It’s finally October, and that means Halloween. In the words of Marnie from “Halloweentown,” “Halloween is cool,” and I couldn’t agree more. I always celebrate it to the fullest, and this year is no exception. More importantly, I love making every night in October a spooky movie night. And thankfully, there are an abundance of Halloween-themed movies to watch during this month, so the list of things to see is always expanding. Personally, I love to watch scary movies and what I like to call my Halloween comfort movies. They’re the ones I can always depend on — some even from childhood — that fill me with an abundance of joy while also getting me in the spooky spirit. Here are 10 Halloween movies that are perfect for those looking for something other than horror to watch this month!
“The Addams Family” (1991)
Starring: Anjelica Huston, Raul Julia, Christina Ricci, Jimmy Workman and Christopher Lloyd
Directed by: Barry Sonnenfeld
Halloween just doesn’t feel complete without “The Addams Family.” This creepy, kooky family has graced screens since 1964 (when the original television series aired), but there’s something especially great about the hilariously quirky 1991 feature film (and its sequel). For me, it’s been a spooky season staple since childhood, and I’ve grown to love it even more the older I’ve gotten. Huston and Julia are irresistible as Morticia and Gomez, respectively, while Ricci’s Wednesday remains as iconic as ever. It’s a must for your October watchlist, and it’s currently available to watch on Amazon Prime and Netflix.
“E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” (1982)
Starring: Henry Thomas, Dee Wallace, Drew Barrymore and Robert MacNaughton
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
There’s so much to love about Spielberg’s film centering on a young boy named Elliott (Henry Thomas) trying to help a lost alien return to his home planet. Whether it’s the incredible score by John Williams or the wonderful performances, especially from Thomas and Barrymore, “E.T.” is an all-time classic in general. However, it’s an even better watch during Halloween. It perfectly captures the spirit of the season — especially in the middle of the film when Elliott and his older brother, Michael (Robert MacNaughton), sneak out disguised as trick or treaters to help E.T. phone home — making it a must-watch during October. As of right now, it’s currently available to stream on Peacock for free!
“Hocus Pocus” (1993)
Starring: Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy, Omri Katz and Thora Birch
Directed by: Kenny Ortega
Much like the Addams family, Halloween just doesn’t feel complete without the Sanderson sisters. Led by delightfully charismatic performances from Midler, Parker and Najimy, “Hocus Pocus” is a Halloween classic beloved by many. The story of teenager Max Dennison (Katz) lighting the Black Flame Candle and awakening the Sanderson sisters on All Hallows’ Eve is a must-see during October. Plus, how can one resist Midler’s bewitching rendition of “I Put A Spell on You”? Even better, if you have a Disney+ account, “Hocus Pocus” is currently available to stream.
“Practical Magic” (1998)
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman, Dianne Wiest and Stockard Channing
Directed by: Griffin Dunne
It’s hard to resist a dance sequence with Midnight Margaritas set to “Coconut” by Henry Nilsson. It’s even harder to resist the empowering and loving chemistry between Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman in this film. “Practical Magic” oozes with cheesiness — the sappy ‘90s kind that’s bathed in a hazy, whimsical light — but it’s so easy to love. Based on the 1995 novel of the same name by Alice Hoffman, “Practical Magic” is the kind of witchy movie that will absolutely get you in the spirit of the season. Unfortunately, it’s not available to stream yet, but it is available to rent on a variety of platforms for cheap.
Starring: Debbie Reynolds, Kimberly J. Brown, Judith Hoag, Joey Zimmerman, Emily Roeske and Robin Thomas
Directed by: Duwayne Dunham
If you, like me, grew up watching an obsessive amount of Disney Channel Original Movies, then “Halloweentown” is more than likely on your October watchlist. Personally, it’ll always be one of my favorites to watch during spooky season. Cheesy but charming, “Halloweentown” follows a teenage girl named Marnie (Kimberly J. Brown) who, after learning she’s a witch from her grandmother (Debbie Reynolds), travels to the titular location to save it from an evil force. It’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face and get you in the Halloween spirit — especially Reynolds’ character, who will give you the warm fuzzies the moment she appears on screen. Currently, all four “Halloweentown” movies are available to stream on Disney+.
