The best family-friendly scary movies to watch on Halloween

Coco Disney Pixar movie

Jessica Taylor Yates

Posted October 20, 2022

After the kids have filled up on trick-or-treat sweets, here are some of the best spooky films for the family to watch this Halloween that won’t cause nightmares.

It’s that time of year again. There’s jack-o’-lanterns and huge pumpkins on display at the supermarket, ghoulish costumes for kids and dogs in department stores, and a range of spooky tours and events to explore around the state. 

Even though the origins of Halloween are quite different, the haunted holiday has become synonymous with scary motifs, costumes, and films. Despite the ghosts and gore, it’s a family-friendly celebration, where kids (and kids at heart) can enjoy dressing up to go trick or treating, pumpkin carving, and siting down to a spooktacular movie. 

If your family is looking to celebrate Halloween without the horror, here’s some family-friendly movies to check out.

Going to see the latest Halloween movies on the silver screen? RACV Members save up to 30 per cent on movie tickets. 

G-rated Halloween movies

Casper (1995)

An oldie but a goodie. Starring a young Christina Ricci as Kat Harvey, the daughter of a ghost therapist hired to rid an old manor of spirits that haunt the abode.

But when Kat meets Casper the friendly ghost, she realises they might not be so bad after all.

Scooby-Doo (2002)

Bringing the beloved Hanna-Barbera cartoon to life, Scooby-Doo sees the Mystery Inc. gang head to Spooky Island, where they are reunited at an amusement park that affects visitors in strange and mysterious ways.

The movie spawned a few sequels, including Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed with the same cast. 

Muppets Haunted Mansion (2021)

Featuring Jim Henson’s loveable Muppets, this time Gonzo is the star, where he takes on a challenge to spend a night in legendary magician The Great MacGuffin’s haunted mansion.

With quirky moving pictures, a ghost Muppet band and surprise celebrity appearances, do Gonzo and Pepe the King Prawn have what it takes to make it through the night?

Hocus Pocus (1993), Hocus Pocus 2 (2022)

A family favourite for ages, the story of the Sanderson sisters is back on screens with the release of Hocus Pocus 2.

The films star Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy as a trio of witches who are resurrected from the 17th century to wreak havoc on the town of Salem.

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Arguably both a Christmas and a Halloween movie, the Tim Burton favourite is a stop-motion musical that’s animation, fantasy, and holiday movie rolled into one.

Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town, stumbles upon a portal to a Christmas Town. Hoping to emulate the festivities back home, he steals their Santa to make Christmas come to his Halloween village – with disastrous results.

Double, Double Toil and Trouble (1993)

Starring the (very young) Olsen twins, they realise their mean old aunt Agatha has supernatural powers. When Halloween comes, are they able to stop her from hurting their family?


Casper was the first movie to have a CGI character star. Image: Alamy.
Muppets Haunted Mansion is the loveable character's first foray into Halloween. Image: Alamy.
Double, Double, Toil and Trouble is a verse from Shakespeare's Macbeth. Image: Alamy

PG-rated Halloween movies

Ghostbusters (1984)

Spawning multiple sequels and a vehicle that has been preserved in a museum as one of the most iconic cars on film, the iconic 80s flick teams three friends who band together to become ‘ghostbusters,’ taking down the spirits who haunt New York City.

Hotel Transylvania (2012)

An animation starring Adam Sandler that is fun for the whole family. In 1895, Dracula builds a luxurious resort in Transylvania hidden from humans, where monsters vacation and his daughter can stay safe from the human world. But when a mere mortal accidentally winds up at the hotel, Dracula does everything he can to keep him away from his precious daughter.

The films have spawned four sequels, so do a marathon if you dare! 

The Addams Family (1991), Addams Family Values (1993)

The dark comedies featuring the eccentric and gothic Addams Family have been adapted with panache for the silver screen with Anjelica Houston (Morticia), Raul Julia (Gomez), Christina Ricci (Wednesday) and Christopher Lloyd (Uncle Fester). 

Featuring all the favourites from the original TV series – Thing, Lurch, Pugsley and Cousin Itt, to name a few – the films follow the Addams Family as various gold-diggers come for their riches, with hilarious results.

Coco (2017)

A Pixar favourite, Coco tells the story of Miguel - a boy who loves to sing even though music is banned in his family. During the sacred Day of the Dead festival, he accidentally winds up in the Land of the Dead, where he meets his great-great-grandfather, a legendary musician, and finds the true meaning of family. 

Monster House (2006) 

In this fun animation featuring the voices of Steve Buscemi and Catherin O’Hara, a group of teenagers stumble upon a neighbour’s house that turns out to be a real-life monster - but will anyone believe them?

The Dog Who Saved Halloween (2011)

Fun the whole family. The Bannister family and their talking dog, Zeus, have just moved into a new house in time for Halloween. But when the family get stuck in the spooky neighbour’s house, it’s up to one dog to be a hero and save Halloween!

Corpse Bride (2005) 

Another stop-motion from Tim Burton, this time centred on a tale derived from Jewish folklore. Victor is a man who is going over his wedding vows in the woods – that is, until he accidentally marries a skeleton bride who transports him to the Land of the Dead.


Is The Nightmare Before Christmas a Halloween or Christmas movie? Well... why not both? Image: Alamy
The Addams Family have been the silver screen's spookiest family for generations. Image: Alamy.
The sisters from Hocus Pocus have made a comeback into 2022... Image: Alamy.

M-rated Halloween movies

Beetlejuice (1988)

Starring Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, and Michael Keaton in the title role, a ghost couple find they are unable to scare away the new human owners of the previous home. They call on the expertise of 'Betelgeuse' (Beetlejuice) to drive them out of the house for good. 

The Witches (1990 and 2020)

The movie that scared children everywhere in the 90s most defintiely makes for spooky viewing. In this adaption from the Roald Dahl book, a boy accidentally finds himself at a convention for witches, and does everything he can to stop them. 

The film was remade in 2020, with Anne Hathaway in the lead role as Grand High Witch. 

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) 

The musical come comedy-horror that produced hits like The Time Warp and Damn It, Janet has become an iconic horror parody of stage, screen, and sound, and is still the longest-running theatre release in history, where it is still shown in cities like Los Angeles every Saturday at midnight. 

At many theatres around the world, it is shown on Halloween, where the story of a young couple who seek shelter with eccentric characters in a nearby castle is revered by fans old and new.

Practical Magic (1998) 

Starring Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock, Practical Magic centres on the Owens sisters, rumoured witches who are said to put a curse on any man who falls for them. Can they fight the curse to save their family? 

Death Becomes Her (1992) 

A classic and original dark comedy starring Goldie Hawn, Bruce Willis and Meryl Streep. While not specifically about Halloween, the macabre elements and themes of immortality make it worthy of an October 31st inclusion in this tale about lust, greed, youth, and whether beauty really is forever.

Honourable mentions: Goosebumps, Halloweentown, Coraline, Frankenweenie, Labyrinth, Gremlins, Interview with the Vampire, Edwards Scissorhands, The Dark Crystal, The Little Vampire, Spirited Away, Little Shop of Horrors, The Dark Crystal, The Spiderwick Chronicles, Paranorman.


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