10 Halloween Classic Films You Can't Miss Rewatching this Halloween

One of my favorite parts of Halloween is cozying up inside and re-watching all of my favorite Halloween classics and horror movies. Halloween movies and shows are some of my favorites to watch, as sometimes you can get something enjoyably cheesy, while other times you get something pants-wettingly terrifying. The variety and the amazing aesthetics keep me coming back every year. So turn out the lights and gather ‘round, children. Here, in no particular order, is my incredibly subjective list of ten favorite Halloween media. I apologize in advance if I left out one of your all time favorites.

  1. 1. Carrie (1976)

    Carrie can be cheesy, but it’s a 70’s kind of cheesy, which makes it great. You got John Travolta in all his fluffy-haired glory, high-schoolers who appear to be in their 30’s, and Carrie’s mom psychotically chopping vegetables for no reason. And everyone knows the iconic ending of Carrie’s revenge with the pig’s blood and Sissy Spacek’s thousand yard stare. But this movie will always have a special place in my heart, as it’s the first classic horror movie I ever watched. Carrie is always a fun time and I whole-heartedly recommend it for telekinesis fans everywhere.

  2. 2. Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

    I had to put at least one Tim Burton movie on here, or else I’d probably get mauled. But even without that factor, this is still a classic movie. The minute the weather starts to get cold in September, I always listen to “This is Halloween.” I love the songs and the animation, the environment and colors, it’s all just so good! I know that this is a really typical choice, but I’ve been watching this movie since I was a kid, and I still love it every year. Also, watch for when the street musicians call Jack Skellington “Bone Daddy".

  3. 3. Halloween (1978)

    Another classic horror movie. I first saw this one fairly recently, but I already loved it. While the horror is found in how easy it is for someone dangerous to hide in plain sight, the ending is why I re-watch this movie. There are so many death fake-outs in the finale, it's almost funny. I remember first watching this and thinking, “how is this bastard not dead yet?” This movie is simple, but effective and great for when you first start getting into horror movies. Halloween: come to enjoy the iconic horror movie status, stay for the dumb teenagers, death fake-outs, and classic slasher-horror tropes.

  4. 4. Coraline (2009)

    I showed this movie to one of my brothers and he still refuses to watch it again. If people tell you that animated movies aren’t scary, show them this movie. You’ve got the Beldam, the scene with three murdered kids, button eyes, etc. This movie does a good job of setting up a world full of childhood wonder before turning that on its head into a fucked-up nightmare. It has adventure, horror, fun characters, and an interesting story, so there’s something for everyone. If you haven’t seen Coraline yet, go watch it right now - it's on Netflix. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.

  5. 5. The Halloweentown Series

    Damn, this one brings back a lot of memories. I’ll admit, these movies are on the list because of all the nostalgia it brings me. I remember marathon-ing these movies whenever the Disney Channel put them all on. But, while the Halloweentown movies are definitely more cutesy than scary, they are dripping with Halloween imagery and atmosphere. Everywhere you turn in Halloweentown, there’s pumpkins and apples, ghouls and vampires, witchcraft and magical items. There’s a lot of 90’s and early 2000’s cheese, but I’m always able to overlook it. So if you’re looking for something nice this Halloween, you can always curl up with our favorite family of witches. It consists of five films: 

    Halloweentown (1998)

    Halloweentown II: Kalabar's Revenge (2001)

    Halloweentown High (2004)

    Return to Halloweentown (2006)

    Halloweentown 5 (2020).

  6. 6. ParaNorman (2012)

    Wow, another stop-motion animated movie done by Laika studios, are we noticing a theme here? Paranorman is a movie that combines a zombie invasion with the Salem Witch Trials. Cool premise, right? There’s also a lot of fun horror movie character archetypes and a surprisingly wholesome story about dealing with sadness and pain. Paranorman has great animation quality and an even greater story to tell. I always make sure to watch it every year.

  7. 7. "Epidemiology," Season 2, Episode 6 of Community (2010)

    Let’s do something different this round and talk about a specific T.V. episode. Community is a cult classic T.V. show already, celebrating everything nerdy. But this particular episode is one of my favorites, and I always watch it around Halloween. This episode of the show asks one question: What would happen if a college Halloween party went horribly wrong, all whilst ABBA played continuously in the background? I can hear the screams already. This episode of the series tries to cram in as much horror movie commentary as possible, which combined with its absurd premise, makes it one of the most hilarious episodes of the show. It has the creeps and the laughs, plus it's always a good way to spend 21 minutes of your time.

  8. 8. Trick r’ Treat (2009)

    This is a more recent horror movie that I saw, but it is already a classic to me. Trick r’ Treat weaves together five tales of Halloween woe, all while a deadly Trick r’ Treater makes his rounds. The stories are all pretty great on their own, but what really makes this movie stand out to me is the atmosphere. I think this movie’s sole purpose was to embody as many Halloween tropes as possible. There’s obviously trick r’ treating, but there’s also Halloween parties, decorations, kids going to see the creepy part of town, a serial killer, sexy costumes, dressing up with all your girlfriends, there’s just so much. This is a movie that screams Halloween and I highly recommend that you watch it.

  9. 9. The Shining (1980)

    This is my last typical classic horror pick, I swear. But I picked this movie because everyone knows the basic plot and some of the scares of this movie. Everyone knows about “Here’s Johnny!” and “Come play with us!” I put this on my list because even though I knew a lot about this movie beforehand, it still managed to give me the creeps when I first watched it. It’s a testament to this movie’s quality that it can still freak you out, even when you know what’s coming. The Shining is a horror staple, but it's this part about it that makes it one of my favorites. Keep your lights on when you re-watch this one!

  10. 10. Over the Garden Wall (2014)

    Please, please, please watch this show. This is one of my favorite pieces of media, let alone a favorite Halloween classic. Over the Garden Wall tells the story of two brothers lost in the woods and the many weird and creepy things they find there. This show is never overtly scary, but it has several creepy moments and creatures. The show is beautifully animated with lots of Fall imagery and classic Americana. The soundtrack is also amazing and has provided me with study music for years now. There isn’t really anything like this show and I love it to pieces. I love Over the Garden Wall and I cannot recommend it enough to anyone.

Have a spooky Halloween!