All of these films will delight both kids and adults.
Halloween is fun time of the year for the kids—there are so many fun things to look forward to like choosing a costume, the class celebration at school, and trick-or-treating around the neighborhood with friends. Parents can decorate the house and make special treats to get in the spirit, but one simple way to get the whole family excited for All Hallows’ Eve is by planning a night in watching Halloween movies for kids.
We’ve compiled a list of both editor- and Real Simple reader-approved favorites. There’s enough variety for every taste, temperament, and age—and some of these the parents might remember watching when they were kids. Help with the age-appropriate part comes here from Common Sense Media, a nonprofit that helps families find the best media and technology for their kids.
So choose one (or two) of these, grab a bowl of popcorn and Halloween candy, and enjoy these flicks that range from classic to contemporary.
Room on the Broom
The short animated movie tells the story of a witch who makes room on her broom for animals who find things she’s lost in flight, which makes her cat unhappy. This not-rated movie is perfect for the little ones, but just keep in mind that there’s a scene with a scary dragon that spook them. It’s based on a beloved children’s book, so buy a copy to read at bedtime to familiarize the kids with the story.
Ages: 3 and up
To buy: $7; amazon.com.
It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
Celebrate Halloween with the gang from the comic strip Peanuts by watching this short not-rated movie that first ran as an animated television special back in 1966. The storyline is simple: Charlie Brown gets invited to a Halloween party while Linus hopes that The Great Pumpkin will finally visit. It might even bring back some good memories for the adults, too.
Ages: 4 and up
To buy: $10; amazon.com.
The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad
This is Disney’s 1949 G-rated animated adaptation of two classic children’s books, one American (The Legend of Sleepy Hollow) and the other British (The Wind in the Willows). Ichabod Crane is an awkward schoolteacher in a love triangle who fears the Headless Horseman, who wants to behead him. Mr. Toad is a wealthy English gent whose friends try to free him from jail where he’s landed, thanks to his love of fancy cars.
Ages: 6 and up
To buy: $8; amazon.com.
This 1998 not-rated fantasy film is about a young girl, Marnie, who finds out she’s a witch and gets transported to a village called Halloweentown, that is home to other supernatural creatures. Debbie Reynolds plays Marnie’s grandmother, an expert witch. This DVD version is a double feature and includes the sequel, so you can have a movie marathon night.
Ages: 7 and up
To buy: $12; amazon.com.
The Nightmare Before Christmas
This 1993 PG-rated animated fantasy, based on Tim Burton’s story and characters, tells the story of Halloween Town’s pumpkin king, Jack Skellington, who, weary of scaring real people, enlists ghouls, goblins and bats to help him take over Christmas in Christmas Town. Adventures ensue.
Ages: 7 and up
To buy: $13; amazon.com.
Kids who have recently moved to the historical town of Salem team up with an immortal cat in this PG-rated film. The group tries to steal a book of spells from evil witches (played with silliness by Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy) who are accidentally resurrected after 300 years.
Ages: 11 and up
To buy: $8; amazon.com.
A cult movie from director Mel Brooks, this 1974 PG-rated film is a parody of horror movies, especially adaptations of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Like most Brooks’ films, there is plenty of comedy, but parents should be aware that there are some scenes with mature jokes and some profanity. Introduce this funny classic to the older kids.
Ages: 12 and up
To buy: $14; amazon.com.