful fare for their parents.
Synopsis: Young Norman Babcock (Kodi Smit-McPhee) has the ability to speak with the dead -- and he often prefers their company... [More]
Directed By: Chris Butler, Sam Fell

Adjusted Score: 109892%
Critics Consensus: Playing as both an exciting sci-fi adventure and a remarkable portrait of childhood, Steven Spielberg's touching tale of a homesick alien remains a piece of movie magic for young and old.
Synopsis: After a gentle alien becomes stranded on Earth, the being is discovered and befriended by a young boy named Elliott... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg


Coraline (2009)

Adjusted Score: 101818%
Critics Consensus: With its vivid stop-motion animation combined with Neil Gaiman's imaginative story, Coraline is a film that's both visually stunning and wondrously entertaining.
Synopsis: While exploring her new home, a girl named Coraline (Dakota Fanning) discovers a secret door, behind which lies an alternate... [More]
Directed By: Henry Selick

Adjusted Score: 92505%
Critics Consensus: As can be expected from a Tim Burton movie, Corpse Bride is whimsically macabre, visually imaginative, and emotionally bittersweet.
Synopsis: Victor (Johnny Depp) and Victoria's (Emily Watson) families have arranged their marriage. Though they like each other, Victor is nervous... [More]
Directed By: Tim Burton, Mike Johnson

Adjusted Score: 34621%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Scooby (Scott Innes) and the rest of the Mystery, Inc., crew encounter creepy characters at a haunted house on a... [More]
Directed By: Jim Stenstrum

Adjusted Score: 57227%
Critics Consensus: A fun '80s adventure with a slightly scary twist, The Monster Squad offers tween-friendly horror with just enough of a kick.
Synopsis: Members (Andre Gower, Robby Kiger) of a monster fan club meet Count Dracula, Wolfman, Frankenstein, the Mummy and Gill Man.... [More]
Directed By: Fred Dekker


Monsters, Inc. (2001)

Adjusted Score: 103076%
Critics Consensus: Clever, funny, and delightful to look at, Monsters, Inc. delivers another resounding example of how Pixar elevated the bar for modern all-ages animation.
Synopsis: Monsters Incorporated is the largest scare factory in the monster world, and James P. Sullivan (John Goodman) is one of... [More]
Directed By: Pete Docter

Adjusted Score: 89174%
Critics Consensus: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone adapts its source material faithfully while condensing the novel's overstuffed narrative into an involving -- and often downright exciting -- big-screen magical caper.
Synopsis: Adaptation of the first of J.K. Rowling's popular children's novels about Harry Potter, a boy who learns on his eleventh... [More]
Directed By: Chris Columbus

Adjusted Score: 102783%
Critics Consensus: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit is a subtly touching and wonderfully eccentric adventure featuring Wallace and Gromit.
Synopsis: ... [More]
Directed By: Steve Box


Poltergeist (1982)

Adjusted Score: 91391%
Critics Consensus: Smartly filmed, tightly scripted, and -- most importantly -- consistently frightening, Poltergeist is a modern horror classic.
Synopsis: Strange and creepy happenings beset an average California family, the Freelings -- Steve (Craig T. Nelson), Diane (JoBeth Williams), teenaged... [More]
Directed By: Tobe Hooper

Adjusted Score: 94542%
Critics Consensus: Remixing Roger Corman's B-movie by way of the Off-Broadway musical, Little Shop of Horrors offers camp, horror and catchy tunes in equal measure -- plus some inspired cameos by the likes of Steve Martin and Bill Murray.
Synopsis: Meek flower shop assistant Seymour (Rick Moranis) pines for co-worker Audrey (Ellen Greene). During a total eclipse, he discovers an... [More]
Directed By: Frank Oz


The Dark Crystal (1982)

Adjusted Score: 81488%
Critics Consensus: The Dark Crystal's narrative never quite lives up to the movie's visual splendor, but it remains an admirably inventive and uniquely intense entry in the Jim Henson canon.
Synopsis: Jen (Stephen Garlick), raised by the noble race called the Mystics, has been told that he is the last survivor... [More]
Directed By: Jim Henson, Frank Oz

Adjusted Score: 94044%
Critics Consensus: The first collaboration between Johnny Depp and Tim Burton, Edward Scissorhands is a magical modern fairy tale with gothic overtones and a sweet center.
Synopsis: A scientist (Vincent Price) builds an animated human being -- the gentle Edward (Johnny Depp). The scientist dies before he... [More]
Directed By: Tim Burton


Coco (2017)

