The 23 Best Halloween Movies You Can Stream Right Now

·17 min read

I hope you've got your costumes ready because Halloween is here!

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Witch and ghost are of course both great costumes.

And in honor of spooky season and this auspicious holiday, I've put together a list of Halloween films for you to watch. And these are not just scary movies. These are movies that actually feature Halloween proper.

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Apologies to all the horror films that got cut.

So come near my children, and let me show you what creepy, magical, haunted, gory fantasies await you this October.

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1.The Addams Family (1991)

Carel Struycken and Raul Julia hold a map and look up

Whether your hand is attached to your body, or you are just a free-wheeling sentient hand scuttling around a mansion, get ready to snap along to the Addams Family theme. This spooky classic based on the '60s television show follows perhaps the most iconic macabre family of all time as they maneuver the arrival of Uncle Fester (Christopher Lloyd) into their life. Anjelica Huston is the scene-stealing (and Golden Globe-nominated) matriarch Morticia Addams and leads the cast into all kinds of deliciously haunted scenarios. The whole film is oozing Halloween energy, and the film's final scene is set on October 31, which feels appropriate.

Rent it on Amazon Prime Video.

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2.The Amityville Horror (1979)

Margot Kidder looks into a mirror

It’s not every day that you make a small independent horror film for less than $5 million and then end up spawning one of the most lucrative franchises in film history with over 30 films. But such is the case with The Amityville Horror, which was based on a novel supposedly based on real-life experiences: a mass murder committed in a home (and the evil spirits that now live there). In each film, the evil spirits wreak havoc on a new group of innocent inhabitants. An OG haunted house saga, this old-school horror film still holds up (and is set in the leaf-crackling, jack-'o-lantern-laden spooky season).

Watch it on HBO Max.

American International/Courtesy Everett Collection

3.Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)

Carey Grant looks into the camera with Priscilla Lane, Jean Adair, and Josephine Hull surrounding him

Note to self: Don't get married on Halloween. Cary Grant's Mortimer does so in this dark comedy, and it seems like a harbinger of bad luck. When he returns home to tell his family of the nuptials and prepare for his honeymoon, he realizes that his pair of aunts are regularly poisoning men. Also, his brother, who believes he is Teddy Roosevelt, is burying them in the cellar because he thinks they died while digging the Panama Canal. His other brother is also a murderer and has had plastic surgery to disfigure himself while he's on the run. The farce is laugh-out-loud funny as Mortimer scrambles to keep his wife from uncovering the truth about his family while also keeping the police at bay. If you're looking to watch something that is definitely spooky, but not the least bit scary, this is your Halloween viewing choice.

Rent it on Amazon Prime Video.

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4.Beginners (2010)

Ewan McGregor dressed up as Sigmund Freud

Is there a better meet-cute than stumbling into your future lover at a Halloween party where you're dressed as Sigmund Freud and they have laryngitis and can only communicate via notepad? Beginners would have you believe there isn't. While the film is primarily about Oliver (Ewan McGregor) and his relationship with his father, Hal (Christopher Plummer in an Oscar-winning turn), who comes out of the closet at age 75, there is a sweet Halloween sequence early on. Oliver and Hal attempt to navigate this new life only to find out Hal's dying of cancer as well. The film (directed by Mike Mills, whose C'mon C'mon comes out next month) questions how well any of us truly know our parents, and also asks how we would react if we were suddenly given a fuller picture of their lives. The perfect drama sprinkled with comedy and a dash of Halloween spirit.

Rent it on Amazon Prime Video.

Focus Features

5.Casper (1995)

Casper the Friendly Ghost floats next to Christina Ricci

If you want a Halloween ghost story, but are not into the whole scary movie thing, then how about this '90s classic about a cute, lil' friendly ghost? What about that? No grisly corpses or demonic presences trying to drown you in the bathtub, just a round-headed little guy who wants to be your friend and help you host a Halloween party? Casper (the first film with a CG lead) has all the trappings of a Halloween staple (party, costumes, ghosts) without the "this jump scare might make me wet myself" energy. I'd also like to flag that we are five movies into this list and Christina Ricci has already starred in two. The real Halloween queen.

Rent it on Amazon Prime Video.

