Getting a group of people to agree on what movie to watch is hard under any circumstances—especially if the group spans a wide age range. The task becomes tougher still if you’re confined to spooky movies in honor of Halloween. Naturally, you’ll want to steer clear of heavy-duty horror flicks for the sake of any young kids in your party. But you also don’t want to choose a movie so geared toward the tykes that it’s a snooze-fest for everyone else.
To find a happy medium, UK-based holiday park operator Parkdean Resorts recently devised a system that ranks spooky movies based on their family-friendliness. First, the researchers compiled a list of movies with G and PG ratings, plus some comparably mild Halloween-appropriate programs that premiered on television (e.g. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and the 1998 Disney Channel Original Movie Halloweentown).
They then assigned a score to each one based on a few different data points: the Rotten Tomatoes critics’ score, and the average star ratings from parents and kids (separately) on Common Sense Media. (The number of reviews on Common Sense Media factored into the breakdown, too.)
Coraline (2009) topped the list with a score of 171, a good 26 points ahead of the runner-up: Hayao Miyazaki’s 2001 classic Spirited Away. It’s worth noting that just because a movie scores high on this list doesn’t make it the perfect crowd-pleaser for your watch party in particular. Multiple kid reviewers on Common Sense Media mentioned being “traumatized” by Coraline, and the site’s overall takeaway is that it’s a “cool but creepy animated fantasy too scary for young kids.” The fact that it has more than 1000 reviews on the site—hundreds more than any other movie included in the study—no doubt helped it clinch the top spot.
In short, it’s not a foolproof study. But the list is a boon for people of all ages who want to celebrate Halloween with gently creepy content that won’t scare them out of their skin. See what other movies made the top 15 below.