Adjusted Score: 124513%
Critics Consensus: Coco's rich visual pleasures are matched by a thoughtful narrative that takes a family-friendly -- and deeply affecting -- approach to questions of culture, family, life, and death.
Synopsis: Despite his family's generations-old ban on music, young Miguel dreams of becoming an accomplished musician like his idol Ernesto de... [More]
Directed By: Lee Unkrich


Beetlejuice (1988)

Adjusted Score: 89022%
Critics Consensus: Brilliantly bizarre and overflowing with ideas, Beetlejuice offers some of Michael Keaton's most deliciously manic work - and creepy, funny fun for the whole family.
Synopsis: After Barbara (Geena Davis) and Adam Maitland (Alec Baldwin) die in a car accident, they find themselves stuck haunting their... [More]
Directed By: Tim Burton

Adjusted Score: 85551%
Critics Consensus: Performed and animated with the comics' signature melancholy warmth, It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! celebrates the spooky season in true Peanuts style.
Synopsis: Linus waits in the pumpkin patch for the elusive Halloween symbol to appear. ... [More]
Directed By: Bill Melendez


Labyrinth (1986)

Adjusted Score: 78547%
Critics Consensus: While it's arguably more interesting on a visual level, Labyrinth provides further proof of director Jim Henson's boundless imagination.
Synopsis: Teenage Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) journeys through a maze to recover her baby brother (Toby Froud) from a goblin king (David... [More]
Directed By: Jim Henson


Ghostbusters (1984)

Adjusted Score: 102475%
Critics Consensus: An infectiously fun blend of special effects and comedy, with Bill Murray's hilarious deadpan performance leading a cast of great comic turns.
Synopsis: After the members of a team of scientists (Harold Ramis, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray) lose their cushy positions at a... [More]
Directed By: Ivan Reitman


Gremlins (1984)

Adjusted Score: 90473%
Critics Consensus: Whether you choose to see it as a statement on consumer culture or simply a special effects-heavy popcorn flick, Gremlins is a minor classic.
Synopsis: A gadget salesman is looking for a special gift for his son and finds one at a store in Chinatown.... [More]
Directed By: Joe Dante

Adjusted Score: 103508%
Critics Consensus: The Nightmare Before Christmas is a stunningly original and visually delightful work of stop-motion animation.
Synopsis: The film follows the misadventures of Jack Skellington, Halloweentown's beloved pumpkin king, who has become bored with the same annual... [More]
Directed By: Henry Selick

