October is upon us, which means it’s spooky season! The best part of spooky season is all the incredible Halloween movies we can watch. Halloween movies are not horror movies but are their own separate category that merges dark, gothic and macabre aesthetics with excellent comedy to provide a brilliant source of entertainment for the fall. Without further ado, here are our top five picks for Halloween movies to watch this spooky season.
Hocus Pocus (mutual pick)
Hocus Pocus (1993) is about a teenage boy, Max, who just moved to Salem, Massachusetts and on Halloween night, accidentally resurrects a trio of sister witches who were executed in the 17th century. Max, along with his sister Dani and new friend Allison, must steal the witches’ spell book to stop them from taking the life force of all the children in Salem and becoming immortal.
Hocus Pocus is one of those movies that everyone loves and it’s easy to see why. Each of the three sister witches has their own quirky personality, which makes them lovable despite how awful their intentions are. The leader of the witches, Winnie, is very dramatic and all of her scenes are hilarious. Those early 90s special effects really elevate the whole aesthetic, making the setting feel like it was decorated for Halloween, rather than an intense scary movie. Hocus Pocus is a brilliant way to kick off that Halloween movie marathon for the season. Plus, with the sequel just recently coming out, now is the perfect time to watch this classic crowd-pleaser.
The Addams Family (Mihret’s pick)
The Addams Family (1991) tells the story of a bizarre and macabre family that welcomes who they assume is Fester, the long-lost brother of the patriarch, Gomez Addams, only to realize it was all a ploy to steal their money. They must challenge this impostor and the people he was working with to reclaim their fortune.
The Addams family is a Halloween classic for a reason. It is a fun and silly story with a lot of heart and a beautiful message at its core — family above all. Despite coming out over 30 years ago, it holds up incredibly well and the humour is still top-tier in my opinion. Gomez and Morticia Addams are #couplegoals and Wednesday Addams is one of the most iconic characters in pop culture. If you haven’t done so, please go watch this movie, it will give you all the warm and fuzzy feelings of a nice family movie but with the gallows humour and creepy aesthetics that are quintessential to Halloween. It also has great rewatch value!
Corpse Bride (Mihret’s Pick)
Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride (2005) is the story of Victor Van Dort who, while practising his vows for his wedding, ends up getting pulled into the land of the dead by Emily, a girl who was murdered on her wedding night. Now, Victor must return to the land of the living before his intended, Victoria, marries an evil man trying to steal her family’s fortune.
First of all, Tim Burton’s style and aesthetic fit so perfectly with Halloween vibes that this movie just had to be on the list. This movie has many things going for it. It’s made using stop-motion animation, which works really well for a Halloween movie. All the characters’ movements have an unearthly quality about them, which makes them feel creepy. I loved the way that life and death were portrayed, where the land of the dead was bright and colourful with a lot of celebration, while the land of the living was cold and dreary and highly uninviting. It’s also just a fun adventure movie, except with dark and creepy aesthetics. This movie is one of my all-time favourites, not just for Halloween. I highly recommend it.
Practical Magic (Ansharah’s pick)
In Practical Magic (1998), sisters Sally and Gillian Owens, who are descendants of an ancient line of witches, were orphaned and raised by their aunts. As children, they learn of a curse placed upon their family and as adults, they struggle to vanquish a dark spirit.
Practical Magic is a cult classic in great part because having Sandra Bullock (Sally) and Nicole Kidman (Gillian) starring in the same movie is the ultimate power move. Their characters are wildly different but reconcile in their magic and their love for one another. Practical Magic is also a great comedy and a heartwarming tale of family, romance, sisterhood and acceptance. Its numerous scenes set in October, black cats and excellent costumes give off a feeling of coziness that I feel can only be completed by curling up under the blankets during an autumn night as Halloween approaches.
Halloweentown (Ansharah’s pick)
A Disney Channel Original movie, Halloweentown (1998) depicts the adventures of 13-year-old Marnie and her siblings, Dylan and Sophie, in a magical place called Halloweentown, where supernatural creatures reside. Marnie discovers she’s a witch and has to save Halloweentown and her family from warlocks and curses.
It’s not just the nostalgia factor that makes Halloweentown a major contender for one of the best Halloween movies — although one of the movie’s charms is definitely how it transports you back to childhood when Monstober was still a thing. But, what captures the spirit of Halloween better than a town full to the brim of Halloween creatures, a plucky heroine whose favourite holiday is Halloween and a giant pumpkin in the centre of the town? At its core, Halloweentown not only has a message of familial affection, but it emphasizes the importance of embracing your weirdness and uniqueness, even if it’s out of the norm. A comfort movie for me, Halloweentown is the perfect Halloween movie to watch with your family.
One of the best ways to enjoy Halloween is to treat yourself to a Halloween movie marathon. These five movies should give you plenty of material to sift through, from family movies to eerie, gothic movies to comedies. They all celebrate the one night a year when all things weird and creepy are welcome.
This article is a part of our Opinions section does not necessarily reflect the views of the Gauntlet editorial board.