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Movies You Need to Watch This Halloween

Welcome to OCTOBER!! I hope you are ready to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year. Halloween is undoubtedly my favorite part of the year for a variety of reasons: I love dressing up, I love carving pumpkins, I love the fact that it’s okay to have skeletons hanging from your porch, and I love that it is finally acceptable to take candy from anyone and everyone. I love everything about it.

So how you can mentally prepare for the Holiday and get into the Halloween Spirit?  Planning your own demonic conjuring may sound like a grand old time, but I find it much easier (and less stressful) to watch some movies instead. Here’s my list of the top 10 movies to get you into the Halloween spirit.

10.) The Birds, 1963

I had to start this list out with a classic. I am a firm believer that if you don’t know Hitchcock, you can’t call yourself a true horror movie fan. While there are so movies by Hitchcock you should watch, Psycho being one of them, The Birds is one of my favorites. Sure, the special effects aren’t up to par, but Hitchcock doesn’t need them. I guarantee you- if you aren’t already afraid of our feathered friends, you will be once you watch this.  


9.) The Haunted Mask, Goosebumps 1995

Any of the Goosebumps from the 90’s is a blast to watch. Don’t Go in the Basement is a close second to the Haunted Mask. But elementary school me freaked out because of the Haunted Mask. I LOVED the Goosebumps series. I couldn’t wait to get home from the bus stop and pop one of these Blockbuster rentals into the VHS player (wow I feel so old). It still puts me in the Halloween spirit (although I’m slightly less terrified), which is why it still makes the list as #9.


8.) The Shining, 1980

One of my favorite horror movies and honestly a must see.  The wife can be annoying. Have fun with it. Don’t be afraid to laugh.


7.) Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul School, 1988

This movie is honestly one of the best. It combines my love for Scooby-Doo, as well as my love for monsters and cheesy cartoons. Honestly all you need to know is that for some reason Scooby, Shaggy and Scrappy go to an all-girls school for monsters and its fantastic. Other Scooby Doo movies that I recommend include Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island, Scooby-Doo Meets the Boo Brothers, and Scooby Doo and the Reluctant Werewolf.


6.) The Exorcist, 1973

I had to include this one. It’s iconic. Not necessarily scary, but still fun to watch. However, I did wake up to what I thought was my bed shaking in the middle of the night after the first time I saw it. I mean, this was probably at the same time I thought the Goosebumps Haunted Mask was scary, so my standards weren’t too high.  If you like the idea of the Exorcist but can’t sit through the 70’s special effects, I highly suggest Rite 2011. It’s more modern and believable, and has Anthony Hopkins who is always great.



5.) The Corpse Bride

Regardless of the time of year, The Corpse Bride is a go to film. I love every Tim Burton movie, but this one is my favorite simply because it has a whole musical number featuring skeletons singing and dancing. Nothing can top that. When a movie dedicates that much time to singing and dancing skeletons you know its quality. This movie also comes in at #5 for being really cute.


4.) The Conjuring

I think this is one of the best horror movies made in the last ten years. If you have seen Amityville Horror, it’s very similar but more contemporary with a slightly different plot line. Both movies were based on the events. So, if you’ve seen this one already I suggest giving Amityville a shot. I also suggest re-watching this one because I think it’s worth it.


3.) The Nightmare Before Christmas, 1993

OKAY. HONESTLY THIS IS IT. This is the one that you will love. It’s a big deal. You’ve heard of it. Middle schoolers walk around with pictures of Jack and Sally on their shirts that they bought at Hot Topic and we are all sick of it. But this is seriously a wonderful movie. There is a reason why it has become such a cultural phenomenon, and that reason is because it’s great. And the best part is that it also counts as a Christmas movie so go ahead and keep on watching this one until December 25th.


2.) Halloweentown

This almost doesn’t need an explanation. It’s the Halloween movie of my generation. Or at least the part of my generation that watched Disney Channel original movies (which I think is most of us). It has a great story, is fun, and has Debbie Reynolds (I met her once and she shook my hand and I almost fainted but that is beside the point and is not relevant to why I love the movie).  


  1. Poltergeist

This is my absolute favorite horror movie. I’ll admit that it’s a little dated, and that the characters can get on your nerves, and it’s not plausible. But despite all this it still manages to be a great movie. The little girl is cute but creepy, there are corpses, and there’s a little old lady that has a weird voice. I mean you can’t get a horror movie better than that. I’ll be honest. It is kind of ridiculous. But I loved it as a kid, and even though I’m not as terrified as I was at first, I still do. And I hope you do too.


There you have it- my top 10 movies to put you in the Halloween spirit. I hope you enjoy them with a big bowl of popcorn, warm apple cider, and some good company. I also hope this list doesn’t disappoint. Before I sign off I just want to state on record that I am in no way responsible for any time wasted or any emotional trauma that may occur from watching these movies. That’s all folks. Have a Happy October!

Isabel Figueroa

Dickinson '19

Isabel is a Senior at Dickinson College. She loves finding humor in humanity, old treasures in antique stores, and new ways to eat almond butter.
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