Everyone wants to watch horror movies as Halloween grows closer, trouble is horror movies aren't for everyone. By its very nature, it's a genre filled with material that's meant to shock, disturb and otherwise provoke its audience. But what about the young film fans out there? Don't they deserve to have something edgy but age-appropriate to watch when they get back from trick or treating? Of course they do, which is why Moviefone has compiled a list of ten "horror movies" that a family can watch together.
Now what defines a family-friendly horror movie? First off, it can't be rated higher than PG-13, and it is even preferable that the film be rated PG or below. That means no nudity, no gore and minimal violence and foul language. Secondly, by "horror" we simply mean any movie that may contain edgier, Halloween-friendly material.
To help further provide information on these films, we've also included the Common Sense Rating (where available), as well as any notable scenes or themes that may still surprise youngsters (and parents) despite the rating.
10. 'Little Monsters' (Available on DVD and Netflix Watch Instantly)
What's it about: A boy who discovers a gateway to a world of mischievous monsters under his bed.
Why kids will like it: Every child growing up is afraid of what's under their bed or in the closet and 'Little Monsters' puts an adventurous spin on it whilst still keeping things a little creepy.
Why parents will like it: The always enjoyable Fred Savage stars, it has a nice nostalgia factor (for younger parents, at least), plus it helps teach kids to be mindful of their home and their belongings.
Common Sense Rating: Not Available, but it should be okay for anyone over the age of 9.
Notable Shocks: There is a tiny amount of language that might tweak some ears, but nothing that exceeds the MPAA's standards for a PG. Toward the end of the film, the world of the monsters grows a bit darker and may contain some inhuman latex make-up effects that may startle some.
9. 'Coraline' (Available on DVD, Blu-ray, most VOD services)
What's it about: A young girl opens a doorway to an alternate world free of the frustrations she has at home, but filled with increasingly sinister implications.
Why kids will like it: The stop motion animation is captivating, Coraline's frustrations with her parents are relateable, it's brimming with imagination.
Why parents will like it: The stop motion is captivating, it's written by acclaimed author Neil Gaiman and directed by 'The Nightmare Before Christmas' Henry Selick.
Common Sense Rating: Age 9+, "Cool but creepy animated fantasy too scary for young kids."
Notable Shocks: A surprisingly vivacious pair of elderly ladies wear tiny swimsuits during a stage performance; the climax of the film might be too intense for younger viewers.
8. 'Matinee' (Available on DVD and Netflix Watch Instantly)
What's it about: The extravagant premiere night of a new, low-budget horror movie during the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Why kids will like it: 'Matinee' has amusing, men-in-suit type monsters that are all kept at a safe distance and plenty of sight gags to keep them entertained.
Why parents will like it: Joe Dante's film is filled with material that will go over the heads of younger family members. It's got a great cast, a great story and is a total celebration of the sci-fi/horror films and theater-going experiences of yesteryear.
Common Sense Rating: Not available, but should be okay for over the age of 8.
Notable Shocks: Some salty language pops up from time to time, nothing that demanded higher than a PG, however.
7. 'Monster House' (Available on DVD and Blu-ray)
What's it about: A trio of kids who set out to discover why the creepy house on their street is so creepy.
Why kids will like it: Very cool animation, very funny kid characters and an infectious sense of "We can do this!" adventure.
Why parents will like it: Produced by Robert Zemeckis and Steven Spielberg, 'Monster House' has a sophistication to its adult characters. Plus, it's just an all-around fun movie.
Common Sense Rating: Age 10+, "Frightful fun for tweens and up."
Notable Shocks: The visuals, though animated, are surprisingly effective and spooky throughout; boasts poignant themes of death and loss.
6. 'Halloweentown' (Available on DVD that also includes 'Halloweentown II')
What's it about: Children who discover that their family is from the fantasy world of Halloweentown, which is currently under threat of an evil warlock.
Why kids will like it: The story is about discovering powers and abilities you never knew you had, Halloweentown is kind of like a full-scale Diagon Alley from 'Harry Potter.'
Why parents will like it: It's mainly made for kids, but it's well-cast and doesn't ever get too silly.
Common Sense Rating: Age 7+, "Tween brew: Witchy fun, a pinch of fright."
Notable Shocks: Nothing out of the ordinary considering 'Halloweentown' was made for the Disney Channel.
5. 'Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant' (Available on DVD and Blu-ray)
What's it about: A boy who becomes half-vampire and joins a traveling band of circus freaks.
Why kids will like it: The world of the freaks is cool; it's got a good sense of humor, nice action and an exceedingly likable cast.
Why parents will like it: It doesn't pander to the younger, vampire-loving crowd despite being based on a series of young-adult fantasy novels and arriving at the height of 'Twilight'-mania; great cast of both young and old actors; has nice hat tips to iconic figures of fright.
Common Sense Rating: Age 12+, "Teen vampire flick is scarier, edgier than the book series."
Notable Shocks: The hero is a boy who fakes his death to get away from his parents; some of the freaks (and their powers) are definitely too scary for kids below the age of 12.
4. 'Casper' (Available on DVD)
What's it about: A girl who befriends a ghost after moving into a dusty old mansion.
Why kids will like it: 'Casper' is a simple and often quite silly defanging of ghosts and the other side.
Why parents will like it: Nice production values (dated CGI aside), a cast of familiar faces and voices.
Common Sense Rating: Age 6+, "Haunted house tale not as mild as the cartoons."
Notable Shocks: Nothing outrageous, 'Casper' is the most all-ages film on this list.
3. 'Arachnophobia' (Available on DVD)
What's it about: A family that relocates to a farmhouse that happens to be infected with a deadly South American spider.
Why kids will like it: It's scary, but not traumatizing; great to watch in a group.
Why parents will like it: It's bound to have a few skin-crawling scenes; neat practical effects; never too kiddy.
Common Sense Rating: Age 12+, "Creepy/clever creature feature with touches of humor."
Notable Shocks: Anyone of any age who is already prone to arachnophobia will be freaked out by the legion of creepy crawlies here. Spots of mild language.
2. 'Gremlins' (Available on DVD and Blu-ray)
What's it about: A town that threatens to be overrun by a strange breed of new pet.
Why kids will like it: The puppetry is fantastic; Gizmo is lovable; the violence is cartoonish.
Why parents will like it: It's a Joe Dante movie filled with cool special effects and funny gags. Plus, 'Gremlins' teaches kids to properly take care of their pets.
Common Sense Rating: Age 9+, "A comic horror movie classic."
Notable Shocks: The gremlins often act like out-of-control adults, partaking in excessive booze, smoking and gambling. They also tend to make a mess upon death.
1. 'The Witches' (Available on DVD)
What's it about: A young boy who, on a vacation with his Grandmother, learns that his hotel is hosting a witches' convention.
Why kids will like it: It's a crazy fantasy story that's both weird and wonderful.
Why parents will like it: Strong cast; story is an adaptation of Roald Dahl's novel, which is a classic for a certain generation.
Common Sense Rating: Age 8+, "Some kids will love it, some may find disturbing."
Notable Shocks: Death may not always be the big deal it really is; some of the effects and revelations are certain to bother those under the age of 8 (and possibly a few over it).