Top 10 Must-Watch Movies Before Halloween

The month of October is here! What better way to welcome the month of Halloween than watch some family-friendly spooky classics or some hair-raising movies – either by yourself or with friends and family. Personally, I would recommend watching these 10 movies alone, but hey, to each their own.

Some of these movies are from the 1980s up until the early 2000s. Some of them are fan favourites on every Halloween and some have cult-like fan bases of all generations. Did your favourites make the list?

  • Hocus Pocus (1993)

These trios are hilarious. Winifred, Mary, and Sarah are sisters and witches. Known as the Sanderson Sisters, they terrorise Salem by kidnapping the children and feed on their life essence to stay young. They were executed but a curse made sure that they would come back one day to continue what they started. 300 years later in modern-day Salem, a new kid from Los Angeles named Max lit the Black-Flamed Candle and brought the sisters back.

I recommend watching this with family or friends. It’s Rated PG but still quite a child-friendly movie and there are many iconic lines that you would remember long after you finish watching the movie.

  • Labyrinth (1986)

Labyrinth is a magical fantasy film directed by Jim Henson which does not come as a surprise when you see the number of puppets and costumes used in this movie. The movie is about Sarah who accidentally made the Goblin King take her baby brother away and she had to journey through a number of mazes to get to the King’s castle and rescue him.

This movie is definitely a classic. There’s a more realistic touch to a costume-worn character and a real puppet instead of the countless CGI movies of the 21st century. I’m not saying CGIs are bad, but aesthetically, plain regular acting (albeit in large costumes) seem more realistic and fun. If you’re a fan of old Rock & Roll, you would definitely know the late David Bowie (as King Jareth). He’s fabulous in this movie, and not forgetting to mention, a little sexy. Oh, and be prepared to see a very young Jennifer Conelly too. This movie is Rated PG.

  • Casper (1995)
Photo from IMDB

A ‘ghost therapist’ shifted into a mansion with his daughter to help the ghosts that are haunting that building to ‘move on’. However, they were not prepared to be ‘terrorised’ by the three boisterous ghosts haunting the house, who also bullies the friendly ghost – Casper – endlessly.

This is a kid-friendly movie, definitely fun for adults to walk down memory lane and re-watch this or just introduce it to your kids and see what the young Gen Z and Gen Alpha thinks. It’s not logical (I mean, what’s logic about a see-through ghost?) but there’s a lesson and moral to it by the end, which is quite important to young viewers, I think. The language used are lighthearted and fun too. However, it is Rated PG for mild language and thematic elements. Prepare some popcorn and you’re good to go.

  • The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Jack Skellington, Halloweentown’s beloved pumpkin king accidentally came upon Christmas Town and instantly fell in love with Christmas. He concocted a plan to kidnap Santa Claus and decided to become Santa himself, although his spooky friends didn’t quite get the memo. A day of joyful Christmas turned out to be one of the nightmares to many children in the world and it was up to a lonely Frankenstein-like rag doll, Sally to save both Halloween and Christmas.

The Nightmare Before Christmas is one of the very few fantasy/musical movies that are made in full-length stop motion and became a huge success. This movie has quite the following, especially with those that felt like they didn’t quite ‘fit in’. Merchandises of Jack Skellington and The Nightmare Before Christmas can be found everywhere every year, especially around Halloween because of its huge number of fans. Due to some scary elements, this movie is Rated PG.

  • The Addams Family (1991) & Addams Family Values (1993)
Photo from IMDB

You cannot only see The Addams Family and not continue watching Addams Family Values so be prepared to sit in for a few hours and be entertained by Gomez, Morticia, Wednesday, Pugsley, Gordon, Frankenstein and their helping ‘hand’ in the Addams Family. If somebody said “morbid”, tell them there’s no morbid in “Halloween”.

Rated PG-13 for instances of smoking, mild sexuality, fright, and the use of profanity. So, beware if you decide to watch it with the little ones.

  • Scream (1996)

Scream had many sequels but the first slasher movie directed by Wes Craven was probably the best out of all – original, sometimes funny and an unexpected twist towards the end. The younger generation might not remember Neve Campbell and Courtney Cox but for the more ‘mature’ audience, surely this would be a great movie to watch with your teenage children – and tell them not to trust people easily, even their own boyfriend/girlfriend.

For the same suspense, watch it at night with your lights dimmed. Maybe you can even sneak in the iconic mask and scare someone halfway throughout the movie. Oh yeah, this movie is Rated R so, don’t say you weren’t warned.

  • Corpse Bride (2005)
Photo from IMDB

Another stop-motion fantasy/musical movie produced by Tim Burton, Corpse Bride is about Victor who accidentally married a skeleton-like dead girl named Emily when he was out in the woods trying to practice his vows to his lady love, Victoria. Adults who watched this movie when they were kids should give this movie another try because there are many references that you might have missed when you were younger but would understand better now that you’re older.

Knowing that the voices of the main characters belonged to Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter are plus points too. Rated PG so just beware if your children decide to watch this on their own.

  • Final Destination 1 – 3 (2000 – 2006)

I know there are more than 3 Final Destination movies available but in my opinion, the first three are the best. I watched these movies when I was a teen and it took me a few times flying to finally calm my thoughts about plane crashes. These movies are definitely not for the faint-hearted so I would suggest watching them with friends or family members.

Not surprising that these movies are Rated R for strong violent/gruesome accidents, strong language, and scenes of sexuality. Some scenes might make you queasy so tone down on the popcorns or hotdogs.

  • A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Photo from IMDB

My only reason to watch this is the good looking young Johnny Depp. Okay, maybe the other reason to watch this classic – apart from the fact that it was directed by Wes Craven (again!) – are the scary Freddy Krueger and the way he became real (not just something from a dream) and terrorised everyone. You would not see a water bed the same way ever again, after this movie. Anyway, which successful Haunted House did not have Freddy Krueger as one of their ‘ghosts’?

This movie is definitely not for the young ones so make sure they are tucked in safe and sound before you decide to pop the popcorn, cold sodas and prop yourself in front of the TV. Rated R for strong bloody horror violence, disturbing images, terror and language, you have been warned.

  • The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)

Exorcism movies have been in cinemas since before the 1970s. There’s a quality to these movies, something about the victim having strong unrelenting faith in the religion and yet there are stronger demons that could dominate the victims to do unspeakable things. It could be slightly controversial, especially if you are a sceptic so I would suggest keeping an open mind and not reject the core values of the movie before you even watch it. Just beware of the witching hour.

This was one of my personal favourites in comparison to other exorcism movies, especially because of that scene in the barn – that came from a genuine recording of the real Emily’s exorcism. Rated PG-13 for thematic material, including intense/frightening sequences and disturbing images.

  • Other movies that you can also watch before Halloween:
  1. Silence Of The Lambs (1991) – Rated R
  2. The Sixth Sense (1999) – Rated PG-13
  3. The Shining (1980) – Rated R
  4. Constantine (2005) – Rated R

MPAA ratings:

G – General Audience. PG – Parental Guidance (suggested). PG-13 – Parents cautioned (not suitable for under 13 years old). R – Restricted (under 17 years old need accompanying parent or adult guardian).

Aliza M. is a content writer under Headliner by Newswav, a programme where content creators get to tell their unique stories through articles and at the same time monetize their content within the Newswav app.
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Aliza M.
Author: Aliza M.

Traveller, Dreamer, Realist. Someone waiting to traverse the world again.