Dressing up in a costume, trick-or-treating, or going to themed parties are all great ways to celebrate Halloween. But for those seeking a more chill evening activity — especially as the weather cools and enjoying hot apple cider in your PJs becomes all the more appealing — another way to celebrate fall and keep up the post-Halloween spirit (for those die-hard fans) is a movie night.
With unlimited options thanks to countless streaming platforms, there are plenty of scary movies out there that will make you jump and sleep with the lights on (we have all done it). But goosebump-inducing movies are not for everyone — personally, I have never gravitated towards them. My favorite fall/Halloween movies have always been the family classics, but a few newer movies have also made my must-watch list, which contains flicks guaranteed to make any movie night great. So for those in need of recommendations, check out some of my favorites below and, once you’ve picked one, grab some friends, a cozy blanket, some popcorn, and get ready to enjoy!
Halloweentown centers around the Piper family, who have a magical family secret. When Grandma Aggie comes for a visit on Halloween, the action kicks in. As the children follow their grandmother back to Halloweentown to find out more about their family history, they encounter spooky characters, supernatural activity, and anything and everything abnormal. With a dark secret threatening the entire town, the movie is full of action — and laughs — as the kids try to save the day!
Like any other Tim Burton film, Beetlejuice is full of eccentric characters and an interesting story line. After a couple dies, they find themselves haunting their own home. When another family moves in, the dead couple attempts to scare them away, which attracts the attention of Beetlejuice. He arrives and brings with him a whole host of issues, leading to a tumultuous, and admittedly sometimes scary, cinematic hit.
It’s a Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)
While this Halloween special isn’t a movie (it has a run time of about 30 minutes), it is a childhood classic that deserves a mention. The Peanuts special features several common Halloween traditions we can all relate to: going to get pumpkins, trick or treating, and going to a Halloween party. It is impossible not to feel nostalgic as you follow Charlie, Lucy, Linus, Snoopy, and Sally and their Halloween traditions, nor can one watch Linus and Sally look for the Great Pumpkin without recalling fond childhood memories, probably at grandma or grandpa’s.
Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Unlike the other movies, The Nightmare Before Christmas mixes two seemingly unrelated holidays: Christmas and Halloween. This stop motion movie shows the chaos that erupts when Jack Skellington, the “Pumpkin King” of Halloweentown, discovers the Christmas holiday. In a mix of dialogue and songs, Jack attempts to replace Santa and celebrate Christmas with a Halloween twist, leading to disastrous consequences. This is the perfect post-Halloween movie, as it prepares you for the upcoming Christmas season while not bidding goodbye to Halloween just yet!
Who are you going to call? Ghostbusters! The original Ghostbusters — by far the best one — was released in 1984 and has been remade several times. The movie mixes the supernatural, comedy, and some pretty funny special effects for an entertaining and classic cinematic experience. The movie follows disgraced Columbia University professors Peter, Ray, and Egon as they work to prove that ghosts really exist all over New York City. The movie follows their quests for redemption, and ultimately their task to save New York itself.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
The Rocky Horror Picture Show is probably the most “out there” movie on this list. This musical-comedy follows a young couple's journey as they try to get help when their car breaks down. After stumbling into Dr. Furter’s for help, they meet “Rocky,” a muscle man, and spend what becomes an absolutely wild night in Dr. Furter’s house. Bonus note — the movie is also produced each year on Halloween at Furman, when students put on their own rendition of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show!” Though no longer running, it is a must-see for next year; don’t forget your bread and noise makers, as the show is heavily interactive.
Hubie Halloween (2020)
This movie is the most recently released one on my list but is nevertheless a worthwhile watch. Hubie, a big fan of Halloween, takes it upon himself to monitor the town of Salem for any tick-worthy Halloween misdoings. Yet this Halloween something big is haunting the town and hurting people, leaving it up to Hubie to save the day. Does he pull it off and save Halloween for all? You will have to watch to find out!