Retro Halloween Movies Kids Will Love (and That Won't Scar Them For Life)

Fun movies for the holiday that won't scare the crap out of the kids

I’m not a fan of horrifying slasher Halloween flicks; they’ve never been enjoyable for me. Despite my aversion to gory death scenes, I’m not a total downer during the month of October. I have always loved kid-friendly Halloween movies, which is why I look forward to introducing my kids to some of my favourite October-themed flicks from way back.

There’s no shortage of ghoulish films that are appropriate for kids today, but some of the best spooky movies aren’t the most recent ones. I’ve compiled a list of my top choices for vintage Halloween movies, and have included ages to help guide parents as suggested by Common Sense Media.

Pooh’s Heffalump Halloween Movie (2004)

Great for ages three and up

This sweet Halloween flick features our favourite friends in the Hundred Acre Wood. The crew is excited to bring their new friend Lumpy trick-or-treating through the neighbourhood, but Tigger warns the group that the spooky Gobloon is on the prowl. For an even more vintage Pooh film, try and find a copy of Boo to You Too! Winnie the Pooh (1996).

Spookley The Square Pumpkin (2005)

Great for ages four and up

This cartoon feature is based off of the book The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin. Spookley is a square pumpkin that is teased by the other round pumpkins. Through the help of his friends, a spider and a scarecrow, Spookley learns to love himself and embrace what makes him different.

Mickey’s House of Villains (2001)

Great for ages five and up

Mickey decides to host a Halloween party, and is surprised when a cast of villains start to arrive. This Disney special features our favourite Disney villains, including Jafar, Ursula, Cruella Deville, and more. The villains have an evil plan to take over Mickey’s house and turn it into the House of Villains.

Double Double Toil and Trouble (1993)

Great for ages five and up

Featuring the adorable seven-year-old Olsen Twins, this Halloween film follows the sisters as they attempt to help their Great Aunt Sophia (Cloris Leachman) escape from a mirror that her evil twin sister Agatha trapped her in. Featuring a strange cast of characters, including three grown men who help the twins to break the evil spell, some scenes may require parental clarification and caution to not walk off with strange adults like the twins do.

It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)

Great for ages six and up

Possibly the most well-known Halloween cartoon for youngsters, Charlie Brown and his crew offer a sweet Halloween story for all ages. The gang celebrates Halloween together, while Linus hopes that the Great Pumpkin, who brings treats for little boys and girls, will finally visit him.

Casper Meets Wendy (1998)

Great for ages six and up

Featuring young Hillary Duff, Casper the ghost and Wendy the witch team up to defeat an evil warlock. This film is much tamer than the original Casper, but still features some spooky scenes.

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Great for ages seven and up

Tim Burton’s holiday cult classic features a fantastical story about the spooky world of Halloweentown, starring everyone’s favourite Pumpkin King, Jack. When Jack stumbles across Christmastown, he vows to bring the magic of Christmas into his own world, going as far as kidnapping Santa.

Halloweentown (1998)

Great for ages seven and up

Thirteen-year-old Marnie thinks she’s a typical girl, until she realizes that she’s a witch. Grandma Aggie (Debbie Reynolds) visits daughter Gwen and her three grandkids on Halloween night, and shares that the magical place she lives in under threat. Thirteen-year-old Marnie and her siblings decide to help Grandma to save Halloweentown, despite their mother’s reservations.

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

Great for ages seven and up

One of the best family movies around, and perfect to cozy up and watch during the month of October. E.T. is the heartwarming tale of friendship between Elliot and the friendly and loving alien that he discovers and protects. Fair warning: there is some foul language in this movie.

Casper (1998)

Great for ages eight and up

This spooky movie about a friendly ghost and a host of not-so-friendly ghosts stars Christina Ricci as Kat Harvey, a young girl who moves to a creepy house with her single dad (Bill Pullman), a psychologist that helps spirits move to the next realm. Casper contains some colourful language, and really creepy ghouslish scenes, viewers beware!

The Witches (1990)

Great for ages nine and up

Based of off Roald Dahl’s 1983 book of the same name. Orphaned Luke lives with his Grandma, who has warned him to be on the lookout for witches. The duo take a trip to Cornwall, where Luke discovers a witch convention is taking place. This twisted classic is sure to terrify some kids and delight others.

Hocus Pocus (1993)

Great for ages 10 and up

My all-time favourite Halloween movie, starring the most fun cast of witches that you’ll ever see, the Sanderson sisters include ringleader Winnie (Bette Midler); placating Mary (Kathy Najimy); and the sensual Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker). 300 years ago the women commit a heinous crime, killing a little girl in order to extract her youth. They are hanged for their crime, but 300 years later a curse revives them, and it’s up to a group of misfit characters to return them to the grave.

The Addams Family (1991)

Great for ages 12 and up

This is the perfect pre-teen Halloween movie, featuring our favourite spooky family. This early-1990’s film is based of the 1960’s Addams Family sitcom, but offers a more sinister spin. Starring Anjelica Huston as Morticia, the matriarch of the family, and with an inspiring performance by little Christina Ricci as Wednesday Addams, the entire family is on full display in this timeless classic.

Do you have a favourite vintage Halloween movie that wasn’t mentioned? Let us know in the comments!


Brianna Bell is a writer and journalist based out of Guelph, Ontario. She has written for many online and print publications, including Scary Mommy, The Penny Hoarder, and The Globe & Mail. 

Brianna's budget-savvy ways has attracted media attention, and led to newspaper coverage in The Globe & Mail and The Guelph Mercury. In April 2016 Brianna will be featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Joy of Less, alongside co-writer Brooke Burke. You can find Brianna's website at Brianna Bell Writes.