Halloween is just around the corner, and like adults, kids need their very own Halloween movies watchlist to keep them occupied throughout the day until it's time for them to go trick-or-treating.
And the great thing is that there are just as many classic family Halloween movies as there are horrors, which is why we've compiled a list of hand-picked favorites that span the decades.
So grab your broomsticks and get ready to cross the streams, because here are the best movies for kids this Halloween, and where to watch them!
A Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
It's no mystery that Tim Burton's classic is heavily debated when it comes to Halloween because this is a Christmas movie. However, one could make just as strong an argument that it's also a Halloween movie, seeing as it revolves around Jack Skellington, a 'pumpkin king' who is bored of his life in Halloweentown, and who finds a way into Christmastown...
There are so many things to love about this film, from the impressive stop-motion animation to all the catchy musical numbers. It's also one of the most merchandized movies of all time, which makes it an even more fitting flick for your watchlist - provided you can pick up some suitable decorations before October 31 (although they're easy enough to make yourself).
'A Nightmare Before Christmas' is available to stream on Disney+.
While Disney and Pixar's 2017 film isn't scary per se, it is built around Mexico's annual Day of the Dead festival. 'Coco' sees young Miguel, an aspiring musician whose family have forbidden music, end up in the Land of the Dead where he discovers a city teeming with spirits who appear in skeletal form (not unlike Jack Skellington.)
With the help of friendly ghost Hector, Miguel begins to unravel secrets that may change his family forever, but his biggest problem is finding his way back to the land of the living. 'Coco' is easily the most visually striking Disney/Pixar movie, boasting a color pallet so rich and vibrant, you'll think you're staring into a bowl of candy. It's also very heartfelt, so be sure to grab some Kleenex.
'Coco' is available to stream on Disney+.
We think the original live-action adaptation of 'Scooby-Doo' gets a bit of a bad rap from cinemagoers and 'Scooby' fans alike. The 2001 film definitely isn't perfect - it's not great, for that matter - but it is a great film to put on for the kids on Halloween, especially if they happen to be fans of Mystery Incorporated. Not only that but it's got a pretty awesome cast too.
In fact, it's fair to say that this film has some of the best castings ever - at least when it comes to movie adaptations of cartoon shows. Sarah Michelle Gellar, Freddie Prinze Jr., Matthew Lillard, and Linda Cardellini shine as Daphne, Fred, Shaggy, and Velma. And another great thing about this film is that it's actually a parody of the cartoon, which makes it a lot funnier than it should be.
'Scooby-Doo', where are you? Don't worry - he's on Netflix.
Hocus Pocus (1993)
'Hocus Pocus' has become a far more appreciated film in recent years, with fans having called for a sequel for quite some time. Now, it looks like they'll be getting their wish, but when they see the Sanderson sisters take to their broomsticks once again, they'll be sorry, because the trio are pretty terrifying when they're on-screen (in a sort of family-friendly way, of course).
'Hocus Pocus' has all the right ingredients mixing about in its bubbling cauldron, from evil witches to talking cats and zombies (actually, the zombie can't speak so much - at least not until the end). And it's yet another entry on this list that actually takes place on October 31, making it one of the perfect Halloween movies for kids.
'Hocus Pocus' can be conjured up on Disney+.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
It might be odd to include a threequel on this list without its predecessors, but the truth is that 'Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban' is easily the most Halloween-themed 'Harry Potter' entry out of all eight. That's not to say the first two don't wield such wicked vibes, but there's just something so magical about 'Azkaban', and something wicked too.
After all, it's the first film in the series to introduce us to Hogsmeade - a village lined with shops, each filled with all sorts of magical tricks and treats. It also has plenty of spooky characters, including the shrunken head on the Knight Bus, a creepy black dog known as 'The Grim', and a werewolf! Directed by Alfonso Cuaron, the third entry in the series remains a fan-favorite.
'Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban' is available to stream on HBO Max and Peacock.
To call 1995's 'Casper' a classic might be a bit of a stretch - it wasn't particularly well-received at the time, even if it was a hit. With that said, over the years, the film has developed more of an appreciation. While it still isn't a masterpiece, if it's a spook-tacular '90s supernatural family affair you're after, you won't be disappointed with the friendly ghost's first theatrical outing.
Bill Pullman and Christina Ricci star in this movie adaptation of the famous cartoon 'Casper the Friendly Ghost'. This time, the titular spook tries to help a grieving family fight off a trio of terrifying (and annoying) spooks (his uncles, no less), and a nasty businesswoman with some interesting aspirations, to say the least, while also trying to uncover the secrets of his own past.
'Casper' is available to scream on Netflix.
Of course, this '80s masterpiece was going to make it to our top spot. Ivan Reitman's 1984 supernatural comedy classic stars Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson, Harold Ramis, and Dan Aykroyd, as the original awesome foursome, who form New York's first paranormal investigators known as the Ghostbusters. And their timing couldn't be more perfect, as there's an apocalypse on the horizon.
'Ghostbusters' became a global phenomenon and has since spawned two animated shows, a reboot, and two sequels, with the latest being 'Ghostbusters: Afterlife', which is set to hit theaters on November 19. With the exception of the late Harold Ramis, it will see the return of all the OG Ghostbusters, as well as Sigourney Weaver and Annie Potts.
If you want to stream 'Ghostbusters' online, who ya gonna call? Amazon Prime.
You can't go wrong with these family-friendly Halloween movies. Some are classics, while others are guilty pleasures - but they're guaranteed to keep the kids entertained while you get your own Halloween movies watchlist ready!