Scary movies are quite fun, especially when you watch them with your kids. If you are looking for scary movies for kids, you are at the right place. The adrenaline rush it gives, the sudden jolts, and the scope to prank those you are watching the movie with make the experience unique. While recommending super scary movies to children may be a bad idea, there are certain horror movies for kids that can be enjoyed during sleepovers or casual movie time with family. In this post, we bring you some scary movies that are a great watch for your kids.
Scary Movies For Kids (5-12 years)
These movies are chilling but with toned down horror so afs not to frighten the younger children.
1. Hotel Transylvania
It is a hilarious scary movie for kids about monsters living in a hotel named Hotel Transylvania right in the middle of the woods. The hotel is owned by Dracula. The movie has a host of classic monsters in the character ensemble including Frankenstein, Mummy, and Werewolf. Kids will love the slightly scary and mostly funny movie of Dracula. The popular scary movie for kids for the longest time is Hotel Transylvania and is sure to be loved by your tiny tot.
2. Monster’s Inc.
It is the tale of monsters that live in the closet and scare children at night. The premise of the film comes across scary but as the story develops it becomes an endearing tale of friendship and conquering one’s fears. Children will love the animation and the attention to detail on the supernatural creatures.
3. Monster House
A bunch of children discover that a house in their neighborhood is haunted and sentient. Their discovery is followed by a list of ghostly adventures to figure out the real problem with the house. The simple animation of the film makes several scary elements of the movie enjoyable for children.
4. Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed
The movie takes the popular Scooby-Doo animated characters and turns them into a live action film. The story is similar to those seen in the animated series – paranormal incidents and monsters, which the Scooby-Doo gang traces. The movie packs adequate humor, and if your kid is a fan of Scooby-Doo cartoons, then they will surely enjoy the film.
5. The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad
This scary film for kids came in the year 1949 so the animation might look dated. The old-fashioned style helps bring down the scariness level of the film. The movie is a consolidation of two short stories. There is dancing and haunting music in the film, which makes it an ideal scary film for the youngest of the film audience.
6. The Nightmare Before Christmas
A scary musical film animated using stop-motion style photography. It tells the story of Jack, a skeleton who is the king of Halloween Town, which is inhabited by other monsters. Jack discovers a portal to Christmas Town populated by human beings. All hell breaks loose when Jack decides to gift scary, Halloween-style gifts to human beings. The town gets plagued by panic and dread. The film is creepy and colorfully charming, which makes it enticing to children.
7. The Spiderwick Chronicles
It is a tale of three siblings who move into an estate once owned by a certain Mr. Spiderwick. One of the children discovers a key to a chest, which contains Spiderwick’s guide to discover fairies and all types of fairy tale creatures roaming around the large woody estate. The story has a lot of fantasy elements that will be best enjoyed by tweens.
A stop-motion animated horror comedy tells the tale of how a boy brings back his dead dog alive through a science experiment. The movie is in black and white but packs enough scariness to entertain. Older children will love the creepy character models while younger children will find the dog endearing.
9. Scared Shrekless
It is a short scary film featuring the popular characters Shrek and Donkey. Shrek and his friends decide to visit a haunted castle and settle in for a night of scary storytelling before Halloween. Each story brings out funny scares and laughs. If your child loves Shrek, then they will certainly find this one entertaining.
10. Spirited Away
A ten-year-old girl called Chihiro travels to a new place with her parents when they discover a mysterious town. Except for Chihiro, everyone in that town turns into an animal. The movie tells the adventures of young Chihiro who finds a way out of the place. The film is among the good scary movies for kids and was originally made in Japanese.
11. The Black Cauldron
It is a tale of an ordinary boy who sets out on a quest to destroy a magical cauldron before an evil king uses it to capture the world. The movie has the classic Disney animation and plenty of thrills. The two-dimensional, cartoonish nature of animation makes the scary bits of the movie less menacing, thus making the film ideal for younger grade-school children.
A girl gets the shock of her life when a mythical creature called goblin king from the script of her school play comes to life and kidnaps her younger brother. The goblin king gives the young girl Sarah 13 hours to solve a labyrinth puzzle and get back her brother. The movie follows the adventures of Sarah and how she encounters monsters both evil and benign during her quest. The film uses puppets extensively, which makes this scary film quite entertaining.
13. The Haunted Mansion
A real estate agent and his family go to a lakeside house for vacation only to realize that the house is haunted. The family tries finding a way out of the house while dealing with monsters trying to catch them. The film is scary and funny at the same time.
