The Ultimate Halloween Watchlist!


The Ultimate Halloween Watchlist!

From those who like Halloween for the childhood nostalgia of trick or treating to the horror movie junkies who see it as the perfect opportunity to fill the night with jump-scares and gore, Halloween is a holiday for everyone. To prepare for the spookiest day of the year, most people would agree that there’s nothing better than meeting up with friends the weekends before, getting comfortable, and watching some movies to get in that Halloween spirit! So to help you out, here’s the perfect movie list for nights leading up to October 31st! All on a scale from so not scary to feeling shivers down your spine.


The Nightmare Before Christmas, Coraline, and Ghostbusters (1984) are rated PG. Ghostbusters (2021) and Scary Stories To Tell in the Dark are PG-13. And Scream, Nightmare on Elm Street, Haunt, It, and Us are all rated R. Watch at your own risk…

  1. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Don’t let the name fool you because nothing sets the mood for Halloween like The Nightmare Before Christmas. The animated musical follows the story of Jack Skellington, the king of Halloween Town. When Halloween rolls along every year, it is celebrated the same way over and over. Although most Halloween Town monsters love the festivities, Jack Skellington becomes tired of living the same thing over and over. He goes for a walk until stumbling upon Christmas Town. Jack is mesmerized and makes it his mission to bring Christmas to Halloween Town, Basically a reverse Grinch if you think about it.. If you’re looking for the perfect movie to watch with your family and have a  laugh with your siblings while stuffing your mouth with candy, there is no better option than this Halloween childhood classic. 

  1. Ghostbusters (1984) & Ghostbusters  (2021)

Ghostbusters (1984) is a classic, and Ghostbusters (2021) is a great alternative for those who want something more recent. In the 1984 version, three Columbia professors begin paranormal research after having had a supernatural encounter, which later gets them fired. After losing their jobs, the three men create their own business where they receive calls from people experiencing ghost encounters and then capture the ghosts. They then call themselves, the Ghostbusters. In the 2021 version, a mother and two kids move to a new town. The daughter, Phoebe, finds out the house they moved into is haunted, leading her to discover her family connections to the Ghostbusters and decide to follow in their footsteps. These two  movies have such a great feel to them, built in through the playfulness between characters that makes the audience like they are friends with the people on screen, adding a certain lightheartedness to the film. Both movies have their own special touches, the original Ghostbusters feels a bit more grown up since the cast is, in fact, made up of grown ups but that allows for a slightly more mature type of comedy, while the newer one allows the younger audience to identify more with the characters and possibly connect more with the jokes. But regardless of the differences, they equally as entertaining in their own way and by watching the two, you’ll get the best of both worlds. And if you and your friends are looking for some costume inspo, the Ghosetbusters will make a great trio Halloween costume!

  1. Coraline (2009)

You’ve probably heard of this stop-motion animation, but if you haven’t, don’t underestimate this movie because it’s a stop-motion, this movie will quite literally make you so tense you’ll poop yourself. The film is about Coraline, a young girl who moves into a new home. One day, while wandering around the house, she finds a secret door, leading to an alternate universe where everything looks the same as her reality, but Coraline’s life is exactly how she wishes it would be. Coraline and her Other Parents are one happy family, they sing songs by the piano, eat delicious family dinners, and share what seems to be a perfect life. However, there is one, slight, issue; her parents from the new world have buttons sewn in place of their eyes. She is lured to move to this other world by the promise of this seemingly perfect life until they tell her that, in order for Coraline to join them, she too must sew buttons into her eyes. Once she refuses their offer, her once perfect and loving Other Mother captures her, and Coraline must find a way to escape. Coraline is a great way to end Halloween night by adding a movie with the perfect mix of scariness, to honor Halloween’s spooky reputation, and childhood nostalgia to satisfy that childish halloween excitement we all miss so much, and say goodbye to what is arguably the best time of the year. 

  1. Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark (2019)

If you’re looking for something a little bit in between the scary level of Coraline but with a little less childish feeling to it, maybe try Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark. In this movie, a group of four kids spends the end of their Halloween night sneaking into a seemingly haunted, abandoned house. When one of the kids stumbles upon a book of scary stories, the stories start becoming their reality. This movie won’t really scare those who are used to horror movies, the plotline isn’t that scary in comparison to movies with more adult themes, the jumpscares are few and relatively predictable, and the CGI isn’t particularly scary. But if you’re easily frightened and want to get into scary movies, this is a good place to start.

