Halloween is rapidly approaching, and since we’ve (unfortunately) outgrown making arts-and-crafts skeletons in school, we must instead envelop ourselves in all the ghoulish whimsy that spooky season has to offer through other means. To make the most efficient use of your time, I’ve compiled a list of some new and old staples of the season for you to check out.
1. “Over The Garden Wall”
There is no single piece of media more autumnal than “Over The Garden Wall,” the absolutely enchanting animated miniseries by Patrick McHale. It has frightful moments; it has mystery; it has pumpkin-people; it has foliage; it has a singing frog, and of course, it is a beautiful story of two brothers entering the unknown — all while being one large reference to Dante’s “Inferno.” What more could you ask for?
2. “Return to Halloweentown”
The Disney Channel Original Movie is the ideal vessel for reliving one’s childhood, which means that no attempt to recapture Halloween nostalgia is complete without a “Halloweentown” rewatch. Everyone has a favorite, but the one I’m recommending is the fourth in the tetralogy, “Return to Halloweentown.” This corny, 2006 Harry Potter rip-off is the perfect way to remind you what you thought college was like when you were a little kid.
3. “Halloween” (1978)
Recommending the movie whose title is literally “Halloween” feels almost too easy, but it is just so good it cannot be excluded. If you have not yet watched it, please do. It features just the right amount of terror in suburbia to freak you out as you walk around campus.
4. “Bodies Bodies Bodies”
Thus far, 2022 has been an exceptional year for horror cinema, and “Bodies Bodies Bodies” even manages to stand out in that crowd. If you are planning on hosting a movie night, look no further, this is the one to watch. It is the most hilarious, thrilling, Gen-Z satire that will have you quoting Rachel Sennott’s character for days.
5. “Hocus Pocus” and “Hocus Pocus 2”
One of the most quintessentially spooky movies has finally gotten its sequel, and it is just as good as the original. Both “Hocus Pocus” movies are the perfect, family-friendly double feature to check out with your younger sibling. Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy are absolutely magnetic as the Sanderson Sisters, the baddest coven to ever touch down in Salem. Watching them return after almost 30 years is the sweetest treat you’ll get this season.
6. “Hellraiser” (1987 + 2022)
This double feature, on the other hand, is definitely not for the little ones. 2022, like every year, is chock full of new installations in legacy franchises, and both “Hocus Pocus 2” and “Hellraiser” (2022) meet the high bar set by their predecessors. Check out both Hellraiser films for that classic supernatural horror goodness. Beware of gore.
7. “What We Do in the Shadows” (TV Series)
If you want a perfectly horror-tinged belly laugh, please check out one of the best, most underrated television shows on air about a group of vampires living together in Staten Island. Every actor truly gives their all to each unique, endlessly quotable character — with a few great cameos sprinkled throughout.
8. “Frankenstein” by Rina Sawayama
This recently dropped Halloween banger is essential for any party playlist. Good Halloween songs are definitely a bit harder to come by than some other holidays, but this will certainly satisfy as Sawayama sings, “I don't wanna be a monster anymore,” over and over again.
9. “Night Crawling” by Miley Cyrus ft. Billy Idol
An underrated song from an underrated album, this exceptional duet from Miley Cyrus’s 2020 release “Plastic Hearts” oozes 80s slasher vibes.
10. “Calling All the Monsters” by China Anne McClain
This is a timeless classic. No doubt about it. China Anne McClain set the precedent for Halloween music now and forever. It’s the “All I Want For Christmas Is You” of Halloween. It’s everything.
Tyler Wilson is a contributing writer for The Prospect and Humor at the ‘Prince.’ He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Instagram at @tylertwilson.