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25 Best Scary Movies for Kids


scary movies for kids

With the extreme content of so many movies these days, scary films you can watch with your entire family on Halloween are priceless.
This list of scary movies for kids will safely entertain the whole brood on any dark and stormy night! No chainsaws, no flesh-eating zombies… but we can’t promise no nightmares!
So bring out the Butterworth’s and dim the lights!

Awake at Midnight’s Top 25 Best Scary Movies for Kids


Little Monsters

25. Little Monsters
(1989) PG

If Howie Mandel was the monster under my bed, I would run for my life! He’s a far cry from Tedd Arnold’s Huggly.
Fred Savage (from The Wonder Years) leads a frantic chase to return to the human world (from under the bed) before sunrise… or he’ll become a monster himself!


Little Vampire

24. The Little Vampire
(2000) PG

Despite the silly cuteness of the actors in the advertising, this is actually a gripping thriller. When a boy befriends a vampire child, he must then fight the descendant of Van Helsing in order to protect him.


Corpse Bride

23. The Corpse Bride
(2005) PG

Another Tim Burton Halloween special!
Not to be confused for a follow-up to The Nightmare Before Christmas, this tells the story of a poor groom who must marry the wrong girl. Be careful whose finger you put a wedding ring on.


Hotel Transylvania

22. Hotel Transylvania
(2012) PG

An animated comedy about a vacation spot in rural Transylvania, catering to monsters.
Dracula’s daughter longs for the real world, and ends up falling in love… with a human. (The most savage of all the members of The Monster Club!)



21. Arachnophobia
(1990) PG-13

John Goodman (Norm from Cheers) takes on the job of spider exterminator.
…because there are millions of them…


Addams Family

20. 20. The Addams Family
(1991) PG-13

A modern take on the Addams Family TV series.
Though this spawned two sequels, the first is the best. It should be followed up by watching some of the original episodes!


Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman

19. Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman
(1943) G

The ruins of Castle Frankenstein are explored and the Monster is discovered encased in a tomb of ice!
A black and white monster classic! This story takes place before the events of House of Dracula, and establishes an enmity between the Monster and Larry Talbot.


Haunted Mansion

18. The Haunted Mansion
(2003) PG

A spin-off from the ride at Disney World, Eddie Murphy explores an old plantation house. Can he break the curse before the clock strikes thirteen?


Twilight Zone

17. Twilight Zone: The Movie
(1983) PG

Do you want to see something really scary…?

Four vignettes remaking some of the classic episodes.
“Hey Rocky, watch me pull a rabbit outta my hat!”
They are better enjoyed if you are familiar with the original episodes, so be sure to watch them, too!


Monster Squad

16. The Monster Squad
(1987) PG-13

“The wolfman’s got nards!

Cheesy, but fun! If you like this one, The Goonies will be a hit, too!


Vampire's Assistant

15. Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant
(2009) PG-13

There is a war brewing within the vampire world just as poor Darren gets caught up in the life of the undead. His best friend becomes a victim of the war as well.
An adaptation of Darren Shan’s novels about a circus of freaks and monsters. If you like this, go read the books! It only gets better from here!


House of Dracula

14. House of Dracula
(1949) G

Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, and Dracula all in the same movie! One of Universal’s most climactic thrillers brings The Monster under the control of the Lord of the Vampires! Can Lawrence Talbot stop his nefarious scheme?



13. Frankenweenie
(2012) PG

A child loses his dog. Wouldn’t you do everything you could to bring back your beloved pet? Tim Burton. ‘Nuff said?


Monster House

12. Monster House
(2006) PG

A thriller from the creators of Coraline. You’ll be hanging on the edge of your seat at the ending, when the house itself comes to life!
Another intelligent mystery about a crotchety old curmudgeon who chases kids off his front lawn, and also an unforgettable love story.



11. Coraline
(2009) PG

An adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s early foray into children’s fantasy books.
An amazing fantasy. The “other mother” will leave even the adults looking under their beds at night.


The Witches

10. The Witches
(1990) PG

A witch’s convention gets hungry for the taste of children in this adaptation of Roald Dahl’s imaginitive book.


13 Ghosts

9. 13 Ghosts
(1960) PG

Treasure hunting in a house that’s really haunted! This old black & white movie is a lot like a visit to Mayberry, with a dash of murder!  
(Not to be confused with the 2001 remake that is definitely NOT for kids!)
A William Castle classic originally filmed in 3-D Illusion-O vision!


Young Frankenstein

8. Young Frankenstein
(1974) PG

Bette Midler and Gene Wilder’s parody of Frankenstein.
Imagine the father from Everybody Loves Raymond dancing to Astaire’s Puttin’on the Ritz, dressed as Frankenstein’s Monster!



7. Paranorman
(2012) PG

Norman can see dead people, so it falls to him to save the town when its witch-burning past comes back to haunt them!
Paranorman is one of the most intelligent of the computer-animated horror films I’ve seen.



6. Gremlins
(1984) PG

If an antique dealer cryptically warns you not to feed the Magwai after midnight, LISTEN to him!



5. Beetlejuice
(1988) PG

Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice! Another Tim Burton classic!
A mischievous spirit indoctrinates a newly deceased couple into the afterlife. The soundtrack even includes Harry Bellafonte!


Something Wicked This Way Comes

4. Something Wicked This Way Comes
(1983) PG

An excellent adaptation of the book by Ray Bradbury, this is a study of the innermost desires of an all American town and a boy’s desire to connect with his father.


Hocus Pocus

3. Hocus Pocus
(1993) PG

Three witches run Amok! Bette Midler and her crew raise the dead in this hilarious Halloween romp!


Nightmare Before Christmas

2. The Nightmare Before Christmas
(1993) PG

Tim Burton’s all-time classic that explores Christmas through the lens of Halloween!



1. Ghostbusters
(1984) PG

The movie that brings you unforgettable quotes like these:

“Ray, when someone asks you if you’re a god, you say ‘YES!'”


“Don’t cross the streams.”
“It would be bad.”
“I’m fuzzy on the whole good/bad thing. What do you mean, ‘bad?'”
“Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light.”
“Right. That’s bad. Okay. Important safety tip. Thanks.”


Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling!
Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes…
The dead rising from the grave!
Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria!

–The funniest horror film you’ll ever find.



One Comment

  1. Believe it or not Paranorman is not computer animated, but was done with stop motion. Actual physical models were used instead of digital ones! Coraline likewise was done with stop motion.

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