So it’s officially Halloween. Pumpkins have been on the porch for weeks, you’ve raided the candy aisle of Wal-Mart, and your costume is steam-pressed and ready for action. Or, if you’re like me, you don’t actually know what a steam-press really is and you’re just ready to curl up with copious amounts of Snickers bars and a mountainous stack of Halloween movies. Whether you’re a diehard Halloween-er or just looking for something to watch while you casually inhale all of your leftover candies, these are absolute classics for any soul on All Hallows’ Eve.
The Nightmare Before Christmas
When it comes to Halloween-appropriate animated films, it’s not a question of if Tim Burton movies will be involved, but more like how many and can I please watch all of them. I can’t imagine anything more Halloween-esque than humming along to the “This Is Halloween” title sequence while simultaneously seeing how many Kit-Kat bars I can eat in a minute.
It isn’t Halloween without haunted houses, but I prefer to experience my fair share of haunted-housery without actually leaving my house. With equal amounts of snarky one-liners and shots that make me hesitate a little before I turn the lights off, Monster House is a definite must-see.
And it’s no surprise that it wasn’t long before another Tim Burton film made its way onto the list. Corpse Bride pushes the classic Burtonesque art style to the limit and then some, literally breathing life into the world of the dead.
If there was ever a movie that characterized Halloween in 90 minutes, it’s Hotel Transylvania. While I was initially a little hesitant to buy into the whole “angsty teenager” plot line that the film uses to get going, I was completely won over by every single character in the movie, from wombat to werewolf.
When it comes to slightly creepy stop-motion films, I have a hard time turning those down. ParaNorman goes just about as far into the realm of zombie movies as I’m willing to go, but it does so with some stellar animation and effects. (I also can’t tell which is more terrifying, the zombies themselves, or the amount of work it took to animate them bursting out of the dirt in stop motion…)
One of my favorite films has to be Coraline, whether Halloween is in season or not. I’m still fascinated every time I watch by how visually beautiful this movie is, while still managing to be one of the creepiest ones I’ve ever seen. (I mean seriously. People don’t look at you the same when you tell them your favorite movie is the one that had them sleeping with the lights on as a kid)
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
And because I don’t prefer sleeping with one eye open, I think I’ll wrap things up with an animated Halloween classic that gives me the warm fuzzies instead of the heebie-jeebies. Although our VHS tape is one Halloween away from wearing through, (yes. I said VHS tape. We keep it next to the 8-track player.) there’s just something about watching Charlie Brown end up with a trick-or-treat bag full of rocks that never gets old.
The Adventures of Ichabod & Mr. Toad
Probably one of the spookiest and downright scariest Disney films, Disney’s version of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is a Halloween classic. It’s set on All Hallow’s Eve itself and features the notorious and creepy Headless Horseman and his flaming pumpkin head. If this short doesn’t make your hair stand on end, then I don’t know what will.
If you’ve got any Halloween-time favorites, let us know! Have a happy Roto-ween!
If you want to rent any of the films above on Amazon for some last minute cramming, be sure to use our Amazon affiliate link.
Alex Parker is a sophomore Visualization (a fancy-pants name for "animation") major at Texas A&M University. When she's not living the dorm life on campus, she lives in her hometown of Coppell, Texas, working as a freelance graphic designer.