It’s the most wonderful time of the year! No, not Christmas! Halloween! Pumpkins and sweater weather and all things spooky abound and we. are. here. for. it. It’s the ultimate kid holiday: candy and costumes and parties and fun and none of the obligations or stress of some
other holidays we could mention. That kind of carefree joy is infectious, spreading to adults and through families. And what better way to get in the spirit of the season with your little ghouls than by curling up with a family Halloween movie?
Holiday movies are sometimes hard to find on streaming services (one of our favorites,
, for example, is only available to purchase this year), but we’ve rounded up a good variety classic to modern. Of course, considering the themes of Halloween, you can expect Curious George: A Halloween Boo Fest these movies to follow suit – there is no dearth of zombies, witches, demons, skeletons, and ghosts in these films. So if you have particularly sensitive kiddos, you might want to check more detailed reviews before hitting play. (We recommend heading over to CommonSenseMedia.org to check out what other parents have to say about each movie.) But we’ve tried to find something for every taste, from silly to (not-too) spooky. So gather up a mug of witch’s brew (or PSL, whichever you prefer) and snuggle up with your little monster with some of our favorite Halloween movies for kids. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow A true Halloween classic! Disney+
Packaged together with a segment from
The Wind and the Willows (you’ll find it in the second half of The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad), The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is based on the short story by George Washington Irving in 1819. Connecticut school teacher Ichabod Crane travels to the quiet Dutch settlement in New York (Sleepy Hollow) where he charms all the ladies, especially Katrina Van Tassel, the daughter of the wealthiest man in town. Brom Bones, another of Katrina’s suitors, doesn’t take to kindly to this “Yankee” and tells the superstitious teacher the story of the devilish Headless Horseman. Stream The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, rated G, on Disney+ Super Monsters: Vida’s First Halloween Sundown: monsters up! Netflix
Pitchfork Pines isn’t an ordinary preschool. For one thing, all the students attend class at sundown. For another, the setting of the sun turns them from ordinary kids and into monsters with special powers! Under the tutelage of Igor and his granddaughter Esmie, the little monsters learn how to harness their powers and get ready for kindergarten. In this Halloween special, the monsters share their Halloween traditions with Vida, a visitor from Ciudad Monstruo who has never celebrated the holiday. She and her cousin Lobo teach them about Día de los Muertos.
Stream Super Monsters: Vida’s First Halloween, rated TV-Y, on Netflix Halloweentown Who among us didn’t dream we were secretly witches? Disney+
Marnie, Dylan, and Sophie don’t understand why their mother, Gwen, never lets them go out on Halloween. What’s the harm in a costume party? But when their grandma Aggie arrives for her annual October 31st visit, the truth is revealed: Aggie and Gwen are actually witches! Aggie wants Marnie to train as a witch; Gwen will hear none of it. But when Marnie and Dylan follow their grandma on a magical bus to her home in Halloweentown (where ghosts, goblins, and magic talismans are the norm) Marnie hopes to fulfill her destiny as a witch.
Stream Halloweentown, rated PG, on Disney+ Twitches Twins. Witches. Get it? Disney+
Apolla and Artemis are twins, born to a royal witch mother and powerful warlock father in the magical land of Coventry on Halloween night (naturally). But when an evil entity known as the Darkness threatens their safety and the realm itself, they are sent to Earth to live with two different families. Apolla becomes Camryn and Artemis becomes Alex... and each grows up unaware of their true, royal, and supernatural origin... and each other. On their 21st birthday, they reunite, realizing not only that they are twins, but that they are endowed with great magical powers and are destined to work together to save Coventry.
Stream Twitches, rated PG, on Disney+ Hocus Pocus
It’s been 300 years to the day that the
wicked and flamboyant Sanderson Sisters were hanged by the people of Salem for witchcraft. The locals still hold Halloween as a special holiday, but Max, who just moved to town from LA, doesn’t go in for all that hocus pocus. When the Sanderson sisters come back to life to resume their mission to remain young and beautiful forever by sucking the life out of all the children in Salem, it’s up to Max, his sister, Dani, and an immortal cat named Binx to make sure that doesn’t happen. Stream Hocus Pocus, rated PG, on Disney+ Hotel Transylvania Who knew Dracula was such an overprotective dad? Amazon Video
After an angry mob of humans kills his wife, Martha, Count Dracula decides monsters need a place where they can be among their own kind, and where he can raise his daughter, Mavis, in safety. So he builds the luxurious Hotel Transylvania. Frequent visitors include Frankenstein (and his wife, Eunice); a huge family of werewolves; the Invisible Man; and a mummy named Murray. But Mavis longs for the company of other 118 year olds (or at least the relative equivalent) and longs to explore the human world. When Dracula agrees, little does he know that a hapless human named Johnny will stumble into his lair... or that Mavis will fall head over heels for him!
Stream Hotel Transylvania, rated PG, on Amazon Prime ParaNorman When ghosts talk to you, you’d better listen. Tubi
Norman Babcock is a somewhat unusual kid who doesn’t really click with his family or his peers. But he still has lots of friends... they just so happen to be dead. Yes, Norman can communicate with ghosts. One day, his weird uncle tells him he must conduct a ritual to protect the town of Blithe Hollow from the spirit of a witch, who cursed the town centuries ago. But when the ceremony goes awry, Norman must summon all his courage, compassion, and supernatural powers to protect the town from a horde of newly revived zombies!
