Introducing new palatable horror themes into kid-friendly movies allows them to grow up embracing the terrifying parts of Halloween without getting too scared. Here are 9 films you can watch with your kids that will make them horror lovers!

Written by: Reb Czukoski – October 23rd, 2021 7:00 am pst

Halloween is an especially important holiday for kids who love to dress up and enjoy the festivities of the spooky season. There’s usually a shift in growing up where kids start to accept more of the scary parts of the holiday that they might not be privy to beforehand. Sometimes the horrifying elements of Halloween are unavoidable, so to make this process easier we’ve compiled a list of creepy kid-friendly movies to get them acclimated and more interested in the horror genre. 

Coraline

movies to get kids interested in horror

Credit: Laika, Pandemonium Films

Coraline Jones is a young girl that moves to the Pink Palace Apartments when her parents get relocated for their jobs. Her family is too busy to entertain her and she doesn’t have any new friends yet, so in her loneliness, she finds a secret door that leads her into a parallel universe with alternate versions of the people closest in her life. These “other” people turn out to be not so friendly, so Coraline needs to escape from the world with her parents that have been captured while freeing the ghost kids that got lost there before her.

This film was the third highest-grossing stop-motion animated feature of all time and has been noted for its creepy aspects, being directed by Henry Selick, the director for The Nightmare Before Christmas. It is rated PG and would not be a disturbance for any kid around 8 or older, but it is definitely one of the more suggestively scary films on the list so for a kid that gets spooked super easily it should be maybe the second or third introductory film. You can stream it on Amazon Prime Video or Vudu!

Watership Down

Credit: Nepenthe Productions

A young rabbit, Fiver, has disturbing nightmares of the impending destruction of his colony. He informs his brother Hazel of the news and after being denied the possibility of leaving with the larger group by the chief, they go on a mission with a small band of others to discover a better place to live. After leaving they face many challenges and dangers of the world around them.

Given that the film is 2D animated and from 1978, the creepy elements in this are very muddled and not so realistic. There are some violent scenes that have caused it to be given a PG rating in the U.S., and the original controversial poster that was advertised does not depict any of the scenes actually portrayed in this movie. Given the darker elements, it is recommended by many that it is more appropriate for those aged 11 and up. Watch it on HBO Max!

Spirited Away

Credit: Studio Ghibli

Ten year old girl, Chihiro Ogino moves to a new neighborhood and enters a spirit world from Japanese folklore. A witch turns her parents into pigs, so Chihiro starts working at a bathhouse to find out how to free her and her parents to go back to the human world again.

This was an amazing hand-drawn international film that won the Best Animated Feature Academy Award in 2003. It has made its way onto many critics’ must-watch lists and won all but 3 awards that it was nominated for. It does have a PG film rating, but in comparison to other films on this list, the scary moments have a completely different tone and the violence is still kept to a minimum. The writer had the intention of the movie appealing to those aged 10-13 years old and was meant to be enjoyably scary for that demographic. Give it a go on HBO Max!

Monster House

Credit: Columbia Pictures, Relativity Media, ImageMovers, Amblin Entertainment

D.J. Walters gets left home alone for a weekend with his babysitter and gets a phone call from the house of his newly deceased elderly neighbor. The neighbor had a reputation for stealing kids’ toys and in attempts to take back the items, the house turns into a supernatural monster that abducts the kids. The kids must take back their stuff and the other stolen kids alone because the house is only evil when there are no adults around.

As Sony’s first computer-animated film and one using live motion capture elements, the 3D style is much closer to reality than any of the stop-motion features on this list. Kids were kept in mind as the audience for this movie, but understandably so, a plot surrounded by a haunted house can always be a little scary. It rates lower on more visible violence but can be fearful with its concept. Its PG rating means it may be too intense for very young children, but it is available on Netflix to watch with guidance!

