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-themed movies that make us laugh with the kids or keep us up all night hiding under the covers.
And this year a lot more of us are going to be watching at home or taking advantage of free “watch together” services like this one from Netflix. Why not make it even more fun with a Halloween movie night party (or virtual party)? You can even do a backyard movie night outdoors with your family or a small number of close friends to (safely) join you if you have the space and the right equipment.
But 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.
Best Halloween Movies for Kids and Adults
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 “friendly” (i.e. not so scary), “scary,” “classic Halloween movies” categories to help make it easier to find what you’re looking for. 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?
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.
Best Halloween movies ever
Any one of these classic movies or kid-friendly movies can be named ‘best Halloween movies ever,’ but we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, a 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.
Where to buy or stream Halloween movies
You have plenty of movie options to choose from now, but how do you find them or others you can watch? Here are some ways you can buy or stream Halloween movies.
Amazon and/or Prime: If you’re not already a member, Amazon offers a 30-day Prime free trial. After your free trial, prime is just $12.99/month.
Disney+: Here you can find the Halloweentown series as well as Frankenweenie and other Halloween movies. Unfortunately, Disney+ is not currently giving out a free trial, but it’s an affordable $6.99 per month. (If you have Swagbucks, you can sign up for a bundle of Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ for only $12.99 per month and get $10 cash back. Swagbucks is free so if you don’t have it you can sign up.)
Hulu: Movies like A Quiet Place can be found streaming at Hulu, which has plans starting at $5.99 per month or ad-free at $11.99 per month. One month free trials are available.
Netflix: The kids will enjoy an entire collection of Halloween movies on Netflix, including Addams Family and Goosebumps. Netflix offers a one-month free trial and plans start at $9 depending on how many streaming devices you want to use.
Walmart, Best Buy, Target: Check out the big box retailers for DVDs of your favorite Halloween movies so you can watch them whenever you want.
Redbox: Pick up your milk and get a movie, why not? Redbox has kiosks all over the country where you can rent a DVD for a nominal $1.99 per night. You can also buy used DVDs for $2.99. All you need is a credit or debit card to borrow the movie. If you forget to return it, they will charge your card once you do or charge you the full price after a week. Sign up for texts from Redbox and you’ll get codes with savings and free movie nights.
If you don’t want to go out for the DVD, Redbox also has streaming capabilities on their website, but the rental costs a few bucks more. You can download Redbox on your television (Roku or Amazon stick for example) or watch on your computer.
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 FUBO-tv or Sling TV, but remember that you only have a week before you’re charged, so you must cancel. 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, such as Crackle.
Of course, check out your local library too!
Halloween movie night party ideas
So now you know what you’re going to watch for Halloween, let’s make it a party with these fun ideas!
Use an outdoor movie projector
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. Staples has a mini projector for $85 and Amazon offers a GooDee 2020 Upgrade HD Video Projector Outdoor Movie that is compatible with Fire TV Stick, PS4, HDMI, VGA, AV and USB, for $199.99.
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!
Find out how to throw a Spooktacular Halloween Party on a Budget.
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.
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, like this cute and classic Hocus Pocus poster.
For more decor ideas, check out our Cheap and easy Halloween decorations article.
Halloween movie night snacks
You’ll need candy, of course, so check out our tips on How to save on Halloween candy.
Also, check out this deliciously creepy Halloween fingers recipe. *shudder* It’s so weird you can’t help but love it.
And 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!
Or how about these ideas from Delish, including chocolate chip cookie teeth or, for the adults, the Oreo Jell-O shot that looks like a cookie but tastes like a shot.
For the kids, how about a pitcher of ‘bug’ or ‘blood’ juice, which is cherry Kool-Aid.
Turn on the tunes!
When the movie is over, let the dancin’ begin! If your local library doesn’t offer free Halloween music CDs, don’t worry. Check out YouTube for hours of free spooky or kid-friendly playlists, like this one, that includes Ghostbusters, Thriller and more! Spotify also offers a free month trial where you can create your own Halloween playlist!
If you’re an Amazon Prime member you can access dozens of Halloween playlists, including Haunted House Sounds, Kids Halloween, Halloween Party Music and Scary Songs, to name just a few.
(Or you can sign up for a for greater options.)
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!