This was a tough list to put together. I don't have kids. I only see my niece and nephew at Christmas, so it's usually a steady diet of How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Elf on repeat when it comes to holiday movies (It's A Wonderful Life and Die Hard come on when they head to bed). So obviously my first inclination was "Uhhhh... duh a Nightmare on Elm Street marathon. Kids will love a burned up homicidal maniac with knives for fingers who invades your dreams!" Then I thought, "Wait... no, that's only a slightly worse suggestion than a Saw marathon." But what's out there to get the kids in the Halloween spirit, offering up just the right amount of frights so they won't be up all night wondering what that sound is. Here are some of the best.

The Addams Family

What will be a common theme throughout this list is stuff I grew up on. But when it comes to kid-friendly horror, the 90s were actually really good for it. You had Goosebumps the books and later TV show, Are You Afraid of the Dark? and Eerie Indiana shows, and quite a few solid flicks for us to enjoy our macabre sides. The Addams Family doubles one of the best TV show adaptations. How great were Raul Julia and Anjelica Huston as Gomez & Morticia Addams? So great. The cast was the perfect mix of dark, twisted, and silly.


Ghostbusters is such a classic. Even the recent reboot is a fun, if flawed, film. But nothing beats the undeniable chemistry of the original cast, the practical effects that show their age, but still hold up fairly well, and the top notch writing from Harold Ramis. I ain't 'fraid of no ghosts.

Monster Squad

The Monster Squad is another flashback to the 80s, but had regular rotation at my house. I loved the Universal classic monster movies, so seeing the stable come together for one movie, and have to do battle with a crew of kids for some good old fashioned fun? I loved it as a kid, and it's still a heck of a lot of fun.


This is the newest film on the list, and I was surprised with how much I actually enjoyed Goosebumps. I grew up with the books, and there was a healthy dose of cautious optimism going into it. But it did not disappoint. Not a great movie by any stretch of the imagination, but certainly has great reverence for the source material.

Hocus Pocus

I may have unnecessarily resisted Hocus Pocus in my 20s, but it has become quite the cult classic. I just didn't watch it as much as a kid as I did some of the others I've included, so it wasn't fully on my radar. But it's a fun movie, that allows the three witches, Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker to just go to town and have fun. Definitely worth watching with the whole family.

Nightmare Before Christmas

The Nightmare Before Christmas is perfect because it's seasonal for three whole months. It works as a Halloween movie, and a Christmas movie. It comes to us from the mind of Tim Burton, during his good period, and was directed by the great Henry Selick, who would go on to do James & The Giant Peach and Coraline. Fun music and spooky characters, what's not to love?

See also: Coraline, ParaNorman

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