Oh, kids, they grow so fast! Having a little one age out of trick-or-treating on Halloween is unfortunate, but you’ve still got options for how to celebrate the spooktastic holiday. One of the best ways for you and your tween or teen to have fun staying in is to do a horror movie marathon. Believe it or not, it’s not as challenging as you might think to find scary movies that are appropriate as many great options are PG-13.
Now, you certainly don’t want to scar your child for life with a truly horrifying film full of gore. Instead, you want movies that are chilling without giving your child a mild form of PTSD. We decided to compile a list of horror movies from barely scary to pushing the limits of what a young one can handle. These movies are beloved classics that every person should see. Why not watch them as a movie marathon or program them throughout October? It’s the perfect excuse to watch a whole lot of scary flicks. Here are 25 horror movies to watch with your tween this year.
Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie is an endearing animated classic that’s a dose of fun with a splash of horror thrown in. This movie is rated PG and will not be too scary at all. It’s a great option for tweens or even younger kids. This film is streaming on Disney+.
This classic adventure film based on Roald Dahl’s book is considerably scarier than Frankenweenie. Who could forget Anjelica Huston as the Grand High Witch? The scene with her taking off her skin is seared into our memory. You can your tween can find this movie streaming on Netflix.
The Monster Squad
Dracula, the Wolf-Man, the Gill-Man, the Mummy, and Frankenstein’s monster all appear in this Halloween classic. Start your own Monster Club with your kids this year! This film is available to stream on Amazon Prime.
The Little Vampire
The Little Vampire is a family-friendly movie that’s not very scary at all. There are some scenes of horror, but overall this is a lighthearted affair. You can find this movie streaming on Amazon Prime.
Another classic Tim Burton film, Beetlejuice is delightfully weird and is slightly scary at times. The cast of this film, alone, is reason enough to revisit it. We think kids will love Michael Keaton’s unhinged performance in this fun horror film. You can find it streaming on NBC’s Peacock service.
We’re getting into to slightly more scary territory now. Jaws might be about a shark, but that doesn’t mean it won’t give a child nightmares. This is Steven Spielberg at his finest and you might as well introduce your kid to a true 1970s gem. You can find this film streaming on HBO Max.
Arachnophobia is a black comedy disguised as a horror film. If you or your kids are the least bit squeamish about spiders, go ahead and skip this one. For a kitschy wild ride, rent this movie and watch with your tween this Halloween.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers
Invasion of the Body Snatchers is a delightful horror film about the human race being replaced, one by one, by clones devoid of emotions. Don’t you want to relive Donald Sutherland doing that face again? You can find this horror flick streaming on Amazon Prime.
The original Poltergeist is pretty darn scary, but we think tweens can probably handle it. Be sure to skip this movie if you’re currently having an in-ground pool dug. The original is much better than the remake so be sure to go back to the OG. This movie is available to rent.
A thrilling piece of Gothic horror, The Others is a haunting film starring Nicole Kidman. Like Poltergeist, this movie is a true chiller so take a moment and think about some of the scarier moments in this one before unleashing it on your child. You can find it streaming on HBO Max.
We recommend this classic Hitchcock film with a warning: it’s scarier than you remember. We recently rewatched this movie for the first time in years and it’s surprisingly scary. If your tween is a budding cinephile, be sure to show her The Birds.
I Am Legend
If you want to really lean into the post-apocalyptic moment we’re living through, go for I Am Legend. Will Smith is incredible in this action thriller with mutants. The monsters in this movie are particularly terrifying so think hard before choosing it. This film is available to rent.
The Sixth Sense
If you’ve got a little know-it-all, consider seeing if they can figure out the twist before the big reveal in The Sixth Sense. If you have not seen this classic in a while, you’re going to love the strong performances by Toni Collette and Haley Joel Osment. Reminder: the opening scenes of this movie are pretty graphic. It’s currently streaming on Showtime.
Found footage horror has a bad reputation because most of it is, indeed, horrible. Cloverfield is a rare example of the format working out. This brisk horror movie will surely delight your tween. You can find it streaming on Showtime.
If your kid(s) ends up loving Cloverfield, the next rational step would be to show them Trollhunter. The film hails from Norway and is a whole lot of fun. You can find it streaming on Tubi TV.
The Mothman Prophecies
Yours truly was a tween when The Mothman Prophecies came out in 2002. It’s very tense and chilling! Some might find the “based on true events” a bit unnerving, but if your tween can accept that we live in a world with a lot of unexplained stuff, they should be fine! This movie is available to rent.
A Quiet Place
As you can tell, we’re getting into very scary territory! Just a note: because a movie is only rated PG-13 does not mean it’s appropriate for young teens or tweens. Use good judgment and be sure to screen movies first when you can. A Quiet Place is such a suspenseful film and there’s not a ton of gore. It’s all just suspense which makes it a good choice! You can stream it on Hulu.
It (TV miniseries)
The original It miniseries premiered on ABC in 1990. It’s very, very scary, and deals with tweens coming of age so it might be thoroughly enjoyed by your own. The first Stephen King property to make the list, we think your tween will be freaked out, but not overwhelmed by that very creepy clown. You can rent the miniseries.
Director James Wan sure knows how to cook up a scary horror movie. 2010’s Insidious delivers the scares and might not be best for every tween. This one is pure nightmare fuel so think about that ghost with the red and black face before showing it to the kids. You can find it streaming on Netflix.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
The 1992 film, Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a little less scary than some other recent entries but there is a good deal of adult language. It’s a campy romp that would be a perfect choice for your tween. It’s streaming on Hulu.
The Ring is an extremely scary movie with imagery that really sticks with you. That may or may not be a dealbreaker. Naomi Watts is phenomenal in this frightening film. The first several minutes of this movie are some of the scariest of any! Find it streaming on Showtime.
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is unlike any vampire movie you’ve ever seen. For starters, it’s shot in black and white. Secondly, it’s subtitled and Persian is the language spoken. The tense and atmospheric film isn’t terribly gory or scary. What gets viewers is waiting for the “shoe to drop.”
It’s a romantic and beautiful movie, but there is a good deal of illicit drug use. If that’s something you’d prefer to keep from your kids, skip this with them but watch this gem for yourself. This movie can be found streaming on Mubi.
The Babadook is terrifying. Don’t let the name of the monster fool you. It terrorizes a mother and her young son. Part psychological horror, part supernatural thriller this film can really get under your skin. Did we mention it’s very, very scary? The film is unrated, but we’d venture to guess it would get a PG-13? If you think your tween can handle it, show them this Australian horror movie. It’s available to rent.
Under the Shadow
Another Persian language film, Under the Shadow proves a frightening and powerful film. While it shares a similar premise as The Babadook: a mother and young child are haunted in a home. The films are about completely different things. The Babadook mines mental health and at its core, grief. Whereas Under the Shadow is a commentary on The Iran-Iraq war. It’s an exceptional film! It’s available to rent.
Eyes Without a Face
Les yeux sans visage is the original French title for this completely chilling classic. This film is unrated but there is a particular scene of surgery that might and later a mask being removed that will might turn you off. This movie is a masterclass in how to build tension in storytelling and makes this film one that’s studied in many film schools across the world. You can find this French exemplar streaming at HBO Max.
There you go! The best PG-13 horror movies! Or at least tween-friendly horror movies. Remember: you’re the parent and you have certain standards that might vary from our own. Be sure to watch these movies first to make sure they’re okay for your tween or teen. We hope you enjoy a Halloween movie marathon with these awesome choices!