During the month of October, it's customary for people—friends, family, even classmates and co-workers—to get together and watch horror classics. But what if you can't watch full-blown scary movies?
It's a weird feeling when you want to be spooked and creeped out, but not so much that it lingers with you long after the film or TV show ends, to the point that you have trouble being alone or sleeping at night. Not to mention watching with kids who may not be able to handle intense horror.
Fortunately, there are plenty of animated movies and TV shows that have that spookiness factor but not too severe, making them a great option for Halloween movie nights that are lighter and more suitable for sensitive watchers. Read on for our favorites!
13. Hilda (2018–Present)
The fearless Hilda is the star of Hilda. She's eleven-years-old, she has blue hair, and her best friend is her pet deerfox named Twig. Together, they move to the city of Trolberg—and encounter the strangest monsters.
Suitable for kids over the age of six, Hilda explores themes of courage in the face of fear and how the unknown isn't always so scary. It's a wholesome show that will give you all the soft spooks you're looking for.
12. Song of the Sea (2014)
Originally titled Amhrán na Mara, Song of the Sea is an Irish animated fantasy film starring two kid siblings, Ben and Saoirse, who live in a lighthouse with their father, Conor.
When Saoirse was born, their mother Bronagh mysteriously disappeared—and for some reason, no one talks about it. But in Saoirse's case, it's because she doesn't talk at all.
Now, Conor—who still struggles with grief—sends the kids off to live with their grandma. What a spectacular mistake! They will walk home, on Halloween, and someone will follow them in the dark.
11. Scooby-Doo and the Witch's Ghost (1999)
The amateur group of crime-fighters, Mystery Inc., travels to Oakhaven, New England in Scooby-Doo and the Witch's Ghost. Once there, they find out that the little town is now a tourist attraction—because many want to see the witch who haunts the town.
Many of us grew up watching Scooby-Doo. Now that Halloween is approaching, what better time than to revisit this animated classic? Will the haunting witch be only an attraction after all?
10. Hotel Transylvania (2012)
In Hotel Transylvania, Jonathan travels the world with only his backpack. But on one dark and dreary night, he stumbles across an old hotel in the middle of the forest, and all the guests there seem to wear monster costumes. The owner himself is even dressed as Dracula! How quirky.
But Jonathan will soon find out that no one is wearing a costume. And after meeting Mavis, Dracula's daughter, he'll decide to stay anyway! But at what cost? Even if Dracula only feeds on blood substitutes?
Hotel Transylvania is a family-friendly flick that's suitable for children with parental guidance, making it a perfect watch for Halloween with kids.
9. Coco (2017)
Coco is set during the Mexican holiday of Dia de Los Muertos—the Day of the Dead—which is held on the 2nd of November. Sure, that's a few days after Halloween, but the atmosphere is all here.
In Coco, Miguel is a young boy who wants to become a musician but his family forbids it! They've been shoemakers for many generations, and they intend for him to join their family business.
Will a journey through the land of the dead change his mind? What will he discover during that journey, and how will it affect him and his family? Like most Pixar films, this one will have you laughing and crying.
8. The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy (2001–2007)
The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy is an animated TV series centered on the adventures of two kids aptly named Billy and Mandy. Billy is innocent and carefree while Mandy is cynical and, in all honesty, a little frightening. What an unlikely duo!
And that's not all. Through a series of odd events, the Grim Reaper is forced to be their "Best Friend Forever"—and he's not jazzed about it. The trio face many adventures together, ones that are often otherworldly and low-key creepy but ultimately funny.
Note that while The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy is technically rated as appropriate for kids ages seven and above, it does contain ghoulish imagery. The good news is, it's very much bearable for adults as it's filled with clever humor tinged with a little bit of darkness.
7. Spirited Away (2001)
Spirited Away remains one of the most beloved works of Studio Ghibli. To this day, it's the second highest-grossing animated film in Japan and the eighth highest-grossing animated film worldwide.
