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Best Halloween movies for kids and families

Even if your kids have a high tolerance, they might not be ready for classic horror films, so here's our top picks of the best family-friendly scary movies

USA. Anne Hathaway in a scene from the ©Warner Bros. new movie: The Witches (2020).  Plot: Based on Roald Dahl's 1983 classic book 'The Witches', the story tells the scary, funny and imaginative tale of a seven year old boy who has a run in with some real life witches!  Ref: LMK110-J6872-201020 Supplied by LMKMEDIA. Editorial Only. Landmark Media is not the copyright owner of these Film or TV stills but provides a service only for recognised Media outlets.
Anne Hathaway in a scene from the Warner Bros remake of The Witches (2020) based on Roald Dahl's 1983 scary but funny classic book. (Warner Bros)

Halloween is upon us, a time of spooks, scares, and delightful chills and watching horror movies is part of the thrill.

When it comes to introducing children to the world of frights, the key is to do so in an age-appropriate with enjoyable content.

With the lights off and the comfort of a sofa, kids can embrace just the right amount of fear, ready to hide under a blanket if it becomes too intense or turn off the movie if necessary.

Read more: Every TV show and film to watch to celebrate spooky season

Whether your little ones are brave adventurers or prefer a milder dose of spookiness, we've got a selection for a safe fun Halloween for the whole family.

There are plenty of spooky options to keep them entertained throughout the year, here's our top family-friendly Halloween movies.

Hocus Pocus (1993) - For families who want to be bewitched

Kathy Najimy, Bette Midler & Sarah Jessica Parker Film: Hocus Pocus (1993) Characters: Mary Sanderson,Winifred 'Winnie' Sanderson & Sarah Sanderson  Director: Kenny Ortega 16 July 1993   **WARNING** This Photograph is for editorial use only and is the copyright of DISNEY and/or the Photographer assigned by the Film or Production Company and can only be reproduced by publications in conjunction with the promotion of the above Film. A Mandatory Credit To DISNEY is required. The Photographer should also be credited when known. No commercial use can be granted without written authority from the Fi
Kathy Najimy, Bette Midler & Sarah Jessica Parker in Disney's delightfully spooky and silly Hocus Pocus. (Disney/Alamy)

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Hocus Pocus is a Halloween staple that tells the story of three mischievous witches, the Sanderson sisters, who return to life in Salem, Massachusetts.

The film sees a group of children with the help of a talking cat take on the three sisters from achieving immortality.

Directed by Kenny Ortega with performances from Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy, this spooky comedy has become an evergreen Halloween favourite.

Hocus Pocus 2 was released in 2022 with the Sanderson sisters resurrected to terrorise Salem once again.

IMDb rating: 6.9/10

Hocus Pocus is streaming on Disney+.

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) - A Halloween animated gem for young film fans

Sally, the rag doll from Halloween Town tries to save Santa, in Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993). (Alamy/Disney)

Thirty years on, Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas, still captures audiences of all ages.

A darkly enchanting animation film where Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town, discovers Christmas. Bridging the gap between Halloween and Christmas.

While there are no direct remakes, this film has inspired merchandise, a theme park ride, and a variety of adaptations.

With its visually stunning animation and a soundtrack by Danny Elfman, the film has become a Halloween holiday classic and was nominated for an Oscar.

IMDb rating: 8.0/10

The Nightmare Before Christmas is streaming on Disney+.

Casper (1995) - A must watch for younger kids

Original Film Title: CASPER.  English Title: CASPER.  Film Director: BRAD SILBERLING.  Year: 1995.  Stars: CHRISTINA RICCI. Credit: UNIVERSAL/AMBLIN / Album
Christina Ricci starred in Casper, another spooky family favourite. (Alamy)

In this touching film Casper the ghost, befriends a young girl and her father, a paranormal expert when they move into his crumbling home.

Directed by Brad Silberling and staring Christina Ricci, Bill Pullman, Malachi Pearson (voice of Casper) provides a heartwarming funny family film.

With just a touch of spookiness of finding friends in unexpected places, together fighting against wicked spirits is a must watch for younger children.

Casper was the first movie to have a fully CGI-animated lead character. There have been direct-to-video prequels and a CGI/live-action film titled "Casper: A Spirited Beginning" in 1997.

IMDb rating: 6.1/10

Casper is available to rent or buy on digital.

