Jason Toon

quality posts: 19 Private Messages Jason Toon

What do you show a younger child who wants to join in the fun of watching scary movies at Halloween - or even a kid a few years older who just can't handle too much creepiness without having nightmares? (Personally, I saw The Exorcist way too young.) These five movies - roughly listed from least to most scary - won't make any horror connoisseur's list of essentials. But they should provide enough chills to help kids get into the Halloween spirit without traumatizing them for years afterward. (DISCLAIMER: you know your kids better than I do! Judge wisely...)

The Wizard of Oz
: Maybe not what you think of when you think "scary movie". But the standard Halloween witch image - a green-skinned, hook-nosed, broom-flying crone in a pointy black hat - wouldn't be the same without Margaret Hamilton's Wicked Witch of the West. Throw in the flying monkeys, the apple-throwing trees, and the cyclone itself, and you've got an ideal "horror" movie for the kindergarten set.

The Peanut Butter Solution (1985): Ghosts, spells, a paintbrush sweatshop manned by kidnapped children, and yes, a scene involving runaway pubic hair: this French-Canadian '80s comedy is nothing if not weird. But its good humor and happy ending should endear it to your favorite 2nd grader. For grownups, the creepiest part is the music by a young Céline Dion.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
: If there's still anyone out there who hasn't seen it... this one really depends on the kid. Lots of ghosts haunt the halls of Hogwarts, but they're more eccentric and funny than scary. The three-headed dog Fluffy is a little more frightening, and there's also some talk about Harry's parents being killed, and one scene where the kids find a dead unicorn. Not too much for a typical 8-year-old to handle. But the most disturbing moment occurs during the climactic confrontation with Professor Quirrell. If your kid is on the sensitive side, hit the "skip ahead" button as soon as Quirrell starts unravelling his turban.

Monster House (2006): all the kids are scared of the spooky house on their block, which turns out to be the actual monster in this clever animated creeper. It gets pretty intense, but I can't imagine anything in here would seriously bother a 10-year-old. And if your kid does get anxious, just assure him or her that everyone that the house eats comes out OK in the end.

: The ultimate kids' monster movie or cheap, manipulative ickfest? The high gross-out quotient and nasty little beasts garnered this movie some bad reviews, but that was what the 10-year-old me loved about it - and I was a kid who scared pretty easily. You'll have to ask yourself how your own kid will handle the exploding gremlin in the microwave, or Phoebe Cates's story about how her Dad died (the only part of the movie that freaked me out even a little).

What movies do you fire up when your kids want to get scared - but not too scared? Which movies from your childhood left pleasantly creepy memories without leaving any scars?


quality posts: 7 Private Messages kenney9226

Fun fact: "Gremlins" and "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" were the main reasons why the PG-13 rating was created!


quality posts: 8 Private Messages Orcrist42

We are going to watch "Young Frankenstein" with our kids before Halloween. I know its a comedy, but I think it has just enough monster moments to be a little scary too, but not suspenseful. It should be fun. We watched Wizard of Oz earlier this year and they loved it.


quality posts: 14 Private Messages zzzzz78759

Frankly, I'm sick and tired of all things Harry Potter. Come on.

Wizard of Oz is definitely in there.
I think Gremlins is a bit too scary/creepy for some kids.

Why isn't Labyrinth in here? Or Hocus Pocus? Or even Ghostbusters (although some of GB may need to be edited for content )


quality posts: 172 Private Messages agingdragqueen

When I was a kid, I was honestly afraid of the Care Bear movie, I guess the first one? To my tiny girl brain I saw it as a sort of Dante's Inferno where the bears literally went through hell and I did not like that, not at all.

But yeah, I've never been a fan of scary movies apparently because I have no real good conceptualization of what is actually scary.


quality posts: 32 Private Messages llandar

I saw Peanut Butter Solution as a kid and couldn't for the life of me remember the name of it, but JEEZ that movie freaked me out.


quality posts: 1 Private Messages TheTick

Coraline would be a good fit for this. My 3 year old buried her head in my shoulder for the scariest parts, but wanted to watch the whole thing, and then watch it again.


quality posts: 11 Private Messages Adelas

Coraline creeped me RIGHT OUT. My kids will be old enough to rent movies on their own before they get to watch it.

A girl whose birthday was the day before mine had a sleepover party the year we turned 8. We started with Labyrinth (win!) and then watched Gremlins. Colossal fail - I was scared of gremlins possibly under my bed well into middle school when I technically knew better.

At least that was better than the party 6 months later where the parents rented "It" and let us 8 year olds watch it unsupervised.


quality posts: 1 Private Messages ladyluck713

Oh I vividly remember watching Peanut Butter Solution and had not thought of it in years (thank you very much!) That film was freaking CREEPY! I saw it in probably 6th grade when my much older cousins wanted to watch it again. Way disturbing.

Coraline - was definitely not a kids movie, much like the newest Alice In Wonderland wasn't a kids movie. The latest Alice film was much more like the book in that it's REALLY DARK! I don't think most folks realize how incredibly dark and non-little-kid-friendly the book is! I bought a really neat illustrated copy that I think was put out by Chronicle books and will have to wait until my step-daughter is probably 9 or 10 before she gets to hear the REAL story. It's certainly an amusing story, but very dark.

The Christmas Toy by Henson - just re-watched that and boy is MUCH creepier than I ever remember as a kid. Some of Hensons puppets were amazing and amazingly creepy like in Labyrinth. Labyrinth was a great movie, but good thing I didn't see it until I was in junior high.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit - that movie gave me nightmares for YEARS as a kid.

And I completely agree about the Care Bears movie.. I think the one that bothered me the most was a sort of Pandora's box knock off.. VERY DISTURBING!

Although I don't believe in completely sheltering kids from stuff, I do believe wholeheartedly in protecting CHILDHOOD! Real life is scary enough for kids, I honestly believe that letting them watch movies that are out of their age range or that feature too much dark stuff isn't doing them any favors. Kids need to be able to be kids for as long as possible!

Ok ok, I'll put my soapbox away now.


quality posts: 3 Private Messages gothicchic21

My daughter is 2 and loved Gremlins, Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland and all the Harry Potter movies. She does not get scared at movies really, but she does get terrified of most rides at Disneyland, even ones that she has seen the movie before.

I was hesitant to let her watch Nightmare Before Christmas, but she loves it, I think Coraline is a bit darker than that. Labrynth is a little scary for some kids, i was terrified of those horrible creatures that take out their eyes and body parts, til this day they creep me out! My daughter likes that movie. I haven't shown her Dark Crystal yet, little slow moving.

I thought she would be scared of the Twilight Saga but she loves the wolves and always leaves her room and her shows and ends up watching with me.


quality posts: 3 Private Messages gothicchic21
Adelas wrote:Coraline creeped me RIGHT OUT. My kids will be old enough to rent movies on their own before they get to watch it.

At least that was better than the party 6 months later where the parents rented "It" and let us 8 year olds watch it unsupervised.

Oh My Gookie! , I cannot believe parents would let an 8 year old watch IT. I read the book when I was about 13 and it was creey, but King was one of my fav authors. His movies were scary when I was younger. I wonder if that kids parents bothered watching it first!?! My uncles let my sister and I watch Night of the Living Dead when we were kids and til this day I cannot watch a zombie movie at all, horrible nightmares!!! They even let us watch Faces of Death when I wasn't even a teen yet and my sister is 6 yrs younger than me, I just hope she doesn't ever remember any of that!