movies

The 49 Best Halloween Movies to Watch This October

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It is officially spooky season and time to start carving pumpkins, decorating houses, and watching some classic Halloween movies. From the tried-and-true standards Hocus Pocus and Halloween to newer thrillers like Get Out, we’ve got your movie nights covered with scary and not so scary flicks to get you in the spirit. There you have it: 49 movies to get you in the Halloween mood any time of year. 4+9=13 … spooky!

Hocus Pocus (1993)

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In this Disney classic, the Sanderson sisters are accidentally brought back to life by a trio of kids. The gang and their black-cat companion must destroy the witches before they suck the life out of all the children in Salem. Major camp points for Bette Midler’s and Sarah Jessica Parker’s acting in this. And it was really filmed in the famed Massachusetts town!

The Addams Family (1991) and Addams Family Values (1993)

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“They’re creepy and they’re kooky / Mysterious and spooky / They’re altogether ooky” — this dark comedy stays true to the original television show as it follows the daily lives of the charmingly macabre Addams family. The dialogue is sharp, and the antics are downright fun, making for the perfect family-friendly double feature.

Halloween (1978)

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In this John Carpenter feature, killer Michael Myers escapes from an asylum and returns to his hometown to stalk Jamie Lee Curtis’s character on — yes — Halloween night. It’s a franchise, so if you love it, you have plenty of movies in the series to binge, including the 2018 reboot. Plus, it’s Curtis’s film debut, starting her on her path to all-time-great Scream Queen.

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

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This stop-motion gem will make you wish it were Halloween and Christmas all at once. Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King, discovers Christmas Town and decides he wants to be in charge of a new holiday for once. Hilarity and frights ensue.

Edward Scissorhands (1990)

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Sweet, misunderstood Edward has scissors for hands. He moves in with a host family and falls in love with the daughter. Will their fantastical romance last amid all the judging eyes in a picturesque small town? The stunning cinematography and angsty romance will have you in your feels.

Beetlejuice (1988)

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“Having trouble with the livin’?”: Young (newly dead) couple Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis recruit a poltergeist to help them extricate an unwelcome living family from their house. The standout performance is Michael Keaton’s, but Burton prodigy Winona Ryder is a goth treat, as is comedy legend Catherine O’Hara’s iconic “Day-O” performance.

Corpse Bride (2005)

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A nervous groom gets more than he bargained for while practicing his vows, when he accidentally summons forth a corpse bride. Composer Danny Elfman outdoes himself with the score, so definitely add this one to your viewing queue and your Spotify playlist.

Sweeney Todd (2007)

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If you like song-and-dance numbers with your scares, this adaptation of the Stephen Sondheim musical of the same name chronicles the lives of a murderous barber and his downstairs neighbor, a demented meat-pie-shop owner. Good luck getting this soundtrack out of your head.

Sleepy Hollow (1999)

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This Tim Burton drama is based on “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” by Washington Irving. Johnny Depp’s Ichabod Crane is a police constable brought in to save the town from the murderous headless horseman. If you’re looking for a dark, highly stylized period drama with a touch of romance, this is the one for you.

Get Out (2017)

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Jordan Peele’s horror thriller follows a man (played by Daniel Kaluuya) meeting his girlfriend’s (Allison Williams) family for the first time. What begins as social discomfort about their interracial relationship quickly turns into racial alienation, ultimately exposing the family’s true motive. No spoilers, but then again, you’ve probably already seen it. This dark film’s commentary, poignant twists, and precisely placed scares will have you thinking about it for weeks after.

Midsommar (2019)

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This Ari Aster–directed horror film proves just how terrifying daylight can be. After a horrific family tragedy, a woman (Florence Pugh) travels to Sweden with her boyfriend to visit friends and attend a folksy midsummer festival. The celebrations are not what they seem, however, and the festival shows its deadly side.

Psycho (1960)

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An amateur heist goes terribly wrong when Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) checks into the Bates Motel and never checks out. This classic Alfred Hitchcock thriller about a boy’s obsessive relationship with his mother will leave you on the edge of your seat. You also may be a little paranoid next time you get in the shower.

Halloweentown (1998)

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In this Disney Channel Original Movie, 13-year-old Marnie finds out she’s a witch and then is tasked with saving the perfectly autumnal Halloweentown from “the bad thing.” Hollywood royalty Debbie Reynolds plays the loving, stylish grandmother in this film and its three sequels. Kids these days may expect higher production values, but for the DCOM generation, this is as good as it gets.