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6.Donnie Darko (2001)

Jake Gyllenhaal dressed as a skeleton with Jena Malone standing behind him

In the grand lineup of famous rabbits (perhaps there is a BuzzFeed list there), right beside Peter, Bugs, and Playboy is, of course, Frank, the man in the creepy bunny costume from this cult classic psychological thriller. Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Donnie, a boy who starts seeing Frank after a freak accident and is informed that the world will end on Halloween. Because the world will end, Donnie gets involved in several crimes before the eventual Halloween party climax of the movie. Haunting and complex, this is a cerebral, moody pick to watch while eating all that leftover candy. And if you needed more reasons for a viewing, there is of course The White Lotus's Jolene Purdy delivering the iconic "chutup" and double Gyllenhaal energy with Jake's sister, Maggie (soon to be entering the Oscar conversation with her directorial debut, The Lost Daughter), also in the cast.

Watch it on Amazon Prime Video.

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7.E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

ET walks along the street as a ghost under a bedsheet

E.T. is honestly a Halloween icon. He's so obsessed with candy that he stumbles into a stranger's house. He executes multiple costume changes throughout the film including an old lady and a ghost. AND he's got magical powers to make things fly. While the film only has one scene set on Halloween proper (where they sneak into the woods to "phone home"), the whole film has an eerie October sensibility to it. Buy some Reese's Pieces (a candy made famous by the film after M&M's turned down the product placement deal) and watch the heartwarming story of a boy just trying to get his alien bestie back to the mothership.

Watch it on Peacock.

Universal Pictures

8.Flatliners (1990)

Kiefer Sutherland and Julia Roberts prepare to flatline Kevin Bacon

Before the ill-fated 2017 remake and its 4% Rotten Tomatoes score put a damper on the franchise, the 1990 original was cruising along as an inventive cult classic in high regard. With a buzzy cast including Kevin Bacon, Kiefer Sutherland, and Julia Roberts, the sci-fi film focused on a group of med students who agree to help each other briefly die and come back to life in order to experience the after life. While the group begin with seeing euphoric visions, those death dreams start to infiltrate their lives in dangerous ways. With one death sequence set on Halloween, the supernatural film basks in its spookiness and provides you with a mad scientist viewing option.

Watch it on Hulu.

Columbia Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

9.Halloween (1978)

Michael Myers stands behinds Jamie Lee Curtis

I mean, is there a film better suited for Halloween viewing than Halloween? It's right there in the name. Jamie Lee Curtis makes her film debut here as the final girl being chased around Haddonfield, Illinois, by a serial killer in a painted-white Captain Kirk mask. The film, which was made for pennies, became a massive success, spawning a long (and extremely complicated) franchise that has seen the masked murderer kill hundreds. The film is set on Halloween. It's about Halloween. It's called Halloween. It is the DEFINITIVE movie for the holiday.

Watch it on Amazon Prime Video.

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10.Halloween (2018)

Jamie Lee Curtis clutches Judy Greer

...unless of course you choose its sequel, also called just Halloween. With the recent release of Halloween Kills, I am reminded of just how impeccably good this 2018 slasher was, rebooting the franchise with a success not even seen in horror (although often tried). Curtis was back paired with her daughter and granddaughter (played by perennial best friend Judy Greer and newcomer Andi Matichak) as they again take on Michael Myers. The kills are gruesome, the tension is high, and an extended single-take sequence of Michael murdering neighbors is horror movie hall of fame worthy. So never mind — maybe this is the DEFINITIVE Halloween movie?

Rent it on Amazon Prime Video.

Ryan Green/Universal/Courtesy Everett Collection

11.Halloweentown (1998)

Debbie Reynolds stands around a cauldron with Emily Roeske, Kimberly J. Brown, and Joey Zimmerman

How can any list of films truly be complete with out a DCOM (Disney Channel Original Movie)? The genre is filled with stone-cold classics including this one about a whole town filled with witches, vampires, etc., that needs saving as its inhabitants are disappearing. Acting legend Debbie Reynolds stars in the poppy fun Halloween movie made for the whole family. The film also has a Harry Potter-like "your parents never told you that you are a witch" narrative that really got me hoping I had secret magical powers. To date, I have not been informed by any rogue relatives that this is the case, but I'm still holding onto hope.

Watch it on Disney+.

