As my kids are 8 and now 10 (Oh, my goodness, where has the time gone?!), they are gravitating towards more teen-like shows. The biggest question for parents might just be: “Are my kids old enough to watch this?” Will I let my kids watch Nightmare on Elm Street or Friday the 13th? Uh, no. But, I think it’s important to let my kids share their curiosities with us, so we know what they’re interested in.
Sometimes, you’ll watch something with your kids to let them know, “Hey, I’m interested in watching and spending time with you, while also seeing if this is okay.” We also depend on trailers and the age rating system to help guide our decision, so if a kid asks to watch something, it can be somewhat easy to determine if it’s age-appropriate for your kids. And other times, we rely on what we’ve watched and know full well Freddy Krueger is not getting played in this household any time soon.
So, let’s dive into five movies and TV shows to help guide your kid’s spooky season, even if that means going beyond Halloween.
Hocus Pocus (1993)
Length: 1 hour, 36 minutes
No, I have still not watched this movie. Yes, I’m still going to suggest this to everyone, because I have enough people in my life who constantly ask, “HOW HAVE YOU NOT WATCHED THIS YET?!” Plus, my friends absolutely adore this film – and my kiddos have watched it and are excited to watch the newly released sequel.
Hocus Pocus and Hocus Pocus 2 are available on Disney+, and it’s all my kids have talked about. My daughter enjoyed Hocus Pocus more than my son, but they’re both looking forward to seeing the sequel and waiting so they can watch it with their favorite Aunt Lolo. (Yes, Lolo is the sound our kids made as toddlers when they tried pronouncing Lori, and I still call her by this nickname to this day.)
If you do not have a subscription to Disney+, or do not want to purchase it from another online service, I will recommend checking out your local library. For all of my picks, I suggest searching your library in-store or online to see if this (or any other movies) might be there to check out. Libraries are not only a great resource for exploring different books, but they can be an excellent way to provide fun movie nights for the family.
The Curse of Bridge Hollow (2022)
Length: 1 hour, 31 minutes
I watched the preview for this on Netflix, and it looks absolutely fantastic. The age rating for this movie is listed as TV-14, but it’s certainly a film I’ll discuss with my wife to (hopefully) let our kids watch. Marlon Wayans plays a science teacher who doesn’t believe in fairy tales and spooky things, until they move to a small town and strange things start to happen.
Despite the rating, the preview looks approachable for a slightly younger audience, and this is on my list of things I want to watch with my kids. Watching a skeptic realize that people walking around in devilish clown costumes aren’t actors, but, in fact, demonic beings, is hilarious. Having humor mixed with scary elements is a perfect blend to introduce some creepiness into your kid’s life.
This looks like a must watch!
Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (2017)
Length: 3 seasons (25 episodes total)
This Netflix series is on the list for one specific reason: Besides being entertaining, it lets kids experience bad things, without the gruesomeness they might see from a typical horror movie. It allows kids to realize characters they’ve grown fond of have been disposed of by the evil Count Olaf. As I watched a few episodes with my own kids, I saw and heard the surprise from my kids when they realized something bad happened to one of their favorite characters.
A Series of Unfortunate Events produces unbelievable circumstances with outrageous characters, all while hoping three orphaned kids find a way to outmaneuver Olaf. It’s cleverly produced, but do not let your kids watch if you’re opposed to them imagining a character getting eaten alive by wild animals. Oh, poor [redacted name to prevent spoilers].
Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island (1998)
Length: 1 hour, 16 minutes
Is there a spooky season without Scooby-Doo? My kids’ favorite pack of mystery solvers is a guarantee hit with most little ones. Scooby-Doo is a great way to introduce kids to monsters, while also loving the hijinks that always ensues around characters always looking to find a meal.
Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island is one of the many fun ways to explore Mystery Inc., and it’s currently available on Amazon Prime Video. More opportunities to watch (or rewatch) anything with Scooby and the gang will let fans prepare for the new show, Velma, releasing in 2023. So, grab plenty of snacks, look for any zombies coming out at night, and your kids will sure to have a good time.
Creeped Out (2017)
Length: 2 seasons (23 episodes total)
Creeped Out is a very eerie TV show available on Netflix. This series is one my daughter enjoys, while my son thinks it’s too scary – and rightfully so. The show always starts following a person wearing a haunting mask, while the rest of each episode presents a unique scenario where kids are put into frightening situations.
“Bravery Badge” is an episode where kids are on a camping trip and something reminiscent of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan takes hold, as kids begin rubbing their ears as if something’s gotten stuck inside and won’t come out. If your kids aren’t old enough to watch Smile, then this might be the closest thing you can find to scare the you-know-what out of them.
Caution to younger kids watching this show (and this episode in particular), because it definitely has some very creepy vibes.
Do you or your kids run away from scary shows, or do you love to embrace every unnerving scene the fall season has to offer? Share some of your favorites in the comments below, so other parents can share in the frightening geeky goodness.
Until next time, happy parenting and happy geeking.