The Brave Little Toaster

Credit: Hyperion Animation, The Kushner-Locke Company, Wang Film Productions, Company Limited

In this strange universe, household items and electronics come to life when they are not accompanied by humans. Five appliances that had a previous owner see that their house is being sold after not seeing their “master”, Rob, in years. They set out on an adventure to find Rob and convince him that they are just as useful as any new appliances he might have gotten over the years.

One of the darker and more in-depth movies of its time, this film has been received as either brilliant or too scary for younger audiences. This film is not currently rated by the MPAA (Motion Picture Association) but has been recommended by many to be introduced to the age ranges that PG would attract. Even though all of the objects are appliances, with the bits of violence in the film it may not be suited for audiences under 8 years old. Should you want to watch it, it is currently listed on YouTube!

The Black Cauldron

Credit: Walt Disney Pictures, Silver Screen Partners

The early middle ages has an unruly emperor, the Horned King, that wants to conquer the world and needs a magical cauldron to support his efforts. Young people Taran, Eilonwy, Fflewddur Fflam, and their wild creature Gurgi, venture out to destroy the cauldron so that the Horned King doesn’t get the powers he needs to rule the world. 

This Disney film was the first to receive a PG rating and to have computer-generated images. It did not have the best commercial success with the box office receiving only half of the budget, but that makes sense for its time with how much it cost to make the film using computer animation technologies. It’s one of the pictures in the list that should be prioritized when it comes to first scary kids films because the pace is quite fast and good for the attention span of the younger audiences without creeping them out for too long. Stream it on Disney+!

Corpse Bride

Credit: Tim Burton Productions, Laika, Patalex II Productions

Two young people in an old Victorian town have an arranged marriage ahead of them. Victor goes to practice his proposal for Victoria and thinking he proposed to a tree root, actually puts his ring on a dead woman named Emily that is now claiming to be his wife. Emily takes Victor to the land of the dead and he must try to escape to find and marry Victoria as originally intended.

Opposing our last listing, this film garnered extreme commercial success. This film is rated PG because of its allusion to death and ghosts, but a lot of critics have recommended the age range as 7 and up. Many have coined it as one of the best-animated movies of all time, so to the kids that are ok with some scary elements, it should be a must-watch. Watch this Halloween-like film on HBO Max!

All Dogs Go To Heaven

Credit: Goldcrest Films, Sullivan Bluth Studios Ireland Ltd.

Charlie is in dog heaven due to his old gambling partner, Carface. He sneaks back to earth to reunite with his old friend and take vengeance over Carface. An orphan girl along the way sees that she can help with his plan of attack because she can speak to animals, but they both face massive consequences and must be careful to not damage each others’ mortality.

Fortunately, even with some spooky themes, this movie is also a musical. Reviewers have noted its dark plotline, but it can go more unnoticed and has been rated G for general audiences. It is more adventure-based rather than horror-influenced which makes it one of the most appropriate introductory creepy films for kids on this list. You can go stream it on Amazon Prime Video or Hulu!

The Last Unicorn

Credit: Rankin/Bass Productions, Topcraft, ITC Films

A unicorn learns that she is the last of her species due to a creature called the Red Bull that has caused their massive extinction. She wants to discover the truth behind this story and her journey causes her to meet people that want to save her but also lead her far away from home.

Super sensitive kids might find the nature of some of the concepts more disturbing than others, but it does have a G rating for general audiences. It has a lot of positive messages and limited graphic content which is what makes it an appropriate watch for a larger range of audiences. This is another one of the better first creepy watches here, and in addition to some scary elements, it tells a fantasy-oriented story, making it appealing to children in other ways as well. It is available to see on Amazon Prime Video!

Any of these movies should be watched with viewer discretion as all children are different when it comes to watching scary elements, but there’s something for everyone on this list, and if anything is intriguing enough it is definitely worth the watch with parental guidance if needed!

About The Author:

Reb Czukoski is an intern with AfterBuzz TV and a senior at Emerson College studying visual media arts with a focus in animation and minoring in peace and social justice. They are currently pursuing a career in animation and graphic design, with an interest in movies, music, and social media.

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