Chihiro Ogino is a ten-year-old girl who's traveling with her family to their new home. Her parents seem quite happy about it and are looking forward to a new adventure, but she liked the old home just fine and doesn't understand why they need to leave.
They arrive in a deserted village, where a huge buffet is displayed. What happens afterward is for you to find out. All I can tell you is that little Chihiro will have to muster her courage to save her family and leave the (not-so-deserted) village.
Appropriate for kids over the age of ten, Spirited Away isn't just a masterpiece of spooks and emotions but also a great tribute to Japanese folklore.
6. Corpse Bride (2005)
Also known as Tim Burton's Corpse Bride, this stop-motion animated musical dark fantasy film is among his best works. Rated as appropriate for children aged seven and beyond, this funny-yet-spooky tale is for the whole family.
Victor is bound to marry Victoria through an arranged marriage, which is fine because they fall in love with each other at first sight.
But when Victor messes up the wedding rehearsal, he heads out into the woods to repeat his wedding vows out loud. Inspired, he even takes out his ring and places it on an upturned root—and from that point onwards, the story snowballs in Gothic fashion.
Will Victor and Victoria get married? There are many obstacles in their way, but love must prevail. Nothing especially scary happens, but there are quite a few skeletons here and there. It is a Burton film, after all!
5. Over the Garden Wall (2014)
Over the Garden Wall is a miniseries featuring half-brothers Wirt and Greg who end up lost in the middle of a forest that's ominously called the Unknown.
To find their way back home, they need to find someone who's able and willing to help them—all while trying to escape an ancient creature called the Beast. Will the boys make it back home safely?
The show will answer all your questions if you let it. Perfect for an easy Halloween binge-watch, Over the Garden Wall will spellbind you and make you want to keep watching all the way!
4. Frankenweenie (2012)
It's truly a cosmic injustice that dogs have such shorter lifespans than humans. No one wants to witness the passing of their four-legged best friend—yet that's unfortunately what happens to Victor Frankenstein and his beloved bull terrier, Sparky.
But Victor is a crafty fellow who decides that Sparky's time came too soon, so he uses the magic of electricity to resurrect him. After that, he becomes famous with his mates for what he's done.
This film is both a tribute to and a parody of the real Frankenstein. Directed by Tim Burton, Frankenweenie is spooky but leans more towards wholesome than scary, with it being a story about friendship and how important a pet can be to its owners.
3. Courage the Cowardly Dog (1999–2002)
With a title like Courage the Cowardly Dog and a rating that's only appropriate for kids over the age of ten, you should expect this series to creep you out, even if just a little bit.
Courage was abandoned as a pup but was soon found by Muriel, a lovely lady who brought him home to her husband Eustace. They live in the middle of Nowhere, a place where strange creatures lurk around every corner.
"It's up to Courage to save his new home!" says the opening title sequence. The show has a few characters who personally haunted my imagination as a kid, but it isn't terribly bad. Make yourself a cup of cocoa, grab a blanket, and keep a light on if needed—you'll be fine.
2. Monster House (2006)
It's almost Halloween and DJ Walters is at home with his babysitter because his parents are out of town. Everything looks normal in the neighborhood, but under everyone's eye, an old house keeps luring people in.
DJ and his friends decide to fight back, but it won't be as easy as they thought since nobody in the town seems to believe them.
Ranked as appropriate for kids above the age of ten, you should be aware that Monster House contains soft references to drugs and other mature content, and the last 20 minutes are extremely spooky. That's why we put Monster House in second spot on our list.
1. Coraline (2009)
Coraline's parents work way too much, and things don't get any better when they move from Michigan to Oregon. The only upside is that this new place has lots of secrets for her to explore.
And after stumbling upon one secret door in particular, Coraline discovers that it's a portal to a parallel reality—one that's similar to her own but eerily different, like the fact her Other Parents have buttons for eyes. The more she finds, the more she learns she needs to leave as soon as possible.
Appropriate for children above the age of ten, Coraline is by far the spookiest animated film ever made. Do you have the courage for it this Halloween?