Asides from trick-or-treating, carving pumpkins, and making yourself sick with candy, watching scary movies is also a Halloween tradition. However, not all horror movies are kid-friendly; with that in mind, we’ve put together a timeless list broken down by age group. Head to a DVD shop (the one next to Yashow Market, for example), Taobao them, or search for them online.
Monsters, Inc. This Pixar crowd-pleaser revolves around a company of monsters who feed off kids’ screams for energy. When two of them, Mike and Sulley, accidentally bring back a little girl named Boo with them, the experience changes everything they know about human children. Rated G
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
First broadcast in 1966, this Peanuts movie remains a classic. The title refers to Linus’ belief in the Great Pumpkin, a mythical figure that supposedly comes around on Halloween. The other characters are skeptical, but Linus insists on waiting for the Great Pumpkin at the local pumpkin patch. Life lessons and hilarity ensue. Rated G
Pooh’s Heffalump Halloween Movie
This 2005 film doesn’t quite capture the charm of the early Pooh movies, tots will like it all the same. It follows Lumpy the Heffalump and Roo as they decide to go trick-or-treating – that is, until Tigger tells them about the fearsome Gobloon. Rated G
Wallace & Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit
Awkward inventor Wallace and his trusty dog, Gromit, investigate a group of rabbits who have been making a mess of Lady Tottingham’s garden. In the process, they hear about a terrifying beast called the Were-Rabbit. What will this dynamic duo do? Rated G
Bedknobs and Broomsticks Featuring a young Angela Lansbury, this magical movie is set during World War II, and stars a friendly witch and three siblings who take off to help the Allies. Rated G
The Nightmare Before Christmas
This Tim Burton stop-motion classic is as much a Christmas movie as a Halloween one. Jack Skellington is the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town, a dream world filled with ghoulish archetypes and monsters of all kinds. One day, he stumbles onto Christmas Town, which makes Jack determined to bring this fascinating new holiday to Halloween Town. Rated PG
The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad
To be honest, this Disney movie still scares the daylights out of us. It contains two stories: The Wind in the Willows and Sleepy Hollow. The one to look out for is the latter, which is based on Washington Irving’s famous short story about a headless horseman who haunts a quiet town. Rated G
Written by Steven Spielberg, The Goonies follows a band of misfit kids as they search for treasure in an underground cave. They run into criminal Mama Fratelli, but luckily manage to befriend her horribly-deformed but kind son. Rated PG
The Corpse Bride
During the Victorian era, a young doctor named Victor Van Dort accidentally marries a dead bride called Emily. As he tries to find a way to break the engagement, Victor realizes that he may care for her more than he thinks. Rated PG
Based on the beloved Roald Dahl book of the same name, The Witches is about a worldwide conspiracy of witches who disguise themselves as normal women. When Luke and his grandmother Helga stumble onto a convention of witches, the little boy is turned into a mouse. There’s a really creepy scene at the beginning of the film, in which a little girl is trapped in an oil painting, ages as time passes, and one day disappears from it completely. Brrr!
Gremlins The only film on this list with a China connection, Gremlins starts off with a dad buying an unusual Christmas present for his son at a shop in Chinatown: a creature called a Mogwai (Cantonese for "evil spirit"). The shopkeeper instructs him to "never feed the creature after midnight." But of course, he does. Violence ensues. Rated PG
Starring a very young Thora Birch and a delightfully campy Bette Midler, Hocus Pocus takes on themes of caring for siblings and finding friends in a new place. The plot follows teenager Max and his little sister Dani as they uncover the story behind Salem’s witch trials, all while Max nurses a crush on a local girl named Allison. Rated PG
Featuring some truly scary scenes (including a hair-rising encounter with a poltergeist at the New York Public Library), Ghostbusters is a comedic thriller with a stellar cast: Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Rick Moranis, Ernie Hudson, and Sigourney Weaver. Warning: The theme song will get stuck in your head. Rated PG
The Lost Boys
Beautiful and sullen teenage vampires in ’80s clothing terrorize a town a Northern California.When your teen isn’t yelping about all the bloodsucking, they’ll be making fun of the actors’ backcombed hair and denim jackets. Rated R
Who doesn’t recognize the iconic Scream mask? Not only is this ’90s film a classic example of a slasher movie, but it’s actually meant to be a parody as well. The result is a refreshing blend of thrills and laughs that works surprisingly well.
Still don’t know what to do for Halloween? It’s not too late! Check out our roundup of Halloween events here.