Halloween is upon us, which means that all of our favorite things are coming back into style: costumes, PSLs, sweaters, and unhealthy amounts of candy. Maybe most importantly is the resurgence of all of our spooky movies, but when you have kids it can be a challenge to find decent movies that aren’t too scary, but are also bearable for adults to watch. Today I’ve compiled a short list some of my favorite Halloween movies that are family-friendly! I’ve given a synopsis for every film without spoiling the story for those who haven’t seen the films.
Nightmare Before Christmas
What would Halloween be without this film? It’s been a fan favorite since 1993, and is considered by many to be a cult classic. It’s spooky and fun without being too childish for parents to watch! Don’t be afraid to sing along, either!
Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King, enjoys celebrating Halloween every year in his home of Halloween Town, but lately something feels like it is missing. He’s getting bored! When he stumbles across the portal to Christmas Town, will he find what he is looking for? Or will he regret what he wished for?
Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island
This has been a long-time favorite of mine, and I hope that is hasn’t been forgotten almost 20 years later! It is a short film, around 1 hour long, and has a great story that is different from the show, where the bad guys are usually fake. A great pick for kids and adults alike, with cheeky humor and the characters you love. The soundtrack is also pretty catchy! The trailer honestly doesn’t do the movie justice.
Scooby-Doo and the gang have spent some time apart, each chasing their own pursuits as adults. Daphne, now a TV reporter, is working to find real encounters with the paranormal. The gang decides to get back together, and are propositioned by a woman in New Orleans who claims the house she works in is haunted. Is this just another guy in a rubber mask, or is there more to this haunting than meets the eye?
The Addams Family
No Halloween is complete without the original kooky family! Go back to your childhood with this classic and see how much you identify with Morticia and Gomez as adults and learn that even when you’re spooky, family is number one!
Gomez has long been distraught over the mysterious disappearance of his brother, Fester. When Fester arrives unexpectedly after many years of being away, the Addams have to decide if Fester is who he really says he is, or after something more sinister.
Hotel Transylvania is a newer film, but the concept is pretty great: a hotel for all of the monsters of the world! If you’ve ever wondered where monsters go when they want a vacation, then this film is for you. There is plenty of underlying adult humor that will keep you entertained while your kids are mesmerized by the bright colors and plethora of monsters.
Count Dracula is gearing up to celebrate his daughter’s 118th birthday, and is determined to make it the best birthday yet! But when Mavis starts to show interest in the world beyond the castle’s walls, Dracula hatches a plan to dissuade her. All seems to be well, until a mysterious, goofy stranger appears.
Goosebumps is a treat for adults that were fans of the book series as kids! Modernized but not dull, Goosebumps is a great (re)introduction to the ghouls and monsters that went bump in the night between the pages. The monsters are more “real” in this live-action rendition, but not so scary that kids can’t watch it.
A teenager named Zach moves into a new town with his mom, and his befriended by a mysterious girl who happens to be the daughter of the legendary author R.L. Stine. When Stine’s monsters are unexpectedly released on the town, it’s a race against time to stop the evil lurking within the pages of the famous book series.
Although not considered popular when it first came out, Hocus Pocus has a reached a cult status of legends. Revisit this oldie but goodie and revel in the hokey relatability of the Sanderson Sisters: “Oh look, another glorious morning. …Makes me sick!”
Max, a teenager that doesn’t believe in fairy tales or magic, accidentally releases the witch trio on an otherwise dull Halloween night. What ensues is an adventure in magic, love, and a good dose of sarcasm.
If you haven’t heard the phrase “Can I keep you?”, can you really believe in true love? Christina Ricci shines in this live-action version of Casper the Friendly Ghost. It’s not terribly scary for the kids, and you might even shed a tear or two.
Casper helps a widower and his daughter find the ghost of the man’s wife and the girl’s mother. Unexpectedly, Casper falls in love with the daughter, and is determined to bring himself back to life. Will he succeed?
I ain’t ‘fraid of no ghost! A fun fill with a lot of the supernatural without being too scary, Ghostbusters is the perfect pick for a family movie night. Lots of nostalgia and one hell of a catchy theme song, both you and your kids will enjoy the adventure of this one.
Some paranormal scientists just can’t seem to catch a break! With no one willing to fund their research, they start their own business in catching ghosts. Shenanigans ensue, and before they know it, not only are they celebrities, but they also happen to be smack-dab in the middle of the biggest paranormal event in history! Can they stop the bad guys in time?
Along the lines of A Nightmare Before Christmas, Corpse Bride is a dark, stop-motion animation picture that will have you believing in true love by the end of it! Some elements might be a bit scary for young children, since there are a bunch of dead people, but overall it is an enjoyable film that is perfect for this time of year.
Victor is stuck in arranged marriage, and is feeling pretty miserable about it until he meets his betrothed, Victoria. He is head-over-heels in love, until while practicing his vows, he inadvertently marries a corpse and is dragged to the Underworld! Will Victor make it to his real marriage in time, or are they destined to be star-crossed lovers?
No Halloween movie list would be complete without this dark classic! Get sucked into the catchy soundtrack, and be prepared to call Beetlejuice in this love and action adventure gone terribly wrong!
A couple buys their dream home, only to experience a series of unfortunate events that kills them. When a living family moves into their thought-to-be-abandoned home, the couple must call upon the powers of Beetlejuice to have a happy ending. It’ll be fine…right?
There are so many fantastic Halloweeny movies out there—don’t become a prisoner of kid movies you hate this holiday season!
What are some of your favorite family Halloween movies?