Halloween is nearly here, and with all the rushing around making fabulous costumes and spookifying the yard for trick-or-treaters, you might not have time to pick out a classic Halloween movie for the kids to watch while they devour all that candy! Never fear, below is a list of the best Halloween movies for kids, or really, Halloween movies for the whole family, along with helpful reviews on how scary each movie is (none of them are really that scary).
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12. It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!
How Scary Is It? Not scary at all. Perfect for Halloweenies of all ages.
It wouldn't be a holiday without a Charlie Brown special to commemorate it. This Halloween special first aired in 1966, and has been happily entertaining new generations of Charlie Brown fans ever since.
Lucy Van Pelt: "All you have to do is walk up to a house, ring the doorbell, and say 'tricks or treats.'" Sally Brown: "Are you sure it's legal?"
11. Caspar The Friendly Ghost
How Scary Is It? Rated PG. There's a bit of suspense and some smart-talking bad-guy ghosts, but overall, still great for kids ages 7 and up.
This modern — well, 1995 — adaptation of a vintage cartoon series is sure to capture the hearts of the whole family. The charming little ghost called Casper resides in Whipstaff Manor, along with a trio of mischievous ghosts. When paranormal therapist James Harvey and his daughter Kat move into the Manor, Casper finally has the friend he's been waiting for.
"Who you gonna call? Someone else."
10. The Little Vampire
How Scary Is It? Could be kind of scary for very young or easily-frightened children. Includes stakes through the heart, some fighting, a dead mouse and a generally spooky tone.
Adorable Tony Thompson moved with his family from California to Scotland, and is having trouble fitting in. One night, dressed up in his vampire costume, Rudolph — a real vampire — mistakes him for one of his own and the two become fast friends.
"What twisted kind of mortal are you?"
9. Spookley The Square Pumpkin
How scary is it: Zero percent scary. Great for toddlers.
Where To Watch It: Disney Channel Junior, DVD
Looking for something to entertain those too young to trick-or-treat? Look no further than Spookley The Square Pumpkin. Much like Rudolph gets mocked for his red nose, the round pumpkins all give Spookley a hard time for his cubic shape. And again, like Rudolph, sturdy Spookley manages to save his patch-mates from a terrible storm. It's basically just Rudolph with pumpkins.
"It's hard to fit in when you've found that you're a square and the world is round."
8. Hocus Pocus
How scary is it? A little scary. One little girl dies. The tone is spooky and sometimes gross, but playful overall. Great for older kids (10+).
Perhaps one of the greatest family Halloween movies of all time, Hocus Pocus quickly became a cult hit after its premiere in 1993. Starring Bette Midler and Sarah Jessica Parker as 2/3 of the Sanderson Sisters, the film follows three Salem witches that are resurrected on All Hallows Eve. When they awaken again in 1993, they struggle to acclimate to modern life and steal some more youth out of the local youngsters before the sun comes up and they disintegrate for good.
"Oh look, another glorious morning. Makes me sick!"
7. The Worst Witch
How Scary Is It? Way less scary than Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. The effects are all pretty fake looking. But there are some cackling witch moments that might bother kids with a fear of witches.
Where To Watch It: DVD
Based on the book series by Jill Murphy, The Worst Witch is a made-for-TV Halloween movie that tells the story of Mildred Hubble, a clumsy young witch who's not doing very well at Miss Cackle's Academy for Witches. Starring Tim Curry as The Grand Wizard and Diana Rigg as Miss Constance Hardbroom, this story of magic, adventure and friendship is sure to entertain all your little witches this All Hallows Eve.
"A true witch isn't always one who comes out on top of the tests. A true witch has witchcraft in her at all times, and this is what you have, Mildred Hubble."
6. Scooby-Doo Meets The Boo Brothers
How Scary Is It? No scarier than any other Scooby Doo mystery. Great for kids that loved Blues Clues or Dora The Explorer and are ready to move on to some more advanced mysteries.
This made-for-TV film came out in 1987, at the height of Scooby-Doo's cartoon success. In this mystery, Shaggy, Scooby and little Scrappy head to Shaggy's late uncle's estate in order to claim an inheritance he left to Shaggy. But along the way they are pursued by ghosts, and when they finally get to the estate, they have to enlist the help of the Boo Brothers — kind of like a cross between the Ghostbusters gang and the Three Stooges — in order to solve the mystery.
Shaggy: "Let me get this straight. You guys are g-g-ghost exterminators?" Freako: "That's right mac, the Boo Brothers. If they're hauntin', we're huntin'."
5. Mom's Got A Date With A Vampire
How Scary Is It? Not scary. It might seem like Mom's going to become one of the undead for a while but (spoilers) she doesn't. This is one of those Disney Channel Halloween movies you'll want to watch over and over again.
Where To Watch It: Disney Channel, Amazon Video
Chelsea and Adam are both grounded, and they're just dying to get their mother Lynette (Caroline Rhea) out of the house. They decide to set her up with eligible bachelor Dimitri (Charles Shaughnessy) and think everything is going fine, until they discover that Dimitri is actually a vampire that wants to turn their mother into the queen of the undead!
Taylor Hansen: "I'm not going to let Dimitri turn Mom into an onion." Chelsea Hansen: "A what?" Adam Hansen: "A minion, I told him vampires turn people into minions."
4. The Haunted Mansion
How Scary Is It? A little scary. There's an image of a hanged woman, as well as some chase scenes and a creepy atmosphere (but with a happy ending). Older kids will enjoy (10+).
Jim Evers (Eddie Murphy) is a work-a-holic that decides to finally make some time for his family. He tries to save big on their vacation by taking them to Gracey Manor in the Louisiana Bayou, but as it turns out, Gracey Manor is home to a haunting secret.
Jim: "Hey, honey, you know they have dead people in the backyard." Sara Evers: "Well, some people have swimming pools, others have private cemeteries. It can happen."
How Scary Is It? There's a scary warlock character, as well as some zapping and spell-casting, but generally good for kiddos ages 7 and up. Disney Halloween movies are great for family viewing!
Where To Watch It: Disney Channel, DVD
Marnie's grandmother (Debbie Reynolds) is a witch. But Marnie's mother doesn't want her or her siblings to come into their powers. But all that is about to change when they visit their grandmother's home of Halloweentown, where it's Halloween all the time. This classic Disney Channel Halloween movie spawned a slew of sequels, but none is as heartwarming as the original.
"Magic is really very simple, all you've got to do is want something and then let yourself have it."
2. Halloween Is Grinch Night
How Scary Is It? About as scary as How The Grinch Stole Christmas (meaning not scary in the least. Although there is one song kind of like that scene where Snow White is running through the forest in the beginning of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (see above).
Where To Watch It: Check your local TV listings or online
The Grinch is not just for Christmas anymore! Halloween Is Grinch Night was made in 1977, only 11 years after the original Christmas special. It's a prequel to How The Grinch Stole Christmas, and it even won the Emmy that year for Outstanding TV Programming! Max is back, along with a new family of Whos consisting of Grandpa Josiah, Grandma Mariah and young Euchariah.
"Max! Go bring the paraphernalia wagon."
1. The Nightmare Before Christmas
How Scary Is It? Spooky, but with an overarching happy message. Recommended for ages 7 and up. It's one of those kids' Halloween movies for the ages!
Last but not least, no list of best Halloween — or Christmas — movies would be complete without Tim Burton's classic The Nightmare Before Christmas. Join Jack Skellington (Danny Elfman) once more as he leaves Halloween Town (no connection to Halloweentown) in search of Christmas.
"Just because I cannot see it, doesn't mean I can't believe it!"