Characters from scary books are accidentally set free causing a group of teens to set to save the city. The movie is about teens but appeals to younger children too, especially tweens who may have read the “Goosebumps” series of short scary stories.
A father and daughter move into a house to find that it has four ghosts – three mischievous and a friendly one called Casper. Casper befriends the young girl and then begins a tale of scares. The film is scary but the protagonist ghost Casper is animated to look cute, which brings down the fright levels making it one of the best scary movies for kids.
Scary Movies For Teens (13-19 years)
The scariness factor here is higher than that in kids’ movies, to serve the imagination of teens.
Coraline moves into a new apartment with her parents. There she discovers a portal to an alternate world where look-alikes from the real world reside. There is only one catch. All of the doppelgangers in the other world have buttons instead of eyes. Coraline is a scary film but is mostly entertaining. The stop-motion animation technique makes most characters appear life-like.
A scary worm-like monster dwells in the ground, burrowing its way towards anything that makes vibration on the ground. There are very few glimpses of the monster, which creates suspense and an edge-of-the-seat thrill for teens especially the older ones.
18. The Sixth Sense
One of the most popular paranormal films, The Sixth Sense tells the story of a boy who can see spirits. The boy befriends a child psychologist, who helps him with the problem. The end culminates with both accepting their respective situations. The film has a lot of surprises and twists, which leave teens in awe.
A beachside town is troubled by the presence of a great white shark, which devours anyone swimming in the water. A trio from the town assembles to hunt the beast down. The movie has several shark props and although they seem dated by today’s standard, the suspense woven around the shark is enough to give scares.
A ghost couple contracts another scarier ghost to scare away the new owners of their house. But the frightening ghost is malicious and strange. Eventually, the real world couple and the ghost couple decide to live together peacefully. The use of several practical effects makes this scary film quite entertaining.
21. The Village
People of a secluded village encounter paranormal events originating from the forest surrounding their hamlet. As the bloodcurdling series of events unfold, a blind and resilient girl brings peace from the turmoil. The Village is a must watch for teens who love suspense movies.
22. The Watcher In The Woods
An American couple and their two daughters relocate to rural England where they live in a house associated with the disappearance of a girl. The two girls decide to help the woman whose daughter had disappeared in the woods several years ago. But the path is not easy and they have to fight through several dark and evil spirits to attain success. The movie is a combination of drama and a scary story thus making it ideal for older teenagers.
23. The Hole
Two brothers discover a trapdoor at the basement of their new house. The trapdoor reveals a bottomless hole. Strange events follow the opening of the trapdoor, and later the brothers learn that the hole contained a wicked spirit. The brothers have to race against time to contain the spirit. The movie has several entertaining unexpected scares, making it a suitable scary movie for older teens.
A family that went through a tragedy has to now live through an invasion of frightening aliens. The movie tells the tale of how they stay strong through tough moments. Signs is not outright scary but gives hair-raising chills and teens will surely love the suspense.
A spider from South America accidentally arrives in the US trapped in a coffin. The malevolent spider then wreaks havoc in the town in which it lands. The residents have to find a way to get rid of the spider before it multiplies and annihilates the town. The creepy-crawly spiders in the film surely make the film scary and even more bone-chilling if your teen already dislikes spiders.
In a sleepy town lives a boy named Norman who has a unique ability to see ghosts and talk to them. One day, Norman’s eccentric uncle tells him to perform a strange ominous ritual to ward off the curse put by a witch several centuries ago. Failure to thwart the curse will lead to the destruction of the town. Norman and his friends then hurry to find a way to defeat the curse and the witch. The movie’s colorful animation and foreboding music makes it suitable for younger teens, but there are also enough scares to entertain.
27. The Witches
A boy and his grandmother check into a hotel for a vacation. The boy accidentally discovers a secret meeting of witches at the hotel, where they plan to develop a magic potion to convert all children into mice. The boy is spotted by the witches and turned into a mouse. Now he has to find a way to defeat the witches while being a mouse. This thriller is funny and scary, which makes it ideal for children in their early and middle teens.
28. Corpse Bride
In a disturbing event, a man accidentally marries a lady’s corpse while rehearsing his wedding vows in a forest. The corpse bride refuses to let go of the man, and now he has to find some way to go back to the woman he wanted to marry. Another film on this list with stop-motion animation, Corpse Bride is both creepy and hilarious with the romantic aspects of the film appreciated by older teens.
29. The Mummy
An Egyptian history buff and an American adventurer stumble upon the mummy. The mummy is accidentally awakened through a magical spell and falls in love with the history buff girl. The girl and the adventurer – her real love interest, have to find a way to send back the mummy to the world of the dead. The Mummy packs a lot of thrills and several intricate special effects that will send shivers down the spine of older teens.
