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As kids, a lot of us would sit around our television during the holidays watching specials that were broadcast seasonally. I remember loving the Halloween season for its wonderful movies and the feeling remains. So, I would like to share my top ten nostalgic Halloween movies for this spooky season.

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) 

It’s that rare in between movie for Christmas and Halloween with an obvious inclination toward Halloween (the other would be The Gremlins, where the opposite is true). I think it’s safe to say that the Pumpkin King’s fascination towards Christmas is something we remember and revisit fondly.

Halloweentown (1998) 

This Disney Channel Original Movie was one of my favorites. Seeing a town full of monsters seemed like a dream. And the dynamics they presented seemed so mundane in contrast to what we would think a town full of monsters would be (like in The Nightmare Before Christmas). It still seems so delightful. 

ParaNorman (2012)

While this one’s a little newer, it resounds quite well with Coraline’s style. Much like other Laika films, it has its comic moments, every instance with spectacular movement and fluidity, and a very serious plot beneath. It works around social dynamics and creepy ghosts and zombies to give us a great family film.

The Addams Family (1991) 

While the movie is about a con artist trying to scam the Addams, the movie is mostly remembered by Wednesday’s demeanor and Gomez’s absolute love for his wife. This more-than-odd family, while spooky and weird, carry a wholesome core. 

Beetlejuice (1988)

I’m sure a lot of us remember being scared by Beetlejuice’s startling eyes and frightening smile. Beetlejuice was a spirit for hire if you say his name three times. On this occasion he was summoned by a dead couple that wanted to scare off an annoying living couple that had moved into the deceased’s home. But I think by his looks alone he could’ve gotten the job done. 

Monster House (2006)

With a frightening animation style, Monster House was as hilarious and scary as it was heartfelt. What seems to be an ordinary grumpy old man telling kids to get off his lawn, turns into an adventure inside a house that is possessed by the old man’s dead wife. Even with its heart warming conclusion, Monster House is the reason why I don’t step on other people’s lawns.

Scary Godmother: Halloween Spooktakular (2003)

As awkward as the animation was, Scary Godmother was the main reason I got excited for Halloween (it even taught me how to make s’mores). Along with Hannah Marie, we learn that not all monsters are scary (and sometimes people can become scary monsters), and we get back at her mean cousin, Jimmy, for trying to scare her on Halloween night. This later leads to the sequel Scary Godmother: The Revenge of Jimmy.

Coraline (2009)

Based on Neil Gaiman’s novel, Coraline is Laika’s wonderfully whimsical representation of one of my biggest fears as a kid: what if Mom and Dad don’t come back home? Gaiman took it a few steps further and asks himself: what if I had Another Mother…? Once you put two and two together, we have a story that was never meant for children, but we were brave enough to love it anyways.

The Dark Crystal (1982)

While not technically a Halloween film, I find it quite fitting. I remember having watched it as a kid and it scared the hell out of me. Not only were the Skeksis’ gruesome and creepy, but their plots were so obviously evil and corrupt. Even knowing now that these were puppets, their appearance and movements still inspire repulsion.

R. L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour: Don’t Think About It (2007)

When a girl is challenged with the biggest temptation of all, to not read a strange book she bought from a strange alley store aloud, her annoying little brother pushed her to the edge: she reads it to him to scare him straight. Now they’re faced with the next challenge: don’t think about it! I still find this movie exciting to watch and, considering it’s from 2007, it aged very well.

While there are more popular films, like Hocus Pocus, I felt these movies reflected Halloween a little better. Because Halloween doesn’t have to be about jump scares and morbid gore, it can be silly and spooky; whimsical and frightening; wholesome and haunting. These movies are the reason I look forward to the Halloween season and, if you haven’t already, I encourage you to watch them, too!

Born in Manatí, Puerto Rico. Raised in the rural landscape of Vega Alta by a musician and a self-proclaimed Spanish teacher. Studied music from second grade to freshman year in high school part-time and heavier education circulated around mathematics and science. Despite all this, writing is my passion and I plan to keep at it.
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