I’m admittedly not a very festive person when it comes to holidays, so when October rolls around every year instead of thinking about costumes I prepare my usual “oh I didn’t feel like dressing up this year.” The one thing that can get me in the Halloween mood is a good scary movie and some bite-sized candy. The ambiance of fall and the sun setting earlier each day is truly the ideal atmosphere for a scary movie night. You can also tailor a movie night to your level of festiveness. Do you love Halloween? Great! Go all out and decorate your place, invite a few friends over, make themed snacks, and light some jack-o’-lanterns. While I can’t help with decorations, I do have movie suggestions organized in order of sleep like a baby to nightmare level scary. There are tried-and-true classics like Beetlejuice, Jennifer’s Body for those who’ve caught the Megan Fox bug, and The Exorcist to test your threshold for horror.
Level 1 (Not So Scary)
Comedy meets supernatural watching this trio of eccentric parapsychologists try to catch ghosts around NYC.
Hocus Pocus (1993)
Serving major witch costume inspiration as three Salem witches are resurrected after 300 years and seek revenge. More comedy than scary but very festive.
Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
This Tim Burton movie will give you all the Christmas and Halloween feels at once as the King of Halloween discovers Christmas and is determined to hijack the holiday.
Nothing messier and on-theme than watching a newly dead couple try to scare the family that took over their home while befriending the goth daughter and recruiting a mischievous Betelgeuse. Also, the origin of all the “it’s showtime” memes.
Level 2 (Scary-lite)
Jennifer’s Body (2009)
Originally bombing at the box office, Jennifer’s Body developed a cult classic following over the years and is now referred to as a “feminist horror-comedy.” I loved it in 2009 and still love it today watching Megan Fox become possessed by a demon and say lines like “hell is a teenage girl”.
This movie is what clown nightmares are made of. Kudos to Andrés Muschietti for doing right by Stephen King’s 1986 novel that the movie is based on.
While it’s now a franchise, the original Scream is the best watching a killer in a Halloween costume target high school students. There’s mystery and slasher violence while also making fun of the slasher genre in a satirical way.
Donnie Darko (2001)
A psychological thriller that’s sure to make you rethink any sexy bunny costumes as you watch the main character become darker and darker at the hands of a mysterious rabbit-like figure.
Level 3 (Scary)
I know you’ve seen the Michael Myers content flooding social media this month and there’s no better way to celebrate Halloween than rewatching the original movie.
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
For anyone that loves murder documentaries, enjoy watching an FBI trainee pick the brain of a psychopathic killer and cannibal.
The Shining (1980)
A Stanley Kubrick classic and one of the original “family inhabits haunted hotel” plots but in a very psychologically scary way rather than Haunted Mansion family-fun way.
The Exorcist (1973)
Yes, this movie is still scary without 2021 special effects. I will never not be scared watching Regan become possessed and a priest try to remove the demon.