Halloween movies for kids are hard to find, what with all the gory slasher flicks out there, but parents need not fear. Family-friendly Halloween films do exist, and we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorites. Each of the 10 movies below strikes the proper balance between funny and frightening, insuring your little trick-or-treaters won’t cower under the covers.
Sure, there are a few scary parts, but this classic comedy, featuring Bill Murray, Dan Ackroyd and a memorable cameo by the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, won’t give your little tykes nightmares. “We ain’t afraid of no ghosts,” Ray Parker Jr. sings in the classic theme song, hitting the nail right on the head.
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Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker star as resurrected witches who return to Salem, Mass., some 300 years after being tried for witchcraft and put to death. The special effects are incredible, and if the subject matter sounds dark, there’s more than enough humor to get kids aged 8 and up chuckling.
Pixar isn’t about to scare the pants off your lil’ ones—where’s the money in that?—and this computer-animated comedy delivers fun for the entire family. “To be sure, this is a standout pleasure trip for preschoolers up through the early grades, and there’s nothing wrong with that,” wrote Mike Clark for USA Today.
Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit
Dubbed “an absolutely magical fusion of deadpan Ealing comedy and Gothic horror” by Slate.com critic David Edelstein, this Claymation romp finds the titular man-and-dog duo running a pest-control operation called Anti-Pesto. Madcap antics abound, and as Richard Corliss wrote for Time, “The whole rollicking adventure zips along a mile a minute.”
Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride
Tim Burton makes some pretty creepy movies, but he’s also got the childlike whimsy needed to pull off first-rate family fare. For this stop-motion-animation masterpiece, the Edward Scissorhands director enlists wife Helena Bonham Carter and frequent collaborator Johnny Depp to create a “distorted, vividly colored, meticulously crafted world where whimsy and gleeful ghoulishness mix freely,” according to AV Club critic Tasha Robinson.