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The 13 Best Halloween Movies

We’ve rounded up 13 of our favorite movies to watch on Halloween night—with details on where to stream them.

Halloween is almost here—whatcha gonna watch while you gobble up all that candy? We have 12 suggestions, including spooky-season standbys like Halloween, Trick ‘r Treat, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, plus newer and less familiar films like the new release Dark Harvest, the Terrifier movies, and the 1986 classic Trick or Treat, which has finally come to streaming thanks to Screambox.

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Scary is a spectrum

If you enjoy Halloween but not abundant jump-scares and rolling heads, check out our guides to more kid-friendly horror movies.

1. Trick ‘r Treat (2007)

A faded collage of characters behind a trick-or-treater wearing a burlap mask.

Michael Dougherty’s cult-classic horror anthology Trick ‘r Treat tells five stories set in one neighborhood on Halloween, but the film plays like a single, twisty, non-linear narrative feature. To get the most out of the film, we suggest going into it blindly. Don’t watch the trailer, don’t look it up, and don’t ask anyone about it. Trick ‘r Treat is already one of the all-time best Halloween movies of all time—original, darkly comedic, terrifically freaky, and immensely satisfying. It’s even better when you don’t know what to expect. And after you’ve seen it, you’ll want to watch it every Halloween.

Where to watch Trick ‘r Treat

2. Dark Harvest (2023)

A teen boy in a suit holds an ax as he looks over his shoulder in a cornfield.

Every Halloween in a cursed, nameless midwestern small town, the demonic, pumpkin-headed scarecrow Sawtooth Jack descends from his post to kill. The town has a creative way to solve the problem: Lock up every teen boy, starve them for three days, then set them loose to kill Jack and eat his candy guts. The boy who kills the creature—before midnight, or bad stuff happens—gets $25,000, a new car, and the hell out of town, which is safe until next Halloween. But there’s a sacrificial twist to the contest, and the younger brother of last year’s winner aims to end the curse. Director David Slade (Hard Candy, 30 Days of Night, Black Mirror: Bandersnatch) adapts cult horror/crime author Norman Partridge’s 2006 novella.

Where to watch Dark Harvest

3. Halloween (1978)

A gloved hand makes a stabbing motion. Tracer images form a jack-o-lantern.

If you wanna freak yourself out on Halloween, watch Halloween. John Carpenter’s seminal slasher film ignited the 1978–1984 slasher movie boom—and it’s legitimately scary. After showing us six-year-old Michael Myer’s first gruesome murder on Halloween 1963, Carpenter fast-forwards to Halloween 1978. The fictional town of Haddonfield, Illinois, hasn’t forgotten about Michael, but after 15 years, it feels almost like a normal Halloween night. So, of course, Michael busts outta the mental hospital, steals a car, and stalks Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis, the world’s foremost final girl) until dark—when he gets his stab on.

Where to watch Halloween (1978)

Pro tip: Why stop at one Halloween when you can watch all 13 Halloween movies in order?

4. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

A disembodied lipsticked mouth against a black background

Does a Halloween movie have to be set during spooky season? Not necessarily. The holiday doesn’t feature in 1975’s The Rocky Horror Picture Show—but fans worldwide have staged audience-participation screenings at Halloween since 1976. Why? The movie-musical’s campy sci-fi/horror spirit fits the occasion like fishnet stockings on Tim Curry. Richard O’Brien’s creation (the film adapts his stage production) is utterly cool, ridiculously fun, and kinda creepy—and all of the songs are slappers. Best of all, like Halloween, The Rocky Horror Picture Show is always a good time.

Where to watch The Rocky Horror Picture Show

5. Night of the Demons (1988)

A collage of demonic characters

Demonic–possession films like Demons, The Evil Dead, and Night of the Demons destroyed me as a teenager. It was the ‘80s—when 4 out of 5 doctors agreed you could totally catch demonic possession from listening to Bon Jovi. The films’ rabid, murderous, hard-to-kill creatures with their oozing wounds, slobbery maws, guttural voices, and entreaties to “join us!” really set off my Satanic panic. Even so, I totally wanted in on the Night of the Demons action. Cool punk rockers partying in an abandoned house on Halloween night? Awesome! But when the demons showed up—and lipstick became a weapon (you’ll see)—I cried for mommy.

Where to watch Night of the Demons

Pro tip: Interested in more streaming horror? Check out the Best Streaming Services for Horror Fans and Shudder vs. Screambox.

6. Haunt (2019)

An old woman in a witch mask looks downward

Extreme haunted houses let you sign a waiver allowing the actors to touch you. No, thank you. These people are strangers—who knows if they even wash their hands? Worse, what if they’re like the creeps in Haunt, who have a very loose interpretation of the contact contract? In this film by A Quiet Place writers Scott Beck and Bryan Woods, six twentysomethings give the contractual inch, while the haunted-house “actors” take . . . their lives. You probably saw that coming—but Haunt has scary, squishy, sadistic surprises around every corner. If you’re drawn to the idea of extreme haunted house experiences, you’ll probably change your mind after watching this one.