Don't Look Under the Bed (1999) - You just don't know what's under your bed

Disney's made for TV film Don't Look Under the Bed is a mix of family drama and mystery which tells the story of Francis, a teenager who's falsely accused of causing pranks around her home town. She teams up with a supernatural friend, Larry Houdini, to uncover the real culprits – the Boogeyman and his army of Boogeymen.

Read more: Disney at 100: How the studio first began as it celebrates its centenary

Controversies surrounded the film due to its potentially frightening content, which raised concerns among parents and some child advocacy groups, leading to a reduction in its airtime on the channel.

A a more teen-family Halloween experience that's perfect for a spooky movie night on the sofa aided with popcorn.

IMDb rating: 7.0/10

Don’t Look Under The Bed is streaming on Disney+.

The Addams Family (1991) - The eerie family through the ages

ADDAMS FAMILY, Raul Julia, Anjelica Huston, 1991
Raul Julia and Anjelica Huston in 1991's The Addams Family. (Alamy)

The Addams Family has been a beloved and enduring part of pop culture since its inception in the 1960s.

What it began as a comic strip, then later a TV series which ran from 1964 to1966, it has been reinvented into various movies including two recent animated movies. It explored the family's eccentric antics and how they cope with the "normal" world.

The eccentric Addams family is brought to life in the 1991 classic. Gomez, Morticia, and their delightfully macabre relatives find themselves entangled with a con artist who claims to be a long-lost relative.

Netflix's Wednesday directed by Tim Burton has also reinvigorated the brand for a new generation.

With dark humour and love at its core, this series has remained a Halloween classic for decade, with fans rating the 1991 original highest.

IMDb Rating: 6.9/10

The Addams Family is streaming on Paramount+.

Goosebumps (2015) - A spine-tingling family adventure

Odeya Rush, Jack Black, Ryan Lee and Dylan Minnette star in Goosebumps. (Columbia Pictures)
Odeya Rush, Jack Black, Ryan Lee and Dylan Minnette star in Goosebumps. (Columbia Pictures)

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R.L. Stine's Goosebumps book series has been a spine-tingling source of entertainment for young readers for decades.

The Goosebumps film franchise came to life in 2015 with a live action movie directed by Rob Letterman, bringing Stine's books to life in one wild adventure.

When a teenager accidentally releases these creatures into the real world, chaos ensues, and it's up to a group of brave kids to stop them. The film combines nostalgia with contemporary scares, making it a modern favourite for young horror enthusiasts.

Starring Jack Black as a fictionalized version of R.L. Stine himself, the film achieved considerable success and a thrilling adventure for audiences of all ages.

IMDb rating: 6.3/10

Goosebumps is streaming on NOW with a Sky Cinema Membership.

Hotel Transylvania (2012) - A perfect Halloween getaway

Why not book a stay in Hotel Transylvania this spooky season? (Alamy/Sony)

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Released in 2012, Hotel Transylvania, directed by Tony Gatlif, is a delightful animated film that takes viewers on a journey into the world of monsters and mayhem.

Hotel Transylvania centres around a young man named Zingarinho whose father — a circus performer — mysteriously disappears. In his quest to find his father, he stumbles on an eerie hotel inhabited by all sorts of supernatural beings, including vampires, mummies, and werewolves.

He befriends a vampire's daughter named Little Dracula and embarks on a whimsical adventure.

The film beautifully explores the themes of friendship and acceptance and has become a popular choice for Halloween fun.

IMDb rating: 7.0/10

Hotel Transylvania is streaming on Netflix, Channel 4, and Sky.

The Witches (1990) - Get ready to be spellbound by The Grand Witch

The Witches  Year: 1990 UK Anjelica Huston  Director: Nicolas Roeg
Anjelica Huston played the grand witch in 1990's The Witches. (Alamy)

Roald Dahl's imaginative and often dark tales have captivated readers of all ages for generations with The Witches twice on the big screen.

Directed by Nicolas Roeg, the 1990 film adaptation of The Witches remains a cherished classic for many. This cinematic gem, faithful to Dahl's novel, stars Anjelica Huston as the Grand High Witch, tells the story of a young boy who stumbles upon a convention of witches led by the sinister Grand High Witch.

While the ending differed from the book, the film remained true to Dahl's imaginative storytelling.

In 2020, a new generation of filmgoers was introduced to the whimsical yet chilling world of witches with the release of the remake directed by Robert Zemeckis.

The Witches has remained a beloved and timeless Halloween treasure for those who enjoy a touch of the macabre.

IMDb Rating: 6.8/10

The Witches (1990) is available to buy or rent on digital.