Disney Channel/Courtesy Everett Collection

12.Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001)

Rupert Grint points his wand in a destroyed bathroom

And speaking of Mr. Potter, how can you put together a Halloween list without including the original Harry Potter film? The Halloween sequence is incredible. Ron insults Hermione. A troll breaks into Hogwarts. Quirrell perfectly delivers the line, "Troll in the dungeon. Thought you oughta know." Harry and Ron realizing that the troll is going to kill Hermione and rushing to save her. The three becoming the inseparable power trio that are cemented in pop culture history. I would like to say that the whole thing is slightly tainted by J.K. Rowling's continued anti-trans comments, BUT if you can separate the art from the artist (or dredge up an old DVD copy that's not giving her any more money) then why not enjoy the cozy story of the boy who lived.

Watch it on Peacock.

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13.Hocus Pocus (1993)

Kathy Najimy, Bette Midler, and Sarah Jessica Parker hover around a spell book

I am ashamed to say that until making this list, I had never seen this film following the evil Sanderson Sisters on their quest to steal youth and beauty from children. I always assumed it was over hyped. I was wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong. This goofy little Disney romp through Halloween is an absolute delight. I mean, Bette Midler (singing legend from The First Wives Club), Kathy Najimy (singing legend from The Sister Act), and Sarah Jessica Parker (whose singing has been overshadowed by a never-ending parade of press photos from the Sex and the City reboot) all star. The story is engaging, the dialogue is quippy, and the little sister (played by Thora Birch) is a scene-stealing legend. Honestly, take the witches off the movie poster and put Thora in her little witch costume on there instead. This film lives up to all of the praise it gets and honestly should get even more.

Watch it on Disney+.

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14.Hubie Halloween (2020)

Adam Sandler stands in the front of a school assembly dressed like a ghost

A recent (and I would argue underrated) addition into the Halloween canon is Adam Sandler's family-friendly romp. The film is a straight shot of liquid Halloween into your arm. The fall leaves, the sweaters, the jack-'o-lanterns, the costumes, the haunted house, the hayride, the drive in, the candy, the cider, the chilly breeze on an evening stroll about town. For my money, there isn't a film that nails that cozy/creepy Halloween combo like this does. Sandler plays a doofy Salem, Massachusetts local who is dead set on making sure everyone is safe for the holiday before he stumbles upon a string of missing town folk. The movie is a bit silly and perhaps overstuffed with celebrity cameos, but it's heartwarming at the core and the perfect source of costume inspiration if you need help.

Watch it on Netflix.

Scott Yamano/Netflix/Courtesy Everett Collection

15.It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)

The Peanuts go trick or treating

You've heard of Santa Claus, and the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy, but sadly the Great Pumpkin has not received the same PR over the years and remains relatively unknown outside of this Peanuts special. Linus, forever the philosophical young man, believes deeply that the Great Pumpkin will appear to him in a pumpkin patch on Halloween night and give him toys if he just shows faith. The struggle then becomes will he and his friends choose to trick-or-treat or will they remain by his side through the night? The sweet half-hour special is a part of the iconic holiday series for Charlie Brown, and gives viewers a calmer, more contemplative viewing option for the holiday. (Also, it is short enough that you can watch it on your lunch break.)

Watch it on Apple TV+.

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16.Marriage Story (2019)

Scarlett Johansson and Azhy Robertson trick or treat as The Beatles

You may say that Marriage Story is not a true Halloween movie, but I do not accept that structurally, and I do not accept it spiritually. Marriage Story, in addition to being a downright perfect film with top-notch, keyed-in acting performances, a delicately beautiful script, and one of the best opening montages in cinematic history is in fact an unimpeachable choice for Halloween viewing. So much of the emotional weight of the film centers around the choice of which parent Charlie, the child in the midst of Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver's divorce, would like to trick-or-treat with and Adam Driver's disappointment when Charlie doesn't show enthusiasm in his Invisible Man-themed costume. The film's resolution is then also centered on another Halloween (this time with Oscar-worthy Beatles costumes). The film is a masterpiece, and I don't care what SNL says! OK. I'm calming down. Rant over (but never really over if you know me).

Watch it on Netflix.

Netflix

17.Mean Girls (2004)

Rachel McAdams dressed as a rabbit talks to Jonathan Bennett at a party

We are forever indebted to Mean Girls for informing the masses that you are in fact allowed to dress like a slut on Halloween and no one can say anything about it. This sentiment was then reiterated in the Mean Girls: The Musical and then of course the TikTok trend. A quick glance on Instagram from October 26–31 will show you how the general populous has latched onto this trend for dear life. But we have Regina George and the Halloween sequence of the most quotable film of all time to thank. (And I shall in a week when I'm walking down Park Avenue dressed as slutty Kermit the Frog.)