Tag Cloud

Crunchyroll 71st Emmy Awards USA Network japan Broadway directors Awards Tour 94th Oscars Comedy Creative Arts Emmys political drama Music Discovery Channel comiccon Nat Geo YouTube Red Stephen King AMC Plus YouTube scene in color adenture pirates of the caribbean parents The Witch Sony Pictures Western Red Carpet summer TV quibi Schedule DC Comics fast and furious disaster Marvel video teaser concert Grammys GLAAD Holidays book anthology Fox News posters Alien LGBTQ james bond DirecTV Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Musical TLC Universal Pictures Pirates king kong Ellie Kemper ESPN mockumentary obi wan serial killer Best and Worst cooking Trailer FOX cars 2021 criterion SXSW 2022 series MTV FX on Hulu Pacific Islander BET Awards NBA dexter Kids & Family medical drama Heroines cancelled television Legendary PaleyFest critic resources Martial Arts new zealand TCA Awards Film Festival nfl boxoffice Logo razzies Television Academy rom-coms Sundance TV Lifetime Masterpiece name the review The Arrangement renewed TV shows Paramount Plus reboot elevated horror stop motion Teen Country South by Southwest Film Festival aapi streaming dceu IFC versus BET Avengers Apple TV+ Disney Apple TV Plus American Society of Cinematographers Tarantino Marvel Television Fargo 2020 Black History Month scary movies mcc Infographic canceled Lucasfilm Amazon LGBT Amazon Prime Video The Walking Dead History deadpool 99% stand-up comedy football cancelled TruTV docuseries TCA 2017 Hallmark Christmas movies Tumblr vampires Pop TV Mystery live event docudrama Song of Ice and Fire WGN book adaptation spider-verse classics BBC social media singing competition blockbuster Reality boxing spinoff Chernobyl Ovation Thanksgiving twilight E! spider-man discovery target Extras zombies Pride Month Photos IFC Films universal monsters documentaries Arrowverse comics asian-american Comics on TV feel good Nominations aliens romance Rocky leaderboard NYCC Toys TBS Paramount Pictures nbcuniversal ID australia worst movies Mary poppins 1990s sequels supernatural TV movies Cannes live action Super Bowl 2019 Prime Video game show adaptation Amazon Prime Turner technology high school Rock Family slasher travel Shondaland Writers Guild of America HBO Dark Horse Comics green book dc south america Britbox Hallmark 45 canceled TV shows golden globe awards dogs Academy Awards Sneak Peek golden globes gangster movies biography royal family young adult Paramount Network diversity revenge VH1 obituary suspense National Geographic superman Universal hollywood Christmas Trophy Talk mob trophy CBS All Access superhero USA Nickelodeon Character Guide slashers jurassic park APB Hollywood Foreign Press Association Wes Anderson award winner Amazon Studios Premiere Dates TCA hidden camera Star Wars reviews ghosts 73rd Emmy Awards CBS spanish language Best Director animated die hard biopic french hist miniseries marvel comics The Academy FXX telelvision marvel cinematic universe binge Oscars 21st Century Fox cats festivals Watching Series streamig summer TV preview ITV Cartoon Network harry potter archives police drama summer preview Binge Guide space toronto Netflix First Reviews Image Comics new york Election Musicals Disney Plus Columbia Pictures Paramount saw know your critic President olympics HBO Go Mindy Kaling heist movie First Look Hulu Crackle godzilla hispanic heritage month Film international sitcom 007 ABC Family Emmy Nominations television rotten movies we love Bravo jamie lee curtis ABC Signature TIFF Epix Baby Yoda werewolf Rocketman Action a nightmare on elm street YA dark Cosplay RT21 Pixar joker breaking bad 79th Golden Globes Awards Starz ViacomCBS dreamworks TV Land 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards cults transformers spy thriller MSNBC Neflix NBC psychological thriller Syfy films scorecard TNT all-time Sundance Now Turner Classic Movies italian comedies BBC America foreign HFPA Exclusive Video action-comedy broadcast TCA Winter 2020 2016 comic book movies Showtime Comedy Central batman period drama Mudbound game of thrones Quiz halloween talk show Women's History Month Hear Us Out PlayStation Interview DGA Video Games Brie Larson Comic-Con@Home 2021 streaming movies comic book movie debate Star Trek The CW Countdown cartoon halloween tv lord of the rings 2015 Elton John indie children's TV The Walt Disney Company CMT Freeform Winter TV Peacock Ghostbusters sports SXSW kaiju Summer psycho Fantasy Marathons basketball robots cancelled TV shows 2018 VOD HBO Max Spring TV IMDb TV worst Classic Film Box Office king arthur emmy awards spanish dramedy justice league Pop Set visit rt labs critics edition A&E composers kids MGM ABC Sundance Biopics venice mutant finale Reality Competition zombie vs. Valentine's Day black Year in Review Superheroes richard e. Grant Fall TV SundanceTV Food Network Podcast Shudder Spectrum Originals Holiday stoner Television Critics Association TV One legend christmas movies war facebook natural history scary Polls and Games Endgame MCU YouTube Premium BBC One thriller CNN documentary E3 RT History TCM crime thriller Drama crossover VICE wonder woman new star wars movies screenings 72 Emmy Awards Mary Tyler Moore El Rey GIFs latino unscripted monster movies TV true crime DC streaming service politics 4/20 PBS Fox Searchlight Lionsgate theme song blaxploitation free movies interviews Awards trailers Calendar doctor who 90s anime OWN Pet Sematary Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt video on demand San Diego Comic-Con AMC Mary Poppins Returns japanese Animation sopranos cancelled TV series 24 frames witnail Apple TV renewals chucky Tags: Comedy franchise Walt Disney Pictures Travel Channel Esquire cops OneApp based on movie movie Disney streaming service Anna Paquin CW Seed crime drama sag awards See It Skip It indiana jones prank satire cinemax Vudu nature Instagram Live Tokyo Olympics spain Adult Swim ratings crime Tomatazos adventure DC Universe 93rd Oscars Disney+ Disney Plus Netflix Christmas movies Best Actress best FX Best Picture historical drama Lifetime Christmas movies romantic comedy Sci-Fi Rom-Com mission: impossible New York Comic Con women BAFTA Comic Book Focus Features comic science fiction comic books strong female leads Disney Channel Best Actor Trivia rt labs fresh hispanic popular casting The Purge blockbusters toy story Black Mirror zero dark thirty Warner Bros. 20th Century Fox WarnerMedia Emmys festival Acorn TV remakes screen actors guild rt archives A24 art house 2017 kong sequel news genre black comedy tv talk Spike Opinion Funimation rotten SDCC Winners critics Tubi child's play laika Superheroe Marvel Studios dragons independent Oscar Horror GoT X-Men Certified Fresh what to watch Captain marvel