8 Scary Movies for Kids on Netflix
Spooky season isn’t just for the adults. Read on to find out what kid-friendly scares your Netflix subscription has to offer.
Horror can be a tough genre to get your kids in on. There’s plenty of gory goodness for adults and a big genre of teen scares reaching back to classics like A Nightmare on Elm Street. But finding movies that’ll both entertain and spook kids without being too frightening is a hard line to tread. Luckily, Netflix has quite a few scary flicks that the youngsters in your life should love this Halloween—and, hey, you may dig them too.
1. Casper (1995)
Starting off with a classic that you likely already know and love. Casper is about the “friendly ghost” of a young boy who haunts the halls of Whipstaff Manor. Building off of the lighthearted character that first appeared in cartoons in the 1940s, this movie takes a slightly darker approach by describing how the young Casper died and touching on grief after parental death. Overall, it’s more funny than scary, while the spooky manor setting and abundance of ghouls will certainly put kids in the Halloween mood.
2. Nightbooks (2021)
Hearing that Nightbooks was produced by Sam Raimi of Evil Dead fame might just clue you into how seriously scary this Netflix original film is. Nightbooks is about a young boy named Alex who becomes trapped in the apartment of an evil witch (played by Krysten Ritter) and must write her a scary story each night to stave off her killing him.
While trapped in her magical traveling and ever-expanding apartment, Alex meets a fellow prisoner (a slightly older girl named Yasmin) and the two join forces to try and escape the witch. With themes of child abuse and some objectively terrifying monsters, Nightbooks may be too dark for some kids, but it can be a great—and seriously terrifying—intro to horror for others.
3. Goosebumps (2015)
Based on the classic kids’ book series by R.L. Stine, 2015’s Goosebumps starring Jack Black does more than just replicate one of the series’ many scary stories. Instead, the movie has Black playing a fictionalized version of Stine who, when the monsters from Goosebumps escape from their books, must join forces with his daughter and their neighbor to save their hometown. Nostalgia with a fresh twist keeps this a fun and spooky Halloween choice.
4. A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting (2020)
Want some teen angst and girl power mixed in with your spooks? This could be just the movie for you. Set on Halloween night, a teenage girl named Kelly (Tamara Smart) is forced to babysit a little boy named Jacob instead of attending a party. While she’s babysitting, Jacob is kidnapped by the minions of the Boogeyman (Tom Felton). Kelly, soon joined by a secret society of babysitters, must fight the Boogeyman and his monsters to get Jacob back before his mom returns home. This movie, with its suspense and fantasy violence, was definitely meant to frighten, but tweens and up should still be entertained with this fun and spooky flick.
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5. Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library (2017)
In a Willy Wonka–esque plot, twelve kids win invitations to legendary game maker Mr. Lemoncello’s new high-tech library, where they must compete to escape his elaborate scavenger hunt. The film centers on one of the children, a young boy named Alex who loves Lemoncello’s games, and his attempt to escape the library and win the grand prize: becoming the new Lemoncello spokesperson. Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library isn’t exactly marketed as a scary movie, but it definitely has the spooky vibes that October calls for (listen—Dracula and Frankenstein’s monster show up.)
And be sure to check this one out before Halloween, because this movie’s escaping Netflix on November 1.
6. The Boy Who Cried Werewolf (2010)
Although likely the goofiest pick on the list—it’s a Nickelodeon made-for-television movie, okay?— The Boy Who Cried Werewolf still has the spooky vibes that young kids will enjoy, with not too many scares. Not long after a recently widowed American father moves his two kids to an inherited home in Romania, a lab accident transforms the awkward older sister (Victoria Justice) into a werewolf. The rest of the movie is about as ridiculous as you would imagine. Again, not the movie you’d choose for true scares, but if you’re looking for lighthearted spooky fun (with some karaoke thrown in), we say go for it.
7. The Boxtrolls (2014)
From the makers of Coraline (one of the scariest kids movies ever, IMO) comes a less scary but still plenty creepy stop-motion kids’ film. You’d think the scariest “monsters” of the film would be the eponymous trash-collecting boxtrolls, but the real monster is Archibald Penelope Snatcher (voiced by Ben Kingsley), a pest exterminator who is trying to eradicate the boxtrolls. The plot surrounds a young boy called Egg whom the boxtrolls raised as their own as he attempts to thwart the treacherous Snatcher. The unsettling animation style, evil villain, and eerie setting all combine to make The Boxtrolls a solid Halloween choice.
8. The Curse of Bridge Hollow (2022)
If you miss the early-aughts Disney Channel Halloween movies, The Curse of Bridge Hollow will help scratch that Halloweentown itch. A science teacher father (Marlon Wayans) moves his family, including his teenage daughter (Priya Ferguson), to a Sleepy Hollow-esque town. Hijinks ensue when an ancient spirit causes the town’s Halloween decorations to come to life, and the Halloween-hating dad has to face reality and fight back. The perfect combination of hilarious and haunting.