  1. Scream (1996)

This modern classic just had to be added to the list! Scream, a witty movie that, at times, even feels like a parody of itself, will keep you invested during the whole film. Whether it’s the clever jokes that poke fun at the fact that Scream, in itself, is a horror movie or the action scenes that throw a million twists at the audience, the way this film brings together comedy and horror will definitely keep you entertained. Scream is about a masked psycho killer terrorizing and brutally murdering high-school students from the town of Woodsboro, California. Anybody could be under that mask, and high school student, Sidney Prescott, is desperate to find out who it is. If you’re looking for something funny to watch while still having the occasional jump-scare and gory scenes to feed your Halloween spirit, Scream is the way to go.

  1. Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)

You’ve probably heard the name Freddie Kreuger as he is widely known for being a classic horror movie character. This 2010 remake of the 1986 classic begins with three teenagers dying in a series of gruesome murders, all having died in their dreams. Before their deaths, a man in a striped shirt terrorizes and injures them in their sleep. What separates this from you average nightmare? The characters would wake up with the exact injuries caused in their dreams  But when teens Nancy and Quentin begin having these same nightmares, they must find a way to stay awake as long as they can until they stop Kreuger. In their search to end these murders, they find one thing all the victims had in common. Could that be a hint as to how they can save themselves and avoid any future fatalities? With a terrifying plot, mature themes, dark colors, and bloody scenes, this tense slasher film definitely ups the fear scale in comparison to the previous 5 films. If you’re looking for a plot that will leave you in fear for the following days, this is a great pick! However, If you are sensitive to topics of sexual assault this might not be your choice. 

  1. Haunt (2019)

Although this movie isn’t scary in a nightmare way, none of the movies on the list have the same level of gore as Haunt. Although Haunt is definitely slow at first, and the acting might not seem too great, once it starts getting a bit more intense, it goes from 0 to 100 on the gore scale, Haunt follows a group of college students looking for some fun on Halloween night. After going to a party, they pass by an isolated haunted house, and in classic scary movie fashion they decide to go in because why not! But what looked like a silly, badly made haunted house quickly turned into the students’ worst nightmare. This movie has more blood, gore, and creepy makeup than all the other movies on this list combined. It will get you to yell, “No! Don’t go in there!” over and over again at the screen. So, if you don’t have a weak stomach and want a more modern-looking movie with a Blumhouse-type feeling to it, Haunt is your way to go.  

  1. It  (2017)

Like Scream, this movie is an excellent blend between horror and comedy. Nothing breaks the tension of being chased by an evil shape-shifting monster like a bunch of eleven-year-olds cracking sex jokes. It follows a group of eleven-year-old outcasts fighting a monster who appears every 27 years and shape-shifts into its victims’ worst fears. This horror movie with a coming-of-age touch will be a perfect addition to your movie marathon if you want a great mix between cracking up and hiding under the covers, so no monsters will catch you.

  1. Us (2019)

Us does not have a particularly Halloween-ish feel to it, but it would be a great choice for those who want a movie that leans more towards thriller. This spine-chilling film is about a family that goes on a trip to their mother, Adelaide Wilson’s, beach house, where she grew up. She spends the whole beginning of the trip paranoid because of a traumatic experience she had there as a child. Adelaide’s fears that something was bound to go wrong are then proven true when the family of 4 is attacked by their evil doppelgangers. The music, pacing, colors, and overall mood of this movie make for a tense, eerie Friday night.  When asked about Us, an 11th-grade Graded student mentioned that “I started watching but couldn’t finish. One of the scenes was just too scary to keep going”.

So, take your picks and make the days leading up to Halloween fill you up with anticipation for the spookiest night of the year! And on top of making this October holiday a million times better, the movies on this list are perfect if you’re looking for some fun costume ideas to wear with your friends and show off at the Graded Halloween parade!  

Honorable Halloween movie mentions:

Halloweentown (1998) – Goosebumps (2015) – Child’s Play 2 (1990)  – Psycho (1960) – Amityville Horror (2005) – Friday the 13th (1980) – Hush (2016) – Halloween (1978) – Pet Semetary (2019) – Annabelle Comes Home (2019)  – It Follows (2015) – The Invisible Man (2020) – The Shining (1980)