Family friendly horror

The best horror films and books for kids of all ages

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Books

There’s a Nightmare in My Closet
By Mercer Mayer
This is a wonderfully illustrated tale of a little boy who conquers his fear of the dark. The perfect read for toddlers who get the screaming heeby jeebies if you turn the lights, off, There’s a Nightmare in My Closet is all about a child who lives in fear of the monster in his wardrobe. Every night, before he goes to sleep, he closes the cupboard door, then jumps into bed and hides under his sheets. But as soon as the lights are out, the monster – or ‘nightmare’ – comes to sit on his bed and frighten him. Then one night, the little boy decides he’s had enough. He puts on his general’s helmet, and arms himself with a pop-gun. This time, when the nightmare comes out to scare him, it gets more than it bargained for. A lovely story with a happy ending and life lesson all parents will appreciate. Ages 2-5, Dhs29, www.amazon.com

Sarah’s Little Ghosts
By Thierry Robberecht
A funny, yet creepy, tale with a strong moral message, this is a hilarious story about a little girl who learns the importance of telling the truth in an unusual way. Sarah breaks her mother’s favourite necklace, and feels so bad about it, that she lies to cover it up. But instead of her nose growing longer with every fib – Pinocchio-style – every time she tells an un-truth, a tiny ghost comes out of her mouth. The ghosts begin to multiply as the lie gets bigger and bigger. Not only that, they are chatty little beasties who keep chanting and singing at her. Soon she is left with a choice: come clean to her parents about the broken necklace and be free of the haunting, or live forever with a tribe of noisy ghosts. With lots of funny pictures that are more on the funny side of scary and a solid message about the importance of honesty, it’s a sure-fire favourite with parents and kids alike. Ages 4-8, Dhs23, www.amazon.com

The Worst Witch
By Jill Murphy
One of the best-loved children’s books about witchcraft and wizardry before Harry Potter came along, Jill Murphy’s series about the adventures of Mildred Hubble, a student at Miss Cackle’s Academy for Witches, are firm favourites with young fans of the magical school genre. Mildred tries hard to please her teachers. Unfortunately, things never seem to go to plan, and the accident-prone young witch manages to cause mayhem wherever she goes. Eventually, she is expelled for almost ruining Halloween, and then the fun really begins. A rip-roaring yarn that will keep them reading into the small hours, and when they’ve finished, there are seven more books in the series. Woo hoo! Ages 7-9, Dhs13, www.amazon.com


FILMS

The Witches
Adapted from Roald Dahl’s bestselling children’s book, and starring Angelica Houston, Rowan Atkinson and Jane Horrocks, The Witches is one of those films the whole family will enjoy. Luke is an orphan who lives with his grandmother, Helga – an elderly lady who knows a lot about real life witches. She makes sure Luke knows all about them too. These ghastly creatures act like normal women, but they are evil creatures with bald heads, square feet (no toes) and their hands are clawed so they always wear gloves. Witches despise children and think they smell like dogs droppings. They also want to kill them... When Luke goes on holiday with his grandmother, and a conference of suspicious looking women arrive, he soon realizes all is not as it seems. Fans of the book will be utterly enthralled. Ages 5+

Hocus Pocus
A cult classic not to be missed at this time of year, Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Sean Murray star in this spooky tale of sorcery and gruesome revenge. Hocus Pocus tells the story of the Sanderson sisters, who were sentenced to death by hanging in 17th century Salem, Massachusetts, for taking the soul of a child. But before their grisly death, they managed to cast a spell that allows them to come back to life. Fast forward 400 years, and Max, the disillusioned teen who is new to the town, finds himself embroiled in a Halloween adventure he’d never thought possible after he accidently lights a cursed candle that summons the witches back to life… Ages 7+

The Adventures of Ichabod Crane
A classic Disney cartoon from 1949, this beautifully animated film gives most modern day CGI offerings a serious run for their money. The film tells the tale of Ichabod Crane, a rather eccentric school teacher who falls in love with the local beauty, Katrina Van Tassel. But the town trouble maker, Brom Bones, wants to claim Katrina for himself, and Ichabod finds himself embroiled in a spooky adventure that involves none other than a terrifying headless horseman, who for centuries has been known as the ‘Legend of Sleepy Hollow’. Who will win Katrina’s heart, and is the legend real after all? Ages 4+

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