5 Classic Halloween movies to watch with your little siblings

With Halloween almost here, kids may be getting excited. So maybe you don’t want to indulge their ‘play with me’ whining, but what better way to let them express the excitement than by sitting in front of the TV (or laptop) and watching an amazingly spooky movie. All of these are classic Halloween movies free to stream but widely available on DVD so if you don’t have the streaming services, no worries, pop down to the library and have fun.

  1. Nightmare Before Christmas (7+)

Nightmare Before Christmas is about what happens when you take something you don’t know and try to claim it, in other words, cultural appropriation.

Jack is the Pumpkin King, bored with his (once. a. year.) job of bringing Halloween to children in our world. Maybe if he had asked Santa Clause to teach him about Christmas and swapped with him, we would have had a different story of cultural appreciation instead, but that route doesn’t involve Oogie Boogie. And what a shame that would be.

This is a fun movie for children in that it is just scary enough to be a fun ride for kids seven and up but not so scary that it would lead to nightmares. You should watch it with your younger siblings for the colourful graphics and clever antics. Kids will love the soundtrack but be warned they will be singing it for weeks afterwards.

On a more serious note, younger kids could be scared by the scene where the military shoot Jack’s chariot and goes down along with his skeletal reindeer and Jack’s subjects are all sad, thinking he had died. Oogie Boogie may also scare kids with his overall creepiness.

The overall message of Nightmare Before Christmas is to appreciate the life you have at the moment and not to steal things from other people which is a good thing to instil in kids.

Where to watch: Disney+

2. Corpse Bride (10+)

Corpse Bride is a beautiful film about what happens when a nervous groom practises his vows on the wrong tree branch.

This movie is only suitable for ages 10+ because there’s a murder mystery at the heart of this story, with vengeful ghosts pulling the murderer down at the end. Victor and Victoria are arranged to be married and they meet and get along, but the problem is, Victor is anxious and has stage fright at the rehearsal, causing the angry priest to yell: “Enough! This wedding cannot take place until he is properly prepared! Young man. Learn. Your. Vows.”

He takes the advice and gets the fright of his life as Emily the Corpse Bride pops out of the ground, skeletal face and all.

Victor Van Dort is our main character, an artistic, kind-hearted man who just wants to be prepared for his wedding. He often puts his foot in his mouth, once telling Emily (the woman he accidentally got engaged to) that he would: “never marry [her]!” When he probably meant to say: “Hey, you’re dead and I’m already engaged, but I’m really sorry about what happened to you.”

This is a good movie for older children because it has fun songs and a really engaging plot, plus the love story is beautiful. Kids will love the colourful underworld and the cheerful skeletons, but Lord Barkis may scare some young kids.

Be warned that this film has plenty of references to death and a couple of instances where Victor thinks about suicide to be with Emily.

This film is a story about closure, and ‘if you love something, let it go.’ You can talk to children about restrictive societal rules and what marriage is really about.

Where to watch: Disney+

3. Hocus Pocus (10+)

Hocus Pocus is about a boy who lights a candle and brings back a trio of old witches after not believing in Salems Halloween traditions. Now he, his crush and Salem native Alison and his sister Dani have to stop them from coming back to life by sunrise.

Max Dennison is a typical teenager who is angry at being uprooted by his parents from California to Massachusetts and annoyed at the bullies from his school but he is also an amazingly protective big brother who only teases his sister when there are no life-threatening situations (isn’t that lovely?)

Kids will love the scary time-sensitive main plot of the movie and the talking cat. They have a perspective character with Dani, who is around 8 years old and there’s good pacing so they won’t fall asleep during the movie.

Warning that this movie begins with a hanging, and the murder of a child (nothing too graphic, but it’s there.) There are references to Max’s virginity and Sarah Sanderson (Sarah Jessica Parker) makes suggestive comments throughout the movie.

The overall message of Hocus Pocus is ‘don’t mess with things you don’t understand.

Where to watch: Disney+

4. Coraline (9+)

Coraline is the most traditional ‘Halloween’ film on this list, this is children’s horror. Coraline is about a little girl who discovers a portal to take her to a world just like her own, only her parents are attentive to her needs and take her seriously. However, these parents have buttons for eyes, but that’s not a concern for Coraline because she feels overlooked and therefore misses the obvious signs that something isn’t right. We soon find out that the ‘Other Mother’ is the main antagonist in the movie, taking children’s souls and locking parents in snow globes.

Coraline Jones is eleven years old and feels neglected by her workaholic parents, she’s a smart and cynical girl who trusts adults about as far as she can throw them. In a world where everyone tells you independence is a virtue, Coraline is the epitome of this.

Children will relate to the main character of this movie and if they want to watch something scary but you want something that won’t make your parents yell at you for traumatising your siblings, Coraline is perfect. I still get freaked out by moments of the movie as a twenty-year-old, so be careful if you do watch this.

Warning that there are extremely creepy graphics and psychological horror elements of this film and a reference to an explicit play in a couple of minutes of the film.

The message of Coraline is that you should be grateful for what you have because you don’t know when you could lose it. There is also a message about not trusting things that you think are too good to be true.

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

5. Halloweentown (7+)

Halloweentown follows Marnie Piper, a thirteen-year-old girl who discovers she is a witch after eavesdropping on her mother and grandma’s conversation. When she follows her grandma onto the bus along with her siblings, they get sucked into an adventure to save the fate of Halloweentown (and save their estranged culture along the way.)

Our main character is Marnie Piper, the oldest of three children, who wants to be treated like an adult. (“I’m 13, I’m practically a grown-up!” anybody?) Kimberly J. Brown does an amazing job with the acting, even though she was young and Marnie is basically your typical teenager, with a twist – she’s a witch.

Children will love the whimsical nature of this film, everything is brightly coloured, and most things get solved within a scene or two. It’s the cutest film on the list, no creepy crawlies here.

There is one scene near the middle of the movie, where the mother and grandma are frozen in place by an ‘evil spell’. It may be scary for young children.

Halloweentown’s overall message is to embrace whatever culture you come from wholeheartedly, and that teamwork will fix anything life throws at you.

Where to watch: Disney+

What do you think of these movies? Let us know in the comment section.

*Age rating is from Common Sense Media

Words by: Ashna Nadesan  Sub-edit: Ioana Nedelcu

Accessibility | Cookies | Terms of use and privacy