The Best Halloween Cartoons For The Whole Family

Halloween is right around the corner, which means now is the perfect time to catch up on some classic spooky season viewing. Horror movies are without a doubt a seasonal staple, but they obviously don't qualify as being family-friendly. Have no fear. If you're looking to cuddle up with the kids and a mug of warm apple cider to enjoy some festive viewing on a brisk fall night, there are no shortage of quality options to check out.

Family-friendly movies such as "Hocus Pocus" and "Halloweentown" will never go out of style. Rotten Tomatoes ranked "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" as one of the top 20 kid-approved Halloween movies of all time. The rest of the magical franchise is every bit as on-brand for a season when witches, wizards, and werewolves reign supreme. As an added bonus, they are kid-friendly but appeal to older generations, too. Those three films have another thing in common, though — they're all live action.

That's great and all, but what about the Halloween cartoons? Many beloved animated TV shows have episodes dealing with the spookiest season of the year. Makeup brand Revolution Beauty launched a whole makeup collection inspired by Halloween specials that aired on "The Simpsons" (via PopSugar). Plenty of other examples of cartoons celebrating the holiday exist, and many of them make for high-quality viewing during a family TV night.

"The Simpsons," "SpongeBob SquarePants," and "Rugrats" have iconic Halloween episodes

If you're looking to check out fan-favorite cartoons that deliver on adult-approved nostalgia and delve into Halloween-inspired stories, shows like "The Simpson," "SpongeBob SquarePants," and "Rugrats" are all highly recommended. Elite Daily included episodes from all three in a list of 11 '90s shows with must-see spooky moments. Other shows include "Hey Arnold!," "Dexter's Laboratory," and "The Angry Beavers." How are those for long-forgotten classics that deserve another viewing?

"The Simpsons" has done Halloween so often that it has an entire subset of episodes dedicated to the season. The episodes are part of the "Treehouse of Horror" family. Variety noted that a new episode, which referenced everything from the likes of "Parasite" and "The Ring" to "Bambi," debuted earlier this month. Believe it or not, the latest episode marks the 33rd in the show's history. Collider ranked the first 32, and ranked the fifth entry as the best yet. 

There have also been several "Rugrats" episodes that are Halloween themed. For example, "Curse Of The Werewuff" aired in 2002 and has a 6.6 rating on IMDb. While some may argue that "The Simpsons" is more adult, plenty of the other shows are inarguably kid-friendly. Think about how fun it would be to introduce some of your own childhood favorites to your kids? 

The "Scooby-Doo" franchise is perfect for Halloween viewing

"Scooby-Doo" is the sort of show that is bound to appeal to both kids and adults. In it, four friends (Fred, Daphne, Velma, and Shaggy) and a cowardly but ravenous dog (Scooby himself) solve crimes. The first televised version of the cartoon — "Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! — debuted in 1969. It's become a cultural juggernaut in the years since with additional series, animated films, and even a live-action movie being made over the years.

While most of the episodes have a spooky element that makes them perfect for Halloween, Ward Culture noted that one of the first Halloween-specific episodes is a clever retelling of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow." Rotten Tomatoes meanwhile ranked "Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island" as one of the best kid-approved spooky season movies of all time. Honestly, this cartoon was made for October.

What's more, watching this franchise means that you're watching a certified classic. TV Guide ranked "Scooby-Doo" as the fifth best cartoon of all time (via Fox News). This next classic cartoon ranked even higher on the list and has a timeless Halloween special in its history.

"It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" is a beloved Halloween special

TV Guide ranked "Scooby-Doo" as the fifth best cartoon. What else landed within the top 5? Spoiler alert: "The Simpsons" took the top spot, which makes perfect sense and only solidifies the importance of checking out the show's Halloween content (via Fox News). However, placing one spot above the Scooby gang is another absolutely timeless classic — "Peanuts." Everyone should be at least vaguely familiar with the cast, which were introduced as a comic strip before becoming a television staple. Charlie Brown and Snoopy are likely the most iconic characters, but there's plenty more to boot.

The publication noted that the "Peanuts" television specials helped elevate the cartoon to its top-tier standing. As the title implies, "A Charlie Brown Christmas" is regular viewing come December. However, there's also a spooky season option: "It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown." Rotten Tomatoes ranked this one as the fifth best Halloween movie for family viewing. It's hard to think of a better way to celebrate the holiday than to cuddle up and revisit this classic with a new generation of viewers in tow.

Animated movies like "The Nightmare Before Christmas" and "Hotel Transylvania" are highly recommended

While it could be fun to put together a list of various spooky season-themed cartoons to watch, some would argue that it's easier to watch a movie. If you're in the latter category, there are plenty of amazing animated movies with a Halloween twist. The most popular by far is "The Nightmare Before Christmas" (via Rotten Tomatoes). To this day, fans will debate whether the Tim Burton classic is a Halloween or Christmas movie. Why not let it be both?

Burton has released several other notable releases that are perfect for this time of the year. Examples include 2012's "Frankenweenie" and 2005's "Corpse Bride." "Coraline," released in 2009 boasts a similar style that makes it perfect to pair with one of Burton's animated options.

While "Hotel Transylvania" isn't a Halloween-specific movie, the ghoulish characters make it a perfect choice for the holiday season. The same could be said for the likes of an animated take on "The Addams Family," which was released in 2019. A sequel premiered this year, but reviews aren't the best (via IndieWire). Or course, Disney and Pixar lovers should revisit the likes of "Coco" and "Monster's Inc." Grab a couple options off this list, and we hope you have a wonderful time getting in the mood for a spook-tacular but family-friendly Halloween!