Best Halloween Movies for Kids: 50 Spooky Films for the Whole Family

Best Halloween Movies for Kids: 50 Spooky Films for the Whole Family Newsweek

If you're a parent, it's likely your children will want to get into the Halloween spirit by grabbing the popcorn, dimming the lights and watching a scary movie.

But even if your kids generally watch scary scenes through their fingers, it's still a concern whether the latest hyped horror film is appropriate for the younger members of your family. We all remember being traumatized into sleepless nights after seeing something on TV we shouldn't have, and we don't want our kids to have the same experience.

We've selected fifty Halloween films suitable for a range of ages, from mildly spooky movies for young children up to films that stop just short of being out-and-out horror movies. Our list ranges from much-loved 1960s classics like It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown to modern day masterpieces like the 2017 Pixar animation Coco.

If you're looking for something much, much more terrifying, take a look at the 50 Best Scary Movies to Watch This Halloween.

To help parents choose age appropriate movies, we've included each film's rating. We've also included the description tailored for every individual movie by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) for films released after September 1990, which is when MPAA began including the description of the movie's scary bits on the label.

To figure out which films are most worth watching this Halloween, we've ranked them from one to fifty, using review aggregation websites Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes to get a critics' score.

But as critics and kids often have very different opinions on what makes a good movie, and because audience reaction is key to the horror genre, we've also included an audience rating for each film by combining scores given by IMDb, Amazon and Rotten Tomatoes user-submitted reviews.

Whether you're after a critically acclaimed classic like Hitchcock's The Birds, or a kiddie favorite like Hotel Transylvania, you'll find something for all tastes—and all ages—this Halloween.

01 1408
50. 1408 (2007). Rated PG-13 for thematic material including disturbing sequences of violence and terror, frightening images and language. Total score: 70.3%. Audience score: 71.5%. Critics' score: 65.5%. Directed by: Mikael Håfström. Starring: John Cusack, Samuel L. Jackson, Mary McCormack. Plot summary: A man who specializes in debunking paranormal occurrences checks into the fabled room 1408 in the Dolphin Hotel. Soon after settling in, he confronts genuine terror. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
02 Monster Hous
49. Monster House (2006). Rated PG for scary images and sequences, thematic elements, some crude humor and brief language. Total score: 70.4%. Audience score: 71%. Critics' score: 68%. Directed by: Gil Kenan. Starring: Mitchel Musso, Sam Lerner, Spencer Locke. Plot summary: Three teens discover that their neighbor's house is really a living, breathing, scary monster. Columbia Pictures
03 Signs
48. Signs (2002). Rated PG-13 for thematic material including disturbing sequences of violence and terror, frightening images and language. Total score: 70.7%. Audience score: 72.5%. Critics' score: 63.5%. Directed by: M. Night Shyamalan. Starring: Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix, Rory Culkin. Plot summary: A family living on a farm finds mysterious crop circles in their fields which suggests something more frightening to come. Buena Vista Pictures
04 The Monster Squad
47. The Monster Squad (1987). Rated: PG-13. Total score: 71.9%. Audience score: 75%. Critics' score: 59.5%. Directed by: Fred Dekker. Starring: Andre Gower, Robby Kiger, Stephen Macht. Plot summary: A young group of monster fanatics attempt to save their hometown from Count Dracula and his monsters. TriStar Pictures
05 Hotel Transylvania
46. Hotel Transylvania (2012). Rated PG for some rude humor, action and scary images. Total score: 72%. Audience score: 77.5%. Critics' score: 50%. Directed by: Genndy Tartakovsky. Starring: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Andy Samberg. Plot summary: Dracula, who operates a high-end resort away from the human world, goes into overprotective mode when a boy discovers the resort and falls for the count's teenaged daughter. Columbia Pictures
06 Trollhunter
45. Trollhunter (Trolljegeren) (2010). Rated PG-13 for some sequences of creature terror. Total score: 72%. Audience score: 74%. Critics' score: 64%. Directed by: André Øvredal. Starring: Otto Jespersen, Robert Stoltenberg, Knut Nærum. Plot summary: A group of students investigates a series of mysterious bear killings, but learns that there are much more dangerous things going on. They start to follow a mysterious hunter, learning that he is actually a troll hunter. Magnet Releasing
07 Tremors
44. Tremors (1990). Rated: PG-13. Total score: 72.7%. Audience score: 74%. Critics' score: 67.5%. Directed by: Ron Underwood. Starring: Kevin Bacon, Fred Ward, Finn Carter. Plot summary: Natives of a small isolated town defend themselves against strange underground creatures which are killing them one by one. Universal Pictures
08 Disturbia
43. Disturbia (2007). Rated PG-13 on appeal for sequences of terror and violence, and some sensuality. Total score: 72.8%. Audience score: 75.5%. Critics' score: 62%. Directed by: D.J. Caruso. Starring: Shia LaBeouf, David Morse, Carrie-Anne Moss. Plot summary: A teen living under house arrest becomes convinced his neighbor is a serial killer. DreamWorks