I made a list a few years ago of movies centered around, set during, or containing elements of Halloween. Since then, I’ve noticed that list becoming sadly out-of-date and incomplete, so I decided to start a new, more comprehensive list of movies that are Halloween-themed. All of the films listed below contain Halloween elements, whether briefly or for their entirety. Some are set during Halloween, others just use the autumn season as a backdrop for their stories, some are directly about Halloween, but they will all help evoke that special Halloween spirit!
In this new list, I’ve not only included films I’d missed on the old list as well as new movies, but I’ve also broken down the movies into categories, from horror movies to family-friendly films to comedies and so on, as well as noting whether I recommend them or not. I’ve labeled each movie (at least the ones I’ve seen) with a rating of “recommended,” “watch at your own risk,” or “skip it.”
The Ultimate List of Halloween-themed Movies:
31 (2016) – Set on Halloween night, but lacking Halloween atmosphere. Plus, it was super-polarizing in theaters – watch at your own risk.
(2013) – It has some nice Halloweenie atmosphere at the beginning, but doesn’t really pay off. Watch at your own risk.
The ABCs of Death 2
(“N is for Nexus” segment) (2014) – Great costumes, nice NYC Halloween atmosphere. Recommended (as is the whole anthology).
All Hallow’s Eve
(2013) – An anthology film whose wrap-around story is set on Halloween. It wasn’t as bad as I expected and has a creepy clown; recommended.
All Hallow’s Eve 2
(2015) – Not nearly as good as the original; skip it.The Barn
(2016) – A fun, well-done film that is set and filmed like it’s the ’80s – highly recommended if you can find it (it’s doing the festival rounds now)!
(2005) – Set on Halloween night at an abandoned, haunted asylum, this one is surprisingly ok for a low-budget film. Recommended!
(1989) [watch on YouTube
] – Set two weeks before Halloween, so it’s not too Halloweenie, but crazed killer clowns are entertaining nonetheless. Recommended.
(1994) – Set on Devil’s Night or the night before Halloween, recommended!
Dark Night of the Scarecrow
(1981) – This made-for-TV horror movie is bigotry and revenge in a small town, set around autumn and Halloween. Recommended!
(2001) – Time-travel film with a twist set around Halloween in the ’80s, complete with Halloween party, costumes, and a great soundtrack. Recommended!Flesheater
(1988) – Haven’t seen it, but it’s a low budget zombie movie set on Halloween night.
The Fun Size Horror Vol. 1
(2015) – Anthology that has a nicely animated Halloween intro, but the stories themselves are not very Halloween-related. Watch at you own risk.
The Funhouse Massacre
(2015) – Set at a haunt on Halloween where a group of escaped mental patients masquerade as scare actors and start killing off guests. A little light on story, but somewhat entertaining, watch at your own risk.
(1992) – A faux documentary investigating a haunted house and set on Halloween, it convinced millions of British viewers that it was real. Recommended.
(2000) – Love this film, and the Canadian autumn imagery and Halloween costume party makes it a fabulous werewolf film to watch around Halloween. Recommended.
(2014) – Fantastic film about a drifter crashing at a family’s home who may not be who he says he is. Lots of Halloween decor in this one. Recommended!
Hack-o-Lantern (aka Halloween Night) (1988) – Satanists on Halloween! Yes, it’s supremely cheesy, but recommended if you can find it!
(2003) – This low budget is set at a Halloween haunt and was better than I expected, recommended!
(1978) – Do I even need to say anything? Probably THE Halloween movie! Highly recommended!
(1981) – Picking up right where the first one left off. Recommended!
(2007) – Full of Halloween atmosphere, but really depends on whether you care for Rob Zombie’s films, watch at your own risk.
(2010) – Sequel from Rob Zombie, and also has lots of Halloween style, but watch at your own risk based on whether you like Rob Zombie’s style.
Halloweenight (2009) – Haven’t seen it.
(1981) – This is kind of a cheat since I don’t think it is set around Halloween, but the characters wear costumes so I am including it. Recommended.
(2005) – Slasher set on Halloween in West Hollywood, recommended!
(2015) – Trippy visuals and nightmarish atmosphere featuring otherworldly trick or treaters on Halloween, recommended!
(“Halloween” segment) (2016) – the Halloween segment itself is awful, recommended for the rest of the shorts which are themed around other holidays, otherwise skip it.
(1988) – Awful low-budget slasher set on Halloween. Skip it.
(2005) – Set at a hayride on Halloween with a headless horseman running amuck. Yes, it’s cheesy, but I had fun with it! Recommended.
(2008) – Only briefly set on Halloween, but the film itself is chilling and recommended.
(2015) – Fantastic Halloween atmosphere and music, but lacking good acting or a fully realized storyline. Watch at your own risk.House II
(1987) – A zany sequel that’s set around Halloween, complete with brief scenes of a costume party. Recommended if you like weird movies.
