Family-Friendly Halloween Movies: Best Spooky Films

October 23, 2020

It’s spooky season! This means warm clothes, hot chocolate, cosy nights in and of course… Halloween. One of our favourite things about the lead up to Halloween is the fun ghostly and creepy films that can be watched.

There are many movie options for the Halloween season, from horrors to classics and cartoons to comedies. If you’re like us and are a little scared of horrors, or if you have little ones you want to get excited for Halloween, never fear! We’ve created an easy age-rated list of animated and live-action spooky season films to make choosing your next watch all the easier (some of the live-action movies also contain some animation).

We have ordered the films by what we THINK is the least to most spooky but for more information regarding certifications and movie content advisory, IMDB is a great source. The site even has a ‘parent’s guide’ on all movies where you can check for specific parts that may not be suitable for a little one, especially if it’s above the recommended viewing for their age range.

Rated U Films

As you probably already know, U stands for Universal and these film options SHOULD be suitable for an audience of four years and over.

Animated Movies

Monsters Inc (2001) and Hotel Transylvania (2012), 2 (2015), 3: Summer Vacation (2018) are our first picks. In the scare-o-meter, we can file Monsters Inc and the Hotel Transylvania films under not frightening. This makes these movies great choices for those jumpy little ones. It’s safe to say that they’re safe film options, as adults appreciate these movies too (Monsters Inc will always be a classic).

You can’t do spooky without thinking of Scooby-Doo! There are many Halloween specials that were released straight to TV or DVD and they are an engaging watch – all are rated U. Expect to see the spooky, mysterious, and amusing storylines you usually get with the TV series. Simply search ‘Scooby-Doo animated film’ to see the options. For reference, here are a couple of our favourites:

-Scooby-Doo! on Zombie Island
-Scooby-Doo! and the Witch’s Ghost
-Scooby-Doo! and the Ghoul School

Live-action Movies

Halloweentown (1998), any movie made by the Disney channel should in theory be pretty family-friendly. This one can be watched on Disney+ and they have helpfully added a rating of 6 years and over. It is a really fun movie about a witch finding her powers and is a great option if you’re after a movie that‘s not a cartoon.

The final rated U option we have found is The Little Vampire (2000), a classic movie. Films with vampires or witches definitely scream Halloween (pardon the pun). This movie is about friendship and is a pretty wholesome watch. The only scene that may make viewers uncomfortable is where one of the vampires’ feed from a cow. So, maybe not a good choice if your kiddos are sensitive to situations like that.

Rated PG Films

PG stands for Parental Guidance, so with these films, there may be some scenes that are unsuitable for younger children. The BBFC have said that PG films should not unsettle a child aged around eight or older. When completing our research, we found that the majority of our favourite timeless Halloween movies are PG rated.

If your children are under eight years of age it’s recommended that you watch the film with them but you know your little ones better than we do.

Animated Movies

No one does creepy and spooky like Tim Burton and luckily a couple of his films are rated PG, including an all-time favourite with a massive cult following: The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993). It can be argued back and forth whether it’s a Christmas or Halloween film – we think it’s BOTH and so can absolutely be enjoyed during the spooky season. Full of catchy songs and beautiful animations this film is one for the whole family to experience.

There are a few Addams Family film options. The newest and arguably the least scary is the 2019 animation where the macabre Addams family moves to suburbia. We were a bit skeptical watching it because we love the 1991 version, but it’s an easy and humorous watch. We think the cartoon is a great way to introduce your kids to the eccentric family.

Along the haunted house theme, we have Monster House (2006) which has been described as a comedy-horror for children. It’s a suspense-filled film with some scary scenes based in a haunted house on Halloween night – perfect to add to the scary movie list. The plot is pretty fast and is helped along with some witty and funny moments. If you are a fan of The Goonies, Monster House will be a good pick for you.

ParaNorman (2003), is a film about a boy who can speak to the dead and it’s a movie that older kids and parents can both enjoy as the plot is fast-paced and interesting. This film could frighten some older children, but it is sprinkled with jokes to lighten the mood when needed. The online reviews for this movie are largely positive and it will definitely get the parents thinking. ParaNorman is worth a watch for those who enjoy a slightly different Halloween movie.

Live-action Movies

Casper The Friendly Ghost (1995), if there’s a character to help your kids to stop being afraid of ghouls it has got to be Casper. The movies are a really easy-going watch and are helped along by the comedy value added by Casper’s uncles. There are a few sentimental additions to the movie but overall, it’s a heartwarming film to settle down with and enjoy.

Hocus Pocus (1993), in our opinion this is the ULTIMATE Halloween film. It’s a funny and charming movie made by Disney that everyone can appreciate. Set in Salem with witches, magic, and a helpful black cat – Hocus Pocus is a textbook movie to watch every spooky season. As a whole, there are few scary parts to this film but even the ‘baddies’ are comical. For the music lovers out there, it even includes a catchy song number.

According to IMBD Scooby-Doo (2002), has been rated PG for some rude humour, language, and some scary action. To be honest, we think the comedy value will override any scary scenes as Scooby and Shaggy are always around to lighten a moment. Filled with monsters and mystery, the first and the second live-action movies will definitely be a good addition to your movie night lineup.

Harry Potter (Philosopher’s Stone 2001, Chamber of Secrets 2002, Prisoner of Azkaban 2004), the first three Harry Potter movies are all rated PG and although not an obvious Halloween choice – anything with witches, wizards, cauldrons, and monsters is definitely spooky season worthy. There are a couple of scenes in both films that will make the kids jump but generally, they’re a pretty wholesome watch and tick all the family film night boxes.

Moving on to the live-action Addams Family (1991) and Addams Family Values (1993), these movies can be a little jumpy with some mild violence, we recommend that if you have younger children to wait until they are over eight years old. The best part of the Addams Family is the one-liner jokes and overall ‘vibe’, but we would say that a lot of puns will go over the heads of the younger kids or aren’t suitable. However, it will definitely be a Halloween movie that the parents will enjoy watching.

Goosebumps (2015) is based around the famous writer of the best-selling book series R. L. Stine who is portrayed by Jack Black, so of course expect some comedy value. Without spoiling too much of the story expect to see some mystery, lots of monsters, and a theme throughout about facing your fears. Goosebumps is a pretty action-packed movie with a great buildup but maybe not one to watch if your kids are fans of puppets.

Another Tim Burton movie is Beetle Juice (1988), a strange, funny, and exciting watch for kids and adults alike. Another cult favourite, this film revolves around a ghost couple and the crazy poltergeist they hire to scare away potential house buyers. This is a guilty pleasure film and will guarantee some laugh out loud moments. Please bear in mind that there are few instances that could be unsuitable for children, particularly if younger than eight. It may be worth just checking the advisories before settling down to watch this one.

All ratings are based on the BBFC but of course, you know your kids best – if you think a film looks a little too scary for them then it’s probably a good idea to wait until they are a bit older. Halloween films are timeless so there’s always next year.

We hope this list has helped you with your scary film decision making. Enjoy your Spooktacular movie night and we wish you all a happy Halloween!