Guide to the Best Halloween Movies for All Occasions

halloween movies

The pumpkins are out in force and Halloween is nearly upon us. Plenty of kids and adults will be hitting the streets (or the clubs) on costume for the spookiest holiday. All the better to grab that free candy. But maybe you’re the type who’d rather haunt your own couch on All Hallows Eve. There is no shortage of Halloween movies to thrill and delight, and we’ve rounded up the best. Our Halloween movies guide will help you have a great night in with a bowl of candy corn all to yourself.

Best for Kids (and Kids at Heart)

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)

This perennial Halloween favorite features the Peanuts gang celebrating Halloween. While Charlie Brown, Lucy, and the rest of their friends go Trick-or-Treating and attend a Halloween party, Linus keeps watch in the pumpkin patch, awaiting the Great Pumpkin.

You can catch the Great Pumpkin on Friday, October 28, 2016 at 8:00 PM on ABC.

Hocus Pocus (1993)

This one will be a hit with the ’90s kids and anyone else looking for a good time. Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy star as the Sanderson sisters, a trio of 17th century witches raised from the dead on Halloween night. A group of kids accidentally brought the witches back and must stop them from executing their evil plot for immortality before dawn.

Hocus Pocus will air on Freeform (formerly ABC Family) every day from this Thursday through Halloween.

Thursday, October 27 at 8:50 PM
Friday, October 28 at 4:35 PM
Saturday, October 29 at 9:25 PM
Sunday, October 30 at 7:25 PM
Monday, October 31 at 9:00 PM and midnight

Halloweentown (1998)

This Disney Channel original movie is one many Millennials will remember fondly, and it’s sure to delight new generations of kids as well. 13-year-old Marnie discovers that she’s a witch and helps to save a magical town where it’s Halloween every day. Debbie Reynolds stars as Marnie’s grandmother.

Halloweentown will air on Disney Channel Tuesday, October 25 at 5:25 PM and on Freeform Wednesday, October 26 at midnight. Check your local listings for air times of Halloweentown’s several sequels as well.

Best Romantic Movies

Practical Magic (1998)

Sally and Gillian Owens (Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman) were raised by their eccentric aunts (Stockard Channing and Dianne Wiest) in a family tradition of magic. Unfortunately they are also heirs to a family curse: the men they love are doomed to untimely deaths. The sisters couldn’t be more different, but they must join forces to defeat the family curse once and for all.

Practical Magic is currently streaming on Netflix.

Warm Bodies (2013)

A zombie movie with heart may seem like an oxymoron, but this adorable 2013 film manages to do just that. Zombie, R, who can only remember the first letter of his name, meets human Julie. Against all odds, they fall in love and even maybe save the world.

Warm Bodies is available to buy or rent online or on DVD and Blu-ray.

Best With Friends

Young Frankenstein (1974)

This classic Mel Brooks film, starring the late Gene Wilder, is a horror parody that has to be seen to be believed. It lovingly spoofs early, black-and-white horror films, particularly Frankenstein. It is the source of many pop culture references that are still well known today and is well worth a watch or re-watch this Halloween season.

Young Frankenstein will air Sunday, October 30 at 8:00 PM on TCM. 

Shaun of the Dead (2004) 

This British film starring comedy duo Simon Pegg and Nick Frost is another – newer – classic of the horror comedy genre. Pegg’s character Shaun is just trying to figure out the ordinary challenges of life like dealing with his girlfriend and family, but a zombie apocalypse keeps getting in the way.

Shaun of the Dead will air on Comedy Central Sunday, October 30 at 4:45 and Monday, October 31 at 12:00 PM and 4:00 PM.

Best Scary Movies

If you’re looking for a fright-fest, there’s no shortage of horror movies of all shapes and sizes, and just as many opinions about which are the best. Here are a few classics to get you started.

Scream (1996) 

This Wes Craven slasher stars Neve Campbell as Sidney Prescott. She and her friends become the targets of a masked killer known as “Ghostface.” David Arquette, Courtney Cox, and Drew Barrymore also star. If you’re going for a movie marathon, Scream also has three sequels.

Scream will air Wednesday, October 26 at 11:00 PM; Thursday, October 27 at 2:00 AM; Sunday, October 30 at 9:00 PM; and Monday, October 21 at midnight on More Max.

The Conjuring (2013)

This based-on-a-true-story tale of supernatural horror stars Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson as Lorraine and Ed Warren, paranormal investigators called upon to help a Rhode Island family experiencing strange phenomena at their farmhouse. The Warrens’ investigations also included the incident that inspired the Amityville Horror.

The Conjuring is available to rent or buy online or on DVD and Blu-ray.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

If gore and genuine scares are what you’re after, skip the 2003 remake and head straight for this classic slasher flick. A group of friends visiting a farmhouse are terrorized by a family of cannibals, including the iconic “Leatherface” who wields the titular chainsaw.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre will air on Sunday, October 30 at 8:00 and 11:00 PM on Flix.

Poltergeist (1982)

This aptly named horror classic centers on a family who begin to experience strange phenomena in their home. Their youngest daughter is continually drawn to the television and eventually disappears, prompting her parents to seek the help of a para-psychologist. Poltergeist stands the test of time, even more than 30 years later, offering plenty of genuine scares.

Poltergeist will air on HBO several times through Halloween.

Thursday, October 27 at 9:00 PM
Friday, October 28 at midnight
Sunday, October 30 at 5:25 PM and 8:25 PM

The Exorcist (1973)

Considered by many to be the scariest movie ever made, the Exorcist remains at the pinnacle of best horror lists decade after decade. Linda Blair stars as the teenaged Regan MacNeil, and innocent girl who becomes possessed by a demon. Her mother turns to two priests who attempt to exorcise the demonic presence.

The Exorcist is available to buy or rent online or on DVD and Blu-ray.

Did we miss any of your favorite Halloween movies? Like and share with friends and family!

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