Halloween is slowly creeping up on us, but the day isn’t all about trick-or-treating. It’s also about watching some great Halloween movies that make us laugh with the kids or keep us up all night hiding in horror under the covers.
Here’s what’s ahead:
- Scary (or fun) Halloween movies to watch
- Halloween movie night snacks
- Backyard/outdoor movie night essentials
- Halloween movie night theme ideas
We have so many ideas!
Best Halloween movies for kids and adults
First things first! You might be asking yourself, ‘what should I watch around Halloween?’ Don’t worry – we’ve got you! We’re not going to give you a list of the Top 100 Halloween movies to watch and let you figure out the rest on your own.
Instead, we’ve given you a complete guide to some of the best Halloween movies to enjoy and how you can stream even more, plus ideas for decorating and costumes to wear so you can host the perfect Halloween movie night this year.
There are so many Halloween movies that you can watch that you’re bound to find the ones that you call ‘the best,’ but here are some of our favorites to get you started. We’ve grouped them into three categories to make it easier to find what you’re looking for:
- Family-friendly (i.e. not so scary) Halloween movies
- Scary Halloween movies
- Classic Halloween movies
Finally, we have a recommendation for what we fondly like to think of as the best Halloween movie ever. What do you think? Do you agree with our choice?
Best Halloween movie ever
Any one of these classic movies or kid-friendly movies can be named ‘best Halloween movie ever,’ but there’s one that’s truly a classic and (in our opinion) stands head and shoulders above the rest: It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown — the wonderful, family-friendly episode with the Peanuts gang.
So it’s more of a 30-minute special than it is a movie, but this is a must-have for your binge list. Consider it a short before the main presentation.
Family-friendly Halloween movies
Depending on the ages of your children, they may or may not like to get spooked. Hey, let’s face it, some adults don’t like to get frightened either, so here are some wonderful, yet less creepy, films to watch:
The Nightmare Before Christmas: First things first. Danny Elfman, the Oscar-winning composer for this 1993 Tim Burton animated musical, confirmed that it is a Halloween movie, not a Christmas movie. But really who cares, because it’s worth it no matter when you watch it. Based on a poem written by Burton, the film focuses on Jack Skellington, The Pumpkin King of Halloween Town, who is bored of his holiday. When he wanders into Christmas Town new adventures ensue. Some dark scenes, but overall a pure delight. If you like this film, consider combining it with Burton’s other Halloween classic, Corpse Bride, for the perfect double feature.
Halloweentown: What started out as a 1998 Disney Halloween movie has become a cult classic that spawned three sequels, Halloweentown II: Kalabar’s Revenge; Halloweentown High; and Return to Halloweentown. The film stars Kimberly J. Brown as 13-year-old Marnie Piper who wants to know why she and her two siblings can’t go out on Halloween. Marnie soon finds out that her family is secretly witches and Marnie must use her powers to save another town full of supernatural creatures.
Coco: This wonderfully heart-warming Disney movie is based on Mexico’s Day of the Dead, which is also October 31st. Twelve-year-old Miguel’s family has banned music, something he loves deeply. When he is accidentally transported to the Land of the Dead, he searches for his great-great-grandfather who was a musician to help return him to his family and reverse his family’s ban on music.
Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island: Ruh Roh! This 1998 film has the gang reuniting to investigate an island said to be haunted by the ghost of Morgan Moonscar. What’s not to love? You have Scooby and Shaggy at Halloween. And, there’s a sequel! Scooby-Doo Returns to Zombie Island, which came out on DVD last Halloween.
Coraline: Another awesome stop-animation fantasy horror film, Coraline is based on the 2002 novella by Neil Gaiman. Eleven-year-old Coraline moves into a new home where she finds a parallel world behind a secret door. Such a well-done movie It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.
Hocus Pocus: Three witches accidentally resurrect a teenage boy on Halloween night in this goofy, yet hilarious 1993 movie that stars Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker. Talk about a cult classic, this movie gains new fans every year and for good reason.
Beetlejuice: Don’t say his name three times! You’ll end up with a visit from the kooky poltergeist! This 1988 comedy fantasy film was directed by the uber-talented Tim Burton and stars Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis as the deceased couple who become ghosts that are haunting their former home.
Hotel Transylvania: This fun, and funny, computer-animated film debuted in 2012 and stars the voices of Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez and Kevin James, just to name a few. Count Dracula — who else right? — owns a hotel called Hotel Transylvania, a space where monsters go on vacation, but when a human infiltrates their world, Dracula must do what he can to make sure his daughter doesn’t fall in love with him before he can get him out of the hotel.
Scariest Halloween movies
Looking for more scare from your movies, then this list is for you. Boo!
A Quiet Place: Shhhhhh……if they hear you they will hunt you! Scoot up to the edge of your seat and stay there, because this movie will have you there for the entire 1.5 hours. Starring real-life couple John Krasinski and Emily Blunt, this 2018 Oscar-nominee is a post-apocalyptic science fiction horror film where a couple struggles to survive and raise their children in a post-apocalyptic world.
Repo the Genetic Opera: This campy and gory 2008 movie is a bizarre dystopian opera that includes opera singer Sarah Brightman, the legendary Anthony Steward and, somehow, Paris Hilton. Doesn’t that sound perfect for Halloween? It does to us.
Us: Jordan Peele, nuff said. The man knows how to scare the bejeezus out of us. Have you ever wondered who your doppelganger is? After this movie, you won’t want to know because they attack!
