We ranked 14 scary movies for kids from “just about anyone can watch” to “older kids only” that will get everyone pumped for the spooky season

So many kids love scary movies—or claim to love them until they end up having nightmares afterward. The requests to watch something spooky seem to ramp up every year in the lead-up to Halloween, and it can be tough for parents to find something appropriate. Kids want something that isn’t too babyish… but parents want something that isn’t going to have their children sleeping with all the lights on. Luckily, there are scary movies for kids that fit right into that sweet spot of mildly frightening without being utterly terrifying.

Of course, when it comes to what your kid can tolerate in terms of scary movies, mom and dad will know best, regardless of what a movie might be rated or how many jumps and thrills it contains.


Coraline is a good beginner scary movie for kids.
© Focus Features

An unhappy little girl discovers a doorway to another world, where she meets the doppelgangers of her parents. But not everything is as idyllic as it looks, and her very soul is in peril. This creepy flick would be a heck of a lot scarier if it were live-action, but the animation makes it much more suitable for kids.

Rated: PG.

Stream it on Apple TV, Max, or Hulu, or rent on Amazon Prime


Goosebumps is a good scary movie for kids.
© Sony Pictures

There are lots of spooks and lots of laughs in this kid-friendly scary movie. Based on the beloved kids’ book series by R.L. Stine (played by Jack Black), it shows viewers what happens when monsters step off the page and into the real world.

Rated: PG.

Stream it on Netflix.

The Witches

The Witches is a good scary movie for kids.
© Warner Bros.

Another beloved book-turned-movie, The Witches is based on Roald Dahl’s 1983 classic. A young boy on vacation with his grandmother uncovers a coven of kid-hating witches, and let’s just say they look a lot different when they think no one’s watching.

Rated: PG

Rent it on Amazon Prime.


Gremlins is a classic scary movie for kids.
© Warner Bros.

How could the cute little furball pictured above possibly be scary? Well, there are three rules for handling the Mogwai, and if you break them… they turn into monsters who are not nearly as adorable, and way more dangerous.

Rated: PG

Rent it on Amazon Prime.

The Watcher in the Woods

Watcher in the Woods is a Disney scary movie for kids.
© Lifetime Television

Who or what is the Watcher, and what do they want? This scary flick directed by former child star Melissa Joan Hart will keep kids guessing until the end.

Rated: TV-PG

Rent it on Amazon Prime.

Spirited Away

Spirited Away is a good scary movie for kids
© Studio Ghibli

One of Studio Ghibli’s best works (some say the best), this enthralling film about a 10-year-old girl named Chihiro, who is moving to a small Japanese village with her parents, is filled with plenty of chills and thrills. From the creepy village beyond the tunnel to the evil witch and the spirits, demons, and evil gods, this is best left for tweens and teens.

Rated: PG

Stream it on Max or rent it on Amazon Prime (English version).


Beetlejuice is an okay scary movie for kids.
© Warner Bros.

There’s some grown-up humor to watch out for in Beetlejuice, but the PG flick is still good fun for older kids. Sandworms, seances, and all manner of the undead make this an excellent choice for a scary good time.

Rated: PG

Stream it on HBO Max or rent it on Amazon Prime.

Warm Bodies

© Summit Entertainment

The zombie flick goes rom-com in this light horror flick starring Nicholas Hoult. He plays R, a teen boy just trying to survive the end of the world and maybe find love—all while ignoring a craving for human flesh.

Rated: PG-13

Stream it on Apple TV or rent it on Amazon Prime.


© Columbia Pictures

Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters! The film that sparked a franchise that’s still thriving to this day introduces us to Venkman, Ray, Eagon, and Winston—and, of course, Zuul. There are some scary moments, but watching this classic flick is practically a rite of passage around Halloween.

Rated: PG-13

Stream it on Peacock TV or rent it on Amazon Prime. 

Monster Squad

© TriStar Pictures

A pack of legendary monsters is on the loose in this 1987 cult classic, and a band of scary movie-loving kids is the only thing standing between them and world domination.

Rated: PG-13

Stream it on Hulu or rent it on Amazon Prime.


© Universal Pictures

Boris Karloff brings Frankenstein’s monster to life in this 1931 black-and-white horror film. At nearly a hundred years old, the movie still manages to offer up some scary storylines—including a controversial death scene that parents will want a heads up about.


Rent it on Amazon Prime.

Twilight Zone

© Warner Bros.

The twisted tales of The Twilight Zone will surely give kids a good fright. The anthology film has a PG rating, but we’re still calling this one suitable for older kids only.

Rated: PG

Stream it on Tubi or rent it on Vudu.


© Buena Vista Pictures

The extra-terrestrial visitors in M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs aren’t here to make friends. The Hess family (Mel Gibson, Abigail Breslin, and Rory Culkin) is just trying to survive the alien invasion after a massive crop circle appears on their farm.

Rated: PG-13

Stream it on Hulu, Max, or rent it on Amazon Prime. 

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

A blonde woman in a ponytail in front of a blue sky
© Netflix

Save this one for the older kids. Generations of readers have grown up being terrified and tantalized by the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark books, but the movie takes the horror to another level.

Rated: PG-13

Stream it on Hulu, Apple TV, or Amazon Prime


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