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Best Thrills and Chills For Kids (by Age)

From safe scares to teen thrillers, check out our list of creepy-fun movies for the whole family.

Best Thrills and Chills For Kids (by Age)

Fall is the season to carve pumpkins, decorate the house, and watch classic (or new!) Halloween movies. No matter what your trick-or-treat plans are this year, get in the mood with a spooky family film night everyone will enjoy. We've put together a list of creepy and festive flicks for all different age groups, from wee ones to teens, and of course, parents. 

Halloween Movie Guide for Every Age

Halloween is a fun time for making dress-up memories and trick-or-treating traditions that bring the family closer together. But even family frights can be too much for smaller children still figuring out what's real and what's make-believe. Our safelist is designed with the littles in mind.

Frightfully family-friendly
  • It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.  A cute and sweet tale to share with the whole family. The Peanuts pals prepare for tricks or treats while Charlie Brown and his adoring friend decide to wait for the Great Pumpkin to arrive.
  • Monsters, Inc. This cute movie is a great chance for kids to see the softer side of monsters and explore why they scare us in the first place.
Other ghoulish favorites
  • Spooky Buddies
  • Curious George: A Halloween BooFest
  • Halloween Is a Grinch Night
  • Spooky the Square Pumpkin
Thrills for Older Kids

Kids ages 7-10 are starting to appreciate (and be able to handle) spookier scenes and themes. You might still want to watch these together, though! (For the snuggling, of course).

Frightful favorites
  • Hotel Transylvania. Funny for kids and parents, Hotel Transylvania takes you on a journey with Dracula who has created a getaway for monsters to relax. Everything changes when a human comes to visit one day.
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. This eye-popping film makes viewers wish they were witches and sorcerers attending Hogwarts' mystical school of magic! Fraidy cats beware: There are a few semi-scary scenes with realistic visuals. Bring a blankie! 
 More creepy and cool 
  • Halloweentown
  • The Addams Family (2019 cartoon)
  • Monster House
  • Casper (1995)
For Pre-Teens

Many kids between 10-12 are between phases in life. These picks are a safe mix scary-not-scary.

Top pre-teen chillers
  • Hocus Pocus. Starring comic geniuses Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker, Hocus Pocushas become a fan favorite over the years. A teen and his younger sister must save the world from three misplaced witches accidentally summoned on Halloween.
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. The sequel to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is a scarier step-up taking Harry and the gang on darker adventures with Tom Riddle's diary and whatever's in that chamber. 
More freakishly fantastic
  • Paranorman
  • Coraline
  • T. 
  • Tim Burton's Corpse Bride
Teen Terrors

Younger teens are likely ready for some jumpier scares. But our list is still focused on spending quality family time together. Turn out the lights for these. 

Spine-tingling thriller

  • Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. Ever wondered what would happen if tall tales actually came to life? This thriller spirits you away with a misunderstood ghost who decides to make nightmares a reality.
More monstrously marvelous movies
  • Ghostbusters
  • Labyrinth
  • The Addams Family (1991)
  • Tucker & Dale Versus Evil
Family Fraidy Cats (kids and adults)

Not everyone loves to be scared for Halloween. If your children and older family members are afraid of Halloween, these stories have a gentler approach to the holidays. 

Ghoulishly good 
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas. This classic and stylish Tim Burton short might look scary, but we find out that there is a lively and curious side to the pumpkin king as he discovers that there are other holidays outside of Halloween.
Calmer than creepy
  • Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
  • Monster University
  • Pirates of the Caribbean 
  • The Incredibles

Final thoughts

For maximum Halloween fun, you need to figure out what level of creepiness your kids can handle. You know them best! Use this guide to help design the perfect spooky movie night.