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Cinematic Nostalgia: Unveiling the Top 20 Best Classic Halloween Movies

Cinematic Nostalgia: Unveiling the Top 20 Best Classic Halloween Movies
Jordana Bozhinova

Jordana Bozhinova

Last updated - January 15, 2024

Are you giving yourself a headache by constantly thinking about which films to watch this year’s spooky night? Well, you have only one week left to figure this out, or you’ll be staring at the blank screen on the 31st of October! Owl-y much? Yes. So, check out the list of 20 best classic Halloween movies we have for you, and save some time for shaping pumpkins!

1. Halloween (1978)

One cannot be unappreciative of the rush of terror Halloween lets its viewers experience. When a dark corner hits the screen, it can only mean one thing: Michael Myers is ready to pop out and freak out all your atoms! A worn-out cover-all, a chef’s knife that won’t be mincing garlic and parsley — all the ingredients that make for a superb scare are there. Also, the movie is part of a trilogy, so the goosebumps are hedgehog-quill-like.

halloween screencap

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

Pumpkin season is an excellent reason to give It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown a chance. It’s a classic, but not one you’d like to keep away from your younger siblings. In fact, it’s a family watchable built on the warmth of Halloween. Animated as they are, Snoopy and the crew offer a nostalgic throwback to the not-so-distant past. Therefore, don’t be surprised if you want to do some trick-or-treating after watching this flick.

it's the great pumpkin screencap

3. Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

One of the all-time favorite Halloween movies and an irresistible horror, Rosemary’s Baby will make you tremble like a leaf in the wind. It’s a story about a young mother of a child with an origin more eerie than the sight of a scarecrow at night. And we mean a scarecrow displaying tons of creepy, bird-and-human-repelling accessories! Who (or what) is this baby, and how come she’s carrying it? Hit the play button for answers!

rosemary's baby screencap

4. Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

Some films are here to stay, others don’t get to knock on fame’s door, and no one makes a fuss about that. However, The Rocky Horror Picture Show holds the record for the longest-running theatrical release of all time. It’s 2023, and the movie is still in limited release, 48 years after it premiered! Dreamy, fabulous, and concept-twisting, this drop of pleasure will quench your thirst for a top-notch post-modern sci-fi release.

rocky horror picture show screencap

5. Nosferatu (1929)

Is it possible for a movie to keep its legacy years — hundreds of years — after its release? It is, especially if it’s a refreshing horror with a cute creature as the main character. Just kidding — the clawy, pointy-eared Count Orlok is anything but a cutie pie, even if he wears a stylish coat. Choose to skip Nosferatu, and you’ll miss out on one of the best classic Halloween movies ever made.

nosferatu screencap

6. Hocus Pocus (1993)

Utter the most famous magic words of all time, and your PC will start playing Hocus Pocus. You thought Sarah Jessica Parker could fantastically embody only fashion divas like Carrie Bradshaw? Wait to see her in the role of a resurrected Salem witch, pulling out a fantastic eyeliner look in the style of the 90s! We guess you can be trendy regardless of whether you’re practicing witchcraft or exploring the New York dating scene.

hocus pocus screencap

7. Poltergeist (1982)

Scary classics don’t ever lose value. Being one of them, Poltergeist has marked the 80s and continues to unite folks in terror years later. This epic tale about a house possessed by spirits doesn’t fail to entertain you with scenes that raise your heartbeat. And the entities are angry, so don’t expect them to be compassionate towards their human roommates. Therefore, make yourself comfy, and prepare to hear that “They’re heeere.”

poltergeist screencap

8. Harry Potter

It might not be as cringe-worthy as some other releases, but Harry Potter is still a favorite Halloween movie choice. The franchise’s plot is stupendous: young wizards and witches keep to their magical ways as they partake in their Hogwarts School adventures. Of course, Harry has Lord Voldemort as an eternal enemy, which is not what the typical schoolboy usually wishes for, even if he has magic. But that’s what makes this world-class fantasy tick.

harry potter screencap

9. Psycho (1960)

As the melody highlighting the suspicion Psycho is laced with leads you through the movie, you cannot help but feel terrified. You can watch it for the first time or play it anytime it gets rainy and foggy — the twisted end will always get you! So, if you’re looking forward to hiding under your blanket for reasons other than a drop in room temperature, celebrate this Halloween with scenes that have shaped the horror genre.

psycho screencap

10. Scream (1996)

Down for some vocal cord-damaging screaming? Try watching Scream! This 1996 installment is one of the best classic Halloween movies and stars almost every big name imaginable. Being a mix of a slasher film and a black comedy, you can expect to laugh while freaking out and getting petrified during humorous moments. Give it a go, if only to see Drew Barrymore infusing the film with her irresistible charm as a teen girl.

scream screencap

11. Beetlejuice (1988)

Created by Tim Burton, Beetlejuice grants you the unique experience of sympathizing with a family of ghosts. Stuff is a bit funky since the spirits spend their afterlife haunting their home. And if you’ve seen enough movies of this kind, you know this is a rare motif to stumble upon. Usually, on-screen ghosts incentivize us to consume the content with one eye shut. However, these let you see their side of things.

