14 Family Halloween Movies to Watch This October
Looking for chills and thrills this fall season? Check out our round-up of the best family-friendly Halloween movies.
By Suelain Moy
It’s time to get spooky! We rounded up the best Halloween movies for families—some of which are available on your favorite streaming services. The classic films will deliver plenty of thrills for Mom, Dad, and the kids. Just don’t be surprised if there’s a sleepover party in your bed afterward!
1. Hocus Pocus 2
Twenty-nine years after the original Hocus Pocus, three BFFs are tasked with managing the return of the Sanderson Sisters to Salem, set off by the lighting of a new black flame candle created by a Sanderson superfan. The opening of the film even offers a prequel that shares the backstory of Winnifred (Bette Midler), Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker), and Mary (Kathy Najimy).
What Parents Like: Lots of millennial parents who grew up with the OG Hocus Pocus will absolutely see the sequel is a “boiling cauldron of nostalgia,” as Rotten Tomatoes puts it. Plus, written and directed by women, it’s also pleasantly hefty on girl power.
What Kids Like: Kid-friendly one-liners, a lovable zombie, and a book that’s alive—plus the fact that it illustrates the magic of friendship.
A young couple dies in a car accident and discovers unwelcome pests in their home: the new owners. They summon supernatural help to scare the pesky newcomers away, but then need help getting rid of the hired hand.
What Parents Like: And you thought calling the exterminator was a chore! Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis shine as a happily married couple in life and in death.
What Kids Like: Lavishly surreal sets and a devilish Michael Keaton make this a breathlessly quirky and edgy film. Winona Ryder is a Goth girl who wears her gloom like a charm bracelet.
3. Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein
It’s a monster mash when Bud Abbott and Lou Costello meet Count Dracula, Frankenstein, and the Wolfman. The hapless duo are baggage handlers who encounter more than one classic screen monster in McDougal’s House of Horrors and become part of a plot to give Frankenstein a new and feebler brain—Costello’s.
Rated: Not rated
What Parents Like: Look for vintage performances from Bela Lugosi, Lon Chaney Jr., Glenn Strange, and the voice of Vincent Price as the Invisible Man.
What Kids Like: It’s fun to see a grown man cry. Kids will relate to the hysteric antics of scaredy-cat Costello: “ABBOTT!”
4. Animaniacs: Spooky Stuff
Inkblot sibs Wakko, Yakko, and Dot run amok in six skits featuring Frankenstein, the Grim Reaper, and the big baddie himself, Satan.
Rated: Not rated
What Parents Like: You’ve gotta love a cartoon that intones: “Beyond these doors is an agony worse than all others…whiny protest songs from the 60s!”
What Kids Like: Zany slapstick that pokes fun at typical fright-night fare. In one scene, the kids ask Count Dracula, “Didn’t you used to teach math on Sesame Street?”
5. Casper and Casper Meets Wendy
This family Halloween movie is Ghost for tweens: Ghost meets girl, ghost saves girl. Can ghosts and girls, or ghosts and witches, really be friends, or (gulp) more? In the first film, Christina Ricci is the daughter of a paranormal psychiatrist who makes house calls to the mansion where Casper and his uncles haunt. In the second, Hilary Duff is a fledgling witch, who must flee to a Catskills resort with her three aunts to escape a warlock.
Rated: PG, G
What Parents Like: Parents may cringe at the filmy dialogue until they see their preteen staring dreamily at the screen. Ghosts really do get the best girls, especially with Ricci and Duff along for the ride.
What Kids Like: It’s an otherworldly little romance with special effects and screwball relatives.
It’s bedlam in the Big Apple when ghosts run amok in New York City. A ragtag team of professors-turned-exterminators sets out to capture the unruly haunters and prevent a disaster of Biblical proportions. Think “Old Testament” with “fire and brimstone coming down from the skies.”
What Parents Like: Bill Murray and company are in high comedic form and spirits as the wisecracking scientists. Sigourney Weaver is a sultry demon.
What Kids Like: Get your proton guns ready. These phantoms pop up faster than the ghostbusters can zap and bottle them. The biggest demon turns out to be all fluff: the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.
7. Ghostbusters: Afterlife
The next chapter of the Ghostbusters series premiered in 2021. Directed by Jason Reitman and produced by Ivan Reitman, the flick follows the story of a single mom and her two kids who arrive in a small town only to begin to piece together their connection to the original professors-turned-supernatural exterminators.