30. The Frighteners
A man develops the ability to talk to ghosts after the death of his wife in an accident. He uses the skill to make money but eventually realizes that not all ghosts are good. He discovers an evil spirit who hurts people, and thus the man decides to use his talent for the first time for good. The blend of funny and scary ghosts makes the film ideal for middle to older teens.
31. The Monster Squad
A group of young teens and tweens discover that their town is overrun by monsters led by Dracula. The bunch of youngsters decides to bring peace to their town. The horror in the film is on the funnier side making the film appropriate for young teens.
A bunch of university dropouts set up a company that deals with freeing places of their paranormal presence. They are contracted for a big job where they have to free the entire New York City from the presence of a scary ghost. The movie may seem dated since it was made in the 1980s, but it is enjoyable for mid to older teens.
A man looking for a Christmas present accidentally buys a paranormal creature called Mogwai. The man gifts the Mogwai to his son, who names it Gizmo. But Gizmo is more sinister than cute, and it soon spawns an army of Mogwai called Gremlins. The use of props and models may make the viewers let out a scream, but there is a lot of humor too. Best suits middle to older teens.
34. A Christmas Carol
This is Disney’s animated adaptation of the classic Charles Dickens tale. The film tells the story of a cynical moneylender called Ebenezer Scrooge who does not believe in the spirit of Christmas. Scrooge is visited by three spirits the night before Christmas who make him recognize his greediness. The film will give you at least one jump scare, but the conclusion is the most endearing of all. The film works great with teens of all ages.
35. Tower of Terror
A reporter and his niece explore a hotel haunted by five ghosts. The two understand that there was an easy way into the hotel, but there is no easy way out of it. The two now have to find a way to bring the souls of the ghosts to peace and also find a way out. The movie is not outright terrifying but has its fair share of scary moments. The mild scariness and comedy make the film work well for younger teens.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Should I let my kids watch horror movies?
Horror movies for kids could have both good and bad effects. If the horror movies are pleasant and child-friendly, they may make a child resilient to fear. However, gruesome horror films might trigger a child’s anxiety and cause insomnia and hypersensitivity (1).
2. What age is appropriate for scary movies?
There is no universally accepted age when children can watch horror films. But it is safer not to let them see as the visuals might trigger anxiety. Check the age relativity online if you wish your child to see a horror film. Most movie websites mention the government-approved age for all films. You may let your child pick a horror movie from their appropriate categories.
3. What are some tips for parents who want to help their kids enjoy scary movies without getting too scared?
Prevent them from watching 3-D horror movies till they reach the appropriate age. If a scary scene is coming, prepare your child for it to lessen the impact. Discuss the scenes so that the child feels more relaxed. You can also laugh during the scary scenes to lighten the mood. Last but not least, do not let a younger child watch an intense horror movie all by themselves and check the age recommendation.
4. Can scary movies be used as a tool to teach children important life lessons?
Scary movies may help children realize that they should tread carefully in life and be alert to all possible dangers. These movies can give children important life lessons such as not talking to strangers, not venturing into unknown places at odd hours of the day, and not walking home alone late at night.
5. How can parents ensure that their teens are not exposed to inappropriate content in scary movies?
Parents should read the movie’s summary and parental reviews and check the rating before letting their child watch it. Moreover, they may watch the movie or preview beforehand to ensure there are no inappropriate scenes. Finally, lay down rules about the type of movies allowed and why to help your teen understand the risks and consequences of such content.
Scary movies for kids and teens are a perfect blend of amusement, spookiness, and fun. Watching these movies with your family and children over fun movie nights is a great idea. However, every child has their own threshold of being scared. Some children get scared early, while others don’t get terrified very easily. As a parent, you must know your child’s limitations and consider their age before selecting an appropriate movie for them. Pick good scary movies for kids that are scary and funny at the same time to keep your child engaged and entertained.
Infographic: Scary Movies For Kids And Teens
While some children might not like being frightened by the horrifying scenes of horror movies, there could be a few who love those thrills and startling effects. If you wish to introduce this genre to your child, consider their age and select movies with the right visuals and spookiness. Check out this infographic for some scary movie suggestions to choose the one you think would entertain your little one.
Explore our curated roster of 10 kid-friendly horror films! Unearth the ultimate spooky flicks that thrill without haunting young minds, ensuring delightful scares and unforgettable entertainment. These scary movies are guaranteed to keep them at the edge of their seats!
- (Why) Do you like scary movies? A review of the empirical research on psychological responses to horror films;