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How to Introduce Children to Horror: A Guide for Parents

Parents that enjoy that macabre may find themselves wondering how to introduce their children to the horror genre. This article focuses on exactly that. We will be making three specific recommendations that serve as accessible entry points to the genre: The Corpse Bride, Coraline, and Beetlejuice

Parents should remember that introducing young ones to horror entertainment will take time and consideration. But it may just serve as a point of connection between you and your brood. Moreover, several studies suggest that introducing children to horror films and books improves their psychological fortitude. Children who have experience with scary themes in a safe space, prior to real-world situations, are better prepared for harrowing life experiences. However, parents should still be cautious about introducing impressionable youngsters to anything too visceral. So, proceed with caution and take your child’s unique experience into account. 

Without further ado, we present to you three films perfect for familiarizing your child with the horror genre. 

Also See: Five Children’s Horror Movies That Are Also Good for Adults

The Corpse Bride (2006)

This film is likely to appeal to adults as much as children, making it a perfect choice for family movie night. The Corpse Bride is rendered using claymation and has a Gothic horror aesthetic. Henry Selick directed the film and provides interesting perspective on heavy themes, including mortality.  

The story takes place in 19th century Victorian England following Victor, as he navigates the world of the dead. Through an arranged marriage, Victor meets Victoria. However, Victor is shy and extremely nervous to say his vows in front of his soon to be wife. Early in the film, he runs out into the night to gain his composure. When he practices reciting his vows in front of the grave of a woman called Emily’s, she accepts his proposal for marriage, quickly sweeping Victor away to the Land of the Dead. 

The Corpse Bride is filled with hope and kindness, mixed with some darker themes. Parents can expect lots of laughs, smiles, and possibly some gasps and crying toward the end. The Corpse Bride is the perfect gateway into horror elements for those younger kiddos. 

Corpse Bride


Coraline is another sound choice for introducing children to horror themes. The jarring imagery and eerie music can be unsettling. But the film remains fairly tame compared to more visceral fare. Like The Corpse Bride, this film falls under the Gothic horror heading. The film features ominous architecture, gloomy atmosphere, and sinister monsters.

The story follows young Coraline as she navigates through a portal into another world. Coraline does not enjoy her boring, normal life with parents who never listen to her. Early in the film, she obtains a creepy doll from the neighbor boy. What could be scarier than a doll that looks just like you and spies on you while you are sleeping? Ack!

Also Read: Seven Great Horror Movies with an Incredibly Simple Premise

Parents should expect younger children to be frightened by a couple of scenes. But the film is relatively tame on the whole.


Beetlejuice (1988): How to Introduce Children to Horror

Beetlejuice has really stood the test of time. Originally released in 1988, this film is as effective today as it was upon its initial release. While the picture does feature scary, adult themes throughout, it’s presented in a fantastical way that should alleviate some of the intensity. 

Wicked Horror TV Has Classic and Independent Horror Films Available to Stream for Free!

Beetlejuice follows young couple, Adam and Barbara Maitland, who are just beginning to start their life together when they perish in a tragic accident. After their demise, the Maitlands wake up in their home, but do not immediately remember dying. Once the Deetz family moves in to their abode, Adam and Barbara do anything they can to get them out. They haunt the family and later summon the demon, Betelgeuse.  

Beetlejuice is a great choice to help parents introduce older children to horror. Parents can expect laughter, smiles, and even screams.

All in all, horror entertainment does not have to be reserved solely for adults. Parents that enjoy the genre can begin easing their kiddos in with the titles mentioned above. But keep in mind that each child is different and you likely know best what they are ready for. 

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