What Parents Like: CGI takes the franchise’s effects up plenty of notches, and the script successfully mixes elements of the original—such as the original cast—with a new cast and premise, which lays the groundwork for more ghostbusting to come.
What Kids Like: Slapstick comedy, special effects, and supernatural elements galore.
8. Hocus Pocus
Max is a California teen whose family relocates to Salem, Massachusetts, where local lore has it that the three Sanderson Sisters will return to wreak havoc. The three witches are intent on getting eternal youth and beauty the old-fashioned way—by sucking the life force out of children.
What Parents Like: As one character says, “Aren’t you broads a little too old to be out trick-or-treating?” Well, yes and no. Bette Midler is a treat as campy, oldest sister Winifred. Too bad there isn’t more of the divine diva, or over-the-top musical numbers like “I Put a Spell on You.” Sarah Jessica Parker is fetching as a nymph-like enchantress.
What Kids Like: Twitchy fun that’s not too scary, thanks to clever one-liners and diverting subplots involving a zombie, a talking cat, a spellbook, and a cute but bratty kid sister.
9. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
Oh, nothing compares to the breathless suspense of Halloween, except for maybe Christmas. Linus and Sally wait all night in the pumpkin patch for the Great Pumpkin to appear, Snoopy is in high-flying form as an ace pilot, and the gang compares their Halloween loot.
Rated: Not rated
What Parents Like: Expectations and frustrations are a part of life. Thankfully, the animation is never dizzyingly hyper or distracting, especially when accompanied by Vince Guaraldi’s subtle jazz score.
What Kids Like: Disappointment is finding a rock in your sack. After the original broadcast, children all over the country mailed in candy for Charlie Brown in sympathy.
10. Super Monsters
Famous Halloween monsters’ preschool-aged kids are the focus of this Netflix show. In the series, the children of Count Dracula as well as a young mummy, zombie, witch, dragon and more get ready for kindergarten and practice their powers.
What Parents Like: The sweet monsters “model positive behavior for preschoolers,” notes Common Sense Media.
What Kids Like: The series offers nonstop Halloween action, while the characters teach kids how to work as part of a team and tackle everyday lessons.
11. The Little Vampire
Tormented souls can be sweet—or at least they are to Tony, a lonely American boy who dreams of vampires. In Scotland he finds a soulful family of bloodsuckers who harbor a secret craving: to become human. Magic amulets, comets, vampire hunters, and a herd of flying vampire cows add clever and startling mischief to an entertaining yarn.
What Parents Like: Meeting the neighbors can be fun. Even vampire moms worry about their kids, and tenderly wipe off their mouths after a messy meal.
What Kids Like: Thrilling flying sequences show the unathletic Tony soaring in the night sky with his new nocturnal best friend, Rudolph.
A family’s house becomes the site of eerie paranormal activity and visitations. It’s amazing how quickly ordinary household objects—chairs, television sets, the tree outside your window—can become ominous and terrifying.
What Parents Like: Suburbia is scary, but overdevelopment is the worst.
What Kids Like: Be warned. Youngsters will be running to turn on the light.
13. The Witches
Anjelica Huston is the Grand High Witch who presides over a convention of cackling, scheming witches in a sleepy seaside British hotel. It’s up to Luke, a brave 6-year-old, to stop their evil plan to turn the world’s children into mice, using chocolate as the lure.
What Parents Like: Based on the Roald Dahl book, the film reinforces that there are unseen dangers and evils in the world that innocent eyes can’t see. Luke’s grandmother, Helga, is a stalwart and wise protector.
What Kids Like: Witches can be tricky to spot, but underneath the stylish wigs, dresses, and masks, they have gleaming purple eyes, square toes, and bald, warty heads.
14. The Worst Witch
Mildred is the new student at a very proper British boarding school for witches, where the lesson plans include flying in formation and concocting laughing potions.
What Parents Like: With Charlotte Rae playing both the dean and her dastardly twin, Haggis, this is the The Facts of Life for cute covens. Tim Curry hams it up as the Grand Wizard, complete with musical numbers.
What Kids Like: Mildred gets off to a rough start but she soon passes with flying colors, especially when she transforms the snobby bully into a pig and saves the school.