Halloween Movies for Kids and Families
We love Halloween Season, which we all know is really Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Season. On movie nights leading up to the Great Night devoted to the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, we often stay up late watching a spooky movie. Not all movies are good for all members of the family. My goal is not to scare my children into being afraid of people or things. Once your child is old enough to know they don’t have to be afraid of ghosts, haunted houses, demons, or zombies then scary stories can be fun. But, that realization for kids usually doesn’t happen until their teens and after years of gospel study and quality Family Home Evenings.
Because of my background, I’ve seen a hundred or more scary movies in my life. These are those that I can recommend for an LDS household. As you can see, there are no slasher movies or HORROR movies with overt violence listed. No, they aren’t allowed in my house in any form. God did not intend for us to be afraid of other people, houses, gardening equipment or the ocean. He also does not want us to delight in the torture of others. Though there are really, really scary movies out there like The Exorcist and The Omen, I think they mis-characterize God, Lucifer, Good, and Evil. They show man as powerless against evil, and the victims of demons, which we are not. Because, many kids and even teens don’t understand fully how powerful WE are as humans, (our wands are bigger, so to speak) I really don’t want to confuse them. And, who wants to end a movie with a scripture lesson? Also, some of these demon movies come off as anti-Catholic, which ticks me off, and also try to make religious folks look like buffoons, which also ticks me off.
Most of these can be found on IMDB, Netflix, VidAngel, Amazon Prime or as cheap DVDs at Walmart. The links are to IMDB for further info.
- Max and Ruby’s Halloween DVD: Who doesn’t love Max’s antics and Ruby’s never ending patience? Really long with many episodes.
- Thomas Tank Engine-Chills, Spills and Other Thomas Thrills-DVD: scared my young children because the stories take place in the dark and fog.
- It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966) classic, not scary.
5 and up
- The Ghost and Mr. Chicken (1966) with Don Knotts. This is a comedy about a haunted house which, of course, turns out not to be haunted. The scene with organ playing by itself scared everyone who saw this as a child in the seventies. Your child may be in your bed.
- Matilda (1996) Not scary, just conflict laden. A little girl with mind powers lives in a dysfunctional home with mean parents and attends a dysfunctional school with mean teachers. Book by Roald Dahl. Tear Jerker. I just wanted the missionaries to show up at their door.
- Book of Life (2014) Not scary really, just loud. Revolves around the Day of the Dead. Very colorful with excellent modern music. You’ll be surprised by the cover songs.
- Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1969) I don’t think this was intended to be scary but it is at the end. It’s also very weird in a 60s sort of way.
- Hotel Transylvania (2012) PG. Fun. A vampire hotel keeper tries to keep his teenage daughter safe from the world of humans. His plans are thwarted when a human teen boy accidentally happens upon his hidden hotel.
- Hotel Transylvania 2 (2014) even funner! Vampire becomes a grandpa and hopes his grandson becomes a vampire, too!
- Monsters, Inc. (2001) By Pixar Studios. Not scary, but if your children have never been afraid of their closets before, this might put those thoughts into their brains.
- Halloweentown A young suburban girl discovers her mother and grandmother are witches. Charming, but there are creepy monster costumes and intense spooky scenes and my 7 year old said it was too scary and inappropriate and left less than halfway through.
- The Adventures of Ichabod Crane and Mr. Toad. Disney animated. Two movies in one DVD. Too scary for young children. I’m guessing 8 and up.
- Blackbeard’s Ghost (1968) This is supposed to be funny but younger kids will find it spooky. Try it but be prepared.
13 and up
- The Birds (1963) Classic, scary! Alfred Hitchcock directed.
- 13 Ghosts (1960) goofy but scary!
- Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983) Excellent book by Ray Bradbury. A mysterious circus with creepy MC comes to town.
- The Blob (1958) Classic, must see.
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001) Just mysterious!
- The Watcher in the Woods (1980) Scary depending on temperament of kids watching!
- Young Sherlock Holmes (1985) thrilling! PG-13 equivalent
- Poltergeist (1982) PG-13 Downright scary! Be warned!
- Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) Who doesn’t love a good musical about the dead! Written by Tim Burton, Music by Danny Elfman.
- Beetlejuice (1988) Comedy that can be scary. More music by Danny Elfman.
- Coraline (2009) (animated, creepy, … no really!, beware!)
- Monster House (2006) (Dark and too scary for little kids even though it’s animated. I’m serious!)
- Spirited Away Studio Ghibli. Not intended to be scary, per se, however, it is an emotional weird ride.
Older Teens and Adults
- Signs written by M. Night Shyamalan (2002) PG-13 (Can’t even talk about it! Emotional)
- The Mothman Prophecies (2002) PG-13-really scary!
- The Others (2001) PG-13 -really good, and I mean really.
- Rebecca (1940) Black and White. Mystery thriller based on an excellent book. Your teens will like it.
- Brothers Grimm (2005) Hucksters Grimm must face real demons in a twist like Bugs Life, Three Amigos, etc.
- The 6th Sense written by M. Night Shyamalan (1999) PG-13-really scary, tear jerker!
- Woman in Black (2012) PG-13 typical but spooky!
- Hellboy (2002) PG-13 Fun and loud! Written by Guillermo del Toro of Book of Life fame.
- Psycho (1960) Classic. Another Alfred Hitchcock. Murder scene in shower which seems tame by today’s standards. Amazing acting and tension throughout.
- The Village written by M. Night Shyamalan (2004) PG-13-really good, tear jerker! Not “scary.”
- Any of the New Benedict Cumberbatch Sherlock Holmes episodes. Intelligent! Fun! Put your cellphone down and just watch them all!
- Cowboys & Aliens (2011) PG-13. Daniel Craig (Meow!) and Harrison Ford. Fun and not scary!
If you have a movie suggestion for me, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org