Halloween gives kids a thrilling opportunity to act out their dreams and pretend to be characters with great power. But it can also be scary and even overwhelming for the littlest trick-or-treaters. An introduction to the holiday with videos from trusted friends can help make them feel comfortable and excited about even the spookier aspects of the holiday.
Kids ages 3–5
Barney’s Halloween Party has a visit to the pumpkin farm, ideas for Halloween party games and for making Halloween decorations at home, and some safety tips for trick-or-treating at night.
Richard Scarry’s The First Halloween Ever is Scarry, but not at all scary!
Curious George: A Halloween Boo Fest has the beloved little monkey investigating the Legend of “No Noggin.”
Disney characters celebrate Halloween in Mickey Mouse Clubhouse — Mickey’s Treat.
Witches in Stitches is about witches who find it very funny when they turn their sister into a jack o’lantern.
And speaking of jack o’lanterns, Spookley the Square Pumpkin is sort of the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer of pumpkins. The round pumpkins make fun of him for being different until a big storm comes and his unusual shape turns out to have some benefits.
Kids ages 6–11
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown has been a classic for generations, with its gentle humor and poignant understanding of some of the frustrations of the holiday.
What’s New Scooby-Doo: Halloween Boos and Clues is another long-time family favorite, with Scooby and the gang facing some silly scares.
The Worst Witch is about a young witch in training who keeps getting everything wrong.
The Halloween Tree is an animated version of a story by science fiction author Ray Bradbury about four kids who are trying to save the life of their friend. Leonard Nimoy (Mr. Spock on the original “Star Trek”) provides the voice of the mysterious resident of a haunted house, who explains the origins of Halloween and challenges them to think about how they can help their sick friend. The loyalty and courage of the kids is very touching.
Debbie Reynolds plays a witch who takes her grandchildren on a Halloween adventure in the Disney Channel classic Halloweentown.
Hotel Transylvania and Igor are delightful animated films about monsters, with great voice talent and heartwarming stories.
Tweens and Younger Teens
The Witches is based on the popular book by Roald Dahl about a young boy who happens upon a convention of witches and is turned into a mouse.
Hocus Pocus has children battling three witches played by Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy.
And of course there is the deliciously ghoulish double feature Addams Family and Addams Family Values based on the cartoons by Charles Addams. Episodes of the classic old television show are available as well.
LAIKA Studios’ Paranorman, about a boy who can see ghosts, and Coraline, about a girl who goes to a parallel world, are brilliant stop-motion animation films with gorgeous visuals and outstanding voice talent.
Monster House is a highly satisfying story about children who explore a spooky house in their neighborhood.
The Nightmare Before Christmas has gorgeous music from Danny Elfman and stunningly imaginative visuals in a story about a Halloween character who wonders what it would be like to be part of a happy holiday like Christmas.
And don’t forget some old horror/comedy classics like The Cat and the Canary and The Ghost and Mr. Chicken, and, for those who want something a little scarier, the omnibus ghost story films Dead of Night and The House that Dripped Blood.
Originally published at www.huffingtonpost.com on October 31, 2017.