Where to watch Haunt

7. Tales of Halloween (2015)

The moon, looking like a floating skull, peers through a dead as the sun sets.

Tales of Halloween crams 10 horror shorts from 11 noteworthy directors (Axelle Carolyn, Neil Marshall, John Skipp, Lucky McKee, into 92 minutes—with scream queen Adrienne Barbeau handling the wraparound as a radio DJ. She spins gory stories about a slasher whose parents never let him eat his trick-or-treats, a Halloween prankster who gets a masterclass from his diabolical neighbor, a baby-hungry witch, a hyperactive imp, vengeful trick-or-treaters, and more. The fun-size stories are all pretty sweet—and several include cameos from horror figures like John Landis, Adam Green, Pollyanna McIntosh, Mick Garris, Joe Dante, Barry Bostwick, Lin Shaye, and Barbara Crampton.

Where to watch Tales of Halloween

8. Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988)

A gigantic clown head floats in space

This Chiodo Brothers clown-horror classic (the practical effects masters’ only film) doesn’t happen at Halloween, either. But it sure has that freaky-fun Halloween vibe. One night, a circus tent-shaped ship lands in a small town. Its clown-creature crew unleashes three rings of hell, committing mischievous murders like some trick-or-treaters play tricks. Humans die by popcorn rifle, cotton-candy cocoons, and even shadow-puppet dinosaurs. That sounds like Halloween to us. Rated PG-13, Killer Klowns from Outer Space is still scary, but it’s safe to show the whole family. You know, as long as none of them are scared of clowns.

Where to watch Killer Klowns from Outer Space

9. Double feature! Terrifier (2016) and Terrifier 2 (2022)

Side-by-side cover art for Terrifer and Terrifier 2 shows Art the Clown in menacing poses

For those who think they can handle boss-level killer clowns, meet Damien Leone’s hot new slasher Art the Clown. Art gets down on Halloween, and his name is apt. Brilliant, twisted, and messy, the mute killer is the Leonardo da Vinci—and the Salvador Dalí, and the Jackson Pollock—of blood and guts. Art is also a merry prankster who’ll blow up your bathroom before he carves your head like a pumpkin. If you’re not already coulrophobic, Art will fix that—with a rusty hacksaw. That’s not remotely a joke, folks. Although Art gets up to some fairly gnarly stuff beforehand, Terrifier’s hacksaw scene will break you. If it doesn’t, enjoy Terrifier 2, (fellow) sickos. It’s way crazier.

Where to watch Terrifer

Where to watch Terrifer 2

Pro tip: Think you can handle anything a scary movie throws at you? Check out our guide to six of The Nastiest Movies on Tubi.

10. WNUF Halloween Special (2013)

A woman i 80s clothing, mouth agape, watches TV.

On Halloween night in 1987, a news team from WNUF TV28 tried contacting the spirit world from a murder house—and, uh-oh, someone picked up the phone. This found-footage movie is (of course) the only record of the ensuing carnage. Spoiler: The WNUF Halloween Special isn’t really from ‘87, but it looks the part with a 4:3 aspect ratio, low-res footage, mullets, perms, and fake commercials for pizza joints, arcades, and 900-number hotlines. In the main program, the usual found-footage stuff happens, culminating in a twist ending.

Where to watch WNUF Halloween Special

11. Hack-O-Lantern (1988)

A hooded figure wearing a demonic mask stabs at a jack-o-lantern with a pitchfork.

A murderous, Satan-worshiping grandpa (who switches between a bumpkin accent and something more fabulous) has given his grandson black magic lessons since childhood. Now grown, the boy is devoted to Satan—and, it appears, planning to don a weird, tusked mask and slash it up on Halloween night just like some kinda prophecy foretold. That’s all great and everything, but what really makes Hack-O-Lantern fun is the cheesy ‘80s devil music, gratuitous nudity, inexplicable stand-up comedy interlude, and some goofy performances—the standout being Queen Grandpa’s bug-eyed overacting.

Where to watch Hack-O-Lantern

12. Trick or Treat (1986)

A heavy metal musicians emerging from a jack-o-lantern

So there’s this rock ‘n’ roll nerd, Ragman, who looks like Skippy from Family Ties (because he is). Already an outcast at school, Ragman’s life gets even worse when his favorite rock star, Sammi Curr, dies. Hoping to cheer the kid up, a sympathetic disc jockey (Kiss’ Gene Simmons) gives Ragman the only known copy of Curr’s final album. Playing the record, however, resurrects Curr—now 100% more Satanic—who starts killin’. More goofy than spooky, Trick or Treat is still a fun throwback watch with a kickass heavy metal soundtrack by Fastway (members of Mötörhead and Flogging Molly) and another rock star cameo: Ozzy Osbourne as a televangelist with a raging case of Satanic panic.

Where to watch Trick or Treat (1986)

Pro tip: Trick or Treat (1986) is a Screambox exclusive.

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