40 Best Scary Movies For Kids

best scary movies for kids

Scary movies can be great fun for kids. The excitement, the shivers, the pride of participating in a “grown-up” activity… they can all come together to form nostalgic, long-lasting memories for your children.

Your job as a parent is to make sure that things don’t get too frightening. You want your little ones to have fun, not nightmares! You’ll also want to steer clear of anything that isn’t thematically or developmentally appropriate for their age.

To help you out, we’ve created a mega-list of scary movies for kids that are broken down into age groups. We explain what the movies are about, and we provide ratings, run times and warnings about potentially disturbing content. Our age data is taken from Common Sense Media, a nonprofit that monitors media materials and judges their suitability for kids.

Are you ready for some thrills and chills? Let’s get started!

For Young Children (5-7)

Scary movies for little kids are usually quite light on the actual “scares.” Instead, they’ll be funny animated romps about monsters, ghosts, haunted mansions and other Halloween-related topics.

Occasionally, there will be a moral message about misunderstood monsters and how it’s not right to judge people by appearances.

As long as you do your homework and make sure that there’s nothing truly spooky in them, these kinds of movies should be safe for elementary schoolers.

Hotel Transylvania (2012)

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Monsters, Inc

Room on the Broom

Double, Double, Toil and Trouble

The Haunted Mansion (2003)

Halloweentown

The Wizard of Oz

Casper

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

For Big Kids (8-9)

At this age, your child might be tiring of toothless scares. They might want to move on from animated Draculas and Frankensteins into things that can actually make them jump. Here are a few kids’ movies with more intense scenes of action and fright that are still appropriate for pre-preteens!

The Witches (1990)

Goosebumps (2015)

Spirited Away (2001)

Monster House (2006)

E.T.

The Boxtrolls (2014)

Hocus Pocus (1993)

Scoob!

Labyrinth (1986)

The Spiderwick Chronicles (2008)

For Pre-Teens (10-12)

At this age, your child is growing up. They can handle the more mature topics and themes of PG/PG-13 movies, and they aren’t scared by the cheesy effects of movies aimed at little kids.

This doesn’t mean that they’re grown, of course, and you’ll still want to screen what they’re watching to make sure that things don’t get too adult, but don’t be alarmed if they start pushing boundaries about what they can watch. You remember being a preteen, right?

The Corpse Bride (2005)

Paranorman (2012)

Don’t Look Under the Bed (1999)

A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting (2020)

The Addams Family (1991)

Ghostbusters (1984)

Coraline (2009)

The House With a Clock in Its Walls (2018)

Frankenweenie (2012)

For Teens (13+)

Teenagers are too cool for goofy animated movies about singing pumpkins. Come on, mom! They want to scare themselves with hair-raising tales of murder and mayhem, but they don’t always know their limits, and that’s where you come in. You can safely steer them in the direction of horror movies for kids that straddle the line between “too much” and “not enough.”

Gremlins (1984)

The Others

Poltergeist (1982)

Beetlejuice (1988)

A Quiet Place

Little Shop of Horrors (1986)

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019)

Love and Monsters (2020)

Arachnophobia (1990)

The Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983)

Lights Out

best scary movies for kids
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