“The Nightmare Before Christmas” (1993)
Starring: Chris Sarandon and Catherine O’Hara
Directed by: Henry Selick
With plenty of catchy tunes and a wonderfully original story, “The Nightmare Before Christmas” is another movie that many people (myself included) have on their must-watch list during October. Henry Selick’s stop-motion animated film is centered on Jack Skellington ( Chris Sarandon, with composer Danny Elfman as his singing vocals), the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town, who longs to shake up his yearly routine of scaring those in the “real world.” Lucky for him, he stumbles into the world of Christmas Town and finds exactly the kind of change he’s been seeking. In a way, it’s a celebration of both holidays, but it’ll always be a Halloween film to me! Not to mention, it’s available to stream on Disney+, so you can rewatch it as many times as you want throughout October.
Starring: Christina Ricci, Bill Pullman, Cathy Moriarty and Eric Idle
Directed by: Brad Silberling
Based on the Harvey Comics character of the same name, “Casper” is a charming live-action film that’s perfect viewing for Halloween. It also provides a little backstory on the friendliest ghost we know, adding a little bit of a darker tone to the film in doing so, but not enough to make it terrifying. Ricci also shines in this movie as Kat, the daughter of a paranormal investigator (Bill Pullman) who’s brought in to rid a spoiled heiress’s (Cathy Moriarty) mansion of Casper and his three annoying uncles. Though the story is incredibly silly, as many ‘90s Halloween movies are, the connections formed between the main characters add an irresistible sweetness to the story. It’s not currently available to stream, but it can be rented on a variety of different platforms, and it frequently pops up on Freeform’s 31 Days of Halloween schedule!
“Corpse Bride” (2005)
Starring: Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter and Emily Watson
Directed by: Tim Burton and Mike Johnson
This was a tough Tim Burton spot to fill, as I love “Corpse Bride” and “Frankenweenie” equally, but the former just holds a special place in my heart. Not only is the stop-motion animation and style absolutely stunning, but it’s also a great story, with fantastic performances to boot. Johnny Depp leads the cast as Victor, a young man who’s about to wed Victoria (Emily Watson) in an arranged marriage. However, after fumbling over his vows, he runs away into the woods. While practicing them alone, he unknowingly slips the ring onto the hand of a corpse named Emily (Helena Bonham Carter), who drags him into the land of the dead to be married. But Victor longs to be back with the living, and so begins an adventure back topside to save Victoria from marrying the evil Barkis Bittern (Richard E. Grant) instead. It’s not on a streaming service yet, but it frequently pops up on Freeform’s 31 Days of Halloween schedule!
Starring: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Anna Kendrick, Tucker Albrizzi, Casey Affleck and Christopher Mintz-Plasse
Directed by: Chris Butler and Sam Fell
Laika Entertainment has two stop-motion animated films that make for perfect Halloween watches, “Coraline” and “ParaNorman,” but the latter just fits especially perfectly during spooky season. It’s a love letter to classic horror films (the “Halloween” theme even pops up as Norman’s ringtone) topped off with zombies, ghosts and witches. See? Perfect fit for your October watchlist. The story follows Norman (played by Kodi Smit-McPhee), who can see and talk to ghosts. After being visited by his Uncle Prenderghast (John Goodman), he learns that a witch’s curse set on their town centuries ago is about to come true, and he’s the only one who can stop it. Unfortunately, it’s not available to stream yet, but it hits Netflix on October 18!
Starring: Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Sigourney Weaver, Rick Moranis and Ernie Hudson
Directed by: Ivan Reitman
“Ghostbusters” is a Halloween classic. Everyone knows the iconic costumes, catchy theme song, and unforgettable one-liners from Reitman’s film. It’s hilarious, cheesy and a hard one not to like. Plus, with the next film, “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” expected to release next year, what better time to rewatch the original? Centering on the titular group, the film follows them as they try to save New York City from an evil spirit. Even though it’s not on a streaming service yet, it’s definitely worth renting during spooky season.
Do you have a favorite Halloween comfort movie that you love to watch every year? What about a childhood favorite that’s a must-see during October? Let us know in the comments! Follow all the Halloween Shuffle shenanigans on Twitter and Instagram.
Featured image credit: Disney