House of 1000 Corpses
(2003) – A group seeks refuge with a backwoods family after their car breaks down Halloween night, though unbeknownst to them the family has murderous intentions. This has some cool Halloween imagery and decor, and is directed by Rob Zombie. Recommended.
(1995) – On Halloween night, the vengeful monster Jack-O is released from his grave to continue its bloodthirsty quest begun nearly one hundred years before. Cheesy, but in a so-bad-it’s-good way; watch at your own risk.
Lady in White
(1988) – A young boy sees a ghostly vision on Halloween night and becomes involved in tracking down a serial killer that has been plaguing his quiet community. Lovely autumn visuals and a nostolgic feel! Recommended
(2000) – Shy May just wants a friend, but when those around her continually disappoint her, she decides to make her own. Recommended, though only the last part of the film is set on Halloween night.
The Midnight Hour
(1985) [watch on YouTube
] – Highly recommended for goofy ’80s fun as the whole film is set at a Halloween party! Plus the soundtrack is pure Halloween goodness!
(2013) – A blind woman must protect herself against a mysterious intruder the night before Halloween. Better than I expected, but it has no Halloween atmosphere/decor at all. Watch at your own risk.
(2007) – A lonely man shows up at a Halloween party with killer consequences. I didn’t care for this one, but a lot of people liked it; watch at your own risk.
Night of the Demons
(1988) – At a Halloween party in an abandoned funeral home guests start getting possessed. An ’80s classic; recommended!
Night of the Demons
(2009) – I dug the soundtrack to this remake and thought it was well done; recommended
Pay the Ghost
(2015) – One year after a man’s son disappears on Halloween, he begins to unravel the mystery behind his son’s disappearance. Surprisingly decent (even with Nicholas Cage) and I liked the Halloween carnival and general atmosphere of this one; recommended
(1988) – Witches, pumpkin patches, and demonic pumpkin-headed monsters? They are all here, and though Halloween isn’t really overtly mentioned, this is very Halloween-y feeling. Recommended.
Satan’s Little Helper
(2004) – A bratty boy befriends a man in a devil costume on Halloween, not realizing that the Halloween pranks he is involved in are all too real. This dark comedy is one of my Halloween faves! Recommended.Scare Zone
(2009) – Workers at a Halloween haunted attraction are killed off one by one. It has a good haunt atmosphere, but the story is meh; watch at your own risk.
(1999) – The legend of the headless horseman and Ichabod Crane who sets out to solve the mystery. This Tim Burton tale has a New England Halloween feel, full of jack-o-lanterns and a gloomy, fog-drenched woods. Recommended.
Something Wicked This Way Comes
(1983) – This film is big on nostolgic small town Halloween celebrations and autumn imagery, plus a classic tale from the King of the October People himself, Ray Bradbury. Recommended!
Tales of Halloween
(2015) – A fun, goofy, anthology filled with Halloween-themed short films, recommended!
The Houses October Built
(2014) – Halloween enthusiasts travel the country looking for the most extreme haunted attraction, but the one they find may scare them to death. I didn’t care for this one, but the haunt scenes were cool; watch at your own risk.
Trick or Treats
(1982) – An escaped madman comes home Halloween night when his son is playing pranks on the babysitter. Some fun Halloween gags, but the rest of the film drags. Watch at your own risk.
Trick or Treat
(1986) – A loner metalhead accidentally brings his favorite rock ‘n’ roll idol back-from-the dead after playing his unreleased material backwards. You can’t go wrong with metal and Halloween, plus this one has some neat cameos. Highly recommended!
Trick ‘r Treat
(2009) – This wonderfully done Halloween horror anthology is a new classic and sets the bar high for Halloween stories and imagery. A must-watch every Halloween, and it goes without saying that it is highly recommended.
(segment “10/31/98”) (2012) – A goup heads to a Halloween party, but unknowingly get the wrong house and stumble upon something terrifying. Recommended.
WNUF Halloween Special
(2013) – This is another faux news documentary and has a great retro feel, recommended!
Wrong Turn 5: Bloodlines
(2012) – Skip it, it’s set on Halloween but there isn’t a lick of Halloween decor or atmosphere, plus it’s just a really bad movie
Short Horror Films (links go to YouTube or Vimeo – there are so many of these, I’ve only listed a few I enjoy!):
Family-Friendly Movies/Cartoons (again, there are tons of these, I’ve only listed a few!):
Betty Boop’s Hallowe’en Party (1933)
Disney’s Halloween Treat (1982)
Goosebumps: The Haunted Mask, part 1 and part 2
Halloween is Grinch Night (1977)
I’m sure I’ve missed some Halloween-themed movies, so please feel free to leave any films I should add in the comments below!