The Haunted Mansion (2003)

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This Disney movie is loosely based on the theme-park ride and was truly before its time. The Evers family ends up at a haunted mansion filled with zany ghosts and must find a way to escape. Eddie Murphy’s dad jokes will have you cracking up, then you’ll probably want to call your own father to hear his.

Practical Magic (1998)

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More than anything, this is a movie about the loving friendship between two sisters. That said, those sisters are also witches who attempt to use their powers to end their family curse, finding love and killing (and un-killing) someone in the process.

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)

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If you’re like us, your dad will never let you forget this one, because it’s a classic. In this 25-minute cartoon, Charlie Brown and the “Peanuts” gang celebrate Halloween. The wholesome plot and bouncy soundtrack of this nostalgic short make it perfect for all ages.

Twitches (2005) and Twitches Too (2007)

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Your favorite sister duo, Tia and Tamera Mowry, play twin witches who must return to their birthplace to save it from impending darkness and meet their real mom, who happens to be the queen. Y’know, teen stuff. This movie isn’t the most sophisticated, but you’ll totally be into it. If nothing else, it’ll leave you wanting to binge watch Sister, Sister. Good thing it’s on Netflix now!

Coraline (2009)

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For a children’s movie, this one is seriously unsettling. Even the opening credits are enough to give you chills. Coraline is unhappy about moving to a new town with her family, until she discovers a secret door in the house that leads to a magical world. But, of course, everything is not as it seems.

The Exorcist (1973)

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Don’t worry, it’s as scary as you remember. When Linda Blair’s young Regan exhibits signs of possession, her mother seeks out a priest to rid her of the demon. It’s a testament to the film that, as dated as they are, the special effects are still effective today.

Silence of the Lambs (1991)

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In this highly quotable, chilling film, an FBI trainee picks the brain of Hannibal Lecter, a psychopathic killer and cannibal, in order to solve a case. If you love listening to true-crime podcasts, you’ll love this hair-raising classic.

The Village (2004)

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This M. Night Shyamalan thriller is often overlooked in favor of that other M. Night Shyamalan thriller (which also appears on this list), but it’s worth watching in its own right. What you need to know: There are monsters lurking in the woods that surround an insular community. Then just wait for the MNS twist. Bryce Dallas Howard, Joaquin Phoenix, and Adrien Brody have great chemistry in this eerie film.

The Shining (1980)

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Stephen King famously can’t stand Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of his horror novel, but that didn’t stop it from becoming a critically acclaimed classic. Jack Nicholson pulls funny faces as he plays a husband and father who goes insane while working as the caretaker of the Overlook Hotel. The draw here is the instantly iconic cinematography: the creepy twins, the blood-filled hallway, the imposing Overlook exterior.

It (1990 and 2017)

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Every 27 years, Pennywise the clown returns to Derry, Maine, to torment the poor kids who live there. The 1990 miniseries starring Tim Curry is child’s play and a fun trip down ’80s memory lane compared with the truly terrifying version from 2017 starring Bill Skarsgård as the clown that forever haunts our nightmares.

1408 (2007)

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John Cusack’s depressed writer checks into a hotel room that doesn’t want him to check out. This one leans more into psychological scares than blood and gore. You won’t be able to look away from the screen.

The Sixth Sense (1999)

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Here it is, the M. Night Shyamalan film that started it all. An adorable, introverted boy begins seeing a psychologist to address his visions of dead people. Come for peak ’90s-movie-star Bruce Willis, stay for the twist!

American Psycho (2000)

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If you’re not afraid of gore, follow Wasp-y Wall Street VP Patrick Bateman in his maniacal pursuit of fitting in. If nothing else, the opening scene will make you contemplate stepping up your morning routine.

Casper (1995)

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In this kid-friendly flick, Casper the friendly ghost is a bit of an outcast and new to the whole haunting thing. He falls in love with a teenage girl played by Christina Ricci. Weird, right? But also sweet. The tale of enchantment is perfect for family movie night.

Parasite (2019)

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In the 2020 Best Picture Oscar winner, the Kim family begins working for the extremely wealthy Park family and discovers some dark secrets in the process. Bong Joon Ho’s thriller is wonderfully spine chilling, and the final scenes will stay with you for days.

House on Haunted Hill (1999)

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In a tale worthy of Agatha Christie, a group of dinner guests visits an asylum and must make it through the evening’s events alive in order to win a million-dollar prize. FWIW, $1 million in 1999 would be $1.56 million today, but is that really enough to risk your neck?

