Scary movies for kids-whether for Halloween, a random Friday the 13th, or just a fun Friday night-do not have to be so scary that you worry about your child being able to sleep for the next week. After all, did you really want them to sleep in your bed tonight? There are tons of scary videos with enough suspense and excitement that your child will be thrilled you are letting them watch it, but enough release of tension that they will feel fine afterwards.
I've listed several great scary videos below with mini descriptions to give you a synopsis of what you can expect. Use your discretion as to which will work for your children, based upon age, maturity, etc. As a parent you are probably concerned with ratings as well, and so I've included the rating with each. Choose one or two the next time you get a craving for a suspenseful movie, and have some fun with your family!
- Disney's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1955, rated G): A teacher (Ichabod Crane) moves into town and starts drawing the attention of the ladies (even though he is quite clumsy). One local man gets jealous, so plays on the teacher's superstitions by telling him about the Headless Horseman. This leads to a torturously scary ride home for Ichabod Crane one night.
- Charlie Brown's The Great Pumpkin (unrated): There's no spook here; just an adorable night following Charlie Brown and his friends around as they put on their ghost costumes, write a letter to the great pumpkin, trick-or-treat (poor Charlie only gets rocks in his bag), and go to a Halloween party. This one will get giggles out of everyone in the room with Schultz's usual humor.
- Hocus Pocus (1993, rated PG): A cute story about three witches (Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy) that come back after 300 years to haunt Salem, Massachusetts for one Halloween night. Their goal is to bring themselves back to life permanently, by sucking the life (literally) out of the children in Salem.
- Practical Magic (1999, rated PG-13): Two witch sisters get themselves into trouble when the one sister accidently kills (by potion) her deadbeat boyfriend. As the criminal investigation ensues, the other sister falls in love with the investigator. Both sisters must bond together and figure a way out of this mess. This has some mature scenes in it (Nicole Kidman has a bruised face and is kidnapped by her boyfriend), and some mature situations, but in my opinion is good for teens.
- Casper the Friendly Ghost (1995, rated PG): This is based on the comic book about Casper the friendly ghost. A paranormal investigator and his daughter move into a haunted mansion, and his daughter makes friends with Casper (eventually they fall in love). The paranormal investigator was hired to remove the ghosts so that other people may look for a treasure hidden in the home. Needless to say, the ghosts rule the day.
- A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004, rated PG): Jim Carrey stars in this "comically morbid adaptation" of Lemony Snickett's books. This is based on three orphans who have to fight off the wits of a wicked uncle trying to steal their treasure, and lots of other strange relatives.
- Monsters, Inc. (2001, rated G): These monsters are in the scaring business, and are employed by Monsters, Inc. However, they are finding that it is just too difficult to scare kids nowadays.
- Ghostbusters (1984, rated PG): This is a great movie; however, be forewarned that there is sexual suggestions, mature scenes, and profanity. Three university professors get fired and become parapsychologists, going around Manhattan to rid it of ghosts. When one of their girlfriend becomes possessed, the guys must work together to rid her, and Manhattan, of evil.
- The Witches (1990, rated PG): A coven of witches are attempting to turn Britain's children into mice to get rid of them all! A little boy and his grandmother are hot on their trail and are determined to stop them.