Woman leaning against the wall, screaming at an ax that has cut through from the next room

The Best Halloween Movies of All Time: A Comprehensive List

Halloween is a time of year when people like to get scared. It’s a time to watch horror movies, eat candy, and dress up in costumes. There are so many great Halloween movies out there that it can be hard to know where to start. That’s why we’ve put together a comprehensive list of the best Halloween movies of all time. From classic horror films to family-friendly favorites, we’ve got you covered.

Classic Horror Films

Some of the best Halloween movies are the classics. These movies paved the way for the horror genre and have become beloved staples of the holiday season.

Psycho (1960)

Man sliced in the face falling backwards

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, Psycho is a psychological horror film that tells the story of Marion Crane, a woman on the run who checks into the Bates Motel. The film is famous for its twist ending and the iconic shower scene.

Halloween (1978)

No list of the best Halloween movies would be complete without John Carpenter’s Halloween. The film follows Michael Myers, a masked killer who escapes from a mental hospital and goes on a killing spree. It’s a classic slasher film that has inspired countless imitators.

The Exorcist (1973)

Considered one of the scariest movies of all time, The Exorcist tells the story of a young girl who becomes possessed by a demon. The film’s intense imagery and themes of good versus evil have made it a staple of the horror genre.

The Shining (1980)

Crazy man looks through fresh crack in the wall

No list of the best Halloween movies of all time is complete without The Shining. This classic film tells the story of a writer who takes a job as a caretaker of an isolated hotel, only to be driven to madness by supernatural forces. As someone who loves the film, I have a movie poster of Jack Nicholson peering through the door when he says “Here’s Johnny!” hanging in my living room. The Shining is a timeless horror film that continues to captivate audiences with its eerie atmosphere and iconic scenes.

Family-Friendly Favorites

Halloween isn’t just for horror fans. There are plenty of family-friendly Halloween movies that are perfect for kids and adults alike.

Hocus Pocus (1993)

Three witches in heavy makeup and coiffed hair

For those looking for a lighter, more family-friendly Halloween movie, Hocus Pocus is a classic choice. As someone who grew up on the movie and watches it every year, I can attest to its enduring popularity. Set in Salem, Massachusetts, the movie captures the classic Halloween visuals and New England fall foliage that make this holiday so appealing. The film tells the story of three witches who are resurrected on Halloween night and seek to steal the souls of children to maintain their youth. With a fun, whimsical tone and memorable performances, Hocus Pocus is a Halloween movie that the whole family can enjoy.

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)

This beloved television special follows Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang as they celebrate Halloween. The special’s heartwarming message and iconic moments, like Linus waiting for the Great Pumpkin, have made it a Halloween classic.

Casper (1995)

Based on the friendly ghost from the classic cartoons, Casper tells the story of a young girl who moves into a haunted house and befriends the ghost who lives there. The film’s mix of humor, heart, and spooky fun makes it a great choice for families.

Modern Horror Films

The horror genre has evolved over the years, and there are plenty of modern horror films that have become Halloween favorites.

Hereditary (2018)

Hereditary is is a film that is sure to give you chills down your spine. It is a family drama mixed with elements of supernatural horror. The story revolves around a family dealing with the death of their grandmother, which leads to a series of haunting events that reveal a dark family secret. The film has been praised for its slow-building tension and its intense performances, particularly from Toni Collette as the mother.

Get Out (2017)

A middle aged white woman giving a concerned glare to a young black man with an awkward smile

Get Out is a horror film that blends together satire, social commentary, and horror. It tells the story of a young Black man who goes to visit his white girlfriend’s family in the suburbs, only to discover a disturbing secret about the community. Get Out is not only a well-made horror film, but it is also a powerful critique of racism and white supremacy in America. The film was directed by Jordan Peele, who won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.

A Quiet Place (2018)

A Quiet Place is a horror film that relies heavily on sound design to create a tense atmosphere. The story takes place in a world where monsters with hypersensitive hearing have taken over the earth, and the few remaining humans must remain silent to avoid being killed. The film stars John Krasinski, who also directed the film, and his real-life wife, Emily Blunt. A Quiet Place is a unique and effective horror film that keeps the audience on the edge of their seats.

Midsommar (2019)

Warning: Midsommar is not for the faint of heart. This gory and disturbing film tells the story of a group of friends who travel to a remote Swedish village to take part in a traditional festival, only to discover that the villagers have dark and twisted rituals. Midsommar is a slow-burn horror film that explores themes of grief, trauma, and the search for belonging. While it may not be suitable for children, Midsommar is a must-watch for horror fans who enjoy a more intense and unsettling movie experience.

Us (2019)

Us is another horror film directed by Jordan Peele. The story follows a family who are confronted by their doppelgangers during a vacation at the beach. The film is a complex exploration of identity, class, and trauma, and features standout performances from Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke. Us is a smart and thought-provoking horror film that will keep you guessing until the very end.


Halloween is a time to enjoy all things spooky and scary, and what better way to do that than with a great horror movie? From classic monster movies to modern psychological thrillers, the list of Halloween movies is endless. Whether you prefer to be scared out of your mind or just enjoy a good suspenseful story, there is a Halloween movie out there for you. So, grab some popcorn, turn down the lights, and settle in for a spooky night of frightful fun!


A young adult in a suit and tie looks into a security camera, smiling while holding a machete. He is accompanied by others, all wearing decorative masks

As a bonus addition to our comprehensive list of the best Halloween movies of all time, we cannot forget to mention The Purge. This horror-thriller film takes place in a dystopian America where, for one night a year, all crime, including murder, is legal. The movie centers around a family who finds themselves stranded outside during the annual Purge, and must fight to survive until morning.

The Purge is a pulse-pounding thrill ride, with a unique and terrifying concept that will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. The movie raises thought-provoking questions about the nature of society, and the lengths to which people will go when given the freedom to do anything they want.


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