Opinion: 31 Spooky Season films to watch this October

My favorite time of year is right around the corner, and as a self-proclaimed movie buff, I always curate a list of movies for every occasion.

To me, October isn’t just a month, it’s a feeling. So when it comes to spooky-time movies, my recommendations run the gamut from children’s claymation to film noir, from spooky comedy to down right horror and any sort of film that gives off the “vibe” of the Halloween season.

For this list, we’ll start out mellow with a few light-hearted films, and then as the list — and the month — goes on, we’ll dive into the deep end with some horror staples. 

Without further ado, let’s get into it.

Oct. 1- The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Jack Skellington, the pumpkin king, lives and breathes Halloween 365 days a year. But one year, he longs for something new. That’s when he discovers Christmastown, and everything changes. When Jack returns to Halloweentown, he tries to convince them all to start prepping for Christmas instead, which includes kidnapping Santa Claus. Will Jack be able to replicate Christmas, or will he have disaster on his boney hands. See where to watch “The Nightmare Before Christmas” here, rated PG.

Oct. 2- Hocus Pocus (1993)

New Salem, Massachusetts, residents Max (Omri Katz) and Dani (Thora Birch) find themselves neck deep in witchy business after exploring an abandoned home, accidently unleashing a coven of witches who are hell-bent on becoming immortal. Max and his sister Dani must do everything they can, including stealing a spell book, to save the world from the evil witches. See where to watch “Hocus Pocus” here, rated PG.

Oct. 3- Casper (1995)

Casper is a young, friendly ghost who kindly haunts his home in Maine. When a ghost-hunting scientist (Bill Pullman) and his daughter Kat (Christina Ricci) arrive to communicate with the ghosts residing there, Casper falls in love with Kat — which is complicated for very transparent reasons. See where to watch “Casper” here, rated PG.

Oct. 4- My Babysitter’s a Vampire (2010)

After a high-school boy and his friend nearly kill his sister, his overprotective mom decides they still need a babysitter. Little do they know — they’re going to have a night they will ever forget when they learn their babysitter, and classmate, is a vampire. See where to watch “My Babysitter’s a Vampire” here, rated PG.

Oct. 5- The Boy Who Cried Werewolf (2010)

This film, although a kid’s movie, makes my list of Halloween favorites every year. Watch Jordan (Victoria Justice) and her family go to Romania where things start to get weird — and wolfy. See where to watch here, rated G.

Oct. 6- Edward Scissorhands (1990)

After his creator dies before finishing assembling him, Edward (Johnny Depp) is stuck with scissors for hands. He lives on his own until a local mom, Peg (Dianne Wiest) finds him and brings him home. Now living in the suburbs, Edward must face the adversities of being an outcast, all while falling for Peg’s daughter (Winona Ryder). See where to watch “Edward Scissorhands” here, rated PG-13.

Oct. 7- Girl vs. Monster (2012)

When Skylar (Olivia Holt) accidently releases monsters into her town, she discovers her parents are monster hunters and that she is a monster hunter by blood. On Halloween night, she and her friends must work together to capture the monsters who are holding her parents hostage in hopes of revenge. See where to watch “Girl vs. Monster” here, rated TV-PG.

Oct. 8- The Little Vampire (2000)

Growing up, this film was a family favorite in my household. “The Little Vampire” follows a young boy as he meets a vampire and his family and helps them save the future of the vampire race. See where to watch “The Little Vampire” here, rated PG.

Oct. 9- Halloweentown (1998)

Marnie (Kimberly J. Brown) and her siblings have been forbidden from celebrating Halloween, which only makes her long to celebrate the holiday more. When their Grandma Aggie (Debbie Reynolds) comes to visit, Marnie and her siblings follow her home, which leads them straight into Halloweentown. Marnie and her siblings soon learn that Halloweentown is in danger, and they are the only ones who can save it — and their Grandma — from certain doom. See where to watch “Halloweentown” here, rated TV-G.

Oct. 10- Corpse Bride (2005)

After running away from his bride-to-be, Victor (Johnny Depp) accidentally proposes to a corpse, Emily (Helena Bomhan Carter), while practicing his vows in the woods. After coming to terms that he is “married” to a corpse, he must choose between his betrothed, Victoria (Emily Watson), and Emily. See where to watch “Corpse Bride” here, rated PG.

