Nothing says welcome to spooky season quite like the return of Halloween movies. Sure, there is the sudden surge of ghost-themed decor on the front of every house and pumpkins ready to bowl you over the moment you enter the grocery store. But nothing compares to curling up on the sofa with a bowl of fall-themed treats and a blanket (to cover your face, of course) and binging your favorite horror films.
So to help you achieve that jump scare you’re craving, we’ve compiled a list of the best, most binge-worthy Halloween movies for you to watch this season. Whether you’re into thrillers, hilariously-scary slashers, or the good ole Halloween classics (hey, not everyone likes to be frightened), there’s a little something for everyone.
1. Halloween (1978)
This 1978 slasher/horror film is where Jamie Lee Curtis made her feature-film debut. The John Carpenter movie tells the story of serial killer Michael Myers, who was committed to an insane asylum after murdering his sister the night of Halloween. Fifteen years later, he escapes and returns to his hometown in pursuit of more victims.
And if you can’t get enough or Michael Myers after the first movie, try watching the 2018 version, where he returns 40 years later to stalk Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) once again.
2. Paranormal Activity (2007)
You may actually want to start your movie marathon with this one. In the daylight. With lots of people around. And possibly with the volume turned all the way down. This supernatural horror film is about a couple who are haunted by a supernatural presence soon after moving into their suburban home. The presence in the home may or may not be demonic, but it is definitely active in the middle of the night when they’re asleep.
What makes the movie most scary, though, is the way it’s filmed. In an attempt to capture recorded evidence of the supernatural activity in their home, Micah brings home a camera and starts documenting their lives. The format was made famous by The Blair Witch Project and definitely makes it feel uncomfortably real.
3. Hocus Pocus (1993)
Not every Halloween movie has to be nightmare-inducing. Quite possibly one of the most popular Halloween movies of all time, Hocus Pocus tells the story of three sister witches who are accidentally resurrected by a virgin on Halloween night. Three teens, with the help of a magical cat, must steal the witches’ book of spells to keep them from becoming immortal.
Starring Sarah Jessica Parker, Bette Midler, and Kathy Najimy, this Halloween comedy is guaranteed to provide lots of laughs.
4. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Best not watched just before bed, this Wes Craven slasher film tells the story of Freddy Krueger, a mangler who preys on teens. The terrifying, evil being gets hold of his victims by entering their dreams and killing them with gloves that have blades on each finger. After investigating the deaths, one of the teens begins to suspect that she and her friends’ parents may be keeping a dark secret that could unravel the mystery.
Johnny Depp co-stars in the movie, his first feature film. And if you want to make a marathon of it, you can settle in and watch all the sequels, including the 2010 remake.
5. Monster House (2006)
To take a walk on the lighter side, check out the animated movie, Monster House. As Halloween approaches, it becomes apparent to three young kids that the haunted suburban house in their neighborhood has come to life. When no adult will listen to them, they realize it’s up to them to destroy the house before it gets hold of the innocent trick-or-treaters.
The whole family is guaranteed to enjoy this comically frightful tale. It features the voices of Steve Buscemi, Nick Cannon, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Kevin James.
6. It (2017)
Be prepared to sleep with the lights on after watching the movie, It, especially if you’re already afraid of clowns. When children begin to disappear in a town in Maine, a group of young kids find themselves facing off with Pennywise, an evil clown who has a history of murder that dates back for centuries.
Whether you watch the original version from 1990 or the 2017 remake, this is one movie that is best watched with friends.
7. Carrie (1976)
This horror classic tells the story of a telekinetic-power-possessing teen who’s tormented by practical jokes and the ignorance, abuse, and religious guilt drummed into her by her mother. It all comes to a very violent head when her classmates dump a bucket of pig’s blood on her head.
This adaptation of Stephen King’s novel is a disturbing portrayal of teenage alienation and fury, and the sight of Carrie’s blood-covered form is one that may keep you up half the night.
8. Ghostbusters (1984)
“Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters!” You probably have the iconic theme song stuck in your head just reading the title of the movie. After three scientists lose their positions at a university, they decide to become “ghostbusters” to make money. As it happens, they stumble on a gateway to another dimension and release evil on the city of New York, which they then must save from total destruction.
If you find that just one showing of Ghostbustersisn’t enough to satisfy, make a marathon of the franchise by watching the 1989 sequel, Ghostbusters II.
9. Scream (1996)
No Halloween movie binge would be complete without watching Scream. This iconic ‘90s movie is about a group of teens who use their knowledge of horror films to outsmart a real-life killer. Or, try to, anyway. Nobody is safe as the killer stalks victims, taunts them with trivia questions and then kills them.
Starring Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, and David Arquette, the popularity of this movie spawned three more additions to the series. The films follow Sidney Prescott and her war against the murder, Ghostface.
10. The Conjuring (2013)
This movie tells the true story of paranormal investigators, Ed and Lorraine Warren. The Warrens are summoned to the home of Carolyn and Roger Perron, who have recently moved into a farmhouse with their five daughters. Though the events are relatively benign at first, the terrifying events rapidly escalate, especially when the Warrens find out about the house’s dark history.