Pet Sematary: If Us has you thinking twice about seeing your doppelganger, then this movie is going to have you thinking twice about Fluffy and Fido. Based on a book by the man of horror himself, Steven King, Pet Sematary is about dead animals that come to life. Enjoy!
Child’s Play: Whether you choose to watch the 1998 original or the 2019 reboot, there is one thing that’s for certain. This doll is scary. Chucky actually contains the soul of a murderer that was dying. Chucky starts going on a rampage and the boy who owns him, Andy, tries to warn people, but is it too late? It’s what nightmares are made of. And multiple sequels.
Classic Halloween movies
Every year, new frightening flicks pop up, but who can resist these classic Halloween movies? If you have not seen them yet, it’s time to find out why they’ve been around for years and, for some, spawned (a perfect term for these movies) more sequels.
A Nightmare on Elm Street: A 1984 slasher film written and directed by Wes Craven, it’s about four teenagers who are invaded and killed in their dreams. Freddy Krueger might make it hard for you to sleep again.
Halloween: Can’t have Halloween without the Halloween franchise. Eleven films with serial killer Michael Myers who was committed to a sanitarium as a child for the murder of his sister, Judith. After he escapes, he kills on Halloween. Don’t answer the door. Really.
Scream: Here is a classic 90s Halloween movie franchise! Wes Craven introduced his audiences to the creepy Ghostface in this four-movie slasher franchise and you’ll never be the same. Just trust us.
Young Frankenstein: When it comes to classic movies, go back a little farther and enjoy the legendary Gene Wilder, Mel Brooks, Madeline Kahn, and Marty Feldman in the 1974 Oscar-winning comedy Young Frankenstein. It’s rated PG so don’t be afraid to make it a family-friendly night.
Free Halloween movie options
If your budget is tight, but you still want to get in the mood with a movie, take a free trial of fuboTV or a one-month free trial of Hulu, but remember that you will be charged unless you cancel before the trial is up. YouTube also offers some full-length movies for free.
When searching, just put the name of the movie and ‘full-length’ and see what comes up. Or, you can just put “Halloween movies” and “full length” and you’ll find a few to choose from. There are several free apps you can download as well.
Of course, check out your local library too!
Halloween movie night outdoors
Take your movie night to another level by moving it outside. You can use an outdoor movie projector and screen, but remember to tell your neighbors if you’re hosting an outdoor movie night, especially if the movie has a whole bunch of screaming.
Outdoor movie projectors range from $85 and up and a screen can cost $30 and up. You can forget the screen and use a large sheet, but you’ll need the projector. You can find them at various stores, but Amazon offers a wide range of affordable projectors, or you can upgrade to the much-loved GooDee outdoor movie projector that supports Fire TV Stick, PS4, HDMI, VGA, AV and USB.
Setting up the projector is easy. Simply put the screen or sheet up on your garage door, between two trees or against the side of your house, and use the projector either through your phone, HDMI cord or computer and start watching.
You can easily turn your movie night into a drive-in theater experience for the kids (and keep young guests far enough apart) by transforming cardboard boxes into cute “convertible cars” with paint or construction paper. Then each guest sits in his or her car to watch the movie!
Make it a party
You can take your Halloween movie night up a few notches with these ideas that will make it an awesome party – whether you’re celebrating just with close family or inviting the neighbors and friends.
First, check out our article about how to throw a Spooktacular Halloween Party on a Budget, then come back and incorporate some of these specific movie-night party ideas.
Dress the part
How about dressing up in costume as your favorite Halloween movie character? You and your children can wear Halloween costumes based on your favorite Halloween-themed movie. If you need ideas, check out our article on cheap and easy Halloween costumes. For example, it doesn’t take much more than a plain white mask to dress up like Michael Myers or a witch’s hat to dress up like Marnie from Halloweentown.
Halloween movie night decorations
It’s not a Halloween movie night party until you decorate for Halloween. For that Halloween movie-inspired aesthetic, check Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist for people giving away free movie posters or selling them inexpensively. You can also search AllPosters.com, Movieposters.com, or Amazon for inexpensive movie poster options.
String some Halloween lights, such as these cute pumpkin lights from Target or these spooky lights from Home Depot or these very pretty maple leaf lights from Amazon that you can leave up until it’s time to decorate for Christmas.
For more decor ideas, check out our Cheap and easy Halloween decorations article.
Halloween movie soundtracks
Before and after the movie, set the stage by playing some fun or frightening movie soundtracks like the one from Ghostbusters or the creepy classic soundtrack from the original (1978) movie Halloween.
So we’ve given you some cool Halloween ideas and Halloween movie night ideas for kids to start planning. Add your final touches for the best Halloween movie night and party ever!
Add movie night snacks
Once you know what you’re going to watch for Halloween movie night, you can brainstorm some awesome snack ideas. Check out our Halloween Snack Ideas for amaaazing (and cheap) food and drink for any haunting occasion. But follow these three easy tips below to turn ordinary snacks into something worthy of a scary movie:
- Serve candy in cauldrons, jack-o-lanterns, or other themed dishes. (Check your Dollar Store for good, cheap options!) You’ll also need candy, of course, so also check out our tips on How to save on Halloween candy.
- What’s a movie without popcorn?! Oh the horror! So pop some – but you have to add in a Halloween-twist, of course. How about buttery popcorn mixed with candy corn and gummy worms or eyeballs? You almost won’t want to reach in, but you will!
- Let beverages play a starring role. How about a pitcher of ‘bug’ or ‘blood’ juice, which is cherry Kool-Aid or any red-colored juice?
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