Hey, Mom and Dad: When Is It OK for Kids to Start Watching Scary Movies?

Parents, Patch wants to hear from you on the questions that get families talking.

Welcome to "Hey, Mom and Dad"—a weekly feature in which we ask our Facebook fans to share their views on parenting. Every week, we get the conversation started by taking a look back at a question we asked parents the week before on Patch Facebook pages from around the area.

As Halloween approaches, the movie channels start screening old horror movies and new slasher flicks are in plentiful supply at theaters. Your kid asks to go see a scary movie at the theater with friends, but they're barely out of grade school. Do you let them go?

That leads us to this week's question:

What's the appropriate age for kids to start watching scary movies?

Take a look at what people had to say and join the conversation in the Comments section.

Mia Novoa: I think it depends on the kid. I can not let my 7 year old watch because he will have nightmares for months. On the other hand, my friend's son is 6 an he watches with no nightmares. —on Palos Patch Facebook

Cathy Gardner-Maher: My kids loved scary movies, but not too scary. My youngest daughter watched Ghostbusters at the age of 6 and was terrified. So I guess it depends on the child. They loved the series, Goosebumps! —on Orland Park Patch Facebook

Missy Goodman: I can be pretty strict myself, but will allow my son to watch certain PG-13 movies. Of course sex and gore will be out of the question. He is only 8- so I make sure to filter what he sees. The original Night of the Living Dead (black & white) is one of his favorites. And anything on Svengoolie. —on Frankfort Patch Facebook

Michael Tucker: I start mine off on a classic to introduce them then work from there. I start with Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. There's enough humor to keep them not so scared and to see the beginning of horror genre based films to see if they can handle it. —on Homewood-Flossmoor Patch Facebook

Anthony Reed: I started with scooby doo cartoons at age 2. Never too early. —on Homewood-Flossmoor Patch Facebook

Anita Rogalski Kowalisyn: Depends on the movie. Pick the older movies from the 70s and earlier and they can watch from the time they go to school. Younger than that? Scooby Doo! —on Homewood-Flossmoor Patch Facebook

Debbie Macey Worsham: if u need someone to tell u u should not be parenting. —on Beverly-Mt. Greenwood Patch Facebook

Zig Ziegler: 13-14 I agree, as graphic as some of the movies are now a-days, even my 15-16 year old nieces have trouble falling asleep after watching them. Hell I have trouble falling asleep. again it depends on the movie. —on Frankfort Patch Facebook


So what's your take? At what age are kids mature enough to handle a horror film? Tell us in the comments below.

Tim F October 09, 2012 at 05:44 PM
When Is It OK for Kids to Start Watching Scary Movies? As soon as you are allowed to watch the local news I suppose. Same thing.
Jennifer Gniadecki October 09, 2012 at 08:03 PM
I second (or third, or fifteenth) the "it depends on the child" answer. While I don't let mine watch scary movies yet, they have watched very small pre-screened parts of CSI with me before. I explained actors and acting and we mixed up some corn syrup with red food coloring and played with pretend blood. Then we laid down and breathed really slowly so we could act the way the people do on the TV. I showed them the actors' information on IMDB with other shows they were in and tried to bring it all full circle. Before you show them something scary, break down the mechanics in small pieces. First you separate reality from fantasy. Later it will be easier to transition them to horror movies.I started early because the first horror movie I saw was The Exorcist when I was about 8 at a friend's house. I want my kids to be prepared if they see something not-age-appropriate when I'm not around to control the information flow.
Tired of the B.S. October 09, 2012 at 09:11 PM
There is a huge difference between a scary movie and a gory movie. The first time that I saw Nightmare on Elm Street, scared the crap outta me, but almost no gore. The same could be said about the first Halloween, but with a little more gore. Too bad they kinda stopped with the scary and went for the gore. That being said, I agree that it depends on the kid, but some of that stuff probobly shouldn't be seen by anybody
Billable Hours October 09, 2012 at 09:36 PM
My son who is 5 has yet to see a movie that truly scared him, but he can't make it through an airing of Hannity without being terrified!!!!
Chronicles of Bob October 10, 2012 at 02:43 AM
I have some home videos that may do the trick...


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