beetlejuice screencap

12. The Addams Family (1991) and Addams Family Values (1993)

What’s there not to love about the Addams Family franchise? The plotline is funny, and everything about it centers around the Gothic style — it’s super campy and Halloweeny! If you want to dive into the spooky vibe for the holidays but avoid the stress that comes with scary films, this one is a great option. And not to mention how fantastically Angelica Houston embodies Morticia — her performance is stellar!

addams family screencap

13. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

It’s hard to fill Leatherface’s shoes in the horror movie space. This iconic character makes The Texas Chain Saw Massacre a frightening source of entertainment when Jack-o’-lanterns start invading your neighborhood. And the thing is, you can choose from a plethora of must-watch Halloween films to panic in his fictive presence. This movie franchise has stood the test of time, with sequels and reboots portraying the unapologetic killer performing unforgivable atrocities.

texas chain saw massacre screencap

14. Scooby Doo & The Ghoul School (1988)

Halloween is a holiday kids love. That said, it’d been a shame not to have a family-friendly movie to get into the festive spirit. If you have a younger brother or sister, the Scooby Doo & The Ghoul School is an excellent way to prolong their trick-or-treat excitement at home. And even if you don’t, you can still watch the gang look for monster-level trouble in a boarding school and do the iconic “Rehehehehe” or “Ruh-roh.”

scooby doo and the ghoul school screencap

15. Get Out (2017)

A relatively new kid on the block, Get Out is a masterpiece you don’t want to miss. The film premiered in 2017. However, it’s one of the best classic Halloween movies, topping even some releases one could’ve sworn would always be in. It explores racism through the startling and dramatic effect horror can have. Watch it once, and you’ll keep yourself awake and occupied with analyzing its plotline for days!

get out screencap

16. Mean Girls (2004)

It’s okay to want to keep it cool on October 31st. Vampires can smile, and monsters can tickle the foot you usually leave outside the covers when sleeping, not eat it! If you’re feeling jolly and bad-ish these days, you could watch Mean Girls. The movie isn’t what we’d call a horror classic, but it features some epic Halloween scenes. Therefore, check it out and immerse yourself in the world of exclusive high school cliques and intrigues.

mean girls screencap

17. Child’s Play (1988)

Toy Story is a great movie, but it just won’t cut it for Halloween. However, Child’s Play most definitely will, both figuratively and in a horror movie sense. The story follows a boy who gets a possessed doll, which is freakier than anything you’ve ever seen. Of course, the horrendous puppet becomes alive and starts doing all things scary. The movie is perfect for a good Halloween body-shaking unrelated to dancing.

child's play screencap

18. The Omen (1976)

Interested in cursed films? Your classic horror movie marathon can start with an installment that will give you the worst nightmares. It’s The Omen, a cinematographic achievement starring Gregory Peck and Lee Remich. This demonic portrayal of the protagonists’ world was a genuine hit in the ’70s. Still, you probably know someone who experiences the occasional fright whenever it pops into their mind. If you’re a horror buff, swipe right and fear!

the omen screencap

19. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Some say that The Nightmare Before Christmas is something to watch during Xmas. Others argue the installment is more on the Halloween-ier side. We think it fuses topics related to both of these holidays. After all, Jack Skellington is the king of a place called Halloween Town, so we’d say it checks on the Halloween movie list! Of course, he also wants to bring Xmas back home, so it’s an excellent choice when expecting Santa to slide down your chimney!

nightmare before christmas screencap

20. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

What do Johnny Depp and Freddy Krueger have in common? A Nightmare on Elm Street! If you haven’t seen this Wes Craven creation yet, which is quite unlikely, you must watch it. Otherwise, you’ll miss out on one of the best classic Halloween movies and Depp’s acting debut! Of course, good, ol’ Freddy has his charms, too. Obviously, you must cut this human-turned-scare some slack or be cut into slacks in your dreams!

nightmare on elm street screencap

Watch Movies, and Let Money Haunt You!

We hope you’re starting to make a place in your heart for at least one of these time-tested Halloween flicks. Even if it tends to skip all the beats during freaky scenes, if scary Halloween films keep it pumping, you know what to do! Of course, moderation is key here: you don’t want to traumatize yourself for life!
Speaking of avoiding excessive stress, it’s not only ghosts and evil creatures that can make you poo-poo your pants. Financial struggles are far worse, even if your worries stream from the lack of coffee money. That said, you can always earn extra by using Check it out, and learn how to take surveys and share your unused bandwidth for cash!

Jordana Bozhinova

Jordana Bozhinova


Once an eighth-grade chemistry whiz, Jordana is now a BA in Psychology, hoping to one day tread through the fine weave of the psyche professionally. Chemistry still excites her, but not more than physics or music. Personal growth and authenticity are always on her to-do list, and she'd like to see the world's pendulum swing in that direction, too. A fan of creativity and innovation, Jordana enjoys learning, understanding, and chic clothes. Who says self-exploration can't be fabulous?

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