Stream ParaNorman, rated PG, on Tubi. Coco Death cannot stop family drama. Disney+
Miguel wants to be a musician, just like his hero, local legend Ernesto de la Cruz. Unfortunately, music is banned in his family. During an
accidental trip to the Land of the Dead on Día de los Muertos, he meets the skeleton spirits of his ancestors, including the stern Imelda, who banned music in the first place when her husband left her to pursue his career. Determined to honor his family and his dream of becoming a musician, Miguel seeks the otherworldly blessing of de la Cruz to return to the Land of the Living before he is trapped among the spirits forever. Stream Coco, rated PG, on Disney+ Goosebumps Have you ever lost yourself in a good book... like, really lost yourself? Amazon Video
Zach and his family have recently moved to Delaware after the death of his father. He thinks he’s found a friend in Hannah, his next-door neighbor, but is warned to keep his distance by her weird father. There’s a reason for the hostility: Hannah’s father is none other than R.L. Stine, beloved children’s author and creator of the
Goosebumps series, and he harbors a dark secret. It turns out that all of the characters he’s created actually exist, and must be locked away in their manuscripts lest they wreak havoc on the world. When the characters are unleashed, it’s up to Zach, Hannah, and Stine to set things right. Stream Goosebumps, rated PG, on Amazon Prime. The Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting This is why you always check in closets and under beds for monsters. Netflix
Babysitters are often asked to check for monsters under beds, but what do you do if you actually see one there? Based on the book trilogy of the same name,
The Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting is the story of Kelly, a babysitter who must rescue the child in her care after he is kidnapped by the Boogeyman on Halloween night. But not only does a spooky world of monsters exist, so too does a secret society of those who, like her, are determined to protect children from the forces of evil. Stream The Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting, rated PG, on Netflix Monsterville: Cabinet of Souls These traveling carnivals are getting more expensive all the time... Amazon Video
A small town Halloween festival is interrupted by the sudden appearance of a somewhat spooky carnival: Dr. Hysteria’s Hall of Horrors. High schoolers Beth, Kellen, Nicole and Luke are excited to go; Kellen even falls for the beautiful and mysterious Lilith, who works at the fair. But when Beth notices that the carnival seems to be bringing out the worst in all her friends, she discovers the horrible truth: this carnival is evil. Teens go there for fun, but are unwittingly preyed upon by the proprietors, who feed on their very souls!
Stream Monsterville: Cabinet of Souls, rated PG, on Amazon Prime. Casper Can I keep you? Amazon Video
Whipstaff Manor is a beautiful mansion in the town of Friendship, Maine, and legend has it that there’s a secret treasure hidden inside. One problem: it’s haunted by Casper, the friendly ghost, and his mischievous uncles! But when Casper sees a news report featuring Kat Harvey, the daughter of a prominent “paranormal therapist,” he schemes a way to bring her to the manor so he can finally have a friend. But greedy heiress Carrigan Crittenden has some schemes of her own; schemes that threaten the house and all who live (or... don’t... live?) there!
Stream Casper, rated PG, on Amazon Prime Coraline When something seems too good to be true it probably is... Tubi
Coraline Jones has recently moved to the Pink Palace, a spooky old house now divided into several apartments. When she finds a secret door in the living room, she crawls through only to discover a world fairly similar to her own, but
better. Her parents are nicer, the house is more fun, and it seems that everyone there wants things to be special, just for her. But things are not always what they seem and, soon, it becomes clear why the owner of the Pink Palace never lets children board there – all of this has happened before. Can Coraline save herself, and her parents, before it happens again? Stream Coraline, rated PG*, on Tubi.
*Full disclosure: this one is definitely on the
scarier side of PG, so sensitive children be warned. The Witches “Vitches vork only vis magic!” HBOMax
Helga knows all about witches. Her friend was captured by them when they were girls in Norway. She makes sure her grandson, Luke, knows all about how to spot them: square toes, itchy wigs, and, of course, vibrant purple eyes. When the two go on a holiday together on the English seaside, they just so happen to be staying at the hotel where all of England’s witches are secretly gathered to unleash their newest plot to harm children: a potion that will turn them all into mice! Will Luke be able to warn the world in time?
Stream The Witches, rated PG*, on HBOMax
*This one is also on the scarier side, as many children of the 90s who still live in fear of the Grand High Witch will tell you
It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown Have you ever seen a pumpkin patch more sincere than this one? AppleTV
Come on now: you didn’t think we forgot this one, did you? No list of Halloween family entertainment would be complete without this classic, the OG Halloween special and, dare we say, the GOAT? As Charlie Brown and his friends celebrate Halloween, Linus tries to convince everyone to join him in the pumpkin patch, where the Great Pumpkin will appear and bestow gifts of toys to all the sincere children who believe in its power! Surely it will come this year: it always comes to the most sincere pumpkin patch, and has there
ever been a patch more sincere that this one?! Stream It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, rated TV-G, on AppleTV
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This article was originally published on
Sep. 10, 2021