Oct. 11- ParaNorman (2012)

Norman (Kodi Smit-McPhee) is unfortunate enough to have the gift of being able to talk to the dead. On top of that, no one except his best friend, Niel (Tucker Albrizzi), believes his ability is real. But when Norman’s estranged uncle warns him of a centuries-old curse on the town, Norman is the only one who can communicate with the deceased witch to try and stop her from raising the dead and terrorizing their town. See where to watch “ParaNorman” here, rated PG.

Oct. 12- The Addams Family (1991)

When an accountant and his loan shark fail to get the Addams’ family fortunate, they come up with a diabolical plan to get the money — by disguising the loan shark’s son to look like Gomez Addams’ (Raul Julia) long lost brother Fester (Christopher Lloyd). Fester tries his best to find the vault that stores the fortune, but not without an abundance of tricks from the ever-eccentric Addams family. See where to watch “The Addams Family” here, rated PG-13.

Oct. 13- Friday the 13th (1980)

This October, we’re lucky enough to have a Friday the 13th, so after you’re done getting your flash Halloween tattoos, discounted piercings and maybe even watching the Taylor Swift Eras Tour movie, head home to watch Jason terrorize the counselors at Camp Crystal Lake. See where to watch “Friday the 13th” here, rated R.

Oct. 14- The Haunted Mansion (2003)

Nothing is scarier than an old house. Well, maybe an old haunted house. This is exactly what realtor Jim Evers (Eddie Murphy) and his family stumble into when he attempts to sell the mansion. With his family in danger, they must save themselves, and the residents, before it’s too late. See where to watch “The Haunted Mansion” here, rated PG.

Oct. 15- Beetlejuice (1988)

Say his name three times and he’ll appear. Recently deceased Barbara (Geena Davis) and Adam Maitland (Alec Baldwin) must navigate the world of the dead when they learn they’re stuck haunting their previous residence and cannot leave. Matter’s get even more complicated when a new family (Catherine O’Hara and Winona Ryder) moves in. Will the Maitland’s call on Beetlejuice for help — even though they’ve been warned against it? See where to watch “Beetlejuice” here, rated PG.

Oct. 16- Ghostbusters (1984)

Who ya gonna call? The theme song from “Ghostbusters” has made every Halloween playlist since its release — and the movie is just as iconic as the song. When things start to get weird in New York City, a group of scientists use their high-tech ghosty gadgets to catch ghosts for money. But soon, they realize they’ve got more than they bargained for — a different dimension home to pure evil. See where to watch “Ghostbusters” here, rated PG.

Oct. 17- Dark Shadows (2012)

Johnny Depp plays Barnabas, a vampire who has been buried “alive” for two centuries. When he’s finally dug up in 1972, he returns to his family home where he meets his dysfunctional descendants. Not only that, but he runs into Angelique (Eva Green), the witch who turned him into a vampire and buried him alive all those years ago. Barnabas must learn to navigate his new world, and avoid the wrath of Angelique. See where to watch “Dark Shadows” here, rated PG-13.

Oct. 18- Sleepy Hollow (1999)

Set in 1799, The small town of Sleepy Hollow begins to be terrorized by The Headless Horseman (Christopher Walken), who decapitates several of Sleepy Hollow’s citizens. Fortunately for the town, Constable Ichabod Crane (Johnny Depp) arrives in efforts to save the day with his “new world” ways — science. But he soon realizes his methods cannot be used on the supernatural, and he must find a new way to stop The Headless Horseman. See where to watch “Sleepy Hollow” here, rated R.

Oct. 19- Scary Movie (2000)

Although “Scary Movie” itself isn’t scary, it is a parody based on some of the most iconic horror movies of the 90’s, including “Scream” and “I Know What You Did Last Summer.” If you’re in need of a good “spooky” comedy, “Scary Movie” is a must see. See where to watch here, rated R.

Oct. 20- The Babysitter (2017)

What exactly does the babysitter do after their kid falls asleep? When Cole (Judah Lewis) stay’s up past his bedtime, he sees something he wasn’t meant to — his hot babysitter and her friend’s practicing human sacrifice. After discovering they’re in a satanic cult, Cole must escape before they sacrifice him next. Watch “The Babysitter” on Netflix, rated R.

Oct. 21- Jennifer’s Body (2009)

High schooler, Jennifer (Megan Fox), has her whole world turned upside down when she is possessed by a demon and starts to crave human flesh. When her best friend, Needy (Amanda Seyfried), finds out, she decides she’ll stop at nothing to save their town. See where to watch “Jennifer’s Body” here, rated R.

