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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Texas chapter.

I’ve always believed that Halloween had the greatest build-up of any holiday. The creative names and concoctions of the coffee shops’ seasonal drinks, the changing labels of the popular trick-or-treat candies, the cute pumpkin patches that suddenly pop up for the season, and decorating my family’s house with the years-old Halloween decorations with the always difficult fake spiderwebs that never quite lay exactly as you want them to. And despite Texas not having the most ideal fall foliage and the temperatures still often reaching the 90s, I can happily fill that void with tons of Halloween/Fall TV and Film that I’ve listed below.

Horror Movies

As an avid Horror genre fan myself, there’s never a bad time to watch a scary movie, but there are definitely some movies that I enjoy even more when I put them on during Halloween. Not all scary movies are fit for Halloween viewing, I usually lean toward movies with heavy and dark atmospheres that are often supernatural in nature. Movies like The Exorcist, The Shining, and The Evil Dead (and maybe any other horror movie that begins with “The”) are all right up my alley with their morbid tone and gruesome effects. I also really enjoy some of the more classic spooky tales like Bram Stoker’s Dracula with its gothic and campy influences or Sleepy Hollow and its typical Tim Burton, macabre themes and historical New England setting, and both with the added bonus of being literary adaptations that once watched may spur you to read their books too. If you’re not particularly into the more traditional horror movies but still want a bit of a scare, I’d suggest movies like Coraline or Little Shop Of Horrors if you like musicals, both have their scary moments but are more fun and pleasing to watch with their eccentric characters and diverting visuals.

Spooky TV

I think that in the maze of popular Halloween movies that resurface every year, some prime Halloween TV watching is being unjustly minimized. I’m watching these TV shows steadily all throughout October and there’s just something about the slow creep toward the 31st that is best punctuated by the occasional watching of my favorite TV shows. Starting off with the heavyweight champ of the spooky season is American Horror Story, specifically the Murder House and Coven. Both seasons give off great sinister Halloween vibes full of ghosts, and witches, and the added bonus of always reigniting my Evan Peters obsession without fail. If you’re not a fan of horror and are still looking for an eerie mystery, look no further than The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina on Netflix. This more recent show is so good and so full of Halloween atmosphere that even when I get the urge for a rewatch at some other point during the year, I have to remind myself that the true majesty of this show is best experienced during the Fall season. The iconic small-town setting, lovable characters, and supernatural lore at the heart of this show make it perfect for an October viewing. If you’re not looking to commit to a whole new show I highly recommend trying out a few The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror episodes. According to the Simpsons Fandom Wiki these “are an annual tradition in which there is a special Halloween episode consisting of three separate, self-contained pieces.” Watching the Simpsons always makes me nostalgic anyway but these episodes full of their hilarious Halloween antics never get old. My personal favorite episodes can be found in Seasons 1, 4, and 9 and the upcoming episode is airing on November 5th of this year which some may perceive as late but I’ll accept and welcome any extension to the Halloween season even if it goes against the calendar.

Fall Vibes

There are of course some movies I plan on watching this October that don’t strictly revolve around the horror and spookiness of Halloween, sometimes I just want to be reminded that Fall is here and that’s enough. October isn’t just about the scares and the movies you watch during the month don’t have to be either. Now that we’re far enough into the semester I’ve gotten to the point where I’m thoroughly immersed in the academic atmosphere and I like to watch content that reflects that. Some great Fall academic movies include The Dead Poets Society and Good Will Hunting. Something about watching others journey through their education and their growth from it really makes me appreciate my own and the warm autumnal backdrop to these stories just ups the cozy vibe. Murder mysteries are also best enjoyed during the build-up toward Halloween and I’ve always enjoyed my rewatches of Clue and Knives Out despite the season but something tells me they’d be prime movie night picks for the month of October and are prime movies for gathering inspiration on what my future mansion will look like. And would it be Fall without indulging in some films depicting the complicated and tumultuous relationships of girlhood? On one side of the spectrum, you have films like Little Women whose emotional depiction of sisterhood makes me curse not having a sister, and on the other The Craft, a cult classic about angsty high school witches that never fails to give me 90s-style inspo.

True Halloween

If the previously mentioned movies are the buildup to Halloween, then the following movies are the main events and should be watched as close to Halloween or on the day to prevent myself from having a premature burnout. These movies often take place right on Halloween or are at least not usually watched at any other time of year than Halloween and will all be contenders for my ultimate Halloween movie night. I feel there’s often contention on if The Nightmare Before Christmas is more a Halloween or Christmas movie but I’ve always thought it far more spooky than merry. Not only is its claymation inherently a bit off-putting and very fitting for the Halloween town setting, but the songs peppered throughout the film are just the perfect amount of mischief and wonder that the Halloween holiday already exudes and was often the perfect punctuation to a night of trick-or-treating as a kid. Hocus Pocus is a Halloween film that really has it all: witches, black cats, Halloween parties, and great costumes, and takes place in Salem, there’s really nothing more you could ask for. When I’m really looking to laugh on Halloween Monster House will always be my pick. It has the classic haunted house premise with a twist a hilarious cast of characters and great dialogue that my family and I have been quoting for years now. If there’s one cast of characters that live and breathe the grim and eccentric nature of Halloween, there’s no one better than The Adams Family to entertain you on Halloween. The Adams Family films, although not taking place on Halloween, are just as full of scares and creepy characters that define the Halloween genre.

Ella Wick

Texas '26

Hi, my name is Ella Wick and I'm a Sophomore English major at The University of Texas! My hobbies include reading, watching movies, listening to music, cooking, and missing my cats while on campus! I'm really passionate about writing and hope to pursue a career in writing/publishing. I love writing about all sorts of topics but especially love pop culture, beauty, style, film, music and wellness.