Watch it on Paramount+.

Paramount Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

18.Monster House (2006)

Chowder and DJ look across the street at the monster house

In the world of animation, Disney and Pixar occupy the lion's share of the conversation these days, but I would like to take this opportunity to highlight an underrated Sony animation offering that is not only a perfect Halloween film but one of the best animated films of the 2000s IMHO. It is a film about a terrifying haunted house that eats children on Halloween, so I can see why it might have been a tough sell to parents, but it is a wickedly sinister yet slicingly funny picture. A trio of schoolchildren (one played by Mitchell Musso in the most 2006 thing ever) attempt to save the neighborhood/subdue the house, and what follows is an edge-of-your-seat adventure. This was also nominated for an Oscar, if that helps push you over the edge to queue it up.

Watch it on Netflix.

Sony Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

19.Night of the Demons (1987)

Amelia Kinkade dressed as a bride of death

OK, I don't know who needs to hear this because at this point we've all seen enough horror films to do better, BUT do not hold a seance in a funeral parlor on Halloween. Nothing good is going to come from that. Your grandma is not going to give you a loving hug from the great beyond. No. You're just going to end up getting all your friends murdered one by one. If you need additional evidence, try watching this film (or its sequels). They initiate said seance, and a demon ends up possessing the group one by one to deadly effect. Its campy, gory Halloween horror that should serve as a warning to just eat your Kit Kats and go to bed.

Watch it on Amazon Prime Video.

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20.The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Jack Skellington looks at a snowflake

It's hard to imagine someone ever getting sick of Halloween (as it is objectively one of the top three holidays of the year), but Jack Skellington somehow does in Tim Burton's musical stop-motion spectacular. The Pumpkin King of Halloween is so freaking good at the holiday that when he discovers Christmas, he decides to try his hand at that. Needless to say, celebrating Christmas with a gory sensibility does not quite work. The film (barely over an hour and bursting with fun musical numbers) is a zippy burst of Halloween goodness with a lot of creativity in the writing and animation. It's also the perfect mood piece to play in the background of your Halloween party.

Watch it on Disney+.

Buena Vista Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

21.Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019)

A scarecrow in a cornfield

If you were not traumatized as a child by Alvin Schwartz's terrifying collection of haunted tales, then I cannot relate to you. I had many an evening in the hateful spiral of reading this captivating book and then not being able to sleep. If you, however, missed the book, have no fear, because you can replicate the experience by watching the film. When a group of teens discover a cursed book that keeps telling scary stories, we get the anthology of gruesome moments straight from my childhood nightmares. It's creepy. It's haunting. And it goes without saying that the whole thing is set on Halloween.

Watch it on Peacock.

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22.Sleepy Hollow (1999)

Johnny Depp and Christina Ricci stand beside each other in a misty forest

Oh, look who is back. Halloween's favorite actor, Christina Ricci! Now all grown up, she's wandered into colonial Sleepy Hollow, where she plays Katrina Van Tassel, the love interest of the famed Ichabod Crane (Johnny Depp). A headless horseman is terrorizing the town, killing unsuspecting villagers, and the pair of lovebirds take it upon themselves to discover the identity and put a stop to it. Sort of unrelated to this eerie, foggy gothic narrative, BUT if you are looking for a spooky fall activity and you live in the Northeast, might I suggest visiting Sleepy Hollow. The town does it up for Halloween, and it was a hauntingly good time.

Watch it on Amazon Prime Video.

Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection

23.We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011)

Ezra Miller and Tilda Swinton sit across from one another at dinner

There are movie horrors (zombie cats, zombie train passengers, zombie kindergarteners), and then there are real-life horrors. This Tilda Swinton–led film, which launched the career of Ezra Miller, focuses on the latter: what happens when someone’s mind is predisposed to violence rather than love. We slowly watch Eva (Swinton) come to the sickening realization that there is something wrong with her son Kevin (Miller), and that all the motherly affection in the world won’t be able to fix him. But that being said, there is a scene where Tilda is driving her car on Halloween, so maybe this is leaning a bit into movie horror after all.

Watch it on Hulu.

Oscilloscope Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

Psst! Did you hear that Tasty has its very own Halloween TV special? Snoop & Martha's Very Tasty Halloween is streaming now on Peacock. Check it out!

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