Oct. 22- The Purge (2013)

One night a year, all crime is legal for 12 hours. That’s right, all crime — including murder. Watch the Sandin family as they barricade themselves inside their house and try to avoid the horrors that await them. See where to watch “The Purge”  here, rated R.

Oct. 23- The Woman in Black (2012)

When lawyer Arthur (Daniel Radcliffe) has to travel to a remote village to sort through a deceased woman’s paperwork on her estate, he discovers a dark presence lurking in the house and tormenting the citizens nearby. Everyone he meets advises him to return to London, but Arthur is determined to discover what the vengeful woman in black wants and to prevent her from killing more children. See where to watch “The Woman in Black” here, rated PG-13.

Oct. 24- The Conjuring (2013)

Based on a true story, paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) travel to a home in Rhode Island where horrifying things have been happening to the Perron family. What do they find? A satanic nightmare beyond anything they’ve seen before. The hauntings follow the Perron family wherever they go, and now Ed and Lorraine  must do everything in their power to save the family. See where to watch “The Conjuring” here, rated R.

Oct. 25- A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp) and her friends are all being terrorized in their dreams by a serial killer wearing bladed gloves. The worst part? If they die in their dreams — they die in real life. With no help from her shady and secretive parents, Nancy must save herself and her friends before Freddy Krueger kills them all. See where to watch “A Nightmare on Elm Street” here, rated R.

Oct. 26- Carrie (1976)

Carrie White (Sissy Spacek), a high school senior, is a social outcast thanks to her extremely religious mother, with beliefs so extreme, she believes a woman menstruating is a sin. Carrie has little knowledge of such things, which leads to her being ruthlessly bullied by her classmates. When they finally get punished, egocentric Chris Hargensen (Nancy Allen) vows revenge on Carrie. See where to watch “Carrie” here, rated R.

Oct. 27- Five Nights at Freddy’s (2023)

The long awaited film, “Five Nights at Freddy’s” releases Friday, Oct. 27. Based on the iconic game that was released in 2014, security guard Mike Schmidt (Josh Hutcherson) discovers that the animatronics at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza aren’t what they seem — they’re alive and evil. See if Mike and his sister Abby (Piper Rubio) can survive all five nights at Freddy’s. See “Five Nights at Freddy’s” in theaters starting Oct. 27, and stay tuned for a film review.

Oct. 28- Poltergeist (1982)

This movie not only has a scary plotline, but a scary history as well. Seemingly friendly ghosts start to visit a young family, but they soon reveal their horrific nature when they start to torment the family, eventually kidnapping the youngest daughter, Carol Anne (Heather O’Rourke). The “Poltergeist” trilogy has a reputation of being cursed, largely in part to the multiple deaths that occurred while in between filming. In addition, it was found out later by the cast that real human skeletons were used as props. See where to watch “Poltergeist” here, rated PG.

Oct. 29- Scream (1996)

This iconic franchise debuted in 1996, and is still being continued today. Ghostface is ready to terrorize Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) and her friend group. What starts with phone calls, soon ends in a killing spree. Who could the killer possibly be? And what do they want with Sidney? See where to watch “Scream” here, rated R.

Oct. 30- Hereditary (2018)

Ari Aster is no doubt a directorial-genius, and his scariest film yet is “Hereditary”. When Annie’s (Toni Collette) mother passes away, her and her family start to realize she isn’t who they thought. In the process of discovering their grandmother’s past, Annie’s family starts to dip their toes into the realm of the supernatural. See where to watch “Hereditary” here, rated R.

Oct. 31- Halloween (1978)

What would this list be if “Halloween” wasn’t on Oct. 31. Whether it’s a day for parties, trick-or-treating or having a spooky night in, make sure to fit “Halloween” into your schedule. One thing’s for sure — it’s a bad night to be a babysitter. See where to watch “Halloween” here, rated R. 

As the days grow shorter, the leaves change colors and the air gets colder, the spirit of October comes alive. From family-friendly classics to ghostly horrors, this list promises to add a hint of eerie charm to your evenings. 

So, grab some popcorn, a bowl of your favorite Halloween candy and embrace the spirit of the season with these cinematic gems. Happy haunting, and may your October be filled with just the right amount of spine-chilling scares!

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