The first in the Conjuring franchise, if you love this movie, check out Conjuring 2,Conjuring 3, the Annabellemovies, and The Nun.
11. Casper (1995)
If you fell for Devon Sawa in the ‘90s, it was probably because of his appearance in Casper. The movie tells the story of a friendly ghost who haunts a mansion in Maine, along with his mischievous uncles. When supernatural specialist, James Harvey, and his daughter, Kat (Christina Ricci) show up, Casper and Kat become fast friends, a relationship that is made far more complicated by his transparent state. Added to the chaos is the presence of Ms. Carrigan, who’s convinced the mansion holds treasure and is determined to find it at all costs.
This heartwarming story is made all the better with the help of its eye-popping special effects. It’s a movie the whole family will enjoy.
12. The Exorcist (1973)
This film tells the story of a 14-year-old girl who is suddenly prone to fits and bizarre behavior. When she gets out of hand, her mother calls a priest who is convinced that the young girl is possessed and calls in the help of an exorcist: Father Merrin. The demon proves to be far more than either of the priests ever bargained for.
One of the most profitable horror movies of all time. The Exorcist also spawned an entire franchise with over five different movies for your viewing pleasure.
13. The Addams Family (1991)
When a man claiming to be Fester, the missing brother of Gomez Adams, arrives at the home of the Addams family, they couldn’t be more thrilled. However, it isn’t long before Morticia, Gomez’s wife, begins to suspect he is a fraud and Gomez eventually comes to realize Fester’s reappearance is just a conspiracy to steal the Addams family fortune.
This dark comedy is the perfect, binge-worthy addition to any Halloween movie marathon, especially if you’ve ever found yourself emulating Wednesday Addams’ braids or pretending to be Cousin Itt.
14. The Shining (1980)
This movie tells the story of writer Jack Torrance, who with his wife and psychic son in tow, accepts a job as a winter caretaker at a mountain hotel so he can write in peace. The manager informs an unconcerned Jack that the previous caretaker lost his mind and murdered his family. Soon after arriving, Danny becomes plagued with bloody visions of the past and Jack, still struggling with writer’s block, starts frequenting the hotel bar. It’s not long before Jack’s wife, Wendy, discovers what the hotel has done to her husband and what he’s really been doing every day in his study.
This 1980 movie is considered to be one of the best adaptations of a Stephen King movie and one of the greatest horror films of all time.
15. The Sixth Sense (1999)
“I see dead people” is arguably one of the most famous lines to come out of a scary movie. In the film, Dr. Malcom Crowe’s attempts to help Cole Sear (Osment) with his dark secret: he sees and talks to ghosts. As Dr. Crowe helps to uncover the truth about Cole’s abilities, a secret is revealed that awakens them both to something unexpected.
Starring Haley Joel Osment and Bruce Willis, and directed by M. Night Shyamalan, this terrifying psychological thriller may compel you to sleep with the lights on for days to come.
16. The Haunted Mansion (2003)
Starring Eddie Murphy, this dark comedy tells the story of a workaholic real estate agent whose wife accuses him of neglecting his children. While taking his family on a vacation, he stops off to see a spooky mansion he has been asked to sell. It’s not long, though, before the family realizes it’s haunted by its former owner and servants who need their help breaking a curse.
Fun for the whole family, The Haunted Mansion is a great option if you need a break from some of the more terrifying options on the list.
17. The Nun
After a young nun takes her life, a priest and a novitiate who is on the threshold of taking her final vows are sent to investigate. It’s not long before they discover the unholy secret that has been hidden in the abbey. They risk their lives, faith, and even souls in battling a demonic force that is far more terrifying than they could have ever imagined.
Part of The Conjuring franchise, this supernatural horror film about a Romanian abbey is almost guaranteed to keep you awake at night.
18. The Ring
This movie tells the story of a journalist (Naomi Watts) who is investigating a mysterious tape the causes the death of anyone who has seen it within a week of viewing. After watching, she too finds herself fighting for her life with only a short window yet to live.
This movie was adapted from a 1996 Japanese film that became a massive box-office success in Asia.
19. Beetlejuice (1988)
This is another Halloween movie you’ve likely seen year after year. After Barbara and Adam (played by Gina Davis and Alec Baldwin) die in an accident and another family moves into their home, they request the help of the iconic spirit, Beetlejuice (Michael Keaton), to help them. Unfortunately, they quickly realize he cannot be trusted, especially after he falls in love with the black-clad teenaged daughter, played by Winona Ryder.
This supernatural dark comedy is a classic and chances are you’ve dressed up as at least one of the characters for Halloween at least once.
20. Sleepy Hollow (1999)
Ichabod Crane is sent to investigate a series of bizarre murders where the victims’ heads were cut off. During his investigation, he falls for local girl Katrina Van Tassel (Christina Ricci) and becomes determined to solve the murders to prove his bravery to her.
Johnny Depp stars as Ichabod in this modern take on the classic ghost story of the Headless Horseman.