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5 Nostalgic Halloween Books, Movies and TV-Shows

Undoubtedly, the best part of Halloween has always been trick-or-treating. There is nothing better than running around in the dark in your neighbourhood with a couple of your friends and the dozen other kids you met when exchanging information on where the best trick-or-treating houses are. Friendships are forged, candy is devoured. It truly is the best time of year.

But of course, all good things must come to an end. Now you’re on the other side of the door, which is admittedly not as fun. It kind of makes you miss the good old days of being a kid on Halloween. Well, here are 5 movies, tv-shows and books that will evoke the nostalgia of being a kid on Halloween night!

The Witches by Roald Dahl

The Witches by Roald Dahl was possibly one of the first things that I ever really associated with Halloween and was the first thing that popped into my head. It’s an old children’s fantasy book about a boy learning to protect himself from wicked witches that disguise themselves as normal women. It really gets you in the mood with that classic Roald Dahl whimsical writing style that is just off-putting enough to make you believe in malevolent witches who will kidnap children. I remember the first time I read this book; I was frightfully certain that there was a witch around every corner. I mean who was to say that witches didn’t exist? After all, they were disguised to appear as normal as normal can be. Who was to say I hadn’t had a close encounter? Needless to say, The Witches by Roald Dahl gave me a healthy dose of caution in accordance with the season.

The Addams Family (1991)

The Addams Family is iconic in every sense of the word. From the romantically macabre vibe of the 1991 movie to its vivid characters, The Addams Family has long since cemented itself in pop culture as a symbol of the unconventional and vaguely discomfiting. As a child, I must admit, the intentionally disconcerting nature of the movie did not register. I thought everything was hilariously melodramatic but nothing more. However, as the years pass, I only now start to realize how brilliant the movie is. The instantly recognizable silhouettes of the characters, the intensely dramatic lines and their delivery (can we give a shoutout to Gomez and Morticia Addams), and the acting, all come together to create a diverse and eccentric cast of characters. When I think of The Addams Family, I think of the colourful cast of characters.

Coraline (2009)

Coraline is a classic staple of the Halloween movie genre. I actually read the illustrated version of the book originally (ah, those Scholastic book fairs from elementary school). The whole idea that there was a whole other, creepier world almost exactly like your own with twisted versions of everyone you know on the other side of the wall was so interesting to me; like looking into a mirror to find a warped version of your life. We all want fantastical escapes to other worlds; we want Narnia’s in our wardrobe and Diagon Alley’s behind brick walls but sometimes we might get Other worlds and Other lives. Coraline was adventure and fantasy with the desire for Other worlds hidden behind mysterious doors. It lets your imagination run wild – the possibilities are endless as to what could be behind the door that goes nowhere.

Hotel Transylvania (2012)

Hotel Transylvania was released almost a full decade ago, just in time for the spooky season right around the end of September and throughout October. And when it came out, this movie was the only thing people spoke about. The “children’s family movie” thing is played up usually for Christmas, not usually for Halloween, which is what made this so unique. I mean who ever thought about the Count Dracula’s family and made a movie about him and his daughter? Absolute genius! It’s heartwarming and funny and everything you’d ever want for a family Halloween movie! Over the years that followed, there have been sequels and tie-ins like with every popular animated movie of the last decade or so, but the first Hotel Transylvania movie remains my favourite.

What’s New Scooby-Doo? (2002)

Scooby-doo might seem like an odd addition to this list but it most certainly does belong here! The What’s New Scooby-doo? animated show from 2002 aired throughout the fall season and while other shows had Halloween specials, Scooby-doo seemed to exist in a perpetual state of the Halloween season. It’s the retro, early-2000s animation and art style combined with the quintessential Scooby-doo mysteries that are tangentially paranormal. The antagonists of the episodes are usually backlit with rain, storms and lightning, in a very gothic, horror-esque fashion that immediately sets the mood as something Halloween-adjacent. Of course, the most satisfying part is watching the Scooby-gang solve the mystery and get up to some wacky fun hijinks along the way!

All this is to say, I miss being a kid on Halloween. And this year, I’m feeling particularly nostalgic from revisiting some of my favourite Halloween classics from my childhood. I know many of us like to think back to a time when things were simpler in our lives. Going back to the same things that brought us so much joy is a way to carry the child within us going forwards. And it doesn’t hurt that these books, movies and cartoons are timeless classics. I wish everyone a very happy and safe Halloween!

Siona Deb

McMaster '23

Siona is a second year student at McMaster in the Actuarial and Financial Math program. She loves reading sci-fi and fantasy novels and drawing.
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