Crimson Peak (2015)

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A young woman marries a sexy engineer (Tom Hiddleston when he was the internet’s favorite boyfriend) and moves to his estate, Crimson Peak, unaware of its haunted past and dirty secrets. This movie offers a sexy romance, a twisted one, and a hot twist.

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

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Forget what you’ve heard about the series as a whole. The original is a classic horror film. This slasher follows Freddy Kruger as he visits teens in their dreams. It’s perfect for those with an ’80s-teen-flick itch to scratch.

Frankenstein (1931)

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Boris Karloff stars as Hollywood’s iconic monster in this black-and-white film based on Mary Shelley’s gothic novel. The monster is expertly crafted with original special effects that make for a historic viewing experience. If you’re really feeling it, watch Bride of Frankenstein (1935) after.

Young Frankenstein (1974)

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Here’s one to relieve the tension you’ll get from all these other Halloween movies: a Mel Brooks send-up of the classic creature feature. Gene Wilder may have you screaming with laughter but not fear.

Ghostbusters (1984)

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Both the OG film and its 2016 remake feature badass ghost-busting squads. You can’t help falling in love with the fun-loving, comedic casts and their family-friendly take on the paranormal.

E.T. (1982)

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In this Steven Spielberg standard, a boy and his family help a nugget-y extraterrestrial return home. It’ll make your heart all warm and fuzzy and then you’ll probably want to squeeze your pet.

Matilda (1996)

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Miss Trunchbull has haunted the dreams of many an impressionable young reader. After a young girl discovers she has magical powers, she uses them to revolt against the corrupt authority figures in her life. If you’re looking for a wholesome movie about magic and finding your people, this is the one for you!

Scooby-Doo (2002) and Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (2004)

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We liked this movie when it came out, and we still like it today, now that the adult jokes don’t go over our heads. Grab the popcorn and the Scooby Snacks and enjoy this humorous, family-friendly romp with Mystery, Inc., as the squad busts bad guys.

The Mummy (1999)

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This one’s a real blockbuster: action, romance, gags, an Indiana Jones–like ruffian male lead. It’s a complete crowd-pleaser.

Carrie (1976)

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Even if you’ve never seen the movie, you can probably describe Carrie’s prom night more vividly than your own. A tormented high-schooler has supernatural powers and uses them to take revenge on her malicious classmates at the prom.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

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This celebrated cult classic is a Halloween tradition for so many. Unfortunately, the likelihood of attending the live picture show this year is slim, so dress up and watch at home, where you can laugh and sing along from the comfort of your couch.

The Phantom of the Opera (1925)

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Can you hear that? Probably not. This is a silent film, and this forerunner in the genre is a major must-see for film buffs. The Phantom of the Opera is based on the 1909 novel by Gaston Leroux. In this tale, the phantom haunts the Paris Opera House and mentors Christine, a young singer.

Jumanji (1995)

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Why is it that movies set in New England always feel autumnal? In this Robin Williams vehicle, Jumanji is one board game you definitely don’t want to play, but the film is touching, exciting, and thrilling.

Goosebumps (2015)

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This film is based on the spooky children’s novels by R.L. Stine. It won’t chill your spine, but it’s a chance to revisit some of the ghosts and ghoulies that gave you nightmares as a child.

Scream (1996)

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Scream is the suburban slasher film: a masked murderer torments the attractive teens of Woodsboro, California. This one is filled with all the gory goodness you could need.

Dracula (1931) and Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)

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If you watch Frankenstein and decide you want another historical classic, look no further. Or just watch the 1992 version, which stars Keanu Reeves. Need I say more?

The Witches (1990)

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Roald Dahl had a real talent for terrorizing children, and this is no exception. In this novel and film, a young boy discovers a convention of witches who are planning to turn all children into mice.

Little Shop of Horrors (1986)

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In this movie musical, a shy shop clerk portrayed by Rick Moranis cares for his flesh-eating plant, Audrey II, named after the woman he’s in love with. It won’t keep you up at night, but it’s a fun sing-along.

Double, Double, Toil and Trouble (1993)

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More creepy twins! Just kidding. Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen team up in this Halloween flick that is perfect for youths. This made-for-TV movie is charming and bursting with wonderment that will make you wish you could go trick-or-treating.

A Quiet Place (2018)

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Husband-and-wife duo Emily Blunt and John Krasinski crank up the excruciating suspense as parents hiding from monsters in a postapocalyptic world. It’s a treat watching the real-life Hollywood couple on the silver screen.

49 Best Halloween Movies