A lot of kids, teens, and even adults are terrified by the violence and gore in horror movies. However, we’ve found some great titles even the faintest-of-heart can enjoy this Halloween season.
These age guidelines are our approximate recommendations, based on our opinions, online reviews, and ratings from common sense media. Keep in mind that every child (and adult) is different. Some little kids will gladly watch Ghostbusters, whereas some adults can’t handle anything that’s even slightly spooky. It’s okay to be sensitive to scary movies—they aren’t for everyone.
Hopefully, you can find something for everyone in your family on our not-so-scary movie list. Whip up some fun Halloween treats, dim the lights (or keep them on), sit back, and enjoy!
For Kids Under 5
Young kids have very active imaginations, which can make it hard for them to separate fantasy from reality. Because of this, you don’t want to throw too much spookiness at them, or they’ll have nightmares for weeks.
Be prepared for all the questions that will come your way: Was that monster real? Why doesn’t the skeleton wear clothes? Why are pumpkins everywhere?
Stick to this list for some not-so-scary movie ideas to get them excited about Halloween:
- Curious George: A Halloween Boo Fest: What better way to celebrate Halloween than with your favorite inquisitive monkey?
- Room on the Broom: This one is based on the classic children’s book.
- Toy Story of Terror: Watch all your favorite Toy Story buddies go on a fun and spooky adventure.
- Spookley the Square Pumpkin: Even square pumpkins are cool!
- Barney Halloween Party: Halloween is fun and playful with Barney and friends.
- Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Mickey’s Monster Musical: A spooktacular movie full of dancing, singing, laughter, and surprises!
- Pooh’s Heffalump Halloween Party: Fun for the whole family, this sweet movie features all the classic characters from Winnie the Pooh.
For Ages 5+
As your child gets older, she can most likely handle a sprinkling of more scary elements. Again, this depends on your child and her comfort level.
You don’t want to pressure your child to watch Halloween or scary movies if it’s simply not her thing. Not every kid loves the scary part of Halloween, especially when they’re younger.
Here are some flicks you can add to your movie night:
- The Worst Witch: A great family-friendly movie about a young witch who can’t seem to do anything right.
- Casper: Not all ghosts are scary and spooky!
- Halloween Is a Grinch Night: The Grinch isn’t just about Christmas.
- Monsters, Inc.: This is a perfect movie to show your child that not all monsters are frightening and mean.
- It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown: Belief in the Great Pumpkin is real, and the classic Peanut characters wait to welcome it.
Also, consider finding the Halloween-themed episodes of your kid’s favorite shows.
Make sure you talk about the movie or show afterward. Ask your child which elements he found scary. This way, you can get an idea of what he’s comfortable with and use it to guide your next choice.
For Ages 8+
By now, your child has experienced enough Halloweens to know what it’s all about. Find out what he likes most about the holiday, and then search for movies that fit the bill. Remember, not every kid likes ghosts and goblins, or being scared out of their wits. It’s okay to watch gentle Halloween movies at any age.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- The Nightmare Before Christmas: Tim Burton’s fun-filled musical fantasy is not to be missed.
- Halloweentown: A 13-year-old finds herself trapped in a world of ghosts, witches, and werewolves.
- E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial: This classic is not necessarily Halloween-themed, but it has some eerie elements.
- Hotel Transylvania: This version of Dracula is definitely much sweeter than the original.
- Frankenweenie: In this Frankenstein-based tale, a young boy brings his beloved dog back to life.
For Ages 10+
Your preteen might be up for a bit more spookiness on movie night. This list of films introduces more mature Halloween themes, without being too bloody or disturbing.
Keep in mind it might be hard to keep younger siblings away from these more mature movies. We suggest you watch them on a night when your younger children are away or engaged in other activities.
Also, don’t assume that just because your child wants to watch scarier movies that he can actually handle them. Always talk about the movie afterward to get a sense of what (if anything) scared him.
Here are some Halloween picks for your older kids:
- Hocus Pocus: Three wild witches plan to cast a spell on a town to reclaim their lost youth, but three kids foil their plan.
- Goosebumps: Monsters escape from books, and a group of kids has to return them.
- The Addams Family: The classic spooky family at its best.
- Corpse Bride: Another great Tim Burton film, with plenty of dark, creative, and musical elements. In this one, a corpse drags a man away from his wedding.
- Beetlejuice: A young couple become ghosts and are plagued by the poltergeist, Beetlejuice.
- Paranorman: To save his town, a young boy uses his special abilities to speak to the dead.
For Ages 13+
By the time they’re teenagers, most kids are ready for PG-13 movies. There are tons of choices at this level, but we’ve included a few of the gentler ones for more sensitive teens:
- Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone: The whole series is ideal for Halloween season, but this one includes a Halloween scene.
- Ghostbusters: A classic for teens and adults.
- Young Frankenstein: Mel Brooks’ hilarious take on the original Frankenstein.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Not be as good as the TV series, but entertaining, nonetheless.
- Girl vs. Monster: A great choice for some Halloween thrills, minus the blood and gore.
Not everything with a Halloween theme is bloody, ghoulish, or disturbing. Our not-so-scary movie list offers fun for the entire family—nightmares not included.