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8 Scary Movies for Kids

These movies are more trick than treat: here are some of the best scary movies for budding horror fans.

October is a great time to watch spooky shows and movies, especially for kids. Movies like Halloweentown, Hotel Transylvania, and Hocus Pocus flood the airwaves, especially during the 31 Nights of Halloween.

But some kids raised on Five Nights at Freddy’s and Creepypasta want something with a little more edge. This one’s for them: a list of our favorite scary movies for kids and families.

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8. Goosebumps

R. L. Stine’s books are a staple for any kid interested in scary stories.

The 2015 Goosebumps movie attempted to recapture the magic of the book series by unleashing a bunch of Stine’s characters on a small town. But beyond reproducing the books, it told a new story about the author himself, as played by Jack Black.

If you’re looking for a more fresh and episodic take on the series, check out the Goosebumps TV series, coming to Disney+ and Hulu on October 13.

Jack Black as R.L. Stine, standing between three teenagers and a spooky offscreen threat.

Watch Goosebumps on these platforms:

7. Monster House

Haunted houses are a horror staple. In Monster House, there’s no monster lurking in the dilapidated house across the street—the house is the monster. Or so it would seem.

The dialogue in this movie hasn’t aged well since 2006, the peak of Edgy Kid Humor, but it still has its charms.

Monster House stars Mitchel Musso (Hannah Montana) and Sam Lerner (The Goldbergs), for anyone reaching for their phone to google how they recognize the voices.

Three kids silhouetted by an eerie, glowing door set against a dark haunted house.

Watch Monster House on these platforms:

6. Gremlins

Gremlins may look like a cozy Christmas movie, but don’t be fooled. Once you get this movie wet, it turns into a terrifying monster.

This 1984 film will probably give your kids a healthy fear of puppets. We wouldn’t blame them if they wanted to turn it off twenty minutes in (this writer certainly did).

Max recently released an animated spinoff series called Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai, so this Halloween is the perfect time to catch your family up on all the lore.

A Gremlin, a furry little creature with big ears, playing the keyboard.

Watch Gremlins on these platforms:

5. Coraline

This movie isn’t just scary—it’s on our list of the most disturbing moments in kids films.

If you’re unfamiliar, this film follows its title character as she explores her family’s new house. Her parents are too busy to pay attention to her, but she finds temporary comfort in her newly discovered Other Parents instead.

Nearly every scene in this film is so upsetting. It’s guaranteed to produce weeks of nightmares.

Coraline, a stop-motion animated girl with blue hair.

Watch Coraline on these platforms:

4. The House with a Clock in Its Walls

At some point between Goosebumps and Goosebumps 2, Jack Black found time to film The House with a Clock in Its Walls, a movie for those who like their Halloween frights to be a bit weird.

The story follows Lewis, a curious orphan sent to live with his eccentric Uncle Jonathan (Jack Black). But there’s something ticking in the walls of his new house (can you guess what?), and it’s up to Lewis to solve the mystery.

This movie dips more into the creepier side of Halloween but is still mostly aimed at families. Just don’t say we didn’t warn you when this kids movie gives you more nightmares than you bargained for.

Eccentric characters played by Jack Black and Cate Blanchett watch over a small boy while he reads a book.

Watch The House with a Clock in Its Walls on these platforms:

3. Nightbooks

Producer Sam Raimi (The Evil Dead) takes a stab at children’s horror in this Netflix film.

Nightbooks follows a young boy named Alex who finds himself trapped in the home of an evil witch (Krysten Ritter of Jessica Jones fame). To survive, he has to tell scary stories, something that he previously loved doing.

This movie definitely leans into the horror factor, as you can tell from the trailer, so make sure your kid is fully on board before picking this one for family movie night.

A small boy hides from a menacing woman wearing a spiky red raincoat.

Watch Nightbooks on these platforms:

2. ParaNorman

Laika, the film studio responsible for Coraline, returned in 2012 to make ParaNorman, a gorgeous stop-motion film about a boy who can talk to spirits.

What follows is a gripping tale about ghosts, zombies, and witches, making this movie a perfect choice for fans of Coraline and the spooky season itself.

Norman, a stop-motion animated boy with sticky-uppy hair, looking sadly at some ghouls.

Watch ParaNorman on these platforms:

1. Over the Garden Wall

It may not technically be a movie, but you can’t have a list of the best scary Halloween movies for kids without at least mentioning Over the Garden Wall.

This musical series is one part spooky, one part atmospheric, and one part froggy. It may not be as terrifying as some other items on this list, but it has its haunting moments that will have you coming back year after year.

Wirt, a boy wearing a red cone hat, and Greg, a smaller boy wearing a teapot hat, are surrounded by scary pumpkin people.

Watch Over the Garden Wall on these platforms:

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