21 Scary Movies Your Tween Will Actually Watch With You This Halloween
Don’t forget the caramel popcorn and pumpkin cookies!
Spooky season is here — and with it, Halloween candy and scary movies galore! If you have a tween flying around your haunted house, you may be looking to up the level of scare among your Halloween movie selections this year. Perhaps it's time to graduate from Casper and It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown to something with a little more thrills and chills?
The tricky part about scary tween movies is finding films with a healthy combination of blood and gore, magic and monsters, and laughs. While a classic, the Halloweentown series is a spooktacular example of a tween scary movie franchise that captures all of these. In case your tween has already binged all four movies, here are some newer titles they may haven't watched yet.
From the long-awaited Hocus Pocus 2 to Goosebumps, a Jack Black film inspired by R.L. Stines' scary book series, these scary movies are sure to send a chilly tingle down your tween's spine.
1. Hocus Pocus 2 (2022)
The Sanderson sisters are back in this highly anticipated sequel to the 1993 classic. The witchy trio gets transported back to Salem, where a new set of teens must figure out how to keep Winifred, Mary, and Sarah from taking over the eerie city.
2. Hubie Halloween (2020)
Hubie Dubois is the mayor of Halloween in Salem. Nothing brings him more joy than ensuring everyone has a fun-filled Halloween, even if some of his peers find his celebrations a bit silly. But when crime begins to strike, Hubie takes it upon himself to protect his town and save Halloween.
3. The Witches (2020)
What was supposed to be a fun weekend away with Gran turns into a scary trip when a gaggle of witches infiltrates the town they’re visiting. So, they repack their things in haste and retreat to a beautiful seaside town instead. Lo and behold, the Grand High Witch is holding a convention with her sinister peers that same weekend.
4. Nightbooks (2021)
In this dark fantasy film, young Alex gets trapped in a tiny cursed apartment owned by a witch. In order to keep himself alive, Alex must read her a scary story of his own every night. With the help of another prisoner, he spends the daytime hatching an escape route.
5. The Addams Family (2019)
Moments away from gathering with their creepy, spooky relatives, trouble in the form of a “For Sale” sign strikes at the Addams family household. Margaux Needler is determined to sell all the houses in the neighborhood, but there’s just one thing standing in her way: the Addams family’s terrifying mansion.
6. The House With a Clock in Its Walls (2018)
Uncle Jonathan’s (played by Black) house is different from most. For starters, it’s super old, the floor beds creak, and there’s a haunting “tick-tock” noise that’s been humming ever since Lewis arrived. Come to find out, Uncle Jonathan and his neighbor (played by Cate Blanchett) are masters of the magic arts. When witches, warlocks, and venomous curses begin to wreak havoc, it’s up to Lewis, Uncle Jonathan, and his neighbor to save the town and its folk.
7. Goosebumps (2015)
City slicker Zach Cooper is beyond mad at his parents for moving their family to remote suburbia. Then he meets Hannah, his cool neighbor whose dad just happens to be R. L. Stine (played by Black). As in, the R.L. Stine, renowned scary author of the Goosebump series. When R.L. Stine’s fictional monsters come to life, the trio forms a plan to get the beasts back in their rightful home — on paper.
8. The Haunted Mansion (2003)
During a long overdue family trip with his wife and kids, realtor Jim Evers makes a detour to check out a potential listing: a huge, creepy, come-to-find-out haunted mansion. With Eddie Murphy playing workaholic Jim Evers, there are plenty of laughs — but there’s still enough spookiness to keep tweens on the edge of their seats. And if you’ve got a kid who loves Disney trips, they’ll love that the movie is based on the popular ride of the same name. Bonus: There’s a remake in the works, so it’s the perfect time to watch this version.
9. Coraline (2009)
If you’ve got a tween who’s into all things creepy, Coraline will be their new favorite thing to watch. In it, Coraline discovers an “other” world where everything seems better... at first. This one may spook tweens who aren’t used to darker movie matter, so use your best judgment before watching it with your kid.
10. Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021)
True, some parents may not find this reboot of the classic Ghostbusters movie to be appropriate for tweens — there are a few sexual insinuations, along with some light swearing. And, well, it does get pretty scary at times (CGI is much more realistic than it was back in the ‘80s!). But families who are true fans of the original franchise will enjoy this glossy, modern adaptation with a stellar cast of young Hollywood stars.
11. Monster House (2006)
Most of us grow up knowing about some scary old house that everyone swears is haunted. This fun animated family horror movie tells the story of one such house when three neighborhood kids find out a creepy dwelling in their town is an actual monster.
12. Beetlejuice (1988)
For more mature tweens, this Tim Burton throwback could be a surprise hit. You know the story: Adam and Barbara Maitland accidentally drive off a bridge into a river and, sadly, perish. Only, it takes them a while to realize their dead — and that an eccentric new family has moved in and taken over their beloved home. When they summon “ the afterlife’s leading bio-exorcist,” things get seriously interesting.
13. Frankenweenie (2012)
Yep, another Tim Burton pick! This underrated stop-motion masterpiece is a clever take on the story of Victor Frankenstein that sees the young scientist as a quirky boy whose best friend is his dog, Sparky. When Sparky gets run over and dies, Victor brings him back to life... but that creates some unexpected issues. It’s macabre, sure, but a smart and thoughtful spin on animated horror for kids.
14. Scooby-Doo (2002)
Don’t be fooled — this isn’t the innocuous Scooby-Doo cartoon of your youth. This live-action remake has some surprisingly scary special effects that could be too frightening for easily spooked tweens. If your kid can handle it, though, following the hijinks of Scooby and his human friends is a scary adventure worth the watch.
15. ParaNorman (2012)
For the stop-motion fans of the bunch, ParaNorman is a perfect pick. It follows middle-school misfit Norman, who just so happens to be able to see and speak to ghosts. This comes in especially handy when he must battle a witch — and a horde of zombies — to save his small town of Blithe Hollow.
16. Signs (2002)
Rated PG-13, this movie isn’t intended for younger audiences, so you should know that going in. There is mild swearing, a few violent scenes, and some pretty scary sound/visual effects. But if your tween is bored with the animated stuff and wants to kick things up a notch, this is one of the safer choices.
17. Spirited Away (2001)
The fact that this is an animated film might fool you into thinking it can’t be that creepy... but you’d be wrong. It definitely has some frights! Having said that, it’s a truly magical adventure worth going on, and your weird little kid is gonna be obsessed with it.
18. The Canterville Ghost (2021)
Hidden gem alert! In this spin on an Oscar Wilde tale, Ginny Otis (played by Scream queen Neve Campbell) is an American teen moving to an English countryside mansion with her family. Like most teens in that situation, she doesn’t want to leave her friends behind. But her new life gets infinitely more interesting when she and her brothers discover a ghost named Sir Simon de Canterville (played by the iconic Patrick Stewart) and must figure out how to free him from his curse.
19. Harry Potter & The Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)
If your tween hasn’t already watched the Harry Potter series, The Sorcerer’s Stone is an ideal place to start. It isn’t as scary as the later films in the franchise, but it has plenty of spookiness and magic to make it a must-see.
20. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019)
Another PG-13 option for more mature tweens, this film adaptation of the popular ‘80s book series features some edgy stuff: light swearing, some sexual innuendo, blood, jump scares, and super-creepy monsters. So, again, save this one for your mature tween.
21. When Good Ghouls Go Bad (2001)
Like The Canterville Ghost, this movie may have slipped your attention because it was a TV movie. That doesn’t make it any less watch-worthy, though. Based on an R.L. Stine book, it tells the story of a boy named Danny Walker who moves with his dad to live with his zany “Uncle Fred” (Christopher Lloyd) in the small town of Walker Falls. A town curse, ghosts, zombies, and more make it an often silly and sometimes spooky good time.