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Family Friendly Halloween Movies - Horror Movies for Adults and Kids

Updated on October 7, 2009

It can hard to find some family friendly Halloween movies, especially for adults who plan to actually be entertained.  "Horror" movies for kids are often sappy, ugly, and worst of all, not scary!  For the adult Connoisseur of monster movies, here are some family friendly Halloween and horror movies to show the kids without making you want to blow your brains out.

A word of advice, though: every parents knows what's best for their kids, but I would hold off on a family viewing night for any of these selections until the child is around seven years old.  Otherwise, horror movies for children and adult are a great way to enjoy yourself this October.

The Nightmare Before Christmas - Jack Skellington
The Nightmare Before Christmas - Jack Skellington

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Don't get confused like my father was: Tim Burton's stop-motion masterpiece is not for Christmas. The Nightmare Before Christmas is a perfect childrens movie for Halloween. Bordering the fine line between child-like whimsy and genuine creepiness, this is the perfect scary movie for kids that parents can enjoy, too.

Featuring some gross-out imagery sure to get some giggles from the preteen crowd. But this film also features surprising song and dance numbers written and composed by Danny Elfman. You wouldn't think it, but the spontaneous singing never does anything to detract form the spooky feel of the film. Kids will love gross monsters and weird plot while adults will appreciate the beautiful animation and clever writing.

Sugessted for: Kids 8+

Poltergeist's scary clown
Poltergeist's scary clown


One of the first horror film's I ever saw as a kid, Poltergeist is a great horror movie for families. All of the scares are "otherworldly" in nature, so there are no slashers, murderers, or knife wielding monsters to worry about.

Which is not to say it is for everyone: there are some disturbing moments in the film, including a man who has his flesh ripped off to become a skeleton (which isn't as graphic as you might think), a terrifying clown doll, and a few other adult scares. However, older children should be able to handle it and the film is a downright classic.

Nominally helmed by The Texas Chainsaw Massacre's Tobe Hooper, the common Hollywood rumor is that it was ghost directed by producer Steven Spielberg. If he did have a hand in the direction, it certainly shows. In spite of some serious scares, the film has plenty of warmth and humor in it as well. At its heart, Poltergeist is about a family coming together to face the unknown, making it a great horror movie for families.

Sugessted For: Kids 10+

Billy Murray in Ghostbusters - slimed.
Billy Murray in Ghostbusters - slimed.


More of a comedy than a horror film, Ghostbusters is a great choice for a family Halloween movie night. One of the most popular films of the '80s, it should be legally required to share this film with the next generation.  Not exactly a kids movie, but children will enjoy it all the same.

Featuring ghosts that range from the silly (Slimer the green hot dog gobbling apparition) to the terrifying (Rick Morranis the murder-dog) to somewhere in between (The Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man shouldn't be scary but...), Ghostbusters is just as likely to scare the underage crowd as it is to make them laugh.

Written as a comedy, most of the humor in the film is aimed at adults. However, Bill Murray's lecherous attempts to win over the women in his life are likely to go over the heads of most kids. Scary (but not too scary), funny, and a favorite for adults and children, Ghostbusters is a great horror movie for kids.

Suggested: Kids 8+

Something Wicked This Way Comes Movie Poster
Something Wicked This Way Comes Movie Poster

Something Wicked This Way Come

Based on the classic novel by Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Comes has a unique quality missing from most horror movie's for kids: intelligence. The movie is incredibly scary and features some interesting adult themes and concepts, but the content is perfectly suited for children.

The story deals with the arrival of a mysterious and frightening circus comes to town. Throughout the film, the main characters (along with a helpful father figure) battle against evil. Something Wicked This Way Comes isn't just a horror movie, it is a coming of age film. Younger kids might find themselves bored due to too few wacky antics, but this literary classic has made a great jump to the silver screen.

Suggested: Kids 8+

The Worst Witch Poster
The Worst Witch Poster

The Worst Witch

Save this one for after mom and dad have had a few (dozen) glasses of wine. Be aware that this is not actually a good movie. The Worst Witch is a family friendly Halloween movie that might inspire some love from Halloween loving tykes. Young kids will enjoy this elementary school wizardry romp. The adults will love it for its kitschy humor.

Set in a school for witches, The Worst Witch is an inoffensive and low budget romp. Adults with a campy sense of humor will love the (extremely extended) Tim Curry music video at the end. Far from the best film, but a uniquely fun family friendly horror movie.

Suggested: Kids 3-8, parents who watch bad movies for fun

Tim Curry Rocks out a little too hard in The Worst Witch

Then again, maybe they'd rather just go out...

What's type of horror movies are right for kids really depends on the individual child.  Don't let their age be the only guideline.  I saw the original Alien at seven and turned out all right (mostly).  You know your kid: use your best judgment.  Happy Halloween!


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    • lrdl3535 profile image

      Richard Lindsay 

      6 years ago from California

      Thanks for sharing

    • Ironman1992 profile image


      6 years ago

      The Nightmare before Christmas is one of my favorite movies to this day. Stopmotion just has a special appeal and is good for movies of the horror genre.

    • shamani67 profile image


      7 years ago

      I am a great Horror Movie fan. Love them all. I found that the Goosebumps series are great for the whole family.

      For adults only: Evil Dead and a must see (based on a true story in Australia) Wolf Creek. You gotta see it.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      i think hocus pocus is a great family halloween movie me and my kids love it

    • Najia Almas profile image

      Najia Almas 

      8 years ago


    • profile image


      8 years ago from Western NC

      Good Hub.

      Actually almost all classic Universal would be considered family friendly nowadays. No gore, some scares. Although the monster-ramas "House Of Frankenstein," and "House of Dracula" aren't among the best of the series, they can be good introductions to the genre for crumb crunchers.

    • Glimmer515 profile image


      8 years ago from Never Never Land

      Great idea for a hub but I have to say I don't think Poltergeist is very child friendly, I watched it when i was very little and i had nightmares for days. and where is Gremlins??? Now that's fun for the whole family

    • Browland profile image


      8 years ago from Georgia

      Good suggestions! I have to check out The Worst Witch now, b/c my husband and I enjoy really bad movies and Tim Curry is amazing in a scary way


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