Opinion: Top 10 Best Halloween Films

Aine Geraghty ’19 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
For lovers of the creepy and spooky, Halloween is a joyous time of year for many reasons- the best being movies! October brings delights like AMC’s FearFest, Syfy’s 31 Days of Halloween, and the 13 Nights of Halloween on Freeform – previously ABC Family – all of which give us our scary movie fix. But, while there are an abundance of festive flicks to choose from for your viewing pleasure, only some are perfect for the night of Halloween. With each film centered strongly around all Hallows’ Eve, the following is a ranked list of the best movies to watch on Halloween night:
10. The Nightmare Before Christmas
You can argue all you want over whether this is a Halloween or Christmas film, but for the internet’s sake, it’s both. And since it is both, it must be viewed on both holidays. It’s also a classic from Producer Tim Burton, the master of creepy stop-motion animation like The Corpse Bride and Frankenweenie. Not only does this film open up with a song titled “This Is Halloween” that leads us into the world of Halloweentown, it also warms the heart of those of us that like to say that Halloween is our Christmas. The plot literally follows a walking, talking skeleton known as “The Pumpkin King,” so I’m not sure one could ask for much better.

The Nightmare Before Christmas. Photo Credit: Buena Vista Pictures.
9. It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
This is for those of us that are looking less for scares and more for the lighthearted spirit of Halloween, and no one could give that to us better than The Peanuts. It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is an oldie, but always a goodie because it encapsulates the fun of being a child on Halloween (excluding Charlie Brown’s continuous crappy situation), including trick-or-treating, costume parties, and waiting for “The Great Pumpkin” at night in a pumpkin patch with your crush.
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS).
8. Casper
This is a good film if you want the lighthearted, but also want to ease yourself into something more spooky. Casper has it all: Christian Ricci (Ms. Wednesday Addams herself), mischievous animated ghosts, and a heartwarming father-daughter plot. Plus, who could forget the finale with the Halloween party, when Casper himself is turned back into a human for a few hours to do some dancing? I think it’s safe to say that everyone was in agreement that human Casper was cute as hell.
Christina Ricci in Casper. Photo Credit: Universal Pictures.
7WNUF Halloween Special
This one is by far the most unheard of one on the list, and by far the strangest as well. It is made to look like a VHS recording of a TV Halloween special, commercials and all. It follows a television reporter doing a live broadcast from a supposedly haunted house, though he clearly doesn’t believe it. While the film starts off on a light note with plenty of laughable moments throughout, it gets more and more unsettling as it goes on, leaving you with a surprise ending that may leave you a little speechless.
WNUF Halloween Special. Photo Credit: Midnight Crew Studios.
6. The Monster Squad
This film is the only one on the list that has no direct tie with Halloween. What it does have though is all the classic movie monsters, which is why it’s the exception. This movie is the equivalent of The Goonies getting their own Halloween special, one in which they fight monsters and the part of Sloth is played by Frankenstein’s monster. It also features Dracula, The Mummy, and classic lines such as “Wolfman’s got nards!” This one is truly an underrated 80’s gem, perfect for some monster fun on Halloween.
Tom Woodruff Jr., Duncan Regehr, Tom Noonan, Michael Reid MacKay and Carl Thibault in The Monster Squad. Photo Credit: TriStar Pictures.
5. Monster House
This is questionably one of, if not the best Halloween movies made in recent years. Most everyone had a house in their neighborhood growing up that was a bit scary due to it’s appearance, owner, or rumors that floated around about it, and this film takes that idea to the next level. It’s a fun adventure of three awkward kids battling a possessed house across the street, and things only reach peak craziness on Halloween night. This is the perfect movie to watch after you get back from your Halloween night out to keep the fun going.
Monster House. Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures.
4. Halloweentown
Disney Channel has done a lot for us when it comes to their original movies, and this one is in the running for being their greatest gift of all. For us Halloween lovers, we’d want nothing more than to go to a place where Halloween is all year round, and while The Nightmare Before Christmas animated that for us, Halloweentown truly brings it to life. It’s literally like Salem on steroids. Plus, who doesn’t love the idea of finding out you’re secretly a witch on Halloween night and working with your siblings to save your mom and grandmother from an evil warlock? Plus, you get the added bonus of a skeleton cab driver with a lot of personality.
Judith Hoag, Joey Zimmerman, Emily Roeske, Kimberly J. Brown and Debbie Reynolds in Halloweentown. Photo Credit: Disney Channel.
3. Hocus Pocus
Kathy Najimy, Bette Midler and Sarah Jessica Parker in Hocus Pocus. Photo Credit: Buena Vista Pictures.
And speaking of Salem and Disney, what better for Halloween than a Disney movie about three witch sisters returning from the dead to wreak havoc on the children of Salem. This movie provides a lot of Halloween spirit, including a zombie and a black cat, along with a lot of humor as some old witches try to survive long enough in the 20th century to restore their youth. The film even has it’s own cover of “I Put A Spell On You” performed by Bette Midler. You also get a pretty cute older brother/younger sister storyline that can warm your heart on a cold Halloween evening.
2. Trick ‘r Treat
There is a reason that when Fearnet was still on television, they would marathon this movie all day on Halloween. It uniquely tells four chilling tales that all connect in some way and take place on Halloween night. But beyond that, it teaches the rules of Halloween, pass out treats, always check your candy, and never blow out a Jack O’Lantern. And if it wasn’t already enough with all it scares and horror that honor the traditions of Halloween, the film also gives lovers of the holiday something they’ve always wanted: A Halloween Guardian. Other holidays, such as Christmas with Santa and Easter with the Bunny, have a guardian that one must be on their best behavior for (or else). Trick ‘r Treat provides us that guardian in Sam, the little trick ‘r treater who wears a sack with button eyes over his head and carries a pumpkin lollipop that is sharpened like a blade. He is adorably cute, but also one to be feared if you haven’t been on your best behavior Halloween night.
Quinn Lord in Trick r’ Treat. Photo Credit: Warner Home Video.
1. Halloween
You shouldn’t have to ask why this one is #1 on the list, because it is literally the classic of all classic Halloween films. It does deep down what every Halloween movie should, which is scare you and make you question how safe you truly are from an evil masked killer wielding a knife while simultaneously being soundtracked by some of the best synth music ever. Even though the film’s scare may not be up to par with today’s intensely horrifying horror films, the idea and essence of the film is one that has inspired so many films after. Halloween will forever be classically enjoyed on Halloween nights when you are feeling perhaps just a bit too comfortable in your own home.
Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween. Compass International Pictures.
Have fun deciding which film will be your pick for some spooky fun on October 